There’s nothing like a relaxing weekend of hunting to shatter the nerves.
Jody Beth Walker of London, Kentucky, grew up in Whitley County, where her family lives. She still hunts deer there, but she spent the 2014 rifle opener fending off a little buck and tagging a great big one in Morgan County.
Jody had intended to hunt her usual place, which she’d scouted extensively, but she ditched that plan a week before the rifle season opened. The change of heart came after her boyfriend’s grandparents invited her to hunt their property farther north.
“I was so excited, I had my truck packed and ready to go a week early,” she said. “My coworkers had a good time ribbing me over that.”
The widowed mother of two was looking forward to a little R&R.
“I was carrying 21 hours of classes for my last semester of college and working 50 hours a week as safety director at Appalachian Coal Partners,” she said. “I left my job at noon on Friday, Nov. 7, and headed for Morgan County, three hours away. I got there with enough daylight left to do some scouting. I had been offered the use of two different elevated stands, but I wanted to be on the ground.
“I found five good scrapes on a flat, with a ledge rising about 40 feet,” she continued. “Atop the ledge was a very large rock I thought would make a great vantage point.”
The next morning, she was sitting on that rock just before daylight. She had sprayed some estrous doe scent on herself accidentally while making a mock scrape in the dark. “I reeked of doe pee, but there was little I could do,” she said.
It was awful, at first, but Jody eventually became comfortable with the odor.
Three hours into her vigil, she spotted a spike approaching.
“It was coming too quickly for my liking,” Jody said. “In no time at all, it was right behind me and the rock. There was no place for me to flee, and I was sure that little buck was going to think I was a receptive doe.
“I was scared. The only way off that rock was a 40-foot drop,” she added. “I had to move and shoo it away.”
After Jody’s nerves settled, she decided to move next to a fallen tree overhanging the bluff. She thought lying prone would be comfortable, and it would be a great hiding place.
“I’m not sure how long I laid there before I saw the big buck,” she said. “When I did, I thought: You’re crazy, girl. You have buck fever or something. NO WAY is that big buck standing out there at 200 yards, watching you here in this hidey hole!”
“I watched for several minutes, and it never moved. Not even an ear twitch,” she said. “I finally looked at it through my .270’s scope. I stared at it for a very long time before I saw an ear move.”
Nothing else moved for another 30 minutes.
“I knew it really was a deer when it lifted a leg to take a step,” she said. “I quickly pulled off my face mask because I wanted nothing obstructing my view. I exhaled deeply, said a short prayer and pulled the trigger.
“It was a one-shot kill,” Jody added. “Afterward, I slumped over my gun, totally exhausted. My legs were twitching. My body was releasing all the tension I had built up over the last many minutes. I was one pretty excited girl about then.”
Jody called the landowner a few minutes later.
“He brought his wife along in the Rhino,” Jody said. “She was quiet and reserved, a Sunday school teacher. I, on the other hand, was wild and totally out of control.”
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