October 11, 1994It was my first year bowhunting and
11 days into the season. I hadn't gotten off a shot yet. I had already seen
and gotten closer to more deer than I had in all my years hunting the
regular firearm season. I had seen deer here every day since opening day
but either I did not have a shot that I was confident would result in a
kill, or I made a noise or too sudden of a move trying to get into position.
I had spooked a nice buck on opening day from my tree stand. I am not
admitting to being afraid of heights but I just could not get comfortable
in a tree. That afternoon I picked a spot on the ground, downwind from the
same runway. I built a small brush pile and sat up against a tree behind
it. The next morning some small does wandered in and ate at the bait pile
for about five minutes and slowly wandered off through the woods. I was
only 40 feet from them and they never knew I was there. Now I was confident
that I could get a good shot and just had to wait for my buck to return.
A few mornings later, about ten minutes after it turned daylight, I heard him
coming from over my right shoulder. I could hear him stepping slowly on the
frosted leaves and could hear his breath. I knew it was a buck and my heart
started pounding. I couldn't wait to haul him in and show him off.
Well, he finally appeared on the runway just to my right. He stopped about
20 feet from me and stared right at me. When he looked forward and took a
couple more steps, I was sure I had him. He stopped again and looked at me,
not allowing me time to draw my bow. This time he stomped his front foot
hard on the ground as if he were trying to scare me. I didn't move a
muscle or even breathe, but for some reason he turned around and ran off
the way he had come.
Now my confidence was shaken again. I was down wind of him and camouflaged
well, The only thing I could figure was that he could see my eyes. I
hurried home and dug my old army gear out of the shed. I found an old camo
mosquito net and cut a piece large enough to cover my face. I sewed this to
the front of my hat and tried it on.
Finally on the 11th, I was sitting in the evening in the exact same spot.
I wasn't really into it that day and decided I would stand and stretch before
sitting one more hour. As soon as I stood I saw him. He was about a
hundred yards down the runway in a fast walk toward me. I slowly got back
into position and waited. Within a few minutes it was deja vu. We were
both in the same position as a few days before. This time he stomped 3 or
4 times and appeared to be satisfied that I wasn't there. My heart was
beating so hard I was sure he would hear it. He looked toward the bait pile
and slowly walked toward it. Each time he took a step, I made a slight
adjustment until I was able to draw my bow, I had drawn, but not yet aimed
when he looked again right at me. I locked up and waited. He turned away
from me again and sniffed at the bait pile, I was just getting my sights on
him and he turned and faced me one more time. It seemed like this was going
on forever and I had been holding my breath through all of it. He finally
turned away again and walked 2 steps away from the bait pile as if he were
going to continue on his way. Facing to my right and slightly forward he
hesitated and I let it rip. I heard the sound of tearing flesh and he
jumped. The way he was leaping, I thought he was gone. But within a few
seconds I could hear him blowing air out his lungs. He hadn't run 50 feet
and fell behind a tree. When I walked over to him I heard his last breath
and found him lying with my arrow sticking out of his chest.
As it turned out, what I thought was about an hour, all took place in about
10 minutes, That is one hunt I will never forget. I find myself thinking
a lot about that experience lately, and getting excited for another season
which is just around the corner. I hope to have another story and pictures
of another successfull hunt sometime in October. But even if I'm not so
lucky, I'll be happy just to spend time in the woods again.