A few weeks before I found out I was pregnant, my dad asked if I wanted to be 'put-in' for the deer hunt. "Is the Pope Catholic?", I answered (for those that don't know, the answer is YES). So my dad put my name, along with every other member of my family, into the draw for the deer hunt. So life went on as normal, until those three pesky pregnancy tests all said "PREGO" and we realized that I was going to have a little "bambi-no" (pun will become clear soon enough) in November. When my brother realized this he said, "I really hope you draw out for the deer hunt". Well, if wishes were fishes he would eat for life...because I did draw out and the choice was made by me to go a huntin'.
For the months prior to the deer hunt, no one in my family (except for my brother) thought I should go hunting. My mom even went so far as to call the Wildlife Game Hunting people to ask if we could get our deposit back and let me go another year. I didn't know she called until I received a medical opt-out form in the mail. My mind was made up, I was going hunting.
As the weeks progressed and the hunt and baby were getting closer and closer I decided I should talk to my doctor about the possibility of me going on the hunt so close to my due date. I wanted to go (no matter what she said), but had made a deal with Phil, if the doctor said No, I wouldn't go. Two weeks prior to the hunt, I told my doctor I wanted to go on the hunt and why it would make sense for me to go - even though at the time of the hunt I would be 2 1/2 weeks away from my due date. She, of course, thought I was crazy to even want to go - but I plead my case and she (tentatively) agreed to let me go.
The hunt started on Saturday, which meant we would leave Friday. I scheduled my weekly visit to the doctor on the Thursday, hoping she would agree to let me go. Lucky for me she said YES, I was getting closer to delivery, but she didn't see a reason why I couldn't go. Keep in mind I forgot (failed) to tell her that the camp was a 4+ hour drive from Salt Lake, and one of those hours was spent on a dirt (bumpy) road. I called and told everyone the good news (my mom and Phil didn't believe the doctor said I could go).
We packed up the truck and drove out to the hunt Friday afternoon. Yea, I had made it this far without going into labor! Success...now I just had to make it through the night....
Saturday morning we woke up early (I didn't really sleep, I was so nervous about hunting and labor...) dressed in our orange gear and waited for daybreak, the Start of the HUNT!
I climbed into the truck with my loaded gun ready to find a deer, we drove about 2 minutes from camp and found two. I set up (every excited) and took aim at the deer. I took two shots - with no luck. I scared the deer into a bunch of trees, so we decided to chase after them.
I set off with my dad and kept taking deep breaths to calm my excited nerves. After a very long hike we came to a clearing and I spotted some deer. I had practiced shooting while sitting on the ground, which provided a lot of stability to the gun and helped my aim. So I lowered my very pregnant self to the ground propped the gun on my knee. I took aim and waited for the big buck I knew would walk in front of me. Just then, a big buck walked in front of me and I heard my brother say, "He has antlers, shoot!"...so I did. Success - but then he took off...
Adrenaline took over, I jumped up off the ground, reloaded my gun and took off chasing down a hill after a wounded deer. Not smart at 37+ weeks pregnant. I only realized what I was doing when I heard my dad say, "Joelle, you don't need to run". He was chasing after me at the time. I stopped running and my dad and I started to track the deer. I felt just like a pioneer woman.
We found my deer, I shot one more time and got him. I know, I know, how mean...killing a deer. But, here's the thing, we eat all the meat and the antlers are great to hang on the wall. Plus, as I pointed out to a girlfriend - it is the circle of life, I took the life of the deer, but just two weeks later, I gave birth to Natalie. It all works out in the end.
And here is the photo proof:
The deer hunt was one I will never forget. I grew up deer hunting, but never had as much fun on a hunt as I did on this one. I can't wait to take Natalie camping and deer hunting.