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Saturday, October 09, 2010

A good day bowhunting

My first night out bowhunting was in an area with primarily oak, hoping to time the acorn drop which had worked so well two years before.  That year, acorns were dropping the first day of season, and I took a decent buck that first morning.  It didn't work nearly as well this year, as opening day came about I found out the acorns had already dropped and what would have been a very promising area as the game cam had shown, had turned into merely an area.

Two weeks later and I have time to go out again...  This evening finds me in an abandoned farmyard, bordered by beans and CRP with a huge... no, a monstrous cattail slough within a half mile to the south.   This slough is probably 3 miles long by a half mile wide, and too the west is another cattail slough of about 40 acres in size.  These sloughs hold deer big time.  CRP usually also holds deer, but with this kind of great cover close by, most deer bed down in the cattails.   A few old apple trees in the farmstead are the delectable treat the whitetail love.   Twenty yards away, downwind from the prevailing wind, is our treestand.  This is where I was when a doe and fawn, along with a yearling came in to check on the apples.  I had seen them leave the large cattail slough to the south with my binocs, and watched them make their way to my position.  I seen others leave the cattails as well, but not all came up to the farmyard.  Some were grazing on the green sprouts of wheat tossed overboard from the combines which roamed the field weeks previously.  Closer to dusk, a nice buck exited the cattails and made his way towards my position.  Disappearing behind a hill left me hoping he was on a mission to find apples.  Soon I seen antlers bobbing and then he materialized less than one hundred yards from my position.  The  doe looked up to see him coming, then went back to her search for apples which had fallen from the tree.   Soon he was within 25 yards but he had his head towards me.  The fawn decided to check out what he seems to have found in the grass, and walked over as if he was going to share.  He chased her back to her mom, which left him at 19 yards and broadside.  When he took a step forward to sniff the apple tree and his head was obscured by a tree midway to him, I drew.  The other deer did not see the movement, so I settled in, picked my spot and sent a Beman MFX on it's way.  He ran off a little ways, then stopped.  The does had ran off and stopped to look back.  I was waiting for him to drop or start doing the weave, but neither happened.  I estimated him to be at 40 yards and broadside again, so I reached up to grab another arrow, nocked and let it fly.  It sounded like another hit, and he ran off to some nearby trees.  Adrenaline was going full force, so I had to stay sitting a little longer.  It would not have been safe to even try to climb down at this point.  After about ten minutes, I climbed down to find the first arrow.  It was right where it should have been, covered in bright red blood... the Magnus Buzzcut having done its job.  Walking over to the second shot area, ranging back to my tree showed a distance of 35 yards... so that shot was obviously high, but too high?  Maybe, maybe not.

It was about a mile and half walk back to my truck in the near dark, which almost had me walking into a skunk.  It wasn't until I was about ten yards away that I recognized the fuzzy thing sticking in the air was a skunks tail as he busily dug on a dirt mound.  We seen each other about the same time, with him deciding to go left as I cut right.  Calling my bowhunting buddy for help, was successful.  Hoping we would have an easy time finding him was not.  A quick look in the trees close to me netted no result.  The second arrow was found, which was fatty with a little blood, not a good sign.

Lanterns lit, using toilet paper to mark the blood spots worked well, until the spots turned to specks.  After about 100 yards, we lost the trail.  Back over the trail three more times to make sure we hadn't missed anything, we finally decided to call it a night since it was about 10:30 already.  The next morning, we found a speck of blood on a bean leaf entering the bean field.  A couple of hours searching and we find another speck about 15 yards past the first, and then a third.  By now it was nearing noon, and we broke for lunch.  Coming back with a black lab, we though he may be able to follow the trail through the beans, as find blood was very difficult.  Apparently there had been so much deer scent all over the bean field, that he was no help at that point.  It looked to me like the buck had been heading straight to the 40 acre slough, so the lab's owner and I took him down to the slough to see if he could find anything.  As he walked along the edge, in and out of the cattails, he found quite a few deer beds.  I was trying to keep up with him when suddenly he froze, then took two very cautious steps forward...  rushing up to him I found the buck which looked as if he had dropped on the run.  He was about 250 yards from where I had first hit him.  Inspecting him showed the first hit was good, maybe back a little more than it should have been, but well ahead of diaphragm.  The second shot had caught him as he took off, and was through his rump on one side, and exited his backside.  This must have happened as he jumped the shot, and was high because of my overestimating the range.  Either way, it didn't help him.  He wasn't a huge buck, but with my limited time to hunt this fall, I am quite pleased.

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