My First Archery Deer
|Bows - Compound Bows|
There’s nothing like harvesting your first deer with a bow and arrow to give you confidence that it can actually be done. After coming up empty the last two deer hunting seasons, last year by archery and the year before by firearms, I was beginning to think I would never get another deer. Luckily, that all changed last October when I shot my first deer with a bow and arrow.
It was a warm October evening and I had been in my stand for about an hour. My husband Brian and I were hunting the 13-acre property owned by my mother in the northern Twin Cities suburb of Andover. The property is a deer haven in the middle of this growing suburb, former horse pasture full of mature oak trees and bordering on a small slough. Hunting this area is different from hunting state forests or Wildlife Management Areas. The sounds of barking dogs and the neighbor’s stereo are more prevalent than the woodland sounds of chirping birds or other wildlife. The squirrels, however, were numerous and active, anxiously gathering every acorn they could find in preparation for the winter. In fact, I was certain it was just a pack of noisy squirrels coming up behind me when I looked over my left shoulder. Much to my surprise, however, came four deer – what appeared to be two does with two yearlings, coming from the small finger of woods that winds behind an adjacent street full of single-family homes. They were quickly coming within bow range and I knew I had to act fast or I would lose this opportunity. I was so excited, I could barely pull my bow back – in fact, it took me three tries to come to full draw. By the time I got to full draw, the first doe had walked out of range. I was waiting for the two yearlings to continue on, hoping that the second doe would give me a shot. My arms were getting very tired by this point and I thought I was going to have to let down. Luckily, the doe continued down the path and paused right in my shooting lane. I released the arrow and saw her jump. At this point I wasn’t sure where I hit her, but I had a good feeling about the shot, and tried to mark where I last saw her.
Shaking and excited, I climbed out of my stand and went to get Brian. We decided to wait an hour before tracking her, which seemed to be an eternity. We found my arrow immediately, the broadhead was broken off and the entire shaft was covered in blood, indicating a good hit. Tracking the deer was almost as fun as the hunt itself – finding tufts of hair and using the direction of the blood spatters to determine which way she went. The trail was fairly easy to follow for the first 75 yards. That is when the trail abruptly stopped, however, and after several minutes of searching, I began to worry we wouldn’t find my deer. Then Brian told me to look in an area we had already searched, and finally, about 25 yards away, there she was. She was down, with a perfect shot through the heart! I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning to have taken my first archery deer. It appeared that in her final moments, the doe doubled back and then changed directions, explaining why we could not track her those last 25 yards.
Even though it was not a trophy buck, the thrill of harvesting my first deer with a bow and arrow was just as great and I can’t wait to go out again next season.
© April 2006
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