My First Hunt
by Stacey Stewart

The day started out crisp and cool as we all loaded up in the trucks to caravan to Sunrize acres. The ride over was pretty much a blur as I began to think about what was going to happen this beautiful day in the woods. This was my very first hunt ever, and I was giddy with anticipation. As the Sunrize Acres sign came into view, and we made the turn onto the driveway to the gate, my heart was a lump in my throat. There was such a massive flow of adrenalin pumping through my viens, I wasn’t sure I would be able to stand up once we got through the gate!!!!

We pulled up and parked among the rest of the hunters who I was blessed to have with me, to share this momentous experience, and we greeted each other with a sparkle and brother/sisterhood you only get when you know you are about to become one with nature.

We all unloaded, doned our camos, and it was at this point Big Jim came over to greet me like we had known each other all our lives. He introduced me to the camera man that was going to tape my entire hunt for SOTW. I had only found out about this the night before, and I was a little nervous about it, but did the only thing I knew I could do. I put it out of my head and focused on the task at hand.

After our safety meeting with Jim and Paul, it was time to head out to my blind. We loaded up in the truck, and we were off!!! It was so awesome to smell and feel the woods. Mother Nature was on my side that day as the weather was crisp and clear. It had rained during the night, but the sun was going to be bright and beautiful in a very short time.

We got to the blind and set up. With one last safety briefing, we were all alone in the wilderness. Me, my husband Ken, and our camera man, Jason.

As we settled in, you could cut the excitement with a knife! Each one of us beaming with the thrill of realizing what we each were taking part in!! We nervously chatted very quietly together for a while, and as the sun came gleaming through the morning haze….it began. The Thrill Of The Hunt!!!!

It was misty and hazy, but about 45 minutes into it, we started to spot some movement just to the left of the blind about 30 yards out. It was the most incredible herd of deer I ever saw, and as we sat there holding our breath, they came in through the trees right in front of the blind!!! The biggest, most majestic buck stood there for what seemed like an hour, looking right in the blind as us, snorting and stomping his front feet. I have never been that close to a deer like that in my life, and I was in awe!!!! It was almost as if it had been choreographed by Fred Bear himself! And at this point, I felt his love of this great land! I thought about Ted, and everything I have learned from him through his words, and it all became very clear to me, the words this great man speaks of.

We began to hear gunfire in the distance, and the excitement level tripled 100 times. I didn’t think it was possible, but it did! Our deer had begun to wander off, but they never seemed far away. We watched them patrol back and forth within the safety of the trees the whole time we were there. We saw birds and listened to the quiet stillness for what seemed an eternity, when it dawned on me just how much sound nature makes. It was a truly moving experience, and I felt myself almost on the verge of tears, with the emotion it stirred in me.

A very short time later, we started hearing movement to the right of the blind, and we peered through the trees at the biggest herd of wild boar I ever saw!!! They were rooting and scratching among the trees about 40 yards out. I knew there wasn’t going to be a shot at one then, so we just watched and listened to them. My heart sank when they wandered back deeper into the woods and disappeared.

The rest of our group of hunters must have been seeing lots of game, as the woods again came alive with the sounds of gunfire. We said a little prayer for them that their shots aimed true, and hit their kill zones just the way it was meant to be. As the shots became less frequent, out of the blue, the herd of boar came thundering back though the trees!!!

There were boar of every size in the herd of about 20 hogs. They came strolling up from the right, and stopped just to the right of the blind. You could tell they were very nervous and it seemed like they had been running for a while. Every noise made then jerk and group up and I wondered if one would separate enough for me to get a clean shot. Toward the back of the pack were two of the biggest bull hogs I’ve ever seen. They were black, and one had the coolest red mane and beard!!!! The other one was just as big, but they kept darting and rooting, sticking very close together, and never did just stand still. Then, I saw him!!!!!!

The pack of boar were right in front of the blind, and they were staying pretty tightly grouped, but there was one that hung back a little as they began to move back to the trees. I knew I had a shot!!! He just stood there exposing his left side to me. The two black boar were just behind him, and the group had moved just to the left enough for me to sqweeze off a shot. I tried to remember everything everybody had told me, but my mind was in a fog of what was fixing to happen. All I could do was sight him in, get my breath, and pull the trigger…

Just as I pulled the trigger, and my crossbow made that unmistakable crack, my boar tuned to his right, and my arrow blasted right into the group!!!! They turned and thundered into the woods, and I saw my bolt flip cartwheels in the air as they ran off. My heart stopped!!!!!!! I had no idea if my arrow had hit home or not!!!! As the herd grew quieter in the distance, we heard what seemed like a death cry of a hog! It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up!!! But at this point, Ken and Jason calmed me down explaining that it was the sound of a good kill!!!!

It seemed like an eternity, but Jim and Paul finally came through with some of the other hunters, and we set out to see if we could find my kill. We walked out to where the boar had been standing and I was very pleased to see blood….and there was a lot of it!!!! My bolt was laying on the ground, blood from one end to the other. The bolt had gone all the way through!!!!! We followed the blood trail through the first cluster of trees they stampeded into, and found more blood just beyond there. As we followed the trail, I looked into the next cluster of trees, and there he was!!!!! I DID IT!!!!!! My boar was laying on his side. We looked him over and saw where my shot had went. It entered just behind his ribs, a little farther back from the kill zone I was aiming at, but it turns out that when he first made that tiny turn to his right, my bolt slammed through him and exited right at his chest, next to his right front leg!!!! It was a good, clean kill!!!!! We all cheered and everybody was just as happy and excited as I was. It was truly the most moving experience I have ever felt in my life! I felt so close to the guys, and I knew I was one of them!!!

We took a group picture of all of us with my boar, and let out a cheer the other hunters heard in their own hunting blinds!!! We loaded up and headed back to camp. There is just no way to put into words how special everybody made me feel that day. As I write this, I know this is something I’ll never forget for the rest of my life!!! I didn’t get the biggest boar, but that just doesn’t matter at all!!! I shared a very special day with a very special group of hunters. I can now truly call myself a blood sister!!!! I am hooked on hunting, and I hope to do it again soon, but it will never compare to this, my very first hunt.

I want to thank each and every one of you who supported and encouraged me along the way. There are just to many of you to name. There are a handful of you that I want to give very special kudos too, but again, I won’t name names, you all know who you are. J

Most of all, I want to thank Ted Nugent, who through his words and heart and soul gave me the courage and the desire to find myself! Not just going on a hunt, there’s way more to it than that! Because of Ted, I found in myself the confidence to know I can do anything I set my mind to, and not to worry about what anybody else thinks about it!!!! God Bless Ted, and every one else who made this possible!!!! I Love You All!!!!!!