First Deer and All the Mistakes I Made
I have been hunting with my boyfriend before and have watched him shoot a deer with a gun so I had a little bit of an idea of the feeling I would get when I went hunting on my own. Well at least that's what I thought anyway. I have been shooting a bow for a little over a year now, at first I was just using a friends bow to see if I even liked shooting one. I don't like to shoot a gun because of the kick and I was afraid a bow would have the same effect. About 3 months ago I bought my own bow, a diamond (a kids bow) because as my strength grows I can upgrade the limbs, right now I am only shooting 43lbs.
So anyhow I have been hunting everyday since season opened up here on the first and I have had some great luck and some luck you would just not believe. First day I go hunting and see nothing but turkeys, I was hunting in a blind on the ground. Then I said forget this ground hunting I want to learn to climb a tree so I got myself a climbing treestand and got the quickie lesson in how to climb up a tree, and I wanted to see how hard it would be to get back in if I fell so I jumped out about a dozen times. So then I get to go with the guys to one of their favorite spots, that according to them they don't often see deer at, they say you can hunt there all year and not see a deer. Why its one of their favorite spots I don't know.
So I go in where I am told, well at least that's what I thought, I get up my tree and not half an hour later some guy comes walking under my tree and tells me I am trespassing. I was 75 yards over the property line. So I tell him I am sorry and I climb down my tree I go about 100 yards over so as not to be trespassing. I picked my spot because I had seen an old tree stand, standing corn, a dried up creek, some used shells, and walnuts (I thought since they like acorns they would like walnuts, but turns out they can't eat them). Well first a doe and her 2 yearlings came in, they were right behind me under my tree, I never even heard them come in. I turned in my stand so I could get a better view and a shot I hoped. I did get a shot but in my excitement I used the wrong pin. I was so excited I doubt I even knew my own name. I kept telling myself in my head to calm down, kept calling the deer to me in my head, kept thanking god in my head for this awesome experience. Well like I said I used the wrong pin and shot right over its back, then they were gone, and their big buck friend who I had not even noticed went with them.
Then I am still so excited that I am shaking and another deer came in on me. She came right in from the corn, I did not have a very clear view where she was I only had about two pockets that I could have got a shot on her so once again in my head I am trying to calm down and call her in and just thanking god. She went into one of the pockets broadside at about 25 yards a far shot for me with the low poundage but I just wanted her so bad I could taste it so I took the shot and I hit her. She ran and then stopped about 20 yards away and I could hear her gurgling on the blood. I knew I had this deer. I got on the radio and started calling my boyfriend I was about to throw up I was so excited I could not believe what I had just done, this was the most amazing feeling I had ever felt. Well I climbed out of my tree and he came over found my first arrow right away, but could not find my second arrow, I did not get pass through. We could not find one drop of blood, and the gurgling that was 20 yards from where I had shot her was in the corn. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We looked until about 2 am for that deer and found nothing, we went back the next day we went row to row on the corn and nothing. I felt so bummed out. I had killed a deer and was not able to find it and make use of it, or even worse I crippled it and it was out there in agony. I learned to only shoot if its closer than 20 yards.
Then there was the quads and dirt bikes. We have about 220 acres of property and everyone in the area thinks that they have the right to come on it and ride their quads. This is a war we have been having for a long time. Well I get in a nice area, up my tree and am waiting for a deer, I just want to see one. Well here comes the parade, 2 dirt bikes and 2 joggers and 12 quads. Oh I was so mad all I could see was red. Well about an hour later its about to be dark and I was not hearing anything but squirrels so I just start climbing down my tree because after all that I just knew I was not going to see a thing. Well when I get to the bottom of the tree and hop out I am staring down a deer its about 10 yards away from me, we both had shocked looks on our faces. Well there were 2 more to my right about 30 yards off. Well needless to say they ran off. I learned not to come out of my tree till I can't see to shoot.
A few more hunts and I saw nothing but squirrels. One of my mornings I was hunting with my boyfriend and I was so sleepy I had to climb out of my tree and just lay on the ground and go to sleep. I just could not handle the morning hunt that day and I paid for that, when I got a puffball to the head for a wake up call. Then another mess up later that afternoon, I found a great spot all by myself tons of good acorns nice open shooting lanes just everything perfect. Well I was there for about an hour and a half or two when three deer come in on me. They were about 30 yards away from my tree and I had learned from my 25 yard mess up so I was waiting. I thought they would come in faster than what they did so I had picked my deer and drawn back on it. This deer was part turtle, I was holding back for about 10 minutes and my arm could just not take it anymore, so instead of letting off my draw I let an arrow fly (not at the deer) and it frightened them away. They came back but by that point it was too dark for me to shoot so I had to wait for them to go on through so I could get down my tree. I learned sometimes deer like to take their time, so I should wait to draw back, and if I do draw back too soon I learned not to just throw an arrow but to let off my draw.
Then the next day I wanted to go back to that spot but I could not find it, I had gone out a different way than what I came in so I just got myself all mixed up. I looked and looked but it was starting to get late, I was getting really upset and I kept radioing my boyfriend, and he told me to calm down and just pick somewhere else that looks good to me, to remember how good things had turned out for me the night I had gotten run out at the one place. So I found a spot and it looked really good, I got a tree I liked and up I went, I had hooked my clippy things to my bow and my stand so that after I got up I could pull my bow up. Well I get up my tree I strap myself too it and I start pulling up my bow, well my clippy thing breaks and my bow falls. It only fell about 5 feet so I radio my boyfriend I am fuming at this point I am just having an awful time. He told my to climb down and to check my stuff out and if it looks good to go back up the tree, remember what happened the day you got run out. So I went down quickly looked over my things and back up the tree I went. Well I get myself up the tree I pull up my bow, this time I tied knots and did not use the clippy things. Well I get my release off the bow and guess what its broken, the part that attaches to the string and the trigger are gone. At this point I just screamed bloody murder if I was not tied to the tree I would have jumped but with the luck I was having that day I would have just broke a leg or something. So I climb down and I make my boyfriend come help me look for the part that broke off. He had deer in on him so needless to say he was not happy but I cried so he did it. I learned that sometimes just everything goes wrong, and when that happens to you don't mess up someone else's hunting.
