Since taking those first two deer with my bow, I’ve taken wild hogs, turkeys and more deer with my bow. Wild hogs are getting to be one of my favorite animals to shoot with a bow. But one of my favorite hunts of all time was in 2015 when I went on a hunt with Brenda Valentine, the First Lady of Hunting.
Our ladies’ chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is a regional chapter that’s made up of other local women’s turkey chapters, and we call ourselves, The First Ladies of Tennessee. Brenda had attended our banquet. I had met Brenda at other NWTF events, and Brenda always brought some type of picture or unique item to donate to our auction. This time Brenda had brought a skull-mount lamp that was made from a buck she’d taken on her farm. The bidding had started, and Brenda stood up and told our regional director, Tim Yates, “I love these women, and I love what these women are doing. Many of these ladies are personal friends of mine. So, whoever buys this lamp, regardless of what it sells for, I’ll throw in a hunt with me on my farm for the opening weekend of Tennessee’s rifle season.”
Her words fired me up to win the bid and bring that lamp home with me. I looked at my husband, and he smiled and looked at me, because he knew I’d bid and try to win the lamp. At that point, I didn’t care what the lamp cost, because that lamp was coming home with me, and I was going to hunt with Brenda.
Opening weekend of that year’s gun season, I went to Brenda’s house. The two of us truly hunted hard all weekend long – Saturday morning and afternoon. Although we saw numbers of does and a few bucks, we didn’t see any bucks we wanted to take. Then Sunday morning, a buck came through Brenda’s property, and he would have been okay to take. I probably would have settled for him. However, for some reason when I started to pull the trigger on my Remington .243 rifle, nothing happened. The only explanation I have is that God must have been saying, “Marsha, this isn’t your deer.” I put my safety on, came out of the stand and went with Brenda to get lunch at the cabin and then return that afternoon. I checked my rifle and could find no reason why the gun didn’t fire.
Brenda asked me where I wanted to hunt that afternoon. We’d hunted several different stands over the weekend, but I told Brenda I’d like to return to the Saturday-morning stand. I didn’t know why, but I felt that was where I needed to be. Brenda said, “Okay, let’s go there.”
Brenda’s husband Barney was taking their granddaughter out to be on the stand with him. Brenda and I had been in the stand for only about 30 minutes when I looked over my shoulder and whispered to Brenda, “There’s my buck.”
Just as Brenda was telling me to get my gun up, I already had my gun up and was ready for the shot. After the shot, the buck went across a small roadway, as we watched him fall.
Brenda and I got out of the stand and went and saw my buck. That deer hunt was so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed being with Brenda, and I’ll remember that hunt forever. I felt like I was in Brenda’s personal classroom of deer hunting and had Brenda all to myself.