The Day the Game Plan Changed

In Billie McCarter by Billie McCarter


October 1st, 2010 was the day my hobbies and addictions changed for the rest of my life. To get to this date, we must first back up a few years. My husband, Matthew, returned from Iraq in the summer of 2005. That Fall, he wanted to spend pretty much all of his time in the woods. It was a haven for him. I had just spent the last year alone, so I figured that if he was going, then I could go too. Let me paint you a picture. Keep in mind, I was raised in a city lifestyle. I was your high heel-wearing, toe touching queen. I had never been hunting, and had not ever shot a gun before! Here I am fixing to go into the woods with a man and a gun, who had just spent the last year in a war zone. So, long story short, that was first and LAST time that I ever went hunting with my husband. However, I knew it would not be the last time I would go hunting. At that time, I was not sure how I was going to go about doing it, but gosh darn it, I was going to.
I spent the next several years working towards being able to go alone. Matt was apprehensive about all this. He just could not see how the girl with no ‘ole’ clothes for getting dirty, could turn into a camo wearing, trigger pulling, hunter. The only camouflage I had at the time was left over military BDU’s prior to Matt’s deployment, hunting camouflage for women was far….. very far and few between, if it even existed. I talked with my father-in-law, who is wonderful, and he was very supportive in my decision. He had already raised three sons, so a daughter-in-law, who was willing to learn (and listen), set him on a mission to help me make it happen. He said I could clean out a spot on the corner of his property. We put a feeder in to see if we could attract some wildlife. He was very optimistic that we would, and we did. We later cleared out a small area. He tried with the tractor but cane poles were everywhere and one punctured the tractor and well, that was that. I then took to using a push mower and machete to clear the rest! We put in a two-man stand and set up a game camera. This was, of course prior to one final item that I needed. I wanted my own deer rifle. After purchasing my husband several guns and lots and lots of hinting, I woke up one Christmas to a gun shaped box. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I opened the box and it was a Cricket hot pink .22! I knew then what I had to do…. Several Christmas’ later, I bought him a new Remington 7mag. He was using a Remington 7mm-08 that was his dad’s. I knew that if he would not buy me one, then I could buy him one and then we would have an ‘extra’-for me! It worked. I finally had a rifle to use. I had camo, and I had my spot.
In 2010, I noticed on the camera we had tons and tons of hogs showing up, almost religiously!! After patterning them over the next few days, we knew I had a good chance to get one. Hogs generally push out the deer and I wanted a deer, more importantly…a buck. I got my camo on, grabbed the rifle and went to my father-in-law’s place. I walked back behind his house to the back-side of the property. I walked through a cut lane between the cane poles that opened to my stand. About 30 minutes till dark, I could hear them coming. My heart was beating. I was in amazement. I remember picking out ‘the one’ and then finding ‘the one’ again through the scope. I centered the crosshairs on the shoulder blade of the hog. I clicked the safety off and took a deep breath. Then, it happened. I shot my first hog on October 1st of that year! I had just taken my first harvest. I shot a hog, me!
October 1st, 2010 was the day the game plan changed. That day, I knew there was more to life than working, shopping, and tanning.