I Came to Hunting Late (last excerpt)

This is the final excerpt of the story

I had to get busy, because I had no hunting clothes.  So with the help of a sporting goods surplus catalog, we bought military coats and pants.  Nick gave me some hand-me downs and cast offs.  He made sure I was totally outfitted in a wide range of clothing options, depending on the weather conditions. 

My first hunting trip was a learning experience in more ways than one.  I carried a camera instead of a gun, and I recorded the day’s events as we stomped along.  The morning air had a brittle feel to it; that some loud sound could cause the very air to shatter.   I watched and absorbed.  I saw how they would line up to “work” a field or a draw.  The tall grasses made crunching sounds as I stepped on them.  I tripped over weeds that grabbed my ankles and fell in a few badger holes, but I hung in there and didn’t complain.  It was really important for me not to embarrass Nick or myself in front of his father and brother; who are hard core hunters and were skeptical about a woman in the group.

The only real drawback to the day was no toilet.  I enjoy being outdoors, but there are just some things that I need, and indoor plumbing is high on my priority list.  Privacy doesn’t exist in the outdoor world.  There is no easy or graceful way for a woman to go to the bathroom in the great outdoors. 

I kept up all week long to the amazement of all of the men except Nick.  Just being outside, walking around enjoying the day was great, but knowing that I passed the test with Nick was definitely the high point of the trip. 

As we trudged back to the truck side by side he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Next year carry a gun.”

Then I knew this was the start of a beautiful relationship.

I hope you’d enjoyed this story, I have many more.

I Came to Hunting Late (2nd excerpt)

This is the second excerpt of the story, “I Came to Hunting Late”

Before long I became fairly accurate with the pistols.  We moved up to shotguns.  Mitch owns twelve-gauge shotguns, so that’s where we started.  A twelve-gauge kicks my butt.  Mitch’s guns don’t have recoil pads on them to help absorb some of the shock of the recoil.  Every time I pulled the trigger, the full force of the gun jumping back into my shoulder would force me back a full step, even when I leaned into the shot.  After a few minutes of lifting the gun to my shoulder for each shot, my shoulder was numb and sore at the same time.  Mitch would throw clay pigeons until I couldn’t raise my arm, but with lots of practice, I could actually hit the targets.

We recently acquired a “hunting” dog and the two of us worked together in training Buddy.  I asked to go with him on his next trip.  Mitch raised one eyebrow and cocked his head at me, “Are you sure you want to tromp around in a field all day long with a bunch of men?  There might be bugs, you know.  It’s not the best time to scream and jump backwards when you run across a bug out in the field carrying a gun.  You might shoot someone at a most inopportune moment.”  He knows how much I hate bugs.

“Oh please, the bugs will be dead by November.  And how else will I know if I like it unless I go.  I’ll just go and walk the fields with you and watch and learn.  I won’t even carry a gun the first time.”

He shrugged his shoulders, “Sure if that’s what you want to do.”

That began my field-walking training.  Supposedly, it was to work with Buddy and get him trained, but I knew it was really to see if I could walk around in the field with ticks, mosquitoes, spider webs – with or without occupants – and a host of other critters without screaming every time I came face to face with one.  We found some wooded, hilly, conservation land that we could take Buddy and tromp around in without worrying about the dog getting too far ahead of us.

Come back for more of the story.

Recipe for smoking pheasant


1 Cups Sugar

2 Tbsp Chili Powder

2 Tsp Paprika

1 Tsp Cayenne (opt)

3 Tbsp Salt

2 Tbsp Garlic Powder

Mix together all ingredients in large bowl and coat pheasant breasts.  Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.  This becomes a syrup.  Smoke pheasant for about 2 to 2 ½ hours at about 175 to 200 degrees until done.  You can also bake in the oven at about 300 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

This rub also is great for chicken breasts and beef country ribs.

The “Goats” Are At It Again

Do you know how hard it is to get good insulated elk skin gloves at the end of winter?  You know one last cold snap and no one in town has anything.  It’s technically Spring for god’s sake.  Everywhere it’s spring clothing and swimsuits.  Winter is supposed to be a dim memory.  There was nothing wrong with my gloves, they were great.  They had that nice broken in softness, molded to my hands and kept my fingers warm on the chilly morning walks with the dogs.

It’s all my fault, but the dogs had been doing so good.  I let my guard down one day and just threw the gloves on the back of the dresser instead of putting them in the drawer.  We came home from work and there on the floor were the insulated insides of my gloves.  Only the insulated insides.  Must not have been very tasty.  No elk skin anywhere to be found.  Not even a scrap.  We looked on the bed, under the bed (even though our dogs have never seen the underside of the bed, they only sprawl all over the top), in the living room on their futon and under the futon.  No elk skin leather anywhere.  I couldn’t believe it.  We have no idea which dog or dogs enjoyed the morning brunch of soft tanned elk skin.  It must have been like chewing gum for dogs.

Now we have to closely inspect each dog on our daily walks to see if there is any evidence of my gloves.  Nothing like poop patrol.  The neighbors already think we’re nuts.

I came to hunting late

This is an excerpt of one of the stories from my book, “A Woman’s View of Hunting…With Men”. 

I came to hunting late.  My first husband owned rifles and shotguns.  He tried deer hunting a couple of times, he even tried bow hunting once or twice.  But I had no interest then to go with him and sit still in the cold and wait for a passing victim.  Me – the queen of fidget – no way.  Plus, you have to be quiet, well that’s like asking me not to breathe. 

After my divorce, I started seeing a man who owned many guns, from handguns to shotguns.  He loves hunting, not just any hunting, but upland game bird hunting, more specifically, pheasant hunting.  Once a year, for about a week every November he would go with his father and brother and another family to western Kansas to pheasant hunt.  For some reason I became slightly intrigued.  He would come back exhausted and cranky from spending so many days in close contact with his family, but he told so many stories about someone doing this or that.  I was a little jealous.

In the beginning showing an interest in hunting was my way to spend more time with him.  I asked Mitch to take me target shooting.  I thought I would ease into this slowly.  We started with handguns and discovered my first challenge.  I’m right eye dominant, but I’m left handed.  So I learned to shoot right handed.  At first I couldn’t hit the target and I was getting frustrated.  After many boxes of shells, I started actually hitting the target.  I didn’t hit bull’s eye every time, but I consistently stayed in the circles. 

More to come next week.