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» Trad Gang.com » Main Forums » PowWow » When things don't work out as planned: The story of a recovery (Page 1)

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Author Topic: When things don't work out as planned: The story of a recovery
Michael Arnette
Contributor 2017
Member # 18012

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Hello gang, it's been a while since I posted. Posting pictures and stories is a lot of work, especially with the new changes that Tradgang has had to work with. That being said it doesn't take much negativity to keep me from posting here. I used to post about every success I have here, I certainly enjoy hearing about your successes!

When it comes to my shooting on animals when it's good it's really really good, thankfully mostly good shots have been made well and followed by quick kills. Unfortunately when I make a bad shot it tends to be really bad. That was the case on this hunt.

This year has been a tough year for mature whitetail, I have passed up a collective 23 shots on bucks under 25 yards... also many, many does, all solid opportunities. Just didn't see many good deer. I had also missed a shot on a very nice deer in Kansas on November 18. By this Day on November 30th the 30th, I had made some very good shots on a couple of does, I ended up punching my either sex tag in Kansas the weekend before rifle season opened on a big doe. Now I could focus on Oklahoma again! ...

https://imgur.com/a/T9TBm

Posts: 2584 | From: Tulsa, Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Michael Arnette
Contributor 2017
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...so, on Thursday morning I got up at 2:45 AM. Drove to one of my favorite public hunting areas. I hiked in, set up my stand in a designated place along a bench/travel corridor.
This particular piece of public property is my favorite place to hunt. Not so much because it holds excellent hunting potential but because it means a lot to me as a place, it's the first piece of public property I hunted and to me the most beautiful.

As I sat in my stand waiting for the sunrise to begin in the woods to awake from the night, I thought about all of the past experiences and hunts I've had in this beautiful place. Public land is a beautiful thing! ...as frustrating as it may be to hunt at some times

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Michael Arnette
Contributor 2017
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A northwest wind blew lightly and this year's unseasonably warm temperatures that we have been plagued with remained but just enough cold was present to create a frost. The sun began to crest and the birds began to sing....
Only a few minutes past legal shooting light I heard a rustling coming out of a neighboring draw and distinct footsteps of a heavy animal approaching. I saw antlers gleaming through the brush and a beautiful buck appeared...

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Michael Arnette
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I instantly knew that I would shoot if presented an opportunity, in this particular area I have never gotten a trail cam pictures nor seen an animal over 4 1/2 years old. This buck appeared to be 4 1/2.
Unfortunately he came down the draw higher on the bench then I expected, if you kept coming through the brush he would pass my trail in and more than likely would spook. I waited with tension on the string and pounding in my heart.
...as he approached my path he suddenly jolted to a stop. I was confused, he was still about 10 yards away from my entry which would put him broadside at about 18 yards when he crossed. Mind you I had taken precautions in my stand entry utilizing scent precautions, rubber boots, and had even applied evercalm scent to my boots...

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Michael Arnette
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The buck stood there, obviously concerned and shielded by brush for what seemed to be three or four minutes, possibly longer. I got a good look at his rack which appeared to have been broken off nearly completely on the left side. As he turns his head one direction and then another his rack shrank and increased in size but remained outstanding in my mind.
After the few minutes pause he then turned abruptly, took a few bounds, and began to trot away at an angle that would put him quartering away at about 22 yards in a shooting lane. I drew my bow, grunted twice to stop him, and released what I thought was a well aimed arrow.

...to my horror the arrow struck him nearly 2 feet to the right of where I was aiming and right in front of his rear leg in the furthest portion of the paunch! I was immediately sick. I watched him bound away until hitting some more thick brush and then seeing him disappear out of my life...

Some choice words were whispered in vent but to no avail, I had grievously wounded him in a manner that would lead to a drawn out and painful death.
I sat in my stand the rest of the morning and had a good shot at a buck nearly identical to the one I shot but without the damaged left antler...unfortunately I had to pass as I knew that I would have tremendous work ahead of me if I were even able to recover my deer properly.

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Michael Arnette
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At 11 AM I climbed down from my stand texted a few buddies and headed into town for lunch and to clear my brains. Before I returned to my vehicle I pursued the trail about 30 yards to find my arrow intact and covered in sign that left no doubt.

