A First at Age 45
I have been deer hunting since my 13th birthday. Up until 2008, I believe, the Ohio deer season opened the first Saturday in October. Then, it was changed to the last Saturday in September in 2008. The first three years I attempted to take a deer in September and failed. I had a few opportunities but just couldn't pull it off. This year I was hoping it would be different.
After moving a few stand locations, checking cameras, watching fields, shooting the bows, my son and I were ready to kick-off the 2011 deer season on Saturday morning September 24th. We got off to a bad start because when we arrived at our hunting location I said to my son I left my bag at home. It had my flashlight, cover scent, boot spray, and knife in it. Fortunately for us the area that we were going to hunt in is only about an 8 minute drive from our house. We turned around and arrived back to our spot still in good time. We walked up to our stands and I was all settled in the stand at 6:22 AM. It was a relatively quiet and mild morning, around 51 degrees. I heard some noises as I was sitting there in the dark and I began anxiously awaiting first shooting light so I could see what was going on around. Sunrise was 7:15AM so legal shooting time was 6:45AM. Right around 7:15 I heard some noise behind me. I slowly turned and looked and saw 3 deer. A doe and a couple of fawns. When they cut into the woods they were about 10 yards out of my range so I let them pass uneventfully. At 7:25AM I seen another 3 deer across a creek bed out in front of my stand. Here there is a major trail and if they stayed on it they would come down across the creek and the trail passes my stand about 25 yards on my left. I readied myself because I was fairly sure this would be the path they would take. At 7:28AM they were at 40 yards and closing the distance to my shooting lane. It was another doe and 2 more fawns. The mother was coming up the trail first. I drew up the crossbow and stopped her right where I wanted her to stop. Then I remembered I didn't turn off the safety. I had to move just a little to turn it off as her eyes were zoning in on me. I flipped it to fire, refound her in my scope and let the arrow fly. She did a mule kick and took off running. I checked the time and it was 7:30AM. The shot looked goos and it was a complete pass through. I watched her run and listened for her to crash. I heard her go down in about 8 seconds. I did not see her fall but I knew approximately where she was. My son sends me a text and says "that better be a big buck, lol". I sent one back and "why, it's opening day, I just smoked a nice doe, and it's the first deer I ever shot in September". I gave her a little bit of time to expire then I got down and retrieved my arrow. It was covered in good blood. I got on the trail and she was down within 50 yards. I just recovered my first September deer. As my son wa swalking over he spotted a doe and 2 fawns and nearly stalked upon them and shot himself a nice doe. But, just as he was about to let an arrow fly they spooked and took off running. We nearly doubled today. My son came over and watched me do the dirty work. It took me almost 20 minutes to gut her. I laughed and told him I was out of practice. It usually takes me 8-10 minutes and I'm done. My best time is 6 minutes. Then as I dragged her down to the truck my 23 year old son watched his 45 year old man drag the doe all the way down. I'm not complaining here, I'm just saying, lol.
We were back home and all cleaned up before 9:00AM. I called in to the ODNR and checked in my deer. Ohio has gone to a new check-in process this year. You can either call-in, go on-line, or still check it in at a check station but you don't have to have the deer with you. To me this system seems very flawed. I think alot of people will be shooting bucks saying they shot does until they get the buck they want. I liked the old system much better where you took the deer to a check station and they gave you a metal tag for it. I have like 70 metal tags hanging off the anttlers in my deer room. Oh well we will see how it goes. I dropped her off at the processors and I will be getting as many roasts out of her as possible and the rest I will be getting made into deer trail bologna. I'm looking forward to the good eating.