This is the second story of the season from prostaff member James Williams. He has had some awesome hunts so far this year and we are hoping in true Canadian fashion he can complete the hatrick when the boys are down in late December! Another great story Jim!
It was our first hunt of the season, and the only way to explain how excited I was is to try and put you in my shoes. On the last hunt of last season, I harvested my first deer. So during the off season, I scouted out countless new spots, studied the migratory patterns of the signs I saw, and compared them to what I predicted based on Google Maps. Also, we added a new Prostaff member, Ryan Farrow, who would be making his hunting debut. Essentially, picture your first hunt after you harvested your first deer, add ten months of anticipation, and three of your best friends, that’s how pumped I was.
Luckily, my anticipation didn’t have to wait long. Right after first light, I heard a branch break on the path I took in. I listened intently for any other sound, but nothing, so that’s what I chalked it up as. It wasn’t until he walked through my evergreen cover directly in front of my stand that I saw him. He walked past me at a decent pace, I bleeped, he looked, I shot. I was a little bit further back than I wanted to be, but it did what it had to do, and he dropped about 80 yards away, and I officially got my first buck.
So on Farrow’s first hunt, he got to help me drag the three and a half year old out of the bush, and into his new truck. We went back to the London headquarters, and we had a successful weekend before it even started. We were a little behind schedule, but for good reason, when we headed to our second spot for our evening hunt.
After being set up for about half an hour, a little spike buck came walking along the creek. I assume he was looking for a place to cross. I first spotted him at about 60 yards, and I spent a lot of time studying him. Starting at about 50 yards, he started looking at me every time I budged. When my hood rubbed on the tree behind me, the buck looked in my direction. I made noise about 3 times, and the result was the same every time. By the time I was ready for my shot, he was 25 yards away, giving me a perfect broad side shot.
With a smile on my face, I shot my second buck of the day. We waited until dark, about 2 hours later, and we started to follow the blood trail, and follow the blood trail, and well, we lost the blood trail. We continued to look until 11 pm before we decided to go back to HQ, and get some rest. We figured we would come back and hunt in the morning, then go back to last blood and do a grid search. Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t find the buck I shot.
From what I’ve heard, there comes a time in most hunting careers when you lose an animal, I just didn’t expect it could happen to me. I try to justify it, telling myself that he still played his role in the food chain, but it would be infinitely better if our party got to harvest him, instead of beefing up the coyotes in the area.
The first hunt of the season was definitely a bitter-sweet one, and a great experience for everyone involved. Obviously we all wish things went a little bit differently, but at this point, all we can do is learn from our mistakes, and always ensure we hunt ethically. I didn’t hit my mark on either of my two shots that day. I have to head back to the block, and keep getting more shots in, but there is an unbelievable difference between practice and being in the field. Unfortunately, there is only one way to gain experience. From this experience, I learned that I have to be sure of the distance I’m shooting, I have to aim smaller, and don’t take a good hit for granted, the deer isn’t yours until he is in the freezer.