Marsha Raley | Mossy Oak ProStaff
Marsha Raley of Maynardville, Tennessee, has been on the Mossy Oak Pro Staff for 4 years. She is a bowhunter as well as a gun hunter. She was born into hunting as her dad and her stepdad both were avid hunters. “Before I could hunt with either of them, I’d wait at the door for one of them to come home to see what they had in the back of their trucks,” she said.
When I was finally big enough to walk in the woods, my dad or my stepdad would take me hunting, but I never seemed to be old enough to carry a gun. However, when I married, my husband James taught me how to hunt by myself. I never will forget one morning when he and I were walking to our stands, and my husband said, “Okay, here’s your stand. I’ll see you at dark.”
I looked at him and asked, “You’re not staying here with me?”
He smiled big and answered, “No.”
So, that’s the story of how I started hunting by myself. That first hunt was a gun hunt. Since that first hunt, I’ve been hunting deer for 14 years by myself.
My husband and I own a 100-acre farm, so most of my early deer hunting was right here on our farm. Since we have deer on our property, I could hunt in the mornings before I went to work and in the afternoons once I got off work.
One morning before work, I decided that I’d go hunting by myself. I went down to the stand we had set up close to the creek. About 7:30 a.m., I spotted two bucks coming from the creek, headed toward one of our hay fields. One of the bucks was a 6-point, so I shot him.
I went to our house to get my husband, and he said, “Well, that didn’t take long.”
I told him I’d only been in the stand for 15 minutes, before I saw the two bucks. My husband helped me field dress him, and then I changed clothes and went on to work.
Hunting deer early in the season comes with challenges, but proper preparation can go a long way. Be sure you've done the leg work before getting in the tree stand.