The following is the actual text conversation from the morning of November 19th, 2016 between myself and my wife:
Me 6:14 a.m: You in the tree yet?!
Deidre 6:15 a.m: Nope
Deidre 6:21 a.m: I don't think I have a stocking cap :/ my heads gonna freeze!
Me 6:21 a.m: You can't find one anywhere?
Deidre 6:22 a.m: Idk... maybe not in my tub and no idea where the rest of the crap is
Me 6:24 a.m: I'd just grab one from the closet and go
Deidre 6:45 a.m: It also really annoys me that I can't grunt I need you!
Deidre 8:05 a.m: I just drilled one!!!!!!!
Me 8:06 a.m: What !!!!
Deidre 8:06 a.m: He's down 52 yards in front of me
Me 8:06 a.m: Awesome!!!
Deidre 8:07 a.m: And I am shakin so bad I can't text and I don't know what to do now
Me 8:07 a.m: Go look at him if he's dead!!
Deidre 8:08 a.m: Well I am guessing he's dead hasn't moved and he did the rear back death crash!
I have yet to delete this conversation from my phone. I still look back at it and it puts a giant smile on my face every time I read it. My wife is relatively new to bowhunting. She grew up in the outdoors hunting turkeys and waterfowl with her dad, but decided to take on the challenge of bowhunting whitetails after we had dated several months. From the moment I bought her first bow until she had harvested her first buck two years later I have cherished every moment sitting in the stand with her.
In January of 2016 I accepted the position as the Deer and Turkey Program Director for Lil' Toledo Lodge. It was a milestone in my life as I had worked and studied hard for several years to be in a position such as this.
But everything isn't rainbows and butterflies. Like with most decisions there were some downfalls that came with accepting the position. Although I would get to spend more time in the outdoors facing off with whitetail ghosts that I loved, I wouldn't get to spend as much of that time sitting in the tree stand with my wife. Up until November 19th, 2016 I had sat every tree stand with her, experiencing the first time bowhunting jitters, watching her shoot over a great buck at 19 yards because she panicked and used her second pin instead of her top pin, watching her barely miss a buck only a few days later and her saying "I'm done!" only to have the same buck return an hour later and a well placed arrow changed the bowhunter blues to the "best feeling ever!"
So it was mixed emotions when I told my five month pregnant and sleepy wife that she should really try to be in the stand that morning as I got dressed and headed out to meet my client at the lodge. We had just come off of two days of warm temperatures and super windy conditions. The hunters in camp sat the miserable conditions with little to no movement. The weather for November 19th called for a 5 - 8 mph winds with a high of 43 degrees. A cold front was moving in and the wind wasn't going to be blowing a hundred miles per hour and the rut was picking back up! It felt like the perfect storm of seeing deer on their feet!
As you can tell from the text conversation that we had. My wife wasn't overly enthused about going out that morning. It was freezing cold, she likes her sleep, I wouldn't be there with her, and she also doesn't like walking alone into the tree stand when its dark. Therefore when I texted my wife at 6:14a.m. to see if she was in the stand as shooting light was approaching at 6:35a.m., I wasn't surprised that she hadn't made it there yet. She waited until daylight before tracking across the open field to the creek bottom and climbing up into her ladder stand.
When I think about that day, the song sang by country music singer John Anderson "I wish I could have been there" comes to mind. There's a part of the chorus that says "It was a happy day, but kinda sad, I wish I could have been there for that." Although it is a little sad I wasn't sitting there with my wife, I have to say that it was probably the happiest day I've ever had in regards to the whitetail world. Receiving that text saying "I just drilled one" with seven exclamation points to follow made my heart overflow! The woman I love, carrying my baby girl, who I had watched grow in the tradition of bowhunting had done it all on her own! I'm also excited that one day I will get to tell my daughter about her very first hunt with her mom!
For all you guys wondering! The deer she shot was a beautiful clean ten that scored 160 3/8". Not bad, huh!
Trace think you for the look into your thoughts of that day. And I hope the memories keep coming for you and your wife. What a wonderful story to have for years to come buddy. Being a guide around those seasons is tough and I can relate being a guide myself. But your dedication to what you believe in is honorable and pays off in the end brother. Right on! Keep doing what your doing because living the outdoor life style is where it's at. Awesome picks!