I knew what to do, I backed out and did not return until 14 hours later after dark and about 10:00 PM.

I begin to take up the trail but quickly found it fruitless with no blood and trail that headed into thick prairie grass. Although this area is beautiful it is full of tremendous varieties of native grass. This grass in my experience leads to some of the worst blood trailing conditions a bow hunter can dread. Nevertheless I trudged on, and begin to grid search. I found nothing.

At this point it was about 1 AM, I began to search the near a creek bed which was at a relatively higher level. I trailed both sides of the creek bed until dawn....nothing

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carbonflyr
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hang in there buddy,sounds like it ain't over just yet
Posts: 688 | From: new york | Registered: Feb 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Michael Arnette
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I forgot to mention an important tidbit of information. After I climbed down from my stand Thursday I had called a few folks who offered tracking services with a dog. One of them had called me back and arranged to meet me in the morning. They had wanted to take up the trail that night before dark but I knew that my buck will have little chance of being expired by then.
At about 7:30 AM and 24 hours after my shot I met up with Ben Allen, he is a local rancher and his border collie named buzz sat in the pickup bench seat next to him. He reminded me of the grandpa I have missed for many years.

We arrived on location after a brief introduction and buzz begin trailing immediately. He jumped two deer immediately and we called him off. We grid searched until 10:30 AM in a fashion that allowed the wind to be used to buzz's advantage.
I had only taken off Friday morning and had a full patient load scheduled in the afternoon so I would have to go soon. I requested that we check out one more area and made the comment of how blood trailing is often like life! Just when you're about to give up that's when you need to push harder!

Ben agreed and we set out, ironically this was the direction in which buzz had jumped the two deer initially and was very adamant about continuing on. He immediately began to get excited after 100 yards or so but we assumed that it was due to the recent deeractivity we had seen earlier.
A few minutes later I looked ahead and saw a rack standing out close to the ground, I am mediately knew it was my buck. He appeared to be dead but I knocked an arrow. Buzz quickly approached the deer and it immediately stood up and begin to run off, picking up speed as it went...at which point I released an arrow. I was unsure of the hit and continue to chase after the buck.
After a hot 300 to 400 yards of pursuit at a full run I crested a hill the buck had just disappeared behind and found him standing and facing me directly at about 30 yards. I immediately nocked the arrow that have been in my hand on pursuit and redeemed myself with a perfect frontal shot. Blood began to spew from the buck's chest and he immediately collapsed. Both of my follow up shots were deep into the vitals and the buck had been running on fumes.

There lay my buck...28 hours after my shot and dead within seconds after two good arrows. Ben and buzz approached from behind me as I knelt on the ground full of emotion.

It was bittersweet. The disappointment of gross human error, the redemption of two beautiful follow-up shots, and the total dependence on an incredible dog and His human to fulfill my goal.

https://i.imgur.com/NuCWbGw.jpg

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Michael Arnette
Contributor 2017
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Here are some pictures:
https://i.imgur.com/NuCWbGw.jpg

 -

[ December 02, 2017, 08:29 PM: Message edited by: Tony Van Dort ]

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CRM_95
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Way to stick it out!! Congrats Michael.
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Sockrsblur
CONTRIBUTOR 2018
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Wow... way to stick with it Michael
[campfire]

--------------------
TGMM Family of the Bow
"Hunt Hard!" Uncle Bud
PBS Member

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Trumpkin the Dwarf
Trad Bowhunter
Member # 31043

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That's as bittersweet as they come. Way to finish the job up right Michael! And that is a dandy buck, by the way.

Thanks for sharing the story as well! It's good to hear when guys stick with a really tough trail, as it isn't necessarily the norm.

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Malachi C.

Toelke Whip 62" 55# @ 28" drawn to 32"

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Nomadstalker
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Attaboy. That trailing dog sure earned his kibble!
Posts: 184 | From: nc | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kopper1013
Trad Bowhunter
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Congratulations

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Primitive archery gives yourself the maximum challenge while giving the animal the maximum chance to escape- G. Fred Asbell

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Hopewell Tom
Contributor 2016
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Oh man, what a story!
Way to hang in there - very nice buck.

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TOM

WHAT EACH OF US DOES IS OF ULTIMATE IMPORTANCE.
Wendell Berry

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