In the eight years that ive been a bowhunter, never had i had such a memorable season than the 2007 whitetail season. Many years previous i had figured out exactly what NOT to do while in the stand, and i had figured out how not to screw up the perfect situation. Why was 2007 so different? I have no idea, but that year, i commited the 10 deadliest sins of bowhunting.

     It was one week before the bow hunting opener,and once again i found myself traveling to my soon to be stand location. The woods is my favorite place to be, and i tend to overdue it every year. Yes the relationship stuggles, but i make up for it with flowers and a trip to the movie theater. This was not unlike any other day, it smelled the same, looked the same and felt the same as always. But as soon as i stepped into the woodlot, i knew that i was about to screw up. That just made me want to go further, and thats exaclty what i did. I took, maybe, three more steps and i heard that all too familiar sound of breaking sticks and crunching leaves. The buck of a lifetime was making a break for the swamp in front of me, and it was all i could do to not faint at the sight of those bleached white horns. I immidiately turned around and walked out, got into my truck, and left tread marks in the soft mud. I had just made the first deadliest sin.  Entering the woods at the wrong time, and spooking the one animal i was after.

     A week later, October 1st, was my birthday. I was heading to the same spot i had spooked the buck out of the week before. “He wont remember me” i thought to myself. Well, i never got the chance to find out if he remembered me or not. My stand was hung beautifully along the edge of the thickest swamp i could find. Notice the “was” in the previous sentence. The tree was still there, yes, but something was missing.My tree steps, my stand, and even my screw in bow holder were all gone. Deadly sin number two, hang a sweet stand location, and dont lock it up. Yes, even on private land, it matters.

     October 2nd, deadliest sin number three was commited. Another potential sweet spot, hung on the edge of a food plot with thick woods on all sides. Mosquitos were flying everywhere this evening, and it was only 80 degrees, if not more. The swamp sits behind me, with no more than birds and squirrels making any noise. It was nearing dark, i figured i had at least an hour left before i had to leave the stand. I lit a cigarette, and sat down on the small seat of my hang on. Puff after puff i looked through the swamp, but nothing was visible to my eyes. My cigarette was flicked to the ground, and i swatted at the mosquitos buzzing around my head. “Snap, crunch crunch crunch.” That didnt sound so good. I looked slowly through the woods, and there it was. HORNS! Where they had come from, i dont know. But they certainly weren’t coming my way. The buck stopped long enough to give me the look that said, “busted”, and turned to slowly walk away. Deadliest sin number three, go out hunting on an 80 degree day with out any unscented bug spray and a tee shirt on.

     October 3rd, a cousin called and wanted to go hunting the next morning.”Sure”, i said, “come on down, ive got a good stand for you to hunt.” I waited for a few hours, and he finally arrived.  He asked about his stand site, and i informed him about the funnel he would be hunting, that sat beautifully between two corn fields. He got real excited, and asked to go shoot bows. I got out my brand new X-Force, not even a month old yet. Her camo glistened in the light, and her sights sat brightly in my peep site. Shot after shot, i was consistently grouping arrows within an inch of each other. “Can i shoot your bow?” he asked. I handed it too him, and he made the unfortunate attempt to draw it back, without the one most important thing that stood between the hunter and the hunted. The 300 grain Radial X-Weave tipped with a 100 grain field point. Halfway drawn, he started to strain, but he got it to full draw, only to have the string slip out of his fingers. The unforgiving snap of the bowstring was like a shot through the heart. Her cams snapped forward, and the cables wound up and got kinked with the string. Sixty dollars and one week later, i was again shooting my beautiful hunting partner.Deadly sin number four, buy a new bow and let a kid, who can’t even climb a stand without breaking something, try to draw it back.

