Hunting at Dawn
The Texas Story Project.
Susie Elias was born in Austin, Texas and considers herself a Texan. However, her father’s military career had her traveling the globe. She returned to Texas after graduating high school in 1985. She started hunting in 1996 with her husband. From 1996-2003 she mainly hunted with a rifle on a lease. However the gentleman who owned the lease sold it so there was nowhere they could go rifle hunting. Instead she took up bow hunting. The first time she went bow hunting was in 2003.
The usual routine for any weekend from October to the middle of January is to go hunting. The family all go out to Del Rio, next to Lake Amistad. They all get up at four o'clock in the morning and are out about an hour before sunrise. At this point it is complete darkness. Compared to rifle hunting, this was a lot scarier for her the first time. This is because in rifle hunting you sit in a box and have a feeder down a bit away. You just sit and wait for a deer or a pig (or whatever animal you are hunting) comes down and then you shoot it. But with bow hunting, they use ground blinds. They make the blinds out of the brush and they sit on the ground and wait. She is not allowed to set out feeders so they have to be in the right place at the right time.
The first time her husband took her out there and left her alone she was quite nervous. Her husband was about one hundred and fifty yards away and it was pitch black. At first she couldn’t hear or see anything but her eyes gradually started to adjust to the dark and she was able to make out shadows. She started to hear rustling in the grass and was on edge as she was always thinking about what it could be. Always thinking the worst, she made herself nervous thinking there was going to be a mountain lion or a bobcat creeping up on her. She told me she could not wait for the sun to come up. Once the sun comes up its like God has flipped a switch. The birds start chirping and it is just so amazing. On this occasion, however, nothing actually crept up on her and she was totally okay to continue her hunting trip.
The reason she likes bow hunting so much is because she likes the challenge. She said anyone can sit in a box and shoot a deer one hundred yards away. For bow hunting, she can only shoot an animal that is about forty-five to fifty yards away. This makes the animal extremely close to her which makes her feel more vulnerable.
Another reason she loves this type of hunting is because without the box you get an experience with wildlife that not many people get. You get deer ten yards away just staring at you. You get foxes, skunks, and porcupines all coming up and making the experience with nature a whole lot better.
She says the most exciting bit of hunting is the challenge of getting the animal close enough to be able to take the shot, bring it down, and be able to take it home. She told me she and her husband don’t hunt for trophies. They hunt for the food. They like to make all sorts of things with the meat. But she does have a rule she always follows. She never shoots a yearling or below and she never shoots a doe with a fawn.
Her overall experience with hunting is she loves it. She has always been an outdoor person. As her husband says, "If you’re looking for her, she is either fishing or hunting." She says she will probably be doing this until the day she dies and that just shows how much passion and love she has for doing it.
Posted March 22, 2018