A Huntress Is Born

Pam Holland's first day in a Candler County deer stand was a revelation about the peace, the solitude, and the excitement of hunting.

Reader Contributed | September 9, 1995

Brand new huntress Pam Holland, of Metter, with her first deer, a 1994 Thanksgiving Day 6-point buck from Candler County.

By Pam Holland

In late October 1994, my husband Charles called me on my car phone while I was on my way home from work as clerk of the court in Candler County and asked if I wanted to go with him to his deer stand while he hunted. After the way my day had gone, the idea of going to the woods sounded much better than going home and facing the kitchen.

Well, believe it our not, that afternoon proved to be the most relaxing time I had experienced in awhile. As we sat in a tower stand everything was so peaceful. It wasn’t long before Charles motioned for me to look to my left. A 4-point buck had walked out from under the pines. The deer just stood there feeding for the longest time. Charles did not shoot because he was waiting for a larger buck.

As we left the woods that evening I thought about how relaxing it had been to spend that short time in the woods and mentioned to Charles that I would like to come along again soon. The next morning, Charles came by my office to inform me that he had purchased a hunting license for me, just in case I wanted to hunt. Well, I was not sure about the hunting part, but the idea of a couple of quiet, peaceful hours in the woods did not sound so bad.

That afternoon, we made our back to the same spot we had been the day before. This time, I was not only left by myself in the stand, but I carried a rifle. Charles, who is a hunter safety instructor, was sure to give me all the pointers on gun safety. Believe it or not, I had never shot a rifle in my life (except for a .22), and to tell the truth, I had always been afraid of the loud noise and the kick of the gun. But I was really not planning on shooting anything. I was just there to enjoy the solitude and the chance to see another deer.

I did not see anything that afternoon, but something made me anxious to return.

Well, I went back the next day. I had not been in my stand for very long when I heard a noise just below my stand. I looked down and there was a doe right under my stand. She saw me at the same time and took off. I can’t explain it and l know it sounds silly, but it was so neat!

A bit later, I looked up and saw something coming out of the pines. It was another deer! I was so excited and afraid that the deer would run before I had a chance to shoot. At that point there was no question as to what I wanted to do. I was very quiet as I raised my rifle, trying to remember everything Charles had told me; take my gun off safety, aim carefully behind the shoulder, and gently squeeze the trigger.

At this point, being afraid to shoot the gun was not a concern. I cannot describe the feeling that I had after shot at the deer. It was great! All I could think of was the deer. To my amazement, the gun did not kick and the noise was not bad at all. After I sho, I was so nervous and excited, because it was the first time I had shot at a deer, and I just wanted to find it.

As I waited for Charles to come to my stand, I heard him shoot. Then I looked to my right and saw another deer coming out of the pines. This was a very large buck, but he was out of shooting range.

To make a long story short, Charles had shot a doe. We looked for a very long time but could not find any trace of my deer.

This did not discourage me at all. It only made me want to return to the woods. The next afternoon was even better. As I sat in my stand, I could hear dogs barking in front of me. I could tell that they were running something and that they were getting very close. It was not long before I saw something coming out of the woods. At first I could not tell what it was, but as it came closer I realized that it was a coyote. He came straight down the road in front of me. When he got to my stand, he circled behind me and came back out to the road and then went back into the woods. After a minute or so, I saw the two dogs that been trailing him. I was amazed as I watched the dogs follow every step that the coyote had taken.

This is just another reason why I have enjoyed hunting so much. You never know when you go into the woods what you are going to see. I have seen wild turkeys from my stand as well as fox squirrels and all kinds of birds. Several times I have had squirrels almost crawl in the stand with me.

Well, it finally happened! Thanksgiving morning I put my turkey in the oven and went with Charles to a new stand and place that we had been talking about. He then left to go to a dove shoot.

I have often heard Charles talk about the woods “waking up” in the mornings. I finally understand what he was talking about. As I sat in my stand just before daylight, I could hear all of the sounds that Charles had mentioned.

After about 15 minutes, I heard some” thing to my right. I had just glanced back to my left when I spotted a deer sticking his head out from some planted pines. This was just perfect! The deer came out and stood broadside from me. Once again everything that Charles had told me came rushing back. I already had my gun, a 7mm .08, in place, and before I knew it, I had pulled the trigger. The deer ran just a few feet and stopped just before he entered the woods and shook his front right leg. I listened after he entered the woods and it sounded like he stopped again not too far off.

I stayed in my stand for a little while so that my heart could slow down. I then left my stand and marked the place where the deer had entered the woods with a small branch. Still being very new to all this, I decided that I did not’want to do anything to mess this up. I was so excited that I could hardly wait to tell Charles, but I was so afraid that we would not find the deer.

I had to walk about a mile to my mother-in-law’s house and she took me to the dove field. Charles and some of his cousins left the dove shoot to go and help find the deer.

By this time, I was convinced that

I had not hit the deer and that everyone would think that I had not even seen a deer. When we got to the spot where I had shot, there was a good blood trail and the deer had fallen not too far away.

I had shot a 6-point, 112-1b. buck!

I know that this is not very big, but to me, this was the moment that I will never forget. This was my first deer. If you ever come to Metter you will see it hanging on the wall in my office. Am I proud or what?

I hunted until the last day of the season and enjoyed it as muchas I did in the beginning. I can hardly wait until next season, and I have already planned where my stands will be.

Ladies, maybe the guys aren’t so crazy after all. Just try it. You don’t even have to hunt, just have them take you to one of their stands. I don’t think that I have found anything else that is so peaceful and yet so exciting!


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