This article isn’t about a product review, a hunting tip or even about a successful hunt. It’s about the one thing that hunters rarely talk about. It’s about what you find while hunting or rather what you find when hunting is in your life.
There is one spot that we have hunted for about 12 years now. It’s an unlikely location for hunting but one that consistently offers up does and occasionally throws in a buck or two. And because we have hunted the area for so long, we are familiar with the area, the people and the wildlife. Last season, we started getting trail cam pictures of an injured doe that apparently had been hit by a car. It was either that or attacked by a dog. And remember how I said the location was an unlikely location for hunting? Well it’s a slice of woods that matches up to an even larger slice of woods outside of Annapolis, MD. Yes – just outside the city of Annapolis, the Naval Academy and all that. So considering how urban and congested this part of the state is, I am inclined to lean toward the theory that she was hit by a car. Anyway, we never saw this doe during the daylight hours. However at night she was constantly at the feeder. Her back right leg was badly mangled with a protruding bone. The white of the bone shown brightly on the pictures so it was obvious what we were looking at. I fractured my arm 10 years ago and that hurt for weeks. I can’t imagine the pain this girl was in. I contemplated taking her out before infection did. That is, if I ever saw her during legal shooting hours which we never did. John and I discussed the fact that we weren’t even sure if we could use the meat due to the infection. But to see repeated pictures of an animal in apparent distress is disheartening. On the other hand, she was smart enough to hunker down for the day, she was certainly mobile and she definitely wasn’t starving considering the corn that was disappearing from the feeder.
Then about 3 weeks from when we first saw her injuries, we received a surprise. There was a picture that showed her leg, more specifically the lower 8 inches of her leg, was just gone. A nice clean stub right at the end. And still she was completely mobile and independent. And from that the name of Gimpy Girl was born. Please, please I mean NO disrespect by naming this animal Gimpy Girl. You would know why , well as soon as you see her-she gimps around and she’s a doe. Period.
When the season ended, John removed the blind and cameras. Occasionally we would wonder how Gimpy Girl was faring. Round about July, we placed the cameras and feeder back. Shortly thereafter Gimpy Girl showed up. She is smaller that most does in the area but that doesn’t surprise me. We only see her once or twice a week so it does appear she has resumed the normal traveling habits of whitetail. This year, no matter what family member uses this blind we all have an understanding: If the only doe that walks in front of us is Gimpy Girl-then you go home empty – she is off limits. There have to be some rewards for perseverance.
Finally, two weekends ago, I sat in the blind, attempting to remain frozen while staring at a small hesitant spike out of the front window of the blind. He was hung up about 40 yards out. Then I noticed out of the side window movement of brown and then a flick of white. And there was Gimpy Girl-out and about in the daylight. A ballerina of the woods she was not. A step and step and then more like a bob of the head down and a hop. But in her jerky up and down movement of walking I was inspired. And she wasn’t slow by any means. How tough! How resourceful! She was and still is beautiful to me.
And now you see – this article is not about hunting. It’s because this creature inspired me I had to let others know. She deserved to have her story told. It’s not a big glamorous story but it’s a story that a lot of us could relate to. Life might knock you down, leave you with scars but it’s about how you handle that – it’s about what you do with that life that matters. Look, this doe isn’t a martyr-she is just a doe. But I believe if more humans acted like Gimpy Girl so much could be accomplished. It’s so obvious – and I learned that-from a doe. It’s a good feeling to know we share the same woods.