I had found the funnel three weeks earlier. While not as obvious as it would have been during a wet year, I was still able to detect a concentration of sign passing along the outside bend of the dry slough, where it swept near the main run of the creek. I had climbed near it one morning, in a fairly open area which would allow me to observe any movement passing through.
On that first climb, a buck came drifting through at about 8:30. At 60 yards, he was well outside my effective range with the longbow. I watched carefully, noting the exact route he took as he picked his way across a small rise in the swamp. I would be back, and next time be in a better position for a shot.
The following week, I made another trip down through the swamp to hunt the funnel. This time, I was positioned to intercept any deer that passed through on the same heading as the buck last week. Right around 8:30, I caught movement to my front, and saw a buck coming my way. I rose from my seated position on the stand, and shifted my feet around for a shot. The buck was coming almost straight toward me, and would pass on my left. All morning, the wind had been perfect. But just before the deer made his appearance, there had been a lull which caused the wind currents to swirl in, what seemed like, every direction. When the buck got to about 25 yards, he suddenly locked up, and I knew I had been busted. I could only watch in disgust as he whirled and bounded away.
A return trip to the funnel had been on my mind for over a week, but I had been climbing on a couple other spots which I felt were more high percentage hunts. This morning I finally decided to try it again. I had left my stand and bolts in the tree after the previous hunt, so I would have to take my climber to the funnel. I didn't really like the idea, but I didn’t have a choice. This would be my first hunt out of the climber this year, and the first ever with my longbow.
After making my way into the creek swamp, I eased up to the funnel at first light. I found a good sweetgum tree to climb, and made my way up. At 7:38, I looked up and saw movement to my right. A coyote was making his was across a slough, and was angling toward me. I stood up and turned for a shot to my right side. Instead of coming on in, he turned and started moving past me. When he hit a hole at about 30 yards, I squeaked at him to get him to stop. He pulled up perfectly in the hole, and I drew back and hit anchor. I picked my spot on his side, and dropped the string. The arrow flew as perfectly as possible, directly toward the spot I had been staring at. Just before impacting him, my broadhead clipped a limb and deflected over his back. Upon inspection of the arrow, there was a single coyote hair caught under the leading edge of one of the feathers. He doesn't know how lucky he was.
I pulled another arrow out of my quiver, nocked it, and sat back down to resume my watch. Just several minutes later, at 7:45, something caught my eye over on my left side. It only took a fraction of a second for me to realize it was a deer. By the time I stood up, another deer had popped out. They were trotting directly toward me. They both looked like does, and the one in the lead looked to be the larger of the two, so that's the one I concentrated on. It passed directly underneath the platform of my stand. When it did, I bleated to try to get it to stop. It was extremely thick, and luckily it stopped in a hole I could shoot through. I came back to full draw and, since it was only 5 yards away and I was about 25 feet up, I picked a spot right between the shoulder blades. Upon release, I immediately knew I had blown it. My lower limb had hit something (not sure what, but I think it was my pants leg), and my arrow had flown several inches to the left resulting in a miss. Both deer bounced off, and then stood there looking around. I got another arrow onto the string, and hoped for another opportunity. The closest deer, which was the smaller of the two, was behind a wall of brush with no chance for a shot. I glanced over at the other deer just as it started walking. It stepped into a hole at about 25 yards, and I noticed a big gash on its left shoulder. I couldn't believe that I had made a grazing shot on that deer. It acted as if nothing had happened at all!
Knowing that I had already hit the deer, I felt obligated to get another arrow into it to try to put it down. The only shot I had wasn’t much of a shot at all. About 25 yards, and through a very tight hole to boot. I once again drew the string to anchor. I released, and watched the arrow fly to the deer, but impact well to the right of where it needed to be. I could tell the deer was hit hard by its reaction. It hunched its back and started walking off. It looked to get real sick, real quick. I kept my eye on it, and saw it go down after walking about 20 yards.
When I made it to the deer, what I had shot for a doe turned out to be a knothead. My first shot had made a nasty gash about six inches long, and one inch deep, down its shoulder. The second arrow had caught the front of the hindquarter going in, and had exited mid-body on the off side. Surprisingly, there was a heavy bloodtrail.
I was disappointed in my second shot. But looking back, I had been more focused on the hole I had to shoot through, than the spot on the deer I needed to hit. Perhaps it worked out for the best.
-------------------- Chris >>>>--------------->
The benefits of a big broadhead are most evident when things go wrong. - CTS Posts: 738 | From: Vidalia, GA | Registered: Oct 2006
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-------------------- Joe Ashton,D.C. Mohawk 55# and and 62" black widow 62" long bow 55# 21 century long bow 55# and 62" big horn recurve 58# and 58" Posts: 2414 | From: colorado | Registered: Feb 2007
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