Ladies In The Outdoors, Kellie Stebbins
Kellie's 2022 Kansas Buck...
Long story short, I’ve been bow hunting for the past 4 years and getting better each year! Last fall and winter was a low point of my life. I had a lot of heartache and sadness that I was dealing with and I felt defeated and powerless. My escape was hunting. It was a place I could be alone and gather my thoughts, and it kept me busy, which I needed. Hunting season was coming to a close and I still hadn’t got my buck. I had also somehow lost the original crank for my crossbow and had a makeshift piece of metal attached to a socket in its place while I waited for the replacement.
One cold evening, I got into my stand, and went to cock my bow, and that tool I was using would not allow me to fully crank my bow- it was digging into my hand, and the bow was so tight that I’d get it to a certain point and it would slip and fly backwards cutting into my hand and bruising me. I nearly got hit in the face with it more than once. It hurt so bad! I tried probably a dozen times to cock that bow with this piece of metal and it hurt so bad that at this point it drew tears. But, I didn’t want to give up and I didn’t want to go home because home was where my hurt was last winter.
So, with tears rolling down my cold cheeks, I tried one more time. I used my gloves and twisted the crank little by little as it dug into my hand. It took everything I had to get that bow cocked and not let that tool get away from me again, but I finally did. I knew I was supposed to be in the stand that night. I sat patiently, trying to get my head right and to calm down after all the struggles, and at the last bit of shooting light, a couple of small bucks showed up. They were looking in the woods at something… and here comes my target buck! I watched him come in, waited until he was broadside, but he was quartered towards me a bit, so it wasn’t ideal. But I found my mark and let that arrow fly. I put that arrow clean through him and had good lung blood.
Sadly, the track the next day was long and unsuccessful. I must have only hit one lung. That buck traveled a long distance before succumbing to his injuries. I even hired a tracking dog and we could not find my buck. I was sick. About a week later, the man who owns the property called me and told me he saw some horns down by the creek and to come check it out just in case. I didn’t get my hopes up, but I headed over to take a look. It was my buck!
This picture was taken in the few minutes after I found him and finally got to put my hands on him. This was a big win for me during a time that I was feeling so low. I felt so empowered! No time in the woods is ever wasted!