It was deer season (whitetail) again and this year, 2005, would be my best year personally – and the one with the most venison in the freezer. Ohio’s bow season starts in September and goes through January while the primary gun season (shotgun/no rifle) starts the Monday after Thanksgiving and runs through the following Sunday. Since then Ohio has added a second gun season – but I won’t waste your valuable reading time on detailing that. I’m setting the scene here though.
So this year I decided to go down to Dad’s farm early and get a day or two of bow hunting in before the gun season. The plan was to get a deer by bow that Saturday or Sunday and then use three days of the gun season to harvest another. In 2005 in the county where Dad has the farm you were allowed 5 deer – 1 buck and 4 doe. So I wasn’t being greedy. (2011/2012 Season in Zone C allows you 6 total deer this year – 1 buck and 5 doe).
I arrived at the farm Friday evening. I took my son Nikolas along as well. He had been hunting with me now for three years and I had recently bought him a new bow – an early Christmas gift. So it was the two of us really that were trying to double score. No, still not really being greedy. As long as Nikolas had good grades I would allow him to miss 2 or 3 days to go hunting with me. He was a bright kid so he always got to go. Thomas, my oldest son, was living in Florida going to college at the time otherwise I would have had him there too! That would have been greedy on the amount of deer to take.
Now since Nikolas had been a steady family hunter, Dad – Nikolas’ Grandpa had helped him assemble and place his very own deer stand on the property. Dad had been watching this valley and it was a perfect funnel of three trails leading to one – all very well used. So Dad and Nikolas placed this stand up earlier in June. And this is where he intended to hunt for all five days. Me – I was going to try the gamut of stands Dad has on the property. The last count I think was 14 stands.
Saturday was an abnormally warm day – in the low 60’s. I chose the southwest stand and Nikolas went the opposite way towards the big woods and his stand. With bows in had we started our 2005 hunts. Well Saturday was a bust – we saw deer but nobody got a shot. Sunday morning came and went again with no luck for either one of us. Again the weather was really unseasonably warm – in the 60’s again. I had chosen a new stand that I had built on Dad’s far northern property line that was in a valley. It was a great spot but no deer close enough to get a shot. Same for Nikolas – he could see them but all were running a trail atop of the valley he was in.
Sunday afternoon came and I went back to the southwest field stand. It was the total opposite side of the property line so it was a trek. Dad’s farm is at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains so it is hilly… but nothing like Colorado. It was about an hour before sunset and I started to see deer entering the field I was at. Several doe were feeding and none had any idea I was watching them from 20 yards away. I waited and waited as I wanted a buck to come out… but it wasn’t happening. I was quickly running out of legal hunting time. I decided it was likely the last opportunity for me with the bow so I picked out the largest doe that was about 25 yards from me. I had an arrow already knocked so drawing and placing my sights on the doe’s heart/lung vitals I released. I heard the sound of a “punch” and saw the arrow enter perfectly. The doe bucked and bolted directly away from me and was 20 yards into the woods when I heard it literally crash to the ground. I know you readers already know this – but what a great feeling that is.
The plan is always to meet back up at the pole barn. Nikolas was there – no luck again for him. My brothers were now there. They normally arrive on Sunday night for the Monday morning gun season. I got my Dad’s ATV and my older brother and returned with the first deer to hang on the pole.
Monday morning came and my Dad, brothers, my son, and I all went to our respective stands. I went to my new stand in the valley again and Nikolas went back to his same stand. It was 70 degrees and sunny. Not normal for November 28th. Monday morning was Nikolas’ turn. The primary deer trail runs directly in front of his stand about 25 yards. The three converging trails surrounded the stand and all provided shooting opportunities. It was about 8:30am when the 1st group of deer came down the main trail. Nikolas waited as the 4th deer was a button buck and the largest in the group. He aimed his Remington 20 gauge and squeezed off a shot. The deer ran about 10 yards and fell.
Monday afternoon it was my turn. From my stand I can see the valley and the opposite hillside heading up to another one of my Dad’s fields. I can also stand and turn and see up the other hillside going to his largest field. I had seen deer atop the hills all morning but nothing was coming my way… until the afternoon. There was a lone large 8-point buck I watched walk down the hillside directly towards me. He stopped about 50 yards from me on a perfect leveled off area and turned broadside. He was thinking which way do I go? I pulled up my Remington 870 and using the open sights placed them just behind the buck’s shoulder and squeezed off a shot. To my amazement it appeared that I missed. The buck turned 180 degrees but just stood there showing me his other side. I placed my sights on him again and squeezed off my second shot. Nailed him! That buck ran maybe 10 yards closer to me and dropped. We now had three deer tagged and hanging on the pole.
Tuesday was going to be our last day since we had three deer already hanging on the pole. It turned out to be our day again. Nikolas and I went back to both of our respective stands and by 10:00am that morning he and I both harvested another deer – both doe. Strange but we had shot these two deer not 5 feet from the two bucks on Monday. We tagged them and now had 5 deer between Nikolas and me to butcher – thus the “triple double”. I don’t have an appropriate picture of the 5 deer hanging but here are the antlers from my buck…
After this hunt I bought a Mossberg 12 Gauge with a scope. I don't miss anymore. My brothers both got their deer that year but I will let them publish their own stories.