Remembering My Wife’s First Bowhunt

Introducing your spouse to bowhunting takes some careful planning. My advice for a first bowhunt? Don’t be a helicopter husband.
Remembering My Wife’s First Bowhunt

Just getting her up the ladder to the stand’s seat was a chore. Getting her to relax her white-knuckled grip on its side rails was almost impossible. You see, my bride, Amy, is not a fan of heights. And though on this first bowhunt I was right behind her on the climb and got her all situated before making the additional 5-foot ascent to my small lock-on, she kept whispering the words, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you,” over and over again.

OK, before you start judging me, let’s back up a bit. My wife is stud, plain and simple. She was a standout athlete in high school, received a scholarship to play college volleyball and has just always been naturally good at anything and everything she has ever attempted, including hunting. Though she doesn’t get out much, she’s taken a total of seven shots at big game animals with a rifle, and all seven have hit the dirt without so much as a twitch. Naturally, my love affair with a stick-and-string along with some serious pleading led her to strapping on a release and taking a few shots at a target. Yikes!

She could barely draw the 30-pound bow back, and when she did she was shaking like a leaf. She slammed the trigger and the arrow, well, let’s just say it was donated to the piece of dirt we were practicing on. I tried to give her some instant encouragement, some pointers, but she was having none of it. She peeled off the release faster than a monkey can peel a banana, handed me the bow and said, “I don’t like this thing. I just want my rifle.” That bow hung untouched in our home for three years, and anytime I brought up the possibility of shooting, I was simply given “the look.”

Thankfully, a little begging from my son Hunter finally put the bow back in her hand, and instead of being a helicopter husband and hovering over her, I just let her shoot a few arrows and work it out on her own. She shot at least a dozen arrows that particular day, a dozen the next, and finally, on day three, asked me for some guidance.

By the end of day three she was slapping shafts out to 30 yards, and quickly made the decision to take on the challenge of deer hunting with her new vertical weapon. I was, to say the least, pumped about her first bowhunt. For the next four months she practiced religiously, and told me on several occasions, “Archery, without question, takes more discipline and dedication than any sport I’ve ever attempted. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it.”

First Bowhunt: Success Breeds Success

first bowhunt

Amy Bauserman calmed her fear of heights and was rewarded with her first bow buck.

Our first evening in Oklahoma found us nestled in a ground blind, and my bride made a perfect shot on a quartering-away doe. The lung-struck doe made it only 40 yards before toppling over. Amy was elated, and walking up on that doe with her and seeing the joy spread across her face — the satisfaction that she’d made a perfect shot and provided meat for her family consumed her entire being — is a moment I will forever treasure. But our hunt was far from over. She still had a buck tag in her pocket, but in order to fill it, she was going to have to climb a tree.

After her spell of the “I hate you” comments, she started to settle in, and a once ghost-pale face turned rosy again. We took a few funny selfies, and as a few does mingled along the field’s edge, I could see her fear fading. She even stood up a few times, which gave me the opportunity to have her draw her bow and bend at the waist.

About an hour into the evening, my ears detected the sound of squeals and grunts, and before long I spied a group of feral oinkers weaving through the hardwoods. Amy got so excited she had trouble retrieving the bow from its hanger, and it’s a good thing she did. As the pigs melted into the timber, a glance back to the field revealed our target buck at a distance of 40 yards and closing. She didn’t have time to think. There was only time to react, and react she did. Seconds after I stopped the buck at 20 yards, an arrow zipped through his side. It was clear the buck wasn’t going to make it far.

Later that evening, standing over her fallen prize, my wife and I shared a long hug followed by a conversation I will likely never share with another soul. It was our time, our moment, and the simple joy of bowhunting and spending time together in the woods provided it.

What has bowhunting given you? What has it given your family? What are you doing to ensure its future? I want to hear from you. Drop me a line at

Top image by John Hafner


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