So later that night we went and got me a new release so that the next day I would be able to go hunting. Well we were out late that night trying different releases and there was no way I was going to be able to get up and do a morning hunt. Since I did not feel like sleeping under a tree again I decided to sleep in and just do an afternoon hunt. I did not get out until late but I was up and in my tree by 4 pm. I was in my favorite spot (the place where I came down too soon and had a staring contest with a deer) lots of acorns on the ground. I did not go up my favorite tree I went up a tree about 10 yards away from it. Well I was there about an hour or so and I had not even seen a squirrel and that was odd because every other time I was in this spot I would see tons of them at least 20 each time. One time I even saw a little box turtle, that was neat to watch him just going along doing whatever it is that turtles do. But this night it was quiet, no quads no squirrels and not even my little turtle friend was around.
It was a windy day and my tree was blowing around a little every time a big gust would come along I would just hold onto my bow and my stand and wait for it to pass. I find it a bit unnerving blowing around about 25-30 feet off the ground. So I am up in my tree like I have been so many other times in my head talking with God just asking to see a deer, telling him how I don't care if I get to shoot one or not I just would love to see one. About 6 pm 3 deer a doe and her 2 yearlings come in. God had answered my request and I was thanking him over and over in my mind. My heart was pounding in my chest like it had every other time I had seen deer when I was out hunting. I thought these deer were going to go in the opposite direction. They were about 30 yards away from me, I had learned already that that was too far of a shot for me with the poundage I am shooting so I just waited and was just so excited to even see these deer. I did not draw back either, I just wanted to keep my eyes on these deer and watch and wait and see what they were going to do, since I had already learned that deer like to take their time. Well I am still just in my head thanking God and calling these deer to me. My heart was pounding in my chest I was afraid the deer would hear it, it was beating so hard. I just kept telling myself to calm down but this is what I had been waiting for. My chance had come at last one of the yearlings started to come in. When it was about 15 yards away I drew back my bow and I got her in my sights, she was facing me and I knew I had to wait for a broadside shot. So I waited and then she turned broadside but her vitals were blocked by a little sapling. So I waited some more and my heart pounded and I kept begging her to just take one step forward. Well she did and I took the shot, and I hit her she was about 13 yards away and wide open. Well she ran about 20 yards and circled back and laid down by her mother about 15 yards from my tree. I thought about shooting her again but then her mother realized something was not right and was staring at me so I could not move. Well I don't know why she pegged me off, she must of at last heard my heart which at this point was about to explode out of my chest. Well she started to blow and snort and she made her baby get up and run off with her. I watched them until I could not see them anymore and then called my boyfriend right away and told him I had shot a deer and was going to need some help getting it. I was shaking so much he could hear my release knocking into my bow as we spoke. Well I got down out of my tree and I found my arrow it was covered in something and smelled nasty I did not have a clue what this meant. By this point my boyfriend shows up takes one look at the arrow and says this is not good I gut shot the deer, told me it would take hours maybe even days for it to die and that I may never find it. I was so upset, everything was perfect, the deer was close, it was a wide open shot and I got pass through. Well we looked for some blood and found nothing but some stomach acid where it had laid down. We went home to call some friends to see if we could get some help in finding this deer and also to give it some time to die. One of our friends said we should wait over night and give it real time to die and not just go back in and push it around that maybe we should just look in the area a little and see if we could find some blood. Well we went back and looked I found some more stomach acid and then my boyfriend found some blood so we went home with a good idea of where this deer was heading. Well the next morning comes and my boyfriend goes into work for a few hours until his friend is able to make it over and help look for the deer. I went out and started to look for more blood sign and thought I had found it so I went and told him where and how I had marked the spot. Well it turns out I am great at finding berry juice. So he and our friend start looking for actual blood and they find it, I even found some in a field where it had bedded down for a while. Then the trail went cold again and we all 3 of us went in different directions I headed towards a pond right in the area thinking that it wanted a drink. Well about 30 minutes later I hear my boyfriend calling out for me saying he found some more sign so I went running jumping over logs just so excited because I thought the search was pretty much over at this point. So there I am running up to where I heard his voice calling me from when I see it, oh its just amazing this white belly just laying there and I found it. Well at least that's what I thought, I start yelling "my deer, my deer" and here they are in a little ditch next to it with smiles as big as mine at my excitement at my very first deer. I learned something here too, well the reason I gut shot the deer was because when I got the new release it changed my anchor points just enough to throw my sights off, so I learned any time you change anything at all you have to test it before you take it out into the field. You owe it to that animal to do your best to end its life as fast as possible, and not to make it suffer over night from a gut shot. Also I learned that if you can take a second shot go ahead and do it.
Well I made many mistakes along the way and everything was not perfect but still the excitement and the joy of knowing that I am providing for myself and family is unbelievable. There are no words to describe the feeling you get when you work hard and it pays off and you are posing with that animal. My boyfriend and other hunters have told me that the excitement never goes away and that every time is like the first time and I sure hope that's true. Although I do hope there are not so many mistakes the next time, but there will be a next time. Now I know what keeps people going out there in the heat, the cold, the rain and every other thing you have to endure to hunt and when you get that rush of joy and excitement it is all worth it.
First deer with a bow in Brookville, Indiana.