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” A hunt based on the trophies taken falls short of what the ultimate goal should be” – Fred Bear
As gun season was coming to an end this year, I found myself really down about not having a single shot or prospective deer in sight. Trail cameras had shown me that there were multiple mature bucks on this 70 acres but I was not in the right place at the right time. As I reflected I realized I was blessed to have the time off for the week to spend time with the special men in my life, my dad, brother and husband. I was completely stress free and had a better perspective on what hunting is truly about! I had been taking Gods beautiful masterpieces for granted.
I took a few weeks to study the deer closer and check out their food supplies. Ohio weather had been very unpredictable and it was effecting deer patterns.
On December 21st, I decided I needed some treestand time after work. I had a better attitude than I had a few weeks prior and was just ready to get back about there even if it was for a relaxing evening.
I made it to my stand in good timing and the weather was decent 30-40 degrees. I was enjoying watching a few squirrels and my hands began to get cold so I put my hands in my pockets and laid my bow across my lap ( no I do not wear gloves as I feel it puts me at a disadvantage) Of course right then, as I was not ready, a doe comes in from behind my stand followed by 2 little ones. This is the same doe I passed up earlier in the season as I did not have the heart to take her from her little ones. And then, another 2 does followed, one of which was decent size and a potential shooter. I quickly grabbed my rangefinder to see how far this path was behind my stand and it was downhill and 30 yards…. if only I had been ready. Ok no big deal there were heading up the hill to the field, so I may get another chance!
I watch closely at the deer as I begin to shift in the stand and prepare for a shot making sure that they don’t catch any of my movement. The larger doe makes her way down the field towards me…. she is standing broad side… I pull back to shoot and quickly realized I needed to stand up for the adequate room in this treestand….. I did not follow my own rule of ensuring this beforehand and taking time with the shot… my stabilizer could not be above or below the gun rest with the ability to shoot and I completely missed! Ok still not losing heart so I put another arrow in and wait… the doe barely moved! I am so mad at myself yet still keeping faith since she didn’t even spook! I wait and as she is not looking I stand up and wait… just as I begin to pull back again I hear a distinct thrashing behind me and I turn slowly to see …. antlers peeking out of a thick brush and I find myself shaking and I turn in slow motion to rest a knee on the seat of the treestand to steady myself…. breathe…. this is that same 30 yard path the does came out on… ok he’s a 10… a nice buck that somehow miraculously does not see you…. so I pull back and wait for him to step out of the brush…. deep breath…. pull from the shoulders…. aim and keep both eyes open and shoot…. and the “thud” of an arrow every hunter hopes for as he leaps in the air!!…. I’m ecstatic!!! And shaking and breathing heavy and turn around to an audience of the does…. haha!!
I sat down debating of taking another shot at one of the does but the adrenaline was just too much… I sat and took it all in… tracing back every moment of the shot and the direction he ran..
I called my husband and my best friend as soon as I got back to the house to tell them the news and I’m sure I sounded like a blubbering fool!
Waiting for 3 hours before tracking him seemed like forever! my husband and I began tracking and found the arrow followed by a lot of blood and more blood…. then things got interesting as the blood spots were going in circles … blood there and here and over there and wait that’s the blood I just looked at…. so we were not close to a direct path… and it was getting darker, so we decided to head back to the house and wait until morning. I remember not sleeping well that night wondering how close we were and praying he was not suffering.
So the circles began to make more sense in the daylight and we found a thin trail of blood coming from the circle that we would have never found with a flashlight … we follow it down to the creek and up over a steep hill… which made me lose some hope… but I remember that testosterone can do some crazy things…. we get to the top of the hill to more blood circles in the thickest briars and brush… desperately I begin to scan the area and I see him…. my beautiful buck is down! I’m sad and excited at the same time…. humbled that I was blessed to harvest such a beautiful creature!! And I pray he did not suffer! I take a moment with my harvest thanking God for providing for my family and giving me the guidance and the skills to bowhunt…. there is no other feeling…A true respect! God is good and He will provide!
” Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow and go out to the field and take me some venison”- Genesis 27:3