"On My Own" by Alyssa Bichler

Our friend Tony Bichler sent this story over to us to post on our blog. It was written by his daughter Alyssa who hunted for Coues deer in 2007. As you can see in the pictures below, Alyssa was very successful on her hunt in Arizona. The most impressive thing about the story is that she had never hunted big game before. Not only that, she also did it on her own. Read Alyssa's story and marvel through the eyes of a first-time deer hunter. Whenever we chat with Tony, he always brings up his kids and going hunting with them. Those are the kinds of stories we like to hear about. In hunting, the bonds created between parents and their children are relationships like no other.

Alyssa's Coues Taken on October 12, 2007 Unit 27
Elevation 8000
Marlin 44 Mag 240 Gr. PSP

My father called me one night with a big surprise. He wanted to congratulate me for my winning lottery youth deer tag.  It was such good news for me, but I was uneasy knowing that I have never hunted big game before.

My father woke me up early in the morning, by the time I got up the sun was already up and over our camp.  My Dad told me to go hunt up this trail.  I had my hunting pack which contained my knife, a 2-way radio, small lunch and some of my other girly things such as such as sunscreen a mirror, and hair clips & ties. Oh, and my 44 Mag Marlin. I walked off the trail about a couple hundred yards and I sat down on a rock by a giant dead tree that had fell over.   I sat there for maybe 15 minutes until I heard leaves ruffle behind me.  I quickly turned and saw a coyote running towards me. I was startled; he stopped right in front of me just to my right.  I saw him sniff the air and then he ran to his right and left zigzagging away from me.  I was surprised that he didn’t see me, my heart was pounding.  I quickly called my Dad on the radio. “Dad, Dad, guess what, I just saw a coyote run by".  My Dad replied " you should have shot him", since they kill baby everything. I then walked towards the way the coyote ran. As I was walking down a dried up creek, I saw a Coues deer.  It spooked me, I wasn’t sure if it had antlers or not, but I saw its white tail. It looked like a bunny as it trotted away.  I don’t think it saw me. 

A few minutes later along came two bear hunters. I saw them first and radioed my Dad, and then they saw me and whistled.  They asked me if I was hunting for squirrel. They were nice, and I told them that I was hunting deer. My father then told me on the radio that he talked to the hunters. He told me that they were hunting bears and turkey. I felt a little nervous when I knew that there were bears around. 

I finally came to a closed in spot. I remember seeing a small cute little chipmunk on a stump. I watched it for a moment. I started to lose my focuse on hunting. I decided to sit on a comfortable rock, there I sat for what seemed like twenty minutes. I started to get hungry and I ate my bologna and cheese crackers that I had in my bag. Yummy! I could smell the sent from the bologna, I then thought that same coyote or bears would come by. So I then readied my rifle to shoot, and finished eating. My dad then called me again and told me that there were wolves out there and they were protected and illegal to shoot. "They are not afraid of humans" he said. That got me a little more worried and so I ate quickly and hiked back to camp.
I called my dad on the radio and said I can’t find my way back to camp. He then told me to shoot so that he can help me find my way to camp. After I shot he said I was west from camp, I was walking north when I saw the deer and the two hunters. I walked too far. 

I finally found my way back. We all sat down for drinks and eat pistachios and more goodies. Everyone then wanted to sleep and it was just me and my brother. I helped him with his homework with reading three books and his math. I also finished my math homework. About two hours later my dad and everyone got back up and went hunting. My dad went his own way and my Chinese step mom and my brother Tony went there own way. I wanted to go with my dad but my dad gave me his GPS and told me to go sit on a stand near where I was before. I wanted to go to the place were I saw the coyote. I choose to start walking south-west. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t loose track of where my camp. 

I walked about a mile from camp. I made sure not to loose my trail so I tried to remember were I was waking. I wanted to make things fun so I walked down on a log that led to the creek. I started to sing a song from the movie Pocahontas.  I remember looking up and I saw trees that look like monsters from a far distance, but I kept walking. I walked up hill from my camp and the creek. I found myself walking in an open spot that I could see far off. I found a nice spot to sit under a tall tree for an hour. I pulled the hammer down on my 44 Mag and set it off safe, I wanted to be ready for anything that would come my way. I could almost see everything surrounding me. I then found my radio was really low on its batteries so I turned it off so I would have enough for emergencies. I daydreamed; I broke off pieces of a pinecone, twisting thin pin leaves and tied them around twigs. And I amused myself by stabbing dried up leaves with my wrapped up twigs. While I was playing, I remember thinking about my day at school the day before. How it was so embarrassing for me when I couldn’t remember my lines in our play. I would think about how my 15th birthday was coming soon. I remember watching the sun light on the trees fad away. I thought to wait until it got dark enough to see, but there was still light. Just for my one last time, I looked around for anything.

Behind me, to my right, I saw a deer walking towards me. He was eating grass and walking slowly. I was excited; so many thoughts went through my head at once. At first I made sure it had antlers. It sure did, big ones for its size! I was so afraid that it would see me and run away in a blink of an eye. My heat was pounding like a big drum I could feel my veins in my head pounding, my ears were getting hot. I tried to ignore my symptoms and tried to focus. I waited for it to walk in front of me. I knew I couldn’t just move right then in the open, so I waited for him to walk behind the tree. I didn’t want him to see me raise my rifle, he was so close maybe only 10 yards. I waited for when his head was hidden by the tree and then I raised my rifle, I didn't make a sound.  He walked further past me/in front of me, I was thinking things like what if I hit him in the wrong spot, what if I miss and he runs, then what? I kept looking through my scope, I was surprised that I wasn’t all shaky while I was aiming and shot right when I was on target I squeezed the trigger. He then jumped about two feet. I saw fur fall fly off of him and he fell down, he tried to get back on his feet, then he fell again on his tummy. I remember him kicking and trying to get back up. He finally stopped and was breathing deeply. His tummy was moving up and down deeply in and far out like it was pregnant. I was still sitting in my spot until it stopped. I was shocked that it was just laying there. I walked up to him and poked him with the barrel of my gun. I was afraid that it was get back up and start kicking. I herd stories that deer would move again, he didn’t move. I then walked up further and looked at his eyes and ears and his antlers. I didn’t count his antlers points because I was so excited and in shock.

It was just me and my deer lying next to my feet. I then tagged him and grabbed my radio and called for my dad. But right then my radio would fade and then died. It was getting dark so I had to act quickly. I started thinking that the wolves would come. I started shooting in the air about ten time’s, thinking my dad would know that something was up. I then realized that that wasn’t going to work. So then I looked at my deer and took out my dad’s gps and marked it as "deern". I was so shook up that I just starting to hit random letters and trying it hit "mark." it was hard for me to think clearly since I was so full of adrenaline. I then looked for camp on the gps. Right then I looked at my deer and the direction to camp and ran back to camp. I followed my trail which helped; I walked up the log perhaps a mile back to camp. I didn’t stop running.  When I arrived back at camp I could hardly talk. I shouted out "HELP!" they all were calm and asked what was wrong. The next thing I said was "I got a deer!" my dad freaked!  He was so proud of me. 

If you've got a story that you'd like to share, send us an email at foodforhunters@gmail.com. Please send us a brief bio about yourself and pictures also, so we can all see your smiling faces!

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