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First Traditional Archery Kill

3pt Buck, 120lbs

== Equipment ==

Used a 3Rivers Desert Fox recurve-decurve longbow. 65lbs @28 inches (I usually pull to about 26in or 27in). By the way, I love this bow.

Arrow: Zwickey 130gr(?) No Mercy broadhead. 3Rivers wooden hunting arrow.

== Scenario ==

I hunt primarily in my backyard here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. We live on 6 acres of forested property. Though I do still-hunt some local public land occasionally, in my back yard, I sit in a tree stand or makeshift ground blind. I tend to hunt a natural funnel that drops loads of acorns shooting from one side of our creek to the other.

Alas, the problem with living in a rural area is that _everyone_ seems to hunt. So, the deer are not as plentiful. Even on a good year. But... I love to go out there and commune anyway.

Three major issues with hunting this season:
(1) Everyone hunts in the area, as I mentioned above == less deer.
(2) Our creek dried up for about 1 month this year. Many deer moved on (that's my hypothesis anyway) == even less deer.
(3) We had a bumper crop of acorns this year. All over. So... not a ton of movement == even less deer sighted.

So... all that being said, I saw _some_ deer this year, but not many. I have gone out time and time again. I have seen a few does and yearlings, but no bucks. All were way too far away for a bow shot, or behind too much foliage.

== Story ==

This past Friday, I went out with little hope of seeing or hearing anything. It was raining. And chilly. But, you either try, or you are guaranteed to get nothing.

I was sitting up in a tree, a bit miserable, but as still as I could be (of course). I thought to myself, if a deer comes, they better prance right in front of me. Visibility was not so great, and of course, since it was raining (a light drizzle) there was no chance of hearing a deer even if it were pushing a stroller through the woods.

It slowly started to get dark. Grr!

Then... Magic! Like it happens so often! Out of thin air a yearling came flying through. Utterly silent and surreal. The yearling was starting and stopping, but on the move. I saw it for a moment then gone!

I slowly raised the bow. I said to myself, "First opportunity, if it is a yearling, it is a yearling. So be it."

But it disappeared.

Then more magic! A large doe came through and stopped in the creek-bed facing me directly -- only about 10 yards away. Oh boy! Just turn! A little steep for a great shot, but it was doable.

Then she ran up the creek a bit and stopped behind some cover (of course). Grr! But I waited.

Then... a sizable buck came into view. As silent as a ghost, he trotted in from the same area as the other two. I couldn't see the rack well, but I thought it might be a 4 pointer. He was a decent size.

I prepped for a shot on any of them. But I never did see that yearling again.

The doe walked some more, finished crossing the creek onto my side and moved at a decent clip directly in front of me and then towards my right.

I moved... too much movement, but they didn't notice in this darkened rain. The doe kept moving to my right. I had to give up on her. I would have had to adjust to shoot to my right (I am a right-handed bow hunter... so left-ish is best!) I was not confident that I could do that gracefully.

Back to the buck. I prepped in case I had to adjust. I expected him to follow her. But then he did the improbable. He trotted back to my primary kill zone and started eating acorns.

Three-quarter turn. 20-25 yards. Closest leg forward. I picked a spot... and ... RUSHED IT! I shot. I hit him, but I could tell it was too far back. You know, when you launch an arrow and you instantly know it was not a great shot? Well... that is what I happened.

Damnit! Dread filled me that I may have injured a deer and not killed it. My first bow kill and traditional at that.

What was even more shocking to me though was the _silence_ of the drama. I just shot and maybe killed a deer and all you heard was a bit of the bow (a light poof sound) and... the drizzling rain. The deer ran through thw woods at mach 2, but you couldn't hear it. Wow.

...I breathed for a bit... and back to using modern technology, called the wife. "Honey, get the big flashlight!"

My wife, Monica, is awesome, by the way.

We meet. And after 20 or 30 minutes we cross the creek and look for blood or an arrow or something.

Nothing. The search is on.

I head where I thought the deer went (it's pitch black at this point and still raining). Monica heads another way.

Then she finds it. A blood trail. Hallelujah! A good blood trail too. We follow and follow and follow. We lose it... then we follow some more.

After about 75 yards or so, we are on our neighbors property and the trail petered out. And our flashlight sucks.

We mark the spot as best we can. We head back. And... thank you modern capitalism, I travel to a super large retailer and buy the best $25 flashlight I can find.

I get back (about 45 minutes later and after calling the land owner and getting permission to continue). We grab our dog (Jester), and some landscaping markers, and head back out.

Ugh... rain! It is getting worse. It takes us a _LONG_ time but we pick up the trail again. We quickly find out that the dog is useless because he is terrified of the radio collar fence that might zap him. We swapped out that collar and put him on a lease. But he thinks we have lost our minds or some such. He's probably right.

We drag him through the woods but he is not tracking.

We spend maybe 1 more hour looking and find only one more sign of blood. But... it indicates a direction of travel.

(By the way, the landscaping markers are a godsend.)

Monica takes the now useless dog back, and I continue searching.

And searching. And searching. I give up looking for blood and start the concentric radiating arc search. You know what that is... we have all done it.

Search search search. I am about to give up until morning (it's about 40 degrees so... not too bad to leave the deer out there). I walk for a bit and something tells me to turn around.

Holy crap, a deer! THE deer. Maybe.

I walk up to a 3pt buck on the ground. He's stiff. I look at the time and realize it has been around 4 or 5 hours. Geez! Stiff though, could this have been another person's buck? What are the odds?

His nose is gone. Something got to it. I now doubt myself.

I flip him over and find a hole on his right side where it was expected, but no sign of an arrow. It _has_ to be my deer.

The wife comes back out. She is lost. I realize at this point that I am turned around as well. I leave the deer and walk up the rise and a'ways down to meet her.

Mistake! It takes us another hour to find the damn deer! ARGH! Don't ever do that, by the way.

We tie him to a drag rope and we start the drag out. He's heavy. And we are a good 200 to 300 yards from the house, in the dark, it's raining, and the ground is ... not trivial.

We finally get to our neighbors house and we decide to drag the deer up his driveway crossing the stream on level ground and then cross to our house. I am spent and have lost 20 lbs.

Have I told you how awesome my wife is?

Monica grabs the drag rope and starts hauling the deer down the driveway. She takes the deer the last 100 yards or so, up their driveway, back through the woods and to our side yard.


It's now... 2am? Goodness, we are bad at this. The story continues highlighting our inept skills stringing it up and then processing it. But... that is a story for a campfire someday.

We strung him up. 120lbs. Not bad for a southern 3-pointer. I butcher him with a bit of help from the wife. Put him in ice-water and we go to bed.

Whew again!

It turns out the shot was imperfect. Too far back, though it was not a gut shot. I found about 6 inchs of my arrow in him. As he ran that arrow did a lot of damage and obviously cut a major artery.

We are so glad this deer died quickly. And we'll honor him as he feeds us throughout the year.

We hope you enjoyed the story of my first bow kill... and more importantly, my first traditional bow kill.

Happy hunting!

Comment On This Field Journal
Posted: 11/11/2011

Trophy Room

How did I butcher him? Very carefully! ;) Strung him up to the tree behind me in that picture and made a lot of mistakes. You'd think you'd remember everything from year to year, but... you don't. ;) Anyway, Monica helped and we got it all done. :)

Had tenderloin the next day. Heh.
Posted: 11/10/2011

Trophy Room
Great story Bro. How'd ya butcher him? Very proud. Hope I can join ya in that soon.

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