Published by ryalred on 23 Sep 2008
Fog, mist, dark, dreary—perfect deer hunting weather. There wasn’t a leaf moving. It was the last half of muzzle loader season in Southeast Oklahoma and I had already killed a nice buck with my old Jukar smoke pole, but I had taken a week’s vacation and bow season coincides with the primitive arms season, so I thought I’d make the most of my time off and hunt with my bow. And, besides, I was anxious to try out these new Blood Trailer mechanical broadheads (they were new then). I had always had trouble getting my broadheads to fly like field points. I hadn’t yet learned the, what now seems so simple, steps to arrow tuning, and this promise of a broadhead flying just like field point was extremely appealing. My only concern was the killing potential of the Blood Trailers. I’m not a physicist, but the principles behind the mechanics of the Blood Trailer seemed reasonable to me, but the cutting blades seemed a little flimsy, but their ads had been very convincing, so, I’d give um a try.
As usual, I had some difficulty deciding which stand to hunt. I had almost 200 acres all to myself—the weather having scared off my brother-in-law and my father-in-law. I had the option of about a dozen stands from which to choose and the wind was no factor at all. Why I chose the one I did, I’ll never know. It wasn’t my favorite stand. It wasn’t my most productive stand. It wasn’t one that produced the largest deer or the most sightings. Maybe it was because I hadn’t hunted it in quite some time, or maybe the fact that the stand was close to the maximum range I had imposed on myself from the trails the deer usually used. This would be a good range to see just how good those Blood Trailers flew and their down range penetrability. Whatever the reason, it was the most fortuitous choice I had ever made in choosing a location to hunt.
I got there about three hours before dark and climbed into my stand, expecting a couple of hours of waiting before the deer started moving. I had carefully hung by doe in estrus scent bombs in three positions around my tree and now I was ready. I knew I wouldn’t be able to hear any deer coming my way because everything was so wet from all the fog and mist. I nocked an Easton 2117 aluminum arrow on the string of my old Ben Pearson compound bow and sat back for the wait. I daydreamed a little about new bows, something with more than 50 % let off would be nice, and those carbon arrows would be great, too, but that would all have to wait till next year.
I had only been there an hour when I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye. Whatever it was, it was already pretty close and I hadn’t removed my bow from its hanger. It also wasn’t on one of the main trails past my stand. But, I remained motionless for what seemed like 30 minutes waiting for whatever I had seen to step out in my filed of view. Then the wait was over but the excitement was just beginning. The largest whitetail deer I’d ever seen while hunting walked right out into view, maybe 18 yds from my tree and quartered slightly away from me. He stops and began to look all around and he held his head high in the air as if to catch the scent of something, but he didn’t appear to be the least bit nervous—he wasn’t scenting me. He was smelling my scent bombs and was looking for the doe giving off that wonderful odor. He looked to be a 10 pointer with very heavy beams and a massive body. My heart was beating so hard, I was sure he would hear it. He just stood there scenting and looking. I ever so slowly removed my bow from its hanger and clipped my release onto the string. All the time I just kept thinking, “He’s so close—if I miss him I’ll be just sick.” I also kept thinking, “I sure do wish I had a Thunderhead on my arrow instead of that flimsy looking Blood Trailer,” but it was going to have to do. I slowly drew my arrow and aligned to peep and top sight pin to just behind his front shoulder and hit the release. It was a good release and a good shot. I saw the arrow hit almost exactly where I was aiming. It also made that wonderfully sound of an arrow hitting the heart/lung area. Instantly the monster buck turned and ran out of sight.
It was the longest thirty minutes I had ever waited to get down out of my stand, but I had made it a rule a couple of years early to not leave the stand for at least thirty minutes after I had shot a deer with my bow. (I would wait longer if I felt the shot wasn’t too good.) Upon reaching the ground, I walked to where the huge deer had been standing when I shot, thinking I’d find my arrow stuck in the ground where it had passed through, but no arrow. Worse yet, there was no blood. I slowly walked in the direction he ran, looking for blood after each step. I walked 15 steps and found one small drop of bright red blood. I was sure that within the next few steps I’d begin finding large amounts of blood, but not so. I only found a couple more small drops of blood. I marked each spot with a sheet of toilet tissue so I wouldn’t loose the trail and I could get an idea of the specific direction the deer was taking.
I was beginning to worry with all kinds of questions racing through my head. “Did I not make a good shot—was it too high?” “Did the Blood Trailer fail and only cause minimal damage?” “Why, oh why hadn’t I had a Thunderhead on that arrow.” I looked and looked in ever expanding semi circles in the direction I had seen the buck heading, but no deer, and even worse, no blood! It was about to get dark, and I had gone about 50 yards from where I had shot the deer. It was going to be cool that night so I decided to go in and begin searching again at daylight the next morning. I really thought I had killed the deer and it was out there somewhere and I was going to find it the next day.
I could hardly sleep that night and off and on that night I could hear it raining—there would be no blood trail. I was up before daylight and packed my backpack with snacks and water—I was going to make a day of looking for this deer. Upon arriving at the spot where I’d shot the deer the blood, what little there was, had washed away, but the toilet tissue was there, though a little water logged. I decided to make complete circles about ten yards apart beginning at where I’d stopped looking the night before. I thought he could have turned back so I didn’t want to look just in the direction I last saw him going.
By 10:00 a.m. I had made ever widening circles out to 100 yards from the spot of the shot and still no deer. I decided to take a break from that procedure and walk to two nearby ponds since I remembered that injured deer will sometimes go to water, but no deer. I was beginning to feel really sick about the possibility of loosing the best deer I’d ever seen, much lest taken a shot at. The fact that he had been only 18 yds away made me feel even worse.
I decided to try one other thing before I went back to making the every expanding circles—thinking I’d go out to at least 200 yards with them. I went back to the spot of the shot and got a line with the three sheets of toilet tissue I’d used to mark the blood spots. I decided to walk in a straight line, that direction, for at least 300 yards. At 150 yards I looked up ahead and there in a large area of grass—could it be—yes it was, the deer of a lifetime. He had run as hard as he could go and then just fell in a heap. He had been dead before I left the stand the day before.
Upon investigation I found that the arrow had penetrated the upper chest, just behind the front leg and had passed through both lungs, but had not exited on the other, lower side. My Thunderheads would have passed through and there would have been gushers of blood. Yes, the Blood Trailer had done its job properly but had fallen short of its name—leaving no blood trail. (I would never use one again.)
The deer was so huge I could not move it. I had to get my father-in-law to help. The buck’s field dressed weight—a whopping 185 lbs (for Southeast Oklahoma that is huge). Its rack was a wide, heavy beamed 10 point that I have never had scored. I’m extremely proud of it. It larger than most deer I see hanging in guys’ living rooms AND I GOT IT WITH A BOW!!!