This story is a little bit delayed as it has been a busy couple of weeks. I apologize in advance for the lack of photos in the field but it will become apparent why when you see the pictures at the end of the article.
This particular story goes back to last winter when I first obtained permission to hunt a new piece of property. Like always winter can be one of the best times to scout. The leaves are all off so you can get a good idea of what the layout will be in the fall. It is also a great time to look for runways and trails which can really help with choosing stand locations. I always try to make scouting a family occasion.
I will grab some coffee and hot chocolate and take the dogs for a walk with my wife. Its a good way to get some exercise and help others share and learn about the outdoors.
I was able to pick a tree and returned in the spring when the weather was a little more favorable to hang a stand. Because the farm had a number of neighboring properties and I wasn’t sure how much traffic the area got I elected to go old school for the first season and build a home-made wooden stand rather than risk loosing a ladder-stand.
I hung the stand mid summer and trimmed my shooting lanes. Now it was just time to wait for October 1st to arrive. It was my third sit in this particular set and I was yet to see a deer. I was confident in the location however. I was in an old pine on the edge of a large stand of hardwoods with a meadow to my left. There are two well worn trails cut through the woods where I was sure the deer would come from.
It was a warm evening but the temperature was forecasted to drop overnight to near freezing. As the sun fell and temperature dropped my anticipation began to grow. At 6:30 I heard a sound and as I strained to identify it I suddenly recognized it as that familiar slow crunching of leaves under hooves.
It was coming from the woods to my right and it was coming closer. I turned to my right and readied myself for a shot. At twenty yards a nice doe stepped out. She turned and walked directly towards my stand. For a moment I thought she was going to walk head on under my stand and I would never get a shot. At 8 yards however she turned and presented me with a gentle quartering shot. I drew back my Bear bow and settled my pin just in-front of her front shoulder and punched the release.
The shot was perfect. She ran maybe 30 yards and I watched her go down from my tree. She was far from the biggest deer I have ever taken but my hard work in the off season payed off. I was able to make an ethical shot on a great animal and enjoy some delicious tenderloins.
This was the first time I have ever harvested an animal completely solo and I must say that it was more than I bargained for. Aside from the fact that I have a known pack of big healthy coyotes in the area (see below) there was a lot of work to do in the dark. Luckily good preparation paid off, I had my field dressing kit all put together in the car and I had her cleaned and loaded in the car in no time. I will save the story of trying to get a deer into my hatch back for another day, can’t wait until I have a truck!
In short this is not the biggest deer but it is exactly the sort of thing our site is about. The ability for everyone to share their conquest no matter what the size of the harvest. I am very proud of this deer and now I have some great meat in the freezer and can focus my remaining hunts on something with a little more head gear.
Have a successful and safe rut! We will speak soon I am sure.
– also stay tuned for our butchering segment on how to take your deer from the field to your families dinner plates
Look at those Rage broadheads. I am a true believer!