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Opening Morning Happiness to Heartache....

660 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  King
Well I have been practicing since I got my bow in May. Confidence was high as I climbed into my stand Saturday morning an hour or so ahead of first light. I had set up on a road, literally right on top of a major hog trail, and had deer standing some 50 yds from me while I set the stand. The property had not been seriously hunted in around 8 or so years so we had no idea what to expect, as we haven't scouted it much due to the over growth of yopon and other underbrush.

First light was around 7'ish, and hopes were high of something coming along to look over. At around 7:30 I saw movement at the far end of the road around 100yds away. I tried to get the binocs out from under my harness but the deer was coming on towards me and I didn't want to spook it. I had previously ranged things and knew what the distances were in my open shooting lanes, so wasn't worried about that. As it got closer I noted a small set of antlers on top. The deer was a good sized 2-3 yr old but the horns were hardly out to his ears but were a perfect 8 point rack. I decided to see if I could at least get drawn on it since this was the first time I had ever been in that situation.

I waited till I thought things were right and stood up slowly, so far so good. The buck was now closing the gap and moving inside of 30 yds. I raised the bow and picked the lane that would allow for an unobstructed shot between two tree trunks. As his head passed behind the first I drew. As he stepped into the clearing between the trees, I had already set my sight pin on his shoulder as he stopped almost perfectly broadside. He had a ever so slight angle to him but easily through the onside shoulder and out behind the offside. Not having a clue I was there I decided to take him for my first ever archery deer.

Just as I applied pressure to the release, I noticed his head raise. The arrow was already on it's way and it hit him like a semi, and slammed him hard sideways, almost taking him down. I was taken by surprise at the noise of the impact but watched as he slammed into things as he took off through the underbrush, and sounded like he finished up some 60 or so yards off through the woods. Well after some 15 minutes or so of total silence, I quietly eased down from the stand shaking like I haven't in a long time. I made my way the short distance to where he was standing and looked the area over.

There about 10 feet from where I hit him was when my stomach knotted. I found my arrow but instead of being bright red like I was expecting, it was a dull green. The arrow was a Beman Hunter 340, tipped with a 100gr Slick Trick, and I have clocked them at 258 at 20 yrds which is where he was standing. Accuracy has been less than an inch for groups with this so I felt confident in my shot. The green was puzzling to me,as I was steady and had no idea of how I hit that far back. I know from past experience NOT to head after something in this situation. So I slipped back up to the stand and gathered everything up and headed out.

At 9'ish I picked up the other hunter I had carried out and we headed up to the house to change out and eat a bite. At this point I wasn't overly concerned with finding the buck but did want to wait. Still I had the knotted stomach from the unknown. Around eleven or so we headed back to recover the deer. With 4 of us slowly making our way into stuff that would make Briar Rabbit happy we finially found the first blood some 60 or so yards away and it was only a smear on the underside of a leaf. This was some 45 minutes into the search. By this time I had the bile rolling in my stomach to the point I was almost sick. After some three hours of looking we had only found two more tiny drops. Had I not seen what was on the arrow I might not have been so sick but knowing of the bad hit I was just crushed. At around 2:30 we broke off the hunt simply due to the fact we could not find anything to indicate the direction of travel past the point of last blood. With so much thick cover and no sign he could have been anywhere. The edge of the strip I was hunting was bordered by a gas pipeline which had no been mowed and had been overgrown with Ironweed which was around 5' tall. We had figured that if he made it that far he was probably bedded in that stuff but we would have to trip on him to find him. Even at that walking through the stuff was almost impossible due to the thickness. Even so we tried a cross search of it as best we could and commented that we could have walked right by him and never seen him.

That evening I hunted away from that area and was strictly looking for hogs. The only one I saw I simply put the arrow back in the quiver as I didn't want to have to run for it after making it mad. Been there done that, and this was a real bruisier. After dark when we got back to the house, my friend said he found my deer, or at least knew where he was. The buzzards had located him right in the middle of the Ironweed on the pipeline. We had indeed walked within 10 feet and never had a clue.

So around 10 p.m. Saturday evening some 15 hours or so from the initial shot, we headed back to find him and see what was left. Even knowing where he was, it was still a major chore to get to him through the thick weeds. After finding him, we were at least lucky that the birds had gone for the lower end and not the initial impact. The deer had ducked the arrow a bit, and it caught him directly through the top of the back between the shoulders, breaking things as it went through. The vertabre in the back were all broken up and in pieces, the arrow and passed on through to just in front of his offside ham, and come out on the lower abdomen, close to 3' of penetration. How he went anywhere is a testiment to the tenasity of these fine animals. We surmised from the exit that the intestines had closed up the hole making any possibility of a trail slim to none.

The end result was a recovery of tagged set of antlers and I am proud that we found him. I am not proud of the fact that the meat was a waste, but do understand that this sometimes happens. I know all of the cliche's but it still doesn't make it better.

I definately learned a few things thats for sure. We found him the same evening 15 hours after the initial shot. We debated on the meat and decided better safe than sorry. We're here in Tx, and the temps were in the high 80's most of Saturday and not a cloud in the sky. On top of that the local buzzards had already made good on getting the more tender areas opened up and strone out. When we found him they hadn't gotten the weeds beat down around his back where the entry was yet, and the exit was still for the most part intact.

I have to say that the help I received from my friends was paramount in my, not only getting this deer but also in recovering it as well. They have helped me with my questions from picking out a bow, to arrows, and everything in between. They went through brush and thorny vines so thick we had to crawl for yards at a time, and walked through shoulder deep pollenating ironweed with no reguard to the allergies it was wreaking havoc on. They looked as hard for my deer as if it had been their own. This is why I call them friends, they are always willing to do what ever it takes, and the reverse is true of me as well. As always they have my undaunting appreciation.

So here is the end result of our effort, my first archery buck,



You can't always start at the top, but I figure I at least got a step or two up on the ladder.
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Glad ya found him...too bad about the loss of meat. Congrats though ...that's about how big our bucks are around here...lol...still a trophy though!
 

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congrats, how far total distance did he travel?
He went about 150yds from where I hit him. Not sure of the exact route he took as there was no trail at all to follow. All we really had to go on was what I saw when he left, and where I last saw him going through the underbrush.

Glad ya found him...too bad about the loss of meat. Congrats though ...that's about how big our bucks are around here...lol...still a trophy though!
Thanks, we have bigger but they don't always cooperate with our plans. Overall this was about the average or just under of what was seen this past weekend. The big boys will start moving in the coming weeks as the weather cools, and the rut kicks in. I am done with bucks in that partiicular county, but can get one more from another couple of counties we hunt, plus two does. Does are next on the list.
 

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Great story and glad you found him. Congratulations!
 
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