     The morning of October 20th was a very cool, frosty morning. The sting of the fresh air filled my lungs as the frost broke away under my feet. I walked into the open field, and knew that something was moving. Didn’t phase me, so i kept walking. I stopped at the bottom edge of the field, and looked up at the sky. The stars were bright, and one of them seemed to have a resemblence of an arrow. I followed it down through the sky, and then to the ground in front of me. There, not fifty yards away, stood a beautiful buck. His horns stood out in the moonlight, and his body swayed as he ran farther and farther away. I continued onto my stand, only after kicking myself once or swice.Deadliest sin number five, see something in the field in front of you and continue to walk one foot in front of the other, without paying it the slightest glance.

       I was in my stand within ten minutes, and my bow was seated gingerly between my palm and fingers. I looked around, checked my watch, and then looked again. I knew i just scared a good deer, but you can’t change the past. Just then i heard a grunt, and here came a small buck. He walked directly towards me, where a small four point was standing below me, but i never knew he was there. The four point turned and hauled donkey through the swamp. The other buck, a five point, came to twenty yards, and i drew my bow. He stopped and looked staight at me, but my pin floated gently over his vitals. “Thwack!” went the bow, and the rage broadhead flew right over his back. He ran off, and turned around again. My bow again was drawn, same pin on his vitals, and again i released. This arrow flew true, through both lungs, and out the other side. The buck kicked his hind legs and ran off into the woods. I took a deep breath, and waited for twenty minutes. Upon climbing down, i found the first arrow. It was ten yards from my tree, and i shot my twenty yard pin. The other was laced in light red, bubbly blood. Deadliest sin number six, misjudge an easy shot at a good deer, and shoot over it’s back.

5 point

     Two weeks later, i was in the woods again. This time i was in a different spot that i had hung three days earlier, with rubs all around. It was a chilly afternoon, but the wind was calm and my nerves were settling after a long days work. My stand was comfy, and my butt sank into the soft foam. After a while, it started to get uncomfortable because i sank through the foam to the hard seat below. It was almost dark, so i figured id get down and head home. I hit the bottom of the stand, and picked up my bow. When i started walking, I was abrubtly halted by the sound of a grunt. A doe ran by me, within thirty yards, plainly visible in the remaining daylight. But, the doe is not the one that made the grunt. There he was, the same buck i spooked a week before season, heading straight at me, at the base of my tree, with nothing more than a sore butt ready to kill him with. He ran right by me without even shooting me a glance, and was gone into the woods, still grunting with every step. Deadliest sin number seven, get out of your stand too early just to scare the buck of a lifetime away, again.

     My hunting buddy called me on the radio not more than five minutes later. “There is a giant buck with two does right below me right now!” Well, why he had to call me to tell me i didn’t know, but i started to walk towards him. He called again and said that he had just shot at the huge ten point, twelve yards away.I was on my way to his stand, excited already. We had both seen nice bucks tonight, and he even shot at the one he saw. Deadliest sin number eight, let your buddy, that can’t hit a brick wall, sit one of your best stands. Add deadliest sin number seven to sin number eight, and its a sure plan for defeat.

      It was not a week later, and my twin brothers were hunting with me. I sat one in the funnel between the corn fields, and decided where to put the other. “Well, i want to sit where you saw the big one,” he said. So i agreed, even though I didnt want to. The morning was slow, squirrels were running everywhere, and i even saw a turkey. Not a single deer passed me all morning, and it was starting to rain. I climbed down, and slowly walked through the puddles. They splashed beneath my feet as I though, “I sure hope one of them saw something.” Joey was down already, running to me through the field. “I saw a GIANT!” he exclaimed. Great, now i hoped he shot it. “It was like fifty yards away, and i dont feel comfortable shooting that far.” Well, that was a good idea. He walked me to where the buck stood, and i paced the ground towards the stand. The base of the tree was twenty six yards from where the buck stood, and his jaw hit the ground. “I could have shot him!?” Sure enough, he was sighted in to thirty yards, dead center everytime. Deadliest sin number nine, change your mind about where you are hunting on a given day, only to find out it was, again, the wrong decision.

     It was the end of the deer season, now January 2008. I had finally comitted deadliest sin number ten. Commit the first nine sins all in one season, wish that you hadn’t, and be tired of hunting. One day after season, you now look forward to doing it all over again next year.