First Blood: The Hunt Blog 2013

Touching base with the Caledon prostaff crew this is a great story about a first deer for one of our prostaff. These guys were on fire early and we are hoping they will connect on a couple more as the 2013 season draws to a close. Enjoy the story and relive your first deer!

The 2013 bow season for me started a little weary eyed to say the least. I left Cuba at 11:30 pm on September 30 and arrived in Toronto at 3:00 am on opening day. I checked through customs and made the short drive home arriving in Brampton at 4:00 am which was just in time to gather my gear, grab some breakfast and get ready for my hunting partners who were picking me up at 4:45 am.

As tired as I was, I made a good decision to hunt from a ground blind for the entire day. My partners Pierre and Herb opted for the treetops and it wasn’t long before they reported seeing the silhouettes of deer on the hill tops in front of their field setup. We saw nine deer on opening day but nothing came into bow range although a few close calls were certainly exciting.

For the second day of the season I tried a evening hunt at a different farm and wasn’t in my treestand more than half an hour when I heard the familiar sound of deer moving through the forest. It wasn’t long when in walked 2 Does and a Fawn. I had no intentions of shouting a Doe with a Fawn but a lone Doe would not be passed up. As it turned out the lone Doe presented me with a decent 30 yard broadside shot but as I eyed her up in my scope I thought she was a little small to be taking only two days into the season so I passed on her.

A couple of days later I returned to the same treestand and again within 30 minutes, I had a small Doe come running across a corn field right into the bush beside me. With my bow raised I sized her up but again decided to pass.

The following weekend saw my buddy Pierre and me preparing for an all weekend hunt however the forecast for Saturday was for heavy morning rain. We woke on Saturday to a torrential downpour and decided to wait until the afternoon to see if the skies would clear. Around 11:30 am I phoned Pierre. It was still raining but Pierre is a trooper and always ready to give it a try no matter the weather. We made a decision to drive over to our favorite hunting store first to pick up a few supplies and said if the weather cleared we would head over to the farm. As luck would have it the weather cleared and we arrived at our hunting spot around 2:00 pm.

We decided on using the same stands that the boys were in on opening day which are located on the edge of a clover field about 75 yds apart from one another. It was around 5:30 in the evening when I spotted the first deer, a mature Doe walking down a hillside and heading in Pierre’s direction. I alerted him on the radio and he readied himself for an encounter. I watched the Doe as she cautiously approached the field edge but she was still just out of Pierre’s crossbow range. At about 70 yds she hung up and started sniffing the air. I watched and just couldn’t figure out what was catching her attention. There was a bit of wind but it was blowing directly from her into our faces. She kept this up for the better of ten minutes then turned and slowly walked off in the direction she had come in from.

Pierre was obviously disappointed because he was very excited about the possibility of taking his first deer with a crossbow. We chatted briefly about the encounter over the radios and settled in for the remainder of the evening sit. At about 6:30 pm I was sitting back looking towards Pierre’s stand when I caught some movement in the bush down to his left. Pierre caught it to as two nice Does were moving their way through the cedars towards the field. I watched closely as Pierre got into position to shoot and the two Does entered the field about 40 yds to his left. They slowly walked out into the field and started to angle slightly away from him. I remember thinking “shoot” but no sooner had I murmured this to myself when Pierre released his arrow. I watched as the lead Doe jumped about four feet in the air and I knew Pierre’s arrow had found its spot. The other Doe ran off back up a hill but the Doe that Pierre had hit was very slowly walking down the field towards my stand. She was hunched up quite a bit and I was thinking Pierre might have hit her a little back so as she approached my 30 yd marker, I decided I should finish her off for him. Unfortunately my aim was as good as Pierre’s and I watched as my bolt sailed over her back. Not to worry I thought as she is hit hard and isn’t going far. She continued to walk along the edge of the clover field directly in front of me and then took two steps into the deep grass dropping about 10 feet from the edge of the clover field.

I looked over at Pierre and we exchanged long distance fist pumps. Being his first bow kill Pierre was obviously anxious to retrieve his deer but he managed to sit tight for 45 minutes. It was just getting dark when we climbed down and met in the field in front of his stand. We searched for his arrow but couldn’t find it. Mine on the other hand was tipped with an illuminock tip and was retrieved quite easily. We talked over out next move and confident that the Doe had long expired, we started to slowly walk over to where she went down. We approached quietly and were about 5 yards from her when suddenly to our amazement she jumped up and started across the tall grass field in front of us at full speed. We watched in shock as she disappeared into the dark but as shocked as we were, we still had the smarts to watch and take careful note of the direction she was headed and the trees she passed by. I felt by the way she ran off in a semi circle that she wouldn’t go far but we have all made that wrong assumption before. We lost sight of her and looked back at each other in amazement. To say we weren’t happy with ourselves was an understatement but judging by how hard the she had gone down earlier and the fact she had laid their motionless for 45 minutes, we had assumed that she would have expired but she certainly hadn’t.

Well experience told us two wrongs don’t make a right so we located the blood trail and backed out to the truck to give her a few hours. We made a phone call to our hunting partner Herb and he agreed to join us to help track. The whole time we were waiting was filled with mixed emotions of “excitement of what could be” and then “disappointment of what could be” made worse by the howls of distant coyotes. About two and a half hours later we took up the trail. We arrived at our marker tape with blood light in hand and began to slowly track the deer through the tall grass. Although we had a good blood trail for the first 45 yards it was still very difficult to follow as the blood trail started to zig zag through the grass indicating a staggering animal that was on its last legs. We had to circle back several times to pick up the lost trail but managed to find it each time thanks to the use of marker tape. One thing we have learned from past tracking jobs is that it is wise to always carry a good supply of trail marker tape and use it! After about 60 yards into the tracking job we started to find spots where the Doe was laying down for brief periods. These were many in a very short distance but remember we had backed out for well over two hours so this allowed the Doe to feel comfortable at resting along her escape route. This turned out to be the best decision we could have made as we walked up on her final bedding place about 100 yards from where she had first dropped. Pierre had made a good shot but because of the steep angle of the shot he had only caught one lung. Luckily for us it was deadly enough that she couldn’t go far.

Pierre with his first bow kill
Pierre with his first bow kill

As you can see from the photo there is no bigger smile than the one on the hunter who has just bagged his first bow kill. My congratulations to Pierre on his first deer and our thanks to our hunting companion Herb for his assistance with the tracking.

Story By Hunt Blog Pro Staffers
Greg Mather and Pierre Baulne

Mmmmm Back Straps
Mmmmm Back Straps

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