Editor’s Note: Wendy Lacoss-Drake from Libby, Montana, has been hunting big game in Montana for 9 years. Not born into a hunting family, she didn’t think she had the heart to kill an animal. However, when she met her husband Eric Drake, her life was forever changed in several ways. Eric was a competition archer and a bowhunter. He introduced Wendy to competition archery. Then she more or less stumbled her way into becoming a big-game hunter taking elk, whitetails and turkeys.
I was on a hunt, and I went back to the cabin to pick up my father-in-law, Ken Drake. He was planning to go hunting with me, while my husband, Eric Drake was hunting with my nephew, Devin Lacoss. Because the weather was cold – minus 10 degrees – I left the truck running and my rifle in the truck while I ran into the cabin to get Ken. Then we’d be back in the truck immediately. When I reached the cabin, Ken excitedly but quietly yelled, “Where’s your gun?” I told him, “I left it in the truck, because I was just going to pick you up, and we were going to drive where we were to hunt.” Then I asked, “Why?” and Ken said, “Get my gun – the Himalaya.” He had named his .338 gun Himalaya because he said, “Him, the gun, would ‘lay’ the animals down when you squeezed the trigger.” “There’s a big white-tailed buck out in the field in front of the cabin, so take my Himalaya and go shoot him,” Ken told me. I took his Himalaya, propped up against one of the posts on the cabin and made the shot. The buck walked about 40 yards and fell over.
Ken and I went outside, got in the truck and went to the deer. Then Ken said, “You shot it. You gut it” – just like Eric would have told me. Eric had told me that he wanted me to field dress my own animals because I needed to know how to do that. I didn’t know whether I believed him or not. However, apparently, he’d told Ken, because Ken required the same sportsmanship that Eric required of me. We loaded the nice 8 pointer eastern count into the truck and hung him on the meat pole to wait for Eric and Devin to return from their elk hunt. Ken called Eric on the radio and said, “Wendy took a deer with my Himalaya.” At the time, I didn’t know that his Himalaya had a reputation of being a heavy recoil rifle. But even when I shot the deer, I didn’t feel the recoil.
I was all excited about taking this really-nice buck. Once Eric and Devin got back to camp, they told us that Devin had bagged an elk cow that was in the back of Eric’s truck. Devin was really excited. When Eric saw my deer, he was excited for me. That’s one of the most-important aspects of my becoming a hunter. We like to hunt with our family. We all get excited when any member of the family takes an animal. We all share in recovering the animal, getting the animal out of the woods and eating the animal. Hunting has become a major part of my life, and I really look forward to every hunt.
Learn more about other women in the outdoors in John E. Phillips’ book, “Outdoor Women’s Hall of Fame” available in Kindle and print at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0771VP16V/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i52. To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ Kindle book, “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007A2N792. You can download a free app to enable you to read this book on your computer or your tablet. You also can download a free book, “How to Make Venison Jerky” by clicking at https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/Ece3UZVcOo52cKPJcL.