Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pat on the back

Another spell was broken last night. Or actually this morning.

After an arduous track on a wounded deer, I took a doe with my bow.

It had been more than three years since I tasted archery success. I realize most state DNRs place hunter success rates at roughly somewhere between 8 percent to 15 percent. So I had nothing to be ashamed of. Plus, I had been trying out traditional equipment most of those years, which greatly cuts down on an archer's range.

But Saturday, Oct. 14, all was put to rest with a not so well-placed shot. I'm not sure why, but the arrow from my archaic 1994 Mountaineer hit back between the hind leg and the rib cage. Maybe a deflection. Maybe the bow's off. Or maybe just a bad shot in waning light.

I was going to check the bow's sighting at my backyard range today but ran out of time from having to cut up the 150-pounder. In fact, I didn't even get a chance to throw together "Mac's Work-fried Steak." A recipe I'll release one of these days on my online hunting magazine but not now. Booooooooo. Yeah, I know.

Anyway, back to the wayward bow hunt we go.

I released my last arrow at 7:10 p.m. (Yes, there had been two previous shots on this night: one at a buck who surprised me by coming over my right shoulder exactly in my proposed shooting lane while I was watching another buck across the field, and another at the doe I hit fatally with the last broadhead in my quiver.)

Thanks to ScentLok and curiosity, she came back. I shot and heard a thud! "I didn't miss that time," I said under my breath.

I figured it was a good hit, so after waiting out the remaining herd who seemed enamored with the buck urine I dumped under my stand, I climbed down after 15 minutes. Usually, I wait at least a half hour.

Two hours later, still into the tracking, I returned a call to my friend Walt of Dansville, who informed me the Tigers won the pennant and encouraged me to continue.

The pep talk from my old buddy did some good. After struggling to stay on the blood trail in the tall grassy field, the drops started to jump out on me. And I'll have to say right here, what a hero my Cabela's headlamp was in this. Without it, I'd been done. And I knew this much. So every minute that passed, I was waiting for the inevitable darkness but it never came.

The trail was going right to the woods to the north. Made sense later when I finally caught up to the bionic doe laying along a drainage ditch. Ye olde "they always go to water" saying being applied.

But before this, I ran into six white reflective eyes peering attentively at me. It was then I was worried about jumping this deer, and started questioning if I should go on. I continued to look for clues.

And it was here that I will give myself good marks for a change.

For some reason, these deer were not boogieing out of here. They were attached to something, which clicked on my "Spidey" sense. The deer must be piled up in here. I proceded ahead and immediately found spraying blood. This was good. The end must be near. Little did I know ...

Suddenly, up crashed a deer, and I heard it struggle ahead beyond my light's range. I looked down and saw where it had bedded down. It would have laid right here and died had I came back tomorrow, I whispered. Damn!

I decided to chance it based on how much blood there was on the ground. The shock has got to set in at some point is what I was thinking. And I really didn't want to wait because I've lost a deer I've left overnight to coyotes and it sucks.

The trail was easy to pick up again. And another 30 yards, there she was laying on the edge of the water. Finally! But wait, she's still alive. I slowly walked up on her and tried to jam one of my arrows into the boiler room.

That turned out to be a bad mistake. Up she jumped and into the water she went. I tried waiting her out but it was taking too long. I knew my fate. I was going to have to jump into the water after missing her again at point blank range.

Well, in trying to end this endurance tale, let's just say I got wet and the deer finally expired. But the worst was yet to come. That being the 500-yard deer drag back to my truck through the narrow path in the bean field, which ended at 12:22 a.m. -- five hours after I sent the arrow to its mark.

People, I'm getting too old for this. And I'm definitely investing in one of those game carts. This will work in the interlude until the guy's beans come down and I can drive my quad out to the back 40. I'm still aching.

But the deer ended up riding in the back of my Dodge, and I plan on having a midnight backstrap snack when I get home tonight so all's well.

For pictures and more articles like this one, log on to


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home