It was my third weekend out with the boys down in London, and finally, the conditions were perfect. At first, I was a little worried that I would not be able to find my path into the bush, because the stick I left on the ground was sure to be covered by the fresh powder that had fallen over night. What a terrible problem to have eh? It was still dark, and I may not have found my path if the three doe we had saw the day before did not use it as their own. I shared their trail for about 20 yards until it veered in the direction of John and James. Once I saw this, I focussed on getting to my tree, because I needed to get up it as soon as possible, and get ready to get a shot at them when they got spooked in my direction when John and or James got set up in their spot.
When I got to my tree, to my delight, there were tracks going in every which direction, and a nice body print, right where a buck had been bedding, not long before I had arrived. I figure I woke him while rushing to my tree. I scooted on up the tree with my climbing stand, and didn’t even sit down because I had this feeling, something I’ve had before, but this time I was right.
At about 7:05, two does came in from my 7 o’clock. I felt that heart beat start kicking, and I already had my sights on the first doe. At 120 yards, I still didn’t have a shot, but when sitting in a stand, just a visual can feel like a win. The lead doe walked until she got to my 9 o’clock, and stopped and looked in my direction. Trying my best to control my breathing, I whispered to her, “come on baby.” Like she heard me, she started walking in my direction, her trailer followed. She came straight across the clearing, taking her sweet time, until she got about 40 yards from me, and she turned 60 degrees, giving me a makeable shot, but this time, I had the option to be picky. If she didn’t give me what I was looking for, her friend was only 15 yards behind her, following right in her footsteps; this morning, I was going to get a second chance.
As she continued to walk past the yard markers I had picked out at first light with my Leopold range finger with DNA technology, I put her in my crosshairs, but my not so controlled breathing had left it fogged to the point I could hardly see her brown silhouette. Seeing this, I began to focus more on my breathing until she left me with a perfect broad side shot at 25 yards. I placed my cheek on my bow, found my target, and pulled the trigger. I immediately heard the slap of my Ragehead blow through her, I knew I had a hit, but the question remained, “How well did I get her?”
I watched her run into the forest and disappear out of sight. Her friend, however, did not have the slightest clue as to what happened, and she turned around, and started retracing her tracks, looking around, trying to figure out what the hell happened. Immediately, I reached for my quiver and a secondary arrow, however calking my Excalibur Equinox crossbow proved to be difficult when sitting in a climbing stand. I eventually pulled it off, but at this point, the second doe was 70 yards away, giving me nothing but her back. There was no way I was going to get a shot at her as well, not right now at least.
I remained ready for more action, as there were more deer in these woods, and it continued to be perfect conditions. I later saw a fawn. She spent time poking around in the snow where my doe had run back into the woods. Not long after that, 17 turkey crossed the clearing, and shortly after that, a buck. Although I saw a lot more, there were no more shots to be had, it was time to track my deer.
James and John came to meet me in my stand, and I guided James to where I made contact with my doe, and he placed an arrow in the snow between two light piles of blood and brown fur, my enter and exit wounds. I took one last peak at where she entered the woods, and shimmied my way down the tree.
We weren’t 15 yards into the woods when I saw her. As it turns out, my shot was right where I wanted it to be. I gutted her, and pulled her to my truck, something I’d wanted to experience for quite some time, and it was every bit as fulfilling as I hoped it would be.
There is something to be said for your first deer, from the shot, to the fear that it wasn’t perfect, to the track, the gut, the pictures, the drag, the hang, the inside loins on the bbq, skinning, the scotch and cigars, and eventually the butchering. Everything about the experience is surreal, and I am beginning to understand the bond shared at hunt camps which I’ve heard so much about.
The Hunt Blog hunting staff