Today I killed my last buck with bow in Medina County. Two years ago today I killed my first buck with a crossbow. Today I killed my first buck in 16 yrs with a bow. Two years ago in mid October I had been hunting a particular buck with my crossbow when I decided to buy a new bow. So I used up some of my Cabelas points and bought a PSE Vision bow package. Got it setup and practiced with it. First time to use a peepsite, D loop and fall away rest. I was shooting good with it up to 20 yards and even took it on a couple hunts for that particular buck. He was jumpy and was not getting inside of 25 yards no matter what. So I went back to crossbow and took on 10-31-2014. I hunted last year with both bow and crossbow but did not have any buck I was interested in shooting. I had seen this young 10pt that had one extra kicker that I thought was a 3 yr old in front of me several times. He looked bigger in person than on TC but felt he needed another year or two. He disappeared in the first week of November last year. He did return in Jan and was here off and on all summer.
He was now a mainframe 9 pt with 3 kickers. I still thought he was a 4 yr old but he was looking older in the pics. I saw him several times at first or last light and thought he looked like a 5 yr old. I had other bucks around him that I thought were 4 or 5 and he avoided them but was bigger bodied than they were. He was deeper chested and had a wider/thicker brisket along with a pot belly. I seen him again yesterday evening and his neckline and neck were filling in much more like a 5 yr old.
This morning I was hunting from a popup blind that has only one pretty narrow shooting land. I corned it heavy by hand and then fed off with the road feeder. I got into the blind around 6:10 and it was foggy but a had slight North wind which was perfect. Around 6:40 I could hear deer on corn and could see the shadowed silhouettes. With the fog it took forever to get light. I had a 4-5 yr old weak 9pt in again on corn along with several other younger bucks, one doe and one fawn. The bucks were chasing each other off the corn and in/out in all directions. The 9+3 came in around 7:00 am with barely enough light to see. He kept his space from the weak 9pt but ran anything and everything away that got within 3-4 yards of him. He was in and out and within 12 yards to 25 yards for 40-45 minutes. I had some shot opportunities at 20+ yards when he was broadside but he either had a deer in front or behind of him or would chase a buck away. I said to myself as the numbers of bucks was getting less and less if he gets to that one bush at 16 yards I am going to take him. Well he never got to that bush because every time he would chase a buck off the corn. He finally turned broadside slightly quartering to the right for a brief second so I drew and put my 20 yard pin on him behind his shoulder, bottom 3rd. I can tell I have not bow hunted and shot a deer in 16 years by what I did next. I squeezed on the trigger on the release to shoot and immediately on firing I looked around the peep. I heard and saw the impact and new immediately it would be a bit left. I had forgotten about aiming a bit lower since I was using my 20 yard pin so I new it would be a tad high. He could have jumped the string since I new he was a spooky deer and on edge with all the other bucks running around him. I also new he was going to run off at a high rate of speed. He did not disappoint me. On impact I heard the arrow thump him and seen him lunge forward. Immediately I knew he was hit in the lungs but when he was angling away I could see the arrow hanging by the fletching out of the offside ribcage a bit high I though. I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realized I had not held my anchor point and followed through correctly like I always do in practice. He looked hurt when he bolted away and out of my shooting lane into the fog. It was 7:43 when I looked at my phone. I waited 15 minutes and gathered my gear and got out of the popup slowly scanning the direction he had run. I was worried about how fast he was running and knew he was covering a lot ground in a hurry. He was heading in the direction of plowed/planted food plot that was mostly bare ground. He had to cover about 60-70 yards to get to that 2.5 acre plot. I went to where he was standing for the shot and found where his hooves dug out when he bolted off. I saw the arrow about 12-15 yards away and it was covered in good blood. I found the first blood at about 5-7 yards away on a piece blackbrush limb laying on the ground. I eased ahead a bit to check the rest of the grass/brush between there and the plot. I checked with binos and looked into the plot and could not see him. Loosing him in the shooting lane as he ran off I was not sure if turned more to the right or kept going straight. So I back out and went to my gear and carried to the spot where the arrow was. I then took my time looking for blood and found he had actually gone a little more left of where I though he was. It was light but good blood trail in the grass/brush. I check the area of taller grass before the plot and found he had run into the plot. I could see he was hit high in the lungs since the blood was bright red and it was not much of it with it spraying out of his nose as he was running. I knew I had a complete pass thru just not sure of my shot. I glassed the food plot and still could not see him. My Ranger was hidden in a Live Oak motte on the far left corner of the plot, so I decided to head to it and bring it over and load up my gear.
I was going to go head to the house to wait at least another hour before looking anymore. I decided to try to follow his blood/tracks in the bare dirt of the food plot as I walked toward the Ranger. If you have ever tried to track blood trail on dry soil in a plowed field you will know how difficult it is to see or find blood. It is like a droplet of water on dry plowed ground. The blood is not red but a wet spot. The ground was wet from the heavy fog and it was even worse than I had imagined it would be. Throw in the fact the fog was now getting worse was waying heavily on me leaving the deer for a while. Add in the fact the plot had a million deer tracks in it was giving an even sicker feeling in my stomach. The direction the was heading was all tall broomweeds, grass and low brush that was all thick and waste deep. No blood and only deep running/plodding tracks to follow that I felt was his. I went about 60 yards and stopped to look the direction the running tracks were heading. I had just went past the sight line of another small motte of Live Oaks on the edge of the plot and when I looked at about 90 yards and saw the white belly of him laying in the plot. He was about 30 yards from the tall grass and broomweeds. He had died running and full speed I could tell by where he starting plow with his chest for the last 30-35 yards. The shot did take out both lungs. It hit him a little bit high and back but still got both lungs due to it angling slightly forward.
He is a buck I have 3 years of history with and was proud to take him with my bow. The first deer in 16 years with my bow. I looked at his jaw quickly and it appeared that he was at least a 4 yr old. I will check it better in a couple of days. He dressed a 144 lbs and was in great shape. He was already rutty smelling and had a couple of points that had tips broken or chipped off. The arrow entered on his right side and angled forward about 6" and out the other side. Hitting him a bit higher than I was aiming for caused his chest cavity to fill with blood and not bleed out thru the entry/exit holes. He was only bleeding out of his mouth/nose as he was running away. The entry/exit holes were 2"+ cuts just a bit to high.
Sorry for the long winded re-cap but I was and still am excited about getting this buck. This buck along with others here have a history of disappearing in general season. He is a great looking buck that I really like and finally decided to take after letting him go a couple of times before this season already. I had some shot opportunities but they were not exactly what I comfortable with so I waited till I had the shot I liked. He is my second biggest buck with a bow and dang proud of him since he was killed on my own place.