Mid November 2010...The year has been rough, however I still had high hopes even though gun season was in full swing. I climbed into my stand that chilly morning. The leaves were all gone except for a few stragglers still holding on until the winter wind would blow them to their final resting place. The sun was slowly warming the cool Autumn air and the breeze from the north was chilly on the back of the neck. Then I hear it a few soft grunts in the distance. I turn to look to the east and notice some does working across the bean field to me. Then, I see it a nice wide 10 pointer hot on their trail. I thought finally I am going to get a shot this year. The past 2 seasons I have not been that excited to hunt. Between school and work I was just not into hunting like I was in previous years. The three does slowly turn to the North and circle around upwind and start working through the woods right towards me. The buck is following about 25 yds behind them. The does stopped at about 20 yds from me and cut to the west across the lot. The buck takes a drastic angle and he crosses my shooting lane at about 30 yds. I draw, anchor, release and watch a beautifully shot arrow fall right under his chest just behind the front leg. That was the end of my 2010 season...a heartbreak.
I put my bow down for a good majority of 2011 until one July afternoon I turn on the t.v. change the channel to Versus and see that Tred Barta was on. Thinking to myself "Someone who gets it." As soon as that episode was over I had it, the itch has started. I grabbed my bow and until late September I shot almost every night. I trimmed my stands moved the one I missed out of last year and played the memory over and over in my head waiting for another chance. This year was a different year. I graduated college in May, have a full time job in my field of study, I have a beautiful girlfriend of going on 4 years who hopefully will be taking the name "Mrs. Miller" here pretty soon. I was ready this year, I would get back to why I use to love hunting so much, it is the passion and life that lives inside me to be in nature and learn from what God has given us to experience.
Today was no different than any other early October in northern Indiana. Warm, South wind, sunny and the crops are coming down. I got off work late, customers are always wanting their machines delivered weeks before the scheduled delivery time. Oh well, it is what it is and I am happy to have a job. I take the 7th off work so I can get in the woods in the morning, hoping that the cooler morning temps would give me better luck than the past couple nights. I rushed home, grabbed my bow, got dressed and headed towards the stand. Combines were to the south and west of me. Soy beans I presumed as I knew the corn, a few hundred yards away, wasn't quite ready to be harvested yet. This gave me hope. There was a South/ South East wind tonight and I expected something from the South. I notice the beans in front of my stand have been picked. This was good and bad. Bad, the deer are now going to be able to sneak up on my since there aren't any dry beans to warn me, the good...much easier to get to my stand. Fair trade off really. I climb into the stand, tie in with my strap, check to make sure my sleeve of my jacket is out of the way, nock an arrow and get set in for the night. I send a quick text to my father about 10 miles away in another stand "good luck tonight, let me know if ya get one down ill come and help". I send another quick text to my girlfriend saying "love ya, in the stand, hope you had a good day in class." I set in on my little stool and listen to the birds chirping away. The pleasant sound of Cardinals in the distance and then a Blue Jay lands. How can one of what I believe to be God's most beautiful bird have such an annoying sound? I sit back and send a prayer to the Big guy upstairs. Thanking him for the opportunity to be in the woods and thanking him for the blessings I have in life. I ask for a perfect hunt whether it is just another beautiful Indiana sunset or the night I get a deer. The squirrels were chasing each other through the foliage, I heard a plane fly over the small wood lot I am in. I am set up in a small wood lot on the edge of a picked bean field with a creek bottom to the north 1/4 mile and a fence row with corn on both sides of it to the south a few hundred yards that run parallel with railroad tracks, to the south of that..more corn and the bean field that is being picked. The time 5:00 p.m. Later than what I wanted to be but, I have a three day weekend and know that a "slow" night can become a "go" night in just a few seconds. I then lean back to the tree and start reminiscing. This is another reason I love hunting. It gives me a chance to reflect on the past and think about the future. The new life I will have in a year and half or two, my sister's wedding next weekend, the opportunity's my job presents for me. It is a time for me to deflate, even when I don't see any deer. The scenery is gorgeous at this time of year. I am surrounded by greens, oranges, yellows, reds and a few browns. All different shades. The sunlight is reflecting off of them just makes the woods feel so alive. Crickets are starting to sing and I can hear the distant bark of the farmers dog. I think to myself "Tonight, is a wonderful night no matter the outcome, it is already a succesful hunt." As I lean my head back against the trunk of the tree I close my eyes and just listen to nature around me, I try to become engulfed in it. It is only then that I can truly relax. The leaves are starting to fall and they are maing some noise as they hit the ground. I hear one that was fairly loud but, dismissed it as another leaf or my little chipmunk friend. Then, it happens again. I open my eyes and think "deer" and "where". I turn to the south and see some movement comiing up the trail towards me as it approaches and comes closer I see it is a good sized doe. Yellow light turns on in my mind. I slowly stand up, take some deep breaths and read the sticker on my bow limb, "Stay calm, Pick a spot" She slowly approaches my shooting lane and I project she will be about 20 yds when she crosses that opening. I am in position, she is coming down the trail and this is the moment I have been waiting for. She hits the shooting lane I draw, anchor, find my spot, green light, arrow is on it's way...I hit...high and a little further back then what I wanted. However, she didn't run...she dropped. I some how got her spine. I know it wasn't a direct hit to the spine maybe glancing off of a rib. I have yet to find out. She drops and lies there as soon as I saw her drop I knew it was the spine. I quickly unhooked my harness, climbed down and walked over a few yards from her, nocked another arrow and put it in her lungs. I have done it, the deer is down, it is not my first rodeo but one I will always remember. After I shot my second arrow I walked out of the woods. It is the respect I give to let that animal die in peace. I send a thank you to God above for offering my an opportunity to take one of his magnificent creatures for my own nourishment and well being.
There are a few things I learned from this hunt. One: Do not take anything in life for granted as one second it is there and the next it may be struggling with all of it's might to survive. Two: You learn a lot about yourself when you look a dieing animal in the eyes. It is something I never want to see again. It was a very humbling experience and am thankful I could get another arrow in her quickly to make it a quick and struggle-free death. Three: sometimes all you need to do in life is take a step back, a few deep breaths and go back at it. This isn't my biggest deer or my first it is however a memory I will cherish for a long, long time.
I am thankful for each and every day I am able to go afield with the memories I have made the day and years before. I have been reborn into hunting this year and believe that the way this hunt happened was God's way of saying...you may not always be perfect in your ways but, will end up at the perfect ending.
Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you all. Hopefully many more to come this year and next.
God bless. Be safe and happy hunting.
-------------------- 55# Kodiak Mag
"Stay calm, Pick a spot."
Zwickey, the 1911 of Broadheads. ->>>--------> Posts: 269 | From: Indiana | Registered: Sep 2010
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-------------------- I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! Posts: 3021 | From: Stroud Township ,PA | Registered: Jan 2006
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Great story - thanks for sharing. From someone who has found the spine a few times I will speculate that you may find you center punched it. The spine is deeper in the back(farther from the top of the back) than most realize. There is a lot of meat up there in those back straps.
again, congrats and thanks for sharing a great story of your hunt.
Posts: 945 | From: Fowlerville, Michigan | Registered: Mar 2003
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