News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 24, 2012

REDNECK QUAKER: Valley girl has big first hunt

Kenny Bayless
Tribune-Star Correspondent

TERRE HAUTE — Folks, you’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you of this young 11-year old lady's hunting experience.

On Sept. 29, Khara Tottem got up at 6 a.m., put on her camo and retrieved her New England 44-caliber scoped rifle from the gun cabinet to put in a carrying case before heading for the woods. Yes, at 50 yards she is dead on.

As I pulled into the Matt Tottem family’s drive, a bright smiling face came walking around the house with a story to tell. As I stepped into the man cave, I couldn’t believe the deer mounts hanging on the wall as well as deer racks laying every place, eight in all. This smallest trophy would score 100 to the biggest monarch of the woods scoring 177 in Pope and Young standards. Do you get the picture of where Khara’s hunting heritage comes from?

She apprenticed with Dad by spending a lot of time in deer stands watching him harvest deer.

Today is her day, with gun in hand and Dad not realizing he is the apprentice about to learn valuable lessons from his first-time deer hunter daughter.

n Deer No. 1 — Khara was pumped up and didn’t get much sleep the night before. They picked a reliable wooded area that deer loved to hide in. The day promised to be another hot one with the full moon slipping down behind the tree tops and the sun was looking up over the eastern horizon like a small child straining to look over the dining room table top.

They didn’t think deer would be moving when two does came walking through. One doe let out a blowing sound to warn the others of danger when Matt made a blat call to stop them and Khara knew that was her queue to take the shot. She took the perfect lung shot and the doe went about 100 yards. Khara got down seeing if she hit the deer and sure enough, a good blood trail led her to her first deer of her hunting career.

Whooping and hollering as well as high fives were heard throughout the woods.

We’re not done yet; the best is yet to come.

They visited the Cory Apple Festival and went straight out hunting again.

n Deer No. 2 — Same day and they are in the stand at 5 p.m. in a different area.

Without a front railing on the stand, Dad said “Use your hand on the tree to steady you rifle.” They sat for two hours when Khara spotted a buck coming in from behind at 20 yards. Buck fever kicked in and her nerves were on edge.

He was headed for the bean field at about 7:30 p.m. To their favor, he was up wind and wasn’t in a hurry, because he would stop and watch the area.

With the deer standing broadside at 20 yards and partially hidden with a tree, Dad put his hand on a tree with his arm straight out so Khara could lean forward and rest her gun on his arm to make the shot, and that she did.

The deer went back into the woods crashing into trees on its way. With a smile Khara said “I didn’t wait for the last crash and Dad said ‘wait for me to get down, I want to go too.’” Khara picked up the blood trail and tracked the buck to a root wad that was his final resting place.

She nearly fainted. What a bonding experience. It was better than any Daddy and Daughter dance.

I would call this buck at least a 10-pointer and score around 140. Any grown man would be proud to take this buck.

Again, hugs and kisses, with pictures on the cell phone going out to all buddies.

This young lady jumped right in to field dress the doe and Dad dressed the buck.

Khara, you accomplished more in one day than most men try to do in years, and on your first day of hunting. You redneck boys will have a hard time keeping up with Khara. She is truly a Lady of the Outdoors!

A discount sporting goods shop has opened at 5064 Lafayette Ave in North Terre Haute. It’s across from the Old Jiffy Mini Mart at Park and Lafayette Ave. “Q’s” is the name and call them at (812) 243-7864. Hours are Monday and Tuesday 4-8 p.m. and Thursday and Friday 11 a.m.-6 pm.. They have various outdoor stuff at a very reasonable price.

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