As I sat there in my big ol' comfy stand, the one I always put in the same tree every year. A thicket the deer use to bed in front of me, a large oak tree on my right and a field on my left makes it a great stand location. But this year had been different, no one was seeing any deer. In my eight or so years of hunting I had never had it this slow. I was dozing sligtly, the chilly morning air blowing all around me, in dfferent directions I might add. Then I glaced at a tree trunk slightly to my left, the sun had shown on this one spot on the trunk, and there was the shadow of a buck walking away from me.
Our bow season in Ohio starts in September but I wasn't ready. A previous hand injury prevented me from shooting anything but a crossbow. Now no offense to any of you who use a crossbow but I can't stand them, they're heavy, they're bulky and for me they just take something away from the hunt. As my hand started to heal and due to the blessings of God I was shooting my bow again before our annual trip to southern Ohio. Now I haven't mentioned a key thing to this story. During the summer I had sold my compound and decided to go recurve only. This is was kind of a decision on a whim, I loved recurves having harested a button buck with one back in '07 but still do not have a compound to fall back on? Plus my hand prevented me from practicing very much so I was very nervous on that October trip.
None of us were seeing anything. I mean it was very strange, in a normal year we saw at least one deer every day we went out but none of us were seeing anything. We moved around to different spots on the vast tract of public land we always hunt but still nothing. That's part of my excuse for not getting a shot. The next to last morning I was setting on the edge of a clear cut that had good sign on it. I wasn't expecting to see anything let alone a nice seven pointer about 15 min. after daylight. The way my stand was set up on the side of a hill to the right was about 20 feet to the ground but to my left was about 8 feet off the ground. Guess which side he came to? So he caught me drawing and I blew the only shot I had on the trip. If I had a compound I could have drawn when he was on the low side and shot him when he came up. I was already getting worried.
Back home I was not seeing anything either. Oh sometimes I would see a doe or two three hundred yards away but shots were not happening. I didn't have to go to school one Wednesday morning so I thought I would sleep in, then go out around 11 or so and scout a little to see if I was missing something. By now it was already the first week of November and none of my friends or family had shot any deer. I took my bow with me cause it was the opening day of rabbit season season and I thought I might quietly enjoy some hunting without spooking too much (though I didn't think there was much to spook). Well I was casually walking down the nice grass trail right behind our house enjoying the strange warmth of the day when I spotted a deer butt. I stopped in my tracks. Above the bush I could see antlers. Not huge but differently nice for this part of the country. He was only 20 yeards looking back in my direction but I was frozen. He went back to walking slowly away as I nocked an arrow and leaned out around the bush. He was quartering away, his eyes locked on me. I drew, but I didn't pick a spot. One blade took hair off his back as he bolted away, then stoped to tantalize me at 40 yards. If I only had a compound I said again.
I grabbed my can call out of my vest to stop the buck. He did, then I called again he started coming back. Pick a spot I said to myself over and over. This long season was coming down to this. He wasn't very big at all I noted to myself as he entered the woods but that didn't calm my nerves at all. Here he was 12 yards looking around for where the call came from. He turned hard away and I shot before I realized what was happening. The arrow buried up to the feather, far back but perfect because of the angle. He ran like a freight train, knocking aside small trees and bushes as he ran. I was shaking like I had never shook before. In my years as a hunter both gun and bow I was never that excited. I'm glad I didn't have a compound I said to myself and smiled.