Non-Typical Hunting Story

 

It was November 17, 2007 the first day of Virginia’s firearms deer season; however, instead of carrying a rifle I had my bow.  This would be the first year I decided to hunt with a bow exclusively.   I was in my favorite tree stand situated in a perfect funnel.  It’s a small strip of timber about 60 yards wide bordered by a river to the south and a large open field to the north.  It connects a bedding area to the east and a stand of white oaks to the west.  Since my stand is in the middle of the funnel every deer that comes through will pass within bow range of my stand.   Thanks to my Mossy Oak camouflage a deer has never seen me in this stand.  At least not until it was too late.

This particular morning I had a north wind so I used my hip boots to wade the river coming in from the south thus keeping the wind in my face.  I was situated in my stand one hour before sunrise in order to let the woods settle down from any disturbance I made coming in.  Several deer passed by in the darkness unaware of my presence.  The way this stand is situated it is practically windproof.  Especially with the upward pull of the morning thermals.  I have hunted this stand for several years and I have never been winded.  I can thank ScentBlocker to some extent but knowing how to use wind direction and thermals is also an important role in staying undetected by a whitetails keen sense of smell.  Thermals can best be defined as the movement of air as it is heated or cooled.  In the morning air is being heated and it rises.  The opposite happens at sundown.  The air is cooled and it is pushed down.

When it finally got light enough to see several doe groups started to file past my stand.  There was also a young fork horn and a six pointer that ambled by.  I almost picked up my bow when a nice 8 pointer came by but I was waiting on one particular buck that I had been hunting for 3 years.  The first time I saw him was as a 3 year old 10 pointer.  Over the next couple of years he added more mass and several sticker points.  I had only seen him with my own eyes 2 times in 3 years.  Every spring I would question all the local farmers to see if they had seen “my deer”.  Everyone knew him because he was the biggest deer around. 

Around eleven o’clock the action started to slow down.  I relaxed a little and started to think about what I had packed for lunch.  Then I caught movement coming from the east.  I immediately got my binoculars up and tried to find the source.  It was a deer a big deer by itself coming my way with its head down.  I never actually saw his rack but I knew it had to be “my buck”.  So I stood up and prepared to make the shot.  If he continued on his present course he would come by my stand at 20 yards.  He was on a trail that had given me several shot opportunities over the years.  As he disappeared into a cutout I knew the next time I saw him he would be within bow range.  It seemed like it took forever for him to close the last 50 yards but the woods were quiet and the leaves were dry so I could hear him coming.  I actually thought why is he making so much noise.  He was moving slow very slow for some reason. 

When his head finally popped up over the bank my heart sank.  It was a doe.  Then I saw why she had been making so much noise and moving so slowly.  She was dragging her left back leg.  She had apparently been wounded.  Of course when I saw this it was obvious that I was going to take a shot.  My heart started to race again. When her head disappeared behind a bush I drew my bow.  She cleared the bush and paused for a second to rest.  Looking through my Red Hawk peep I settled my 20 yard pin behind the front shoulder and squeezed the trigger.  I watched as the Slick Trick tipped Easton disappeared right where I was aiming.  You would be surprised how fast a mature deer with a wounded leg can move especially after a double lung hit.  I watched as she ran down the hill and expired. 

I sat back down and waited thirty minutes expecting someone to come by trailing a wounded deer.  I was hoping it was a young kid looking for his or her first deer.  It wasn’t exactly how I had imagined the day would end but it was still rewarding especially if I had allowed a youngster to find their first deer.  After climbing down and finding my arrow I followed the blood trail even though I had seen the deer fall.  As I rolled the deer over and prepared to field dress her I realized why no one had showed up.  The wound wasn’t from a bullet.  She had clearly been hit by a car.  I could still take solace knowing I had ended what was sure to be a long painful death.

I never did see “my buck” but there is always next year.