About The Author

Kim Hiss, an associate editor at Field & Stream, has hunted ducks, antelope, turkeys, and deer throughout the country, enjoying a number of women's hunts along the way. She lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Click here to email Kim.

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November 27, 2007

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Hard Work Pays Off

Speaking of season firsts, our own Tracy just sent me this pic and story about her first bow buck! She seemed a little reluctant to show off her success, but I'm perfectly happy to do the bragging for her. She makes some interesting points in her story on her feelings about walking up to a dead animal - and I couldn´t agree more with what she says below on the subject. It can be a hard feeling to experience - but hard for the right reasons. Anyway, here's the tale of triumph Tracy shared in her email. -K.H.

Finally! After roughly 60 hours in a treestand over three weeks, I got my first bow deer. I had seen thisBuck  guy several times over the three weeks, and earlier during the day that I harvested him he outsmarted me when I tried to anticipate his next move. I was completely dumbfounded when he casually walked out of the treeline, alone, about half an hour before legal end time for the evening. He started to walk in the other direction so I pretty desperately used a bleat can and a voice grunt. He turned and walked straight to me and presented a shot. His casual attitude was so uncharacteristic of the deer that I had been seeing that it still seems a little surreal.

I did discover something interesting - I don´t like walking up to the animal. It makes me feel sad in a way. Last year I got my first deer during my first deer season and had the same ambivalence about actually finding the guy, and I figured it was inexperience. This time, however, was the same. I love everything else - the preparation, the anticipation, making the shot, tracking, and I don´t even mind field dressing and processing the meat. But that first glimpse of the downed deer is just really tough. After some reflection, I kind of hope I never get over that feeling because it stirs in me a great respect for the animal - something I don´t EVER want to become blase about.


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OMG, how could you do such a thing? That's so horrible of you!! Bahahah, just kidding, excellent job!! Beautiful buck, congrats to you! And damn, you are pretty cute, too!


First...nice deer! And I completely understand how you feel. I was on my first turkey hunt and experienced that same sense as I approached my downed bird. After the initial rush was over and I was standing over this beautiful animal all I could think to do was to get down on my knees and whisper to him "Thank you for letting me take you". Now I do it everytime no matter the animal...its kind of tradition. I'm sure it doesnt do anything for the animal but it gives me the satisfaction that what I had done was not wrong in any way and that I appreciated, respected and was thankful for what Mother Nature has provided for us. Nice to know another hunter with a heart!

NorCal Cazadora

I know exactly what you mean, and I agree that it's a feeling you shouldn't fight. Unlike most of America, you respect where meat comes from - you don't take it for granted. Bravo to you!

And congratulations on that deer!


Congrats Tracy on your first bow deer...a very nice buck! I'm so proud of you! :)


Thanks for all the thoughts. As usual, it's nice to find out that I'm not the only one that gets hit with negative feelings after a harvest. I really like the idea of sharing a prayer and/or couple of words over the animal after a harvest. Absolutely NO OFFENSE Tanya, but I probably would have thought that was a little "out there" in the days before I put myself in the position of taking an animal's life. Now, however, it sounds like a (almost required) positive step in reconciling my rational knowledge that taking the animal is NOT bad (or amoral or destructive), with my emotional side that says "crap, poor guy."

Thanks, this one was a toughie for me.


Tracy, congrats on your harvest. I felt the same way on my first deer as I did last week when I downed my latest deer. Like many other comments I have read, I kneel and give thanks for the deers sacrfice. It is an inate feeling of compassion we have over anything being expired. It's not everyday that we go out and "kill" something. It's a priveledge knowing that we can harvest food for the table. In early years of trapper/harvesters it was a given....now we struggle with store bought or "harvested" Do you think when anyone bites into that juicy hamburger they think about the cow being slaughtered for their consumption?Same difference differnet animal. and you know...once you have killed with a bow...it makes guns feel like cheating.

Lou Alexander

Great deer Tracy,

I've hunted for 15 years and I think that feeling gets stronger every time I take an animal. I'm glad I'm in good company.