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My Seven Hunts

January 20, 2010
By Jessica Klepinger
I grew up outside the small town of Lewisburg, in rural Preble County, OH. I was taught the love of the outdoors and the responsibility of ethical hunting at the end of the dead end road, down a half mile driveway where I was raised. Year after year I watched as my father and brother brought deer home from various adventures. I would listen intently as they shared stories of big deer and good friends. Before the 2001 gun season, my father passed down my grandfather’s 12 gauge shotgun. With the help of my father I harvested a small buck on my first hunt. My brother returned home that morning from hunting, in his empty truck, to find me glowing over my first deer.

Not long after that hunt I met my husband, Josh, when we were high school students. We share a passion for hunting and have become each other’s favorite hunting partner. After that first deer my brother and Josh challenged me to “graduate” to a crossbow. The second year I hunted frequently from the “Bear” stand on our farm, named for an old family dog who was buried nearby. On a cold morning in late November I took what I thought was a doe, only to find out that I had harvested a small button buck. After this second deer I began to feel like a “real” hunter, not a little girl that tags along.

By my third year of hunting I was beginning to see that there was much more to chasing whitetails than the kill itself. I started to enjoy the time we spent together as a group. Our hunting party had grown and we always had a good time together. On an evening in late October I decided I wanted to be in the treestand. Josh had fallen asleep on our couch after a morning of duck hunting, and refused to wake up. Defiantly I walked to the treestand alone. After sitting an hour I harvested a small buck.

My fourth season rolled around to find one excited girl ready for the hunt, and several guys who were starting to worry about the monster that they had created, the girl who gets the buck every year! We decided to hang double stands to allow us to video tape hunts over a food plot that my brother planted. Josh hung a stand on the opposite side of the food plot as well, so we had a very clear view of each other when we went out. One frosty morning Josh was across from me in his stand, my brother’s friend Dallas was above me in the double stand with a video camera, and a nice six point buck decided to give me a broad side shot. The hunt was all on tape, from the shot, to tracking, to me finding the deer, and possibly doing a little bragging! This deer turned out to be my biggest buck yet, and I decided to have him mounted. Josh went to pick up the mount when it was finished, but did not tell me about it. He hung it on my wall and placed my engagement ring on a brow tine. After seeing the deer on the wall and examining it I found a diamond ring where only antler should have been, he took it off and proposed, of course I said yes!

The fifth buck I harvested turned out to be a bit challenging. I made a nice shot, but the deer ran quite a ways. After losing the trail, and almost giving up, we decided to make circles around the area where we last saw his trail. Fortunately we found him; I was excited and relieved, having learned a lesson in perseverance.

Everyone was starting to wonder when this streak of bucks would end. Josh and I entered into a lottery for a controlled hunt at Lake Katherine, and were drawn. Since this was a controlled hunt there were some restrictions, we had to take a doe first. Josh and I sat on either side of a tree that day, late in the afternoon a doe came running right toward us. I wanted to make sure it was a doe; I turned to Josh and asked, “Can I take her?” He never heard me. I repeated myself but she was still running at us. My grandfather’s shotgun was true and she went down as soon as I pulled the trigger.

The following year Josh and I began looking for a new adventure. We decided on an Antelope hunt in Wyoming. We took our Jeep and tent camped out and back. Josh took a nice buck at 400 yards, (after missing several from much closer!) While celebrating his success a bigger buck jumped up right in front of me and paused for a shot. When we took them both to the taxidermist the owner said that mine was the biggest one he had seen so far that year! We were very thankful for the experience. While I did not harvest a whitetail that year, I made sure everyone knew that my antelope was bigger than Josh’s.

That brings the story to this year, my seventh year of hunting. I had put lots of hours in but was not seeing much. I passed on a small buck, and after several more hunts of not seeing anything was wondering if maybe that wasn’t such a great idea, when my patience paid off. On the morning of November 14 a beautiful eight point presented me with a very close quartering towards me shot. I placed the bolt just behind his shoulder blade. The buck took two large jumps, put his head down, and slowly walked away. I wasn’t sure what to make of his actions after the shot, but felt confident in my placement. Josh and I tracked only 50 yards to find my largest deer yet. He turned out to be a two and a half year old buck, with a unique palmation on his left rack.

Each deer has been a unique experience, special unto itself. Some mornings I don’t have the drive to get up and head out into the dark, cold woods, but with the encouragement of our hunting party I trek on. My brother always told me that I have beginners luck, but each year I am proving that I am a dedicated woman hunter who is in the right place at the right time.

Article Photos

The author and her husband are shown with a nice eight-pointer, taken on Klepinger’s seventh hunt. Submitted photo

Fact Box

My brother always told me that I have beginners luck, but each year I am proving that I am a dedicated woman hunter who is in the right place at the right time.

 
 

 

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