My 20 Year Passion for the Whitetail Deer
By: Rick Kratzke / Whitetail Woods
When I came across Henrietta’s “A Hen’s Nest” request for guest posts I felt sure that I could come up with something, when she mentioned the guide lines of what she was looking for I definitely knew I could write a post so here we go. I hope you enjoy and come visit me at .
I work as a custodian for one of the state universities here in Connecticut and like my job very much. I work nights so it gives me time during the day to do side jobs, work on my blog and most importantly deer hunt in the mornings during the fall.
So, I suppose you are wondering what my 20 year passion is (haha) well my passion is all about the Whitetail Deer. Back in 1990 I came home from work one day and told my Heidi I wanted to try archery and maybe bow hunting. She had no idea where that thought came from and honestly I didn’t know either. So I went to K-mart and put a bow on lay-a-way and that was the start. I picked it up early that spring then stopped at an archery shop I found on the way home.
The owner set me up with a half dozen arrows after checking my draw length and gave me a couple lessons because I was a green as green could be. I picked up a couple of other items I would need, said thank you for his help and away we left. I set up a target in the back yard of my parents house because there was no place to shoot in the apartment building we were living in. I shot every chance I could get and even joined a couple of archery leagues at the local shop which was a huge plus in developing my skills.
After talking to some of the guys almost all summer I had decided I really wanted to try deer hunting so I took the hunter safety course, got my certificate, bought my license and got my tags for my very first deer season which was 1990. That season proved to be quite exciting to say the least even though I knew squat about what I was doing. I did have one of the guys from a league I was in take me out and explain a lot of stuff which was a big help.
I had set up a tree stand on state land the very next day in an area the I had hoped would show some deer (notice I said hoped it would show some deer). That morning sitting in a tree stand just before daybreak was so relaxing and exhilarating at the same time that before I knew it the pre-dawn was almost upon me. I sat there listening to the morning birds and watching the squirrels run around which was keeping me occupied and yet I still was scanning the woods for any other movement. Then it happened, to my right there was a stone wall that went up behind me, all of a sudden there were two deer that were running parallel to the stone wall at like 100 MPH (ok, I’m exaggerating a little) but it was fast. Through that whole experience there is one thing I did not forget and can vision in my mind even though it was 20 years ago – when those two deer ran by me they DID NOT MAKE ONE SOUND, it was like they were running on air. It was the most beautifulest thing I had ever seen in the wild. At that point I was hooked.
In this day and age there is so much anti-hunting out there that I feel the need to explain my position about deer hunting if anything it will give you a better idea of what I’m about. I grew into the sport very quickly learning respect for the whitetail deer. The way they can adapt to anything in their environment is amazing. The way they can grow antlers and drop them every late winter/early spring to just start growing them back bigger and better than the last set they had and no two antler sets are alike. They are like finger prints and that is what makes them special.
The does are fascinating in their own right being able to breed at only 6 months old. After their birth they can give birth to twin or triplets every year, twins on average. The way they can live so close to us and we the average human being not even know they are around is astounding.
Yes, I am a deer hunter I have been for the last 20 years. Right from the start I had made a decision to not be one of the hunters who go out just for bone (the antlers). I wanted to have a purpose or reason for doing what I was doing. I am what you call a meat hunter, hunting deer for their meat. That is what helps me support my family, on an average deer I can put 50 to 60 pounds of steaks, stew meat and roasts in the freezer which helps considerably.
I don’t go out and fill every single tag just because I have them, I go out and shoot only what I need for the year. On average I get 1 a year, sometimes 2, which is fine for me. Don’t get me wrong if some guys want to shoot 5 or 6 a season that’s fine just as long as the meat does not go to waste.
Apart from my real job and my family I eat, sleep and breath whitetail deer. I spend as much time as time allows in the woods whether it be hunting, scouting, shed hunting, trimming shooting lanes, hanging tree stands, checking trail camera monitors or just plain going for a walk to get peace of mind.
The woods gives me a place where I feel the most at peace with everything. I have always been a nature lover for as long as I can remember. People have asked me then why do I kill deer. I tell them yes I love wildlife and those wildlife have a place in the world as do I. For some of them it is to support other life like me. I use them to help support my family. Think of the movie The Lion King when they sing “The Circle of Life”.
I have been doing this for 20 years and god willing I will be doing it for another 20 years. I hope you have enjoyed this post and please feel free to drop byand browse around for awhile. I always love comments and reply to each and every one.
I want to leave you with a favorite quote of mine and that is,
I have gone through my deer hunting career on the basis that if I see a whitetail deer it was worth it and if I fill a tag than I just consider that a bonus.
-Rick Kratzke, 1990
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