The Webmasters First Deer - November 2013

I am 2yrs new to trad archery, thanks to the inspiration and friendship with Joe Furlong of Vintage Archery. Through helping Joe with this website and reading or retyping all of Dr. Ed's articles and presentations, I have totally bought into the trad experience and consider all here like minded friends, even though I have not contributed to the conversations. And also thanks specifically to Dr Ashby, after reading and posting all your articles and listening to your presentations at Compton and P&Y about one hundred times while compiling them for, as a trad newbie, I am convinced that his FOC studies are gospel. So, to Dr. Ed, a huge thank you to you for your continuing work.

So my deer story. My son and I boated over to our ground blinds located on public ground early on the 15th. He had seen deer at his spot on many occasions and was upbeat but I was headed to one of my many unsuccessful stands only faintly hoping to intercept a doe heading back to the woods from the romping grounds where we had found many nighttime tracks and camera pix, but few daylight deer. On the ride over I noticed overhead that the stars of the constellation Orion were the only stars visible thru the light cloud layer and commented to my son that that might be an good omen. Then, after dropping him off near his stand, while motoring over to my area, again looked up and the clouds had moved and the only stars I saw were about 7-8 directly overhead that eerily formed a distinct arrow pointing to where my chosen blind was. It did strike me as unusual, but not being a superstitious type, disregarded it.

I found my old location in the dark and tidied it up a bit with some fresh leaves and settled in to wait for the possible migrating doe.

Sitting there in the dark and studying the wind, I came to the realization that if anything came from the lake side I was facing and headed past me towards the timber, they would have two choices to split around me. To the left they would catch my wind before presenting me time to draw or get a decent angle, and the other route to my right, upwind, only offered a good window before they came up even with me, when they probably would be looking right at me, and one at 90 degrees to the trail when I might draw and get a decent shooting angle. Both these paths were inside ten yards from my seat.
So after an anxious few minutes of not liking my setup and with a hint of light in the east and shooting time getting close, I decided to reposition to face the one upwind path and gain an extra shooting lane farther to my right towards the timber which might give me a freedom to draw and a clean shot after the doe had passed me. Half of the path choices but all of the wind advantage.

Waiting now, in the gray early light. Dozing (or listening with my eyes closed) I heard the soft shuffle of something walking slowly towards me comming down the edge of the timber. Magically in the gray light, a large doe moseys along from my front passing to my right, going to pass about 10 feet away. As It begins to pass I shift my seat slightly and the bucket seat makes a quiet tick. At 10 feet, the doe stops looks around, and then continues. I raise the bow, tension and rotate towards her and the seat ticks again. I freeze, the doe freezes, and not looking at me and not panicked, takes a few quick steps past me, leaving me out of luck, facing the woods, the bow up, aimed and at about quarter draw.

Quietly cursing my failure to oil that seat swivel, out of the corner of my eye I immediately see another deer following along about 20 feet back. I see that it is nose down, intently following the doe and quickly notice it has antlers. My subconscious says more than spike antlers, but realizing it is a buck I do force myself to focus on the foreleg as I have read from all you guys here. Focus on the target. Surprisingly I do, and as he steps into lane,not looking at me, just shy of 90 degrees and 10 feet away, I complete the draw. I do subconsciously notice that he turns and looks directly at me, but too late for him the arrow is away, and the green Luminoc bee lines right in. In slow motion I am surprised that A. it went where I had hoped, and B. there was no wobble from a sloppy release. Just a green streak into him just in front of his leg and angling back. He jumps away, crashes into the nearest tree, get up stumbles again about 4 strides later and I lose composure, take my eyes off him reliving the shot.

Not hearing any more noise in that direction and thinking he might be down right there, I stumble back to the boat, trying to get my phone to work to tell my son to pack up, I'm coming to get him. Later he says the call was kind of agitated and he thought I might be having a heart attack.

About 45 minutes later, we are back on scene and find deep marks where he bolted from the arrow. Heading in the direction of the first fall, there is no blood. Confused and searching wider, no deer, no blood. My fears rise from reading stories of lost deer and not really understanding how experienced folks can follow small drops of blood thru the woods.

Back to the blind to start over, and looking a bit farther to the right. There, on a tree, (apparently the first impact tree) is a BIG splash of blood. The another just a few feet farther. As a testimony to the single bevel TuffHead (and I may be biased working with Joe and with little experience to speak from) and to Dr Ashby's updates on super sharp single bevels and the clotting cascade, there going forward was a blood trail a blind person could follow. Apparently both lungs were spraying blood out the entry hole with every step. Not 10 feet without a large blow. They led right to the deer downed about 60 yards into the woods.

So the deer itself turns out to be a big, old gray muzzled buck, with a long right side, 4-5 points and a few more broken off points and a double set of left antlers with 4 more. While not a picture perfect, balanced wall hanger, a mature beauty in my eyes and far more than I expected for my first archery deer.

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