Mackenzie Walters – Journey of Life

From my first air flight ever, to being rained out, to my view over the soybeans, to the harvest of my doe with the crossbow! Life is a Journey, enjoy! Photo: Mackenzie Walters

From my first air flight ever, to being rained out, to my view over the soybeans, to the harvest of my doe with the crossbow! Life is a Journey, enjoy!
Photo: Mackenzie Walters

They say life is a journey, not a destination. On this particular day, it was both. I sat there in an airplane for the first time. My destination; Powersville, MO, in attempts to fulfill a dream ten years in the making. A goal that has been within my grasp several times yet slightly out of reach. So I embarked to a place I could only image was full of not only opportunity but success. If so fortunate, my wildest dream would come true. My pulse was racing as the plane increased speed.  As my hopes took flight so did the airplane!

Our first hunt was immediately cut short as a strong storm made it’s way through most of the morning. All of us in camp were in tree stands when rain and lightning sent us to the lodge. The afternoon looked very promising, however, the rain was replaced by gusts of winds. This is one of the only times I have ever elected to sit in a stand with strong winds. I was very glad the outfitter had picked a large cottonwood tree to place the double stand against or I would have been blowing back and forth along with the breeze.

I saw movement around 6:00. A single doe entered the field of soybeans. I watched her as she ate and was able to range her at 85 yards. Around 6:25, I began to see more movement. Several nice does and yearlings made their way through the beans. Four does stood ten yards directly in front of me. I decided to be patient to see what else would appear. I watched these deer and several others until it became later in the evening.

I decided I would take one of the mature does as darkness began to fall. As I attempted to bring the crossbow up, I was busted by two yearlings who were directly below my stand. All the deer in the field scattered. An opportunity wasted I was sure until a 2.5 year old eight point buck came cruising through. I was in Missouri for a buck hunt but passed on this buck as he just wasn’t what I traveled 600 miles for.

I thought the hunt was over yet again until a mature doe began walking the edge of the field. She walked right into my set up standing facing me at ten yards. I was surprised the doe had hung around when a coyote walked on the far side of the field. When the doe presented a broadside shot, I took the doe. She kicked as high as I have ever seen and ran off. I watched her as much as I could but my view was block by a large limb. I heard no further movements.

As darkness fell, I exited the tree stand to recover the bolt. I found it immediately, a complete pass through only it smelled of urine instead of blood. I had hit the deer low but still had an effective shot. The broadhead had done its job allowing for quick, clean harvest, and easy tracking. I was quite pleased with the evening hunt as I brought meat back to the lodge and offered to share with the other ladies.

The second morning of the hunt brought promise as two shooter bucks were visible at 150 yards. They walked along the outside of the bean field and entered a cut where they appeared to vanish. I saw other movement as a mother and two fawns appeared to swim through the soybeans. The second evening was more antlerless deer most within shooting range.

The third morning sit started off with rain. I decided to sit it out as others had called it an early morning. The rain eliminated all deer movement for the morning. I began to gather my things as the outfitter would soon be picking me up. I stood up to stretch my arms. The next thing I heard was an alert putt from a hen turkey. She had snuck in to twenty yards without drawing attention to herself. She quickly ducked back into the woods as I made every effort to put a shot on her as I had two turkey tags in my pocket.

The third afternoon brought promise and excitement. I sat overlooking a turnip patch. Deer began moving very early and frequently came to the patch to eat some of the turnip tops. No shooters made their way into the patch that evening but my new friend harvested a monster doe from the same stand the next evening.

The last morning sit was a familiar one, rain. I decided to stick it out once again until the rain and the fog lifted. I heard a deer wheeze and knew there was no way it could have busted me due to the wind and cover. As I watched a big body deer bolt through the woods, I caught movement of a coyote who strolled right along the mowed path. Had I been equipped with a shotgun and some buckshot, I would have plastered him at 25 yards. I did not care to take a shot with the crossbow as I did not want to waste the bolt. I headed back to the lodge after watching a four point buck for a while.

This was it, the final sit. Back in the cottonwood tree where I harvested my doe. Coyotes were very active, the deer were not. I did not see a deer until a few minutes before sunset. Much to my dismay, no bucks appeared. I gathered my things to depart one last time. As I walked back to the pick up site, I turned back looking at that cottonwood tree. Tears filled my eyes not because I was upset I didn’t fulfill my dream but happiness as my heart felt content and satisfied.

We who shared the camp sat up until the wee hours of the morning laughing, sharing stories, recalling events that happened, inside jokes, and regretting leaving in the morning. None of us wanted the night to end. We had all bonded in those few short days and agreed to return the next year to do it all again.

The next day we each left one by one. I was the last to leave, delaying leaving as long as I could. The two hour drive back to the airport was filled with tears as I had missed my new friends and the hospitality of the outfitter. The entire experience is one I will not forget. Even though I came home with unfilled tags, I would not have traded the last five days for anything.

The flights home were easy. I had become a seasoned traveler in my flights to Missouri and my flights home. A quick stop to fill up on gas and coffee and I would be home within an hour. It was hard for some people to understand why I wanted to spend my hard earned money with no guarantees I would even see a deer let alone bring a deer home. To me, it was well worth it and I came home with no regrets. I had found other ladies who shared the same passion for hunting I did and formed life-long friendships. Although deer season is just underway in Ohio, I am already counting down the days until we all return to Missouri.

Leave a Reply