Hunting has been one of those staples in my life for as long as I can remember. My earliest recollection is when I was five or six-years-old, laying at the bottom of a box blind with my dad as he bow hunted. If it weren’t for that initial investment from my dad, it’s hard to say when I would have gone on my first hunt, but I’m sure I would have found a way. I remember I would bug him relentlessly to go to the woods. The first hunt I killed a deer was when I was 12-years-old, and I found myself sitting in a box blind during shotgun season in Minnesota. I will always remember that hunt as my dad watched over my shoulder and I dropped a doe in her tracks. Another early hunting experience that will never escape my mind is the time I killed my first buck, here’s a dive into that story.
At the time, my family hunted on my uncle’s property since we hadn’t purchased our own hunting land yet. It was the second weekend of slug season in 2006 and I was set-up along a slough edge, overlooking a large CRP field. At that time, I was fourteen-years-old, and this was my first season sitting alone in the deer stand. I was so stoked for that opportunity, but I remember feeling overwhelmed with sitting dark-to-dark. My dad and uncle were adamant about packing meals and staying in the deer stand all day because you never know when that buck is going to cruise by during the rut. The three of us spread out across the farm, and settled into our box stands with shotguns in hand. After sitting all day, running out of food, getting pelted by 30 mph winds, and blustery temperatures, I was ready to get back to the house, as the sun set on that Saturday. With five minutes left of shooting light, out steps a GIANT buck that we had gotten a handful of trail camera pictures of! He was working his way out of the slough and into the CRP grass about 75 yards from me. I pulled the gun up and settled the crosshairs on him, once ready I made a subtle “bleet” noise, but it was to no avail. I tried making the noise louder to get the deer to stop but it was so windy that he couldn’t hear me. I finally pulled my head out of the scope and yelled at him, hoping he’d stop long enough for me to settle back on his shoulder. That didn’t work either, so I got my head back in the scope as he continued to walk at 70-yards and decided to track him while pulling the trigger. BOOM! All chaos ensued after the shot as my shoulder jarred and my eye got tossed out of the scope. Once the smoke cleared, I watched the deer disappear. I was frustrated that I couldn’t see super well from the box stand. It was time to share the news with the two guys who had gotten me to where I was that day– from a little boy shooting his first bow, practicing with a gun, making time to take me to the woods, and now, putting me in spots to find success on my own.
A celebration ensued back at the yard, but my dad and uncle have learned from years of hunting that if you are unsure where the shot went, and you don’t see the deer fall down, it’s best to give it a night. The temperatures were very cold that night, so it would work out great, but my mind raced and the scene played in my head 1,000 times. The next day we went back out so they could hunt the morning movement, and around 9:30 in the morning they came over to my box stand to look for the deer. We ended up finding the buck right where I lost sight of him the night before. There were major hugs and full-on linebacker tackles going on by the three of us as we celebrated this massive buck!
What a memory that was for my first buck ever. I will never forget the excitement that buzzed around the shed that night as family, friends, and neighbors surrounded to congratulate me, and to admire the deer.
- Taylor Kollman, Brand & Marketing Director of Dialed Archery