quote:Originally posted by jsweka: This has been a very slow bow season for me. Very little buck sign, very few sightings. Heck, I went almost 3 weeks without seeing a deer at one point. Fortunately things started to pick up over the last week.
Friday night (11/10) was my best night as far as seeing deer goes. I saw a half-rack spike, two does, and a small 6 point. Unfortunately, none of them presented a shot opportunity (the spike was safe since we have a 3 point to a side antler restriction). Saturday morning was COLD and I only lasted until 8:30 before before I needed to move around to warm up and I didn't see anything.
Saturday (11/11) was also the last day of our PA archer season, so I went back out in the afternoon for one last hora for the year. I had a nice spot picked out for my Waldrop pack seat along the trail I saw the small 6 point the night before, but I realized if that deer would walk down that trail again, the wind was blowing in the exact wrong direction. So I went to the other side of the trail and set up at the base of a big tree and also stacked up a few dead branches between it and another tree to further break up my outline.
I didn't sit there too long and I heard a noise over my left shoulder. Like a newbie hunter I turned my head quickly only to see that small 6 point from the night before staring right at me about 30 yards away. I thought for sure it would bolt, but I just froze and he calmed down and eventually put his nose back down to the ground (probably sniffing for does). He then actually started coming down the trail I hoped he would and I got a grip on the string of a reverse handle ASL I built last year for my 2016 Bear Quest trip.
I almost couldn't believe it, he was going to offer me a shot! He kept his nose to the ground and when he walked out from behind a downed tree top, I swung the bow up, drew, and released in a John Schulz fashion. He was all of 11 steps away from where I sat on my Waldrop pack seat. After release, I saw the beautiful douglas fir arrow that Gary Hall made for me bury right up to it's white banana fletching. As he ran away, I could see the blood spewing out from his side.
The view from my ambush site to where the buck was.
I thought that I hit him a little behind of perfect, but I had a good feeling about the shot since I saw bright red blood pumping out. I knew my nephew was at home and figured I'd give him a call since he told me he'd gut and drag a buck for me if I got one. He was half joking, but I wasn't going to let him off the hook. Besides, more eyes on a blood trail is always better.
I took my pack seat back to the truck and waited for my nephew to arrive. Once he got there, we took up the trail. It had been about 30 minutes since the shot. The blood was bright and heavy right from the spot I shot him. However, after about 60 yards, I found the back half of my arrow and the blood turned off like a faucet. The buck was heading down over a steep hill to a gas well and there were just a few droplets here and there. I started to worry.
As we kept searching for blood, a couple grouse hunters were working their way up the bottom. I heard one tell the other to be careful as he saw my orange hat and let his buddy know there was another hunter ahead. Then I heard one of them say "There's a dead buck over here." I yelled out, "You found a buck?" He said "Yeah". I then yelled back "THANK YOU!!!!"
Sure enough, my buck was dead only about another 50 yards away in a bottom of golden rods and crab apple trees. When we went down, the blood really picked up again and the golden rods were painted red on both sides of where he ran. It must have been the steep slope above the gas well that made the blood pool up in the front of his chest cavity rather than coming out the wound channel. Upon field dressing, I noted that my Zwickey Eskimo caught the back of the lungs and put a huge hole through the liver.
So here it is. Not my biggest buck, but one that I'm proud of. Killed off the ground at 11 steps with a bow I made and some pretty awesome arrows from a good friend. A great way to end the last afternoon of the season!