Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Deer 1 - Dennis 0

Sunday was our first day of actually sitting in a stand hunting this season.  As you can read here, it has been a tough start to the season but all of our work paid off in a big way.  The day didn't go perfectly as planned though.

The plan was to get up in the morning and make our way north without being in a huge rush.  We had a few things to get finished up on our gun stands, grabbed lunch and some fantasy football stats, and headed out to the stands to sit for the evening.  Upon arriving to my stand, which is over a small Evolved Harvest No-Till Easy Plot food plot that we planted back in June, I realized my first problem was the plot itself, at this point it is really nothing more than a really nice grass clearing with huge trails running into and out of it.  The deer have eaten any clover that grew, which may be a hint that we need to rethink our food plots for next year in order to get them to last to the season.  The heavy trail sign, great wind direction and perfect natural funnel of the location made me think it was still going to be a hot spot, and it was, just not as I thought it was going to be.  The second problem made itself known to me when I tried to tie my bow and back pack to the rope hanging from the stand, that had gone missing.  After getting into the stand and securing all of my gear, I got settled in, sat back and enjoyed my first moments in the stand.

The first deer appeared about 1.5 hours into my sit.  It crossed about 40 yards in front of me (my longest comfortable shot is 30 yards) and moved past the trail opening I wanted her to come down and into the thick woods.  She was a good sized doe and trailing her was a fawn.  They wandered slowly into the oaks to my right and took their sweet time picking through the acorns and brush.  As I was watching these two, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.  Another doe was walking past the opening, and she paused to sniff the trail I was sitting only 40 yards down.  I stood and watched her, ready to draw if need be.  After a minute or so, she turned and followed the same path the other two had gone.  I sat down and watched as she took the slow walk leading away from me.  My heart was racing at this point from just seeing my first 3 deer of the season.

Half an hour later I looked to my right and the second doe I had seen come by was heading back my direction.  She was slowly meandering through the woods feeding on acorns and broadleaf plants as she walked.  I stood and got myself ready, only to see there was really no place for me to shoot in the direction she was walking.  At 30 yards out, I was confident I had the distance, the direction was one we hadn't anticipated needing to shoot in.  The trails we could see when we had been doing our scouting and planning the last few months were thick and clearly used, but not the ones she was on.  She was walking a smaller trail in a direction we had no clear shooting lanes cut.  I scanned ahead of her frantically looking for a hole to shoot in.  As she closed the gap to about 25 yards, broadside, walking so slow it seemed like a pause in between each individual step, I found a small opening I thought I could squeeze an arrow through.

The confidence in my own abilities took a step back on Sunday.  My shot was right on until it hit a huge bush in front of the deer and was deflected harmlessly aside.  The deer took two steps backwards, collected itself and turned to walk directly at me.  After taking the shot and watching it bounce away, I was stunned to say the least.  When the deer started walking directly at me, I thought I was back in the game.  I fumbled around until I had a second arrow loaded up and ready to go.  I thought for sure she was going to feel me staring at her as she made her way within 20 yards.  She must have been able to hear my heart beating at 15 yards, and surely she was going to smell me at 10 yards.  At this point she is directly down wind of me, head down, giving me no good shot what so ever.  I thought about grunting to stop her, but I wouldn't have a shot even if I did.  I figured maybe I could just wait it out and she would pass right under me and I could shoot her on the other side, but that angle would be even worse.

In the end I just stood there watching as she got to about 6 feet out, winded me and bound off in the direction she came.  I lost an arrow and broadhead, missed my first ever shot at a deer with my bow, and we walked away empty handed for the group on the day and yet at the same time it was AMAZING!  I have gun hunted for a lot of years and have never had a deer get within 6 feet of me.  Not to mention I actually took a shot, missed, and the deer didn't take off like it was shot out of a cannon but instead turned and walked RIGHT AT ME.  It really doesn't get any better than this....until I shoot one of course....          

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