Having to work early this morning I took a break around daylight to go for a quick drive and scan the fields. Sure enough 3 deer in the neighbors pasture along the creek, about half way in on the open forty acres with a wedge of woods to the north. Clearly even from a distance were a nice set of horns just wider than the ears. This is the first really nice buck I've seen clearly this year. The small doe, probably a fawn takes off to the north, curling along the woodline and across the road. I turn my attention back to the buck and watch him with the binocs as he approached the bigger doe, and follows her around. This would be easy with a rifle.... but a bow? Why not give it a try? Maybe i'll at least get close and even learn something new. Back home, geared up and out again in minutes... driving by they are still along the creek but closer to the road. I pass by and go a almost a half mile north to park. Walking back down the edge of the road to wood line bordering the pasture then in where the doe came out, walking along with a nice hill between them and to a spot where the woods edgestowards the hill. There it juts out into the pasture with a cluster trees to kneel next to... not much cover but better than nothing. 15-20 minutes go by as I scan the terrain, not seeing the deer but seeing guessing where they are probably going to go.... either 1) back along the creek to the east. out of sight and out of range, but they were not moving that way . 2) Along the creek to the west, crossing the road... but there is a house in there with some construction going on and I doubt they would head straigt for it. 3) Up towards me, but probably in themiddle of the field and onto a trail I saw coming in, or across the road there where that young deer went. That is over is 100 yards away, again fine with a rifle but not today. Looking at a slight depression before the hill I decide to make my way out. Crawling, moving a bit faster whenever a car or truck goes by, then slowing and stopping to glass the edge of the hill. A county truck goes by grading the road and I see horns come up... just horns and maybe the backs of ears. I move closer by about 10 feet before I see them turn and move northwest. First I see the does head, about 20 yards in front of where I saw the rack on the horizon, moving slowly. Then he follows... They are probably 60-75 yards away at this point. I'm layingdown in the grass, still as can be.. mostly wondering what the heck I was thinking coming out in the open. I watch the doe looking at me for a long time. He looks a few times, but mostly his attention is on her. The wind is pushing my scent to the north, although I probably smell more like cow manure than anything after the crawl from the field, and they are still west/sw of me. I'm glad I wore my wool coat with the hood. I can peek out from under it and watch them. I cant move, just hope.
Finally she looks away and goes back to grazing. He moves between us, facing away from me at 55 yards. I dare not stand, but when both heads are turned I take a knee and attach my release, grip right, relaxed and ready.. I've practice this shot from my knees out to 45 yards with increasing success but I'd prefer 30, or even 25 yards. Red pin is still too far of a shot, wishing for a yardage meter and guessing by the ground distance. On the next look, they notice me but I dont move, and the rising sun is more or less behind me. They dont seem spooked, she actually looks away as the milk truck lumbers past but not him... still wary but not spooked he comes towards me... 10 yards closer then stops. Now she is looking at him, watching his body language and tail for alarm that never comes. A few more steps... man is he big from here. Gotta be 45 yards... wish I had a range finder he looks away and I come full draw.... breathe deep.... just a bit closer now.... a few more steps then he turns broadside and stops...... a the last minute I adjust to the yellow pin on the middle of his torso above the leg and I release, watching the arrow in flight on a good trajectory for the lungs down to the heart then dropping away quickly and below him. They take off down the hill towards the creek, not a mad dash as I had expected, just moving away from trouble.
No need to sit there and wait very long, knowing they are gone, and go to find my arrow to get back to work. No blood, no foul I guess. Not disappointed in the hunt, only in the dumb shot that I could not resist. What happenned to wait? What happenned to only close shots, no misses no wounding anymore deer?? Why not creep closer on knees to get a better one.. who cares if they take off. What if I had done as planned and put the red pin on him? Maybe I should have waited and watched to see where they go to bed, then ambush later today. Lots of what ifs, BUT this hunt was a blast. More importanltly a great education for both me and the deer. With rifle season coming up, and sitting in the open on that corner he would have been dead openning mordning next monday. For me A) get a range finder B) Keep practicing out to 50 yards and beyond over the winter and next year.
Good things come to those who shoot straight.
Matthews Switchback XT,
55lb draw, 100 gr Thunderhead XP's.
Easton arrows, made in the USA.