Utah, 2009, DIY, Public Land
I come from a family where the men go hunting while the women go shopping. To say I married an avid hunter would be a gross understatement. More accurately, I married into a family of hunting addicts.
When my husband, Jared, took me on my first hunt, I got a little two-point buck. I wasn’t completely sold on the hunting-over-shopping idea. My idea of fun didn’t include having to get up in the middle of the night and traipse around in freezing weather. Jared, however, was determined to change my mind, so he put me in for the drawings religiously.
I knew it was inevitable, and I eventually drew a coveted Paunsaugunt mule deer tag. Jared was thrilled, but I was more than a little hesitant. The reason? I was four months pregnant, with triplets. My quickly growing belly had already exceeded that of any woman carrying one full-term baby. Hunting was the last thing I wanted to do.
Walking and breathing were already becoming difficult, and now I had to endure bumpy roads and serious hiking; I had a feeling this would be pure torture. We hunted for a few days and I was prepared to shoot anything with antlers, but I was waiting for my dad to arrive.
That afternoon, to my husband’s complete horror, I shot the first buck we saw. It was a nice buck, but he was a bit disappointed that I didn’t hold out for one of the monster mulies that this unit was known for. Once again, I wasn’t convinced that hunting was my cup of tea, but Jared was still determined that I would someday enjoy it.
The second time I drew a limited entry tag was this past fall - a late-season bull elk hunt. Our triplets were now ten years old, and I hadn’t been hunting since my Paunsaugunt hunt.
During the summer, Jared fell off the roof at my parents’ cabin while helping them with some repairs. He landed hard and broke both of his wrists. This meant he would be in wrist and thumb-restrictive braces for the hunt, leaving him with minimal use of each hand. Luckily, Jared’s brothers are just as passionate about hunting as he is, so they were more than happy to accept the offer to help with my hunt. Little did we know that Jared in braces wouldn’t be our only setback.
Opening day finally arrived and we were busy getting our gear collected and loaded into the truck. Then the power went out. We had to finish using flashlights, and finally took off hoping this wasn’t a sign of things to come. Then, 30 miles out and five miles short of our destination, the back wheel of our truck fell off! We didn’t want to waste valuable hunting time, so we left our truck on the side of the freeway and piled all our gear into Jared’s brother’s truck. We left hoping our bad luck had run out for the day. I was already wishing I had gone shopping.
For a full account of Shanae's adventure, go to page 26 in the October/November 2010 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.