2017-12-02 / Outdoors

INSIDE THE OUTDOORS

Capping off year of ‘firsts’

When I was dating my wife Karie, she expressed interest in going hunting with me.

I liked the idea of sharing time with her participating in one of my favorite activities, but her expectations of hunting were a little different than mine. I remember her telling me after being out a few times that she was bad luck because we hadn’t gotten anything.

This year was different. Our daughter was born six weeks before the start of deer season, and Karie said she was ready to give it another try.

Monday morning found us on the state forest land near my parents’ place. My dad had been seeing some nice bucks. I knew the area well and planned to hunt on a large rock that overlooked a hillside where deer often traveled for cover when they were pushed by hunters.

Being the mother of a newborn, Karie’s body wouldn’t let her be out in the woods too long. At best we had a little over three hours.


Jim and Karie Zoschg welcomed their first child a few weeks before deer season. Last Monday, Karie experienced another first. After coming up empty on a handful of previous hunts, she was in the right place at the right time to shoot her first deer. Jim and Karie Zoschg welcomed their first child a few weeks before deer season. Last Monday, Karie experienced another first. After coming up empty on a handful of previous hunts, she was in the right place at the right time to shoot her first deer. It was a beautiful morning, not too warm, not too cold. Despite hearing a fair amount of shooting that indicated deer were on the move, things were slow. Karie wasn’t enjoying the hunt much.

A little before 10 o’clock, we had to get ready to head back to the house. We packed up our backpacks, grabbed our rifles, and stood up to go back down the hillside. At that instant, I saw the grey muzzle of a deer.

It was a buck coming toward us about 80 yards away, sneaking toward us and angling downhill. We lost sight of him through the trees. About that time, we heard the loud crunches of more deer. Soon, another doe came into view, further out the hillside above the buck. She was followed by a fawn. They were moving quickly and coming straight toward us. It didn’t look good.

We didn’t dare to move a muscle as the two crossed 15 yards downhill from us. It was exciting.

When they were past us, our full attention went back to the buck. I was afraid that he had seen us move and had sneaked away.

I scooted uphill to get a different view. It was then that I saw him. His winter coat nearly had him completely camouflaged with the late autumn landscape. I could see his antlers. Now and then an ear would move as he looked directly away from us.

After what seemed like an eternity, he started moving again, sneaking along, ever so cautiously. He was going to cross below us, where Karie would have a good shot.

Karie was seated with her knees bent. Her left elbow rested on her right knee as he moved closer to the opening. I bleated with my mouth. He kept going. I bleated louder. He heard me that time, stopped, and looked directly up at us.

As the .243 exploded, I saw the deer kick its back legs and run. She had landed a good shot in the lungs.

The deer ran out the hill 40 yards then cut back downhill. It stopped running and stood for a second before it fell over and started rolling downhill.

Karie was elated. I was even more so.

He was quite a sight, beat up from the rut. He had broken his right main beam above the second tine. His right eye was gouged and his right ear had been damaged from fighting.

This old boy was a fighter and a great first buck for Karie.

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