Crisp cool air gently touched my face as my nose was filled with the pleasant hint of fall leaves and acorns. Squirrels seemed to dance along to forest floor rustling for their winters food, while birds chirped a sweet song of fall.
My heart fell to my feat. I immediately nocked another arrow and while she spun around the ground, I attempted to place a shot that would end her misery.
The season just opened in Ohio and I have been fortunate enough to help a few family members close the deal on their whitetails already. In some cases their first deer ever.
So today it was my turn.
After an uneventful morning hunt, I decided to check a property I had hung a camera and stand at just three days prior.
I was shocked to find over 300 images on the card. Multiple young bucks, a future stud, and many mature does.
I was not planning on hunting this evening, but my goal was to harvest a mature doe and I figured the odds were in my favor.
When you refer to text book hunts, this was it. Perfect weather and deer on their feet.
6:30pm rolls around and we spot deer on the edge of the woods. The noise of the combine chopping away at the stalks of tall tan corn lead me to believe that these deer will begin making their way towards us. Farm machinery doesn't typically bother the deer, but the farmer was so near to them I had a gut feeling that I was going to be presented with an opportunity.
With light beginning to fade quickly, I noticed a body silently slipping through the woods. As she began to close the gap I alerted my camera man to her location.
My heart was racing with the thought of harvesting the first doe of the season and once I knew my camera man was on her, I drew back my bow.
Within a second, I realized this was a fawn and gently let my draw down. Where was the mother I thought to myself?
I placed my bow back on the hanger and watched the little fawn as she grazed around the leaf scattered floor. My camera man, being new to filming, was so locked on this fawn he forgot to keep watch around the woods.
The fawn made her way directly below our stand and began to do her business, just then the mother appeared.
I quickly grabbed my partners attention. He swung the camera around the tree, and while we quietly communicated, it took a few moments for him to find her.
Once I was sure he was on her, or at least I thought he was... I quickly drew my bow back, stopped her, picked a spot and let the arrow fly.
Once the hunt was over, I found out he was not on her. He saw her with his eyes, but did not have the camera on her.
My camera my is whispering "wait", but I didn't hear him. The arrow impacted, and I heard possibly the worst sound I have ever heard came from that deer at that moment.
(What I should also mention here, is that just 5 days prior to this hunt, I placed a new sight on my bow. Pin point accurate out to 40 yards, but shooting high at 10 yards. My brain forgot to think it through and excitement got the best of me. Not the equipment's fault. It was mine!)
The 2nd shot, although it put her to rest, was not the greatest.
Talk about going from high to low. I felt horrible for this animal and a week later the moan is still burned in the back of my mind.
I am very thankful for the blessing of a deer and for food on my table, but I learned a few important lessons that evening.
If you hunt for any length of time, bad shots are bound to happen, but it never feels good and we need to do everything we can to harvest game in the most humane way possible.
I can guarantee you that next time, I will remember that check list.
Sun, February 1, 2015 @ 7:14 AM
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