When I moved into my neighborhood 4 years ago, we became pretty good friends with the people that lived across the street from us. Couple similar to us, young, 3 kids, they are from Wisconsin originally. We talk almost everyday, kids play together, gone on some quick vacation trips, heck when we moved last summer they ended up building a house 1 street over from us.
Anyway, Dan grew up on a farm outside of Portage WI and did some hunting as a youngster (Deer Season in Wisconsin is only 9 days, so its more like an event rather than an actual season like we are accustomed to ) but he has bounced around to different areas due to his career and hasn't hunted much since he was early college age. A few months ago he realized that he isn't going to be spending much time at the farm up in Wisconsin and he should get some weapons here and start hunting since his boy is 7 and showing interest in the outdoors. He bought a couple of rifles and a few weeks ago we got them sighted in and ready to go.
Hunting season for me usually starts in either August or September, depending on what animal I'm chasing out West, so by mid November I've usually had all the hunting in that I can stand at the moment. This year has been a bit different, with kids school sports schedules, a very busy work schedule and other commitments keeping hunting time to a minimum. I acquired a piece of property in Mountain Home around the first of November, and what hunting we have done has been up there with the kids. The lease is only 20 min from my door but I hadn't been since mid October when I sat last.
Looking at the upcoming weeks schedule, Hunting opportunities would be on the slim side, so earlier in the week i went and filled up the feeders and got ready to hunt at least a few sits this weekend. I set a goal this year to fill my general season tags ( non-MLD ) with a bow only, and I was hoping to get a chance at a decent mature buck. In September I had 13 bucks coming to the protein feeder, 3 of the bucks were really nice, but when season started in October I didn't see any of them. Neighbor could only hunt Sunday, but Saturday morning I sat, seeing deer but nothing I would want to shoot. I had an event I attended last night, and running off of 5 hours of sleep I was moving a little slow this morning, but we made it to the lease and got set up. I just had a few deer moving into the corn I had spread out by hand before the feeder went off when I hear a shot. Dan texts over that he shot at a buck, but was so amped up he thinks he missed. I tell him to sit tight and give it time. After the feeder goes off, I have a mature buck come in.....he fits the criteria; Mature, decent for area rack and this gives me an opportunity to try out the new Rage Trypan heads I bought awhile back. The buck moves into the corn, but a doe to the right of the feeder is continuously blowing and stomping. She must do this every day as none of the other 5 deer around even lift their heads. He eats but never gives me a shot angle, and a new doe comes in he puts his head down and takes off after her. A few min later he comes back only to repeat the scene.
after another few min he comes back and starts eating right under the feeder. I draw back right as old blowhard doe walks in and stands right in front of the buck and is staring right at the blind. i hold for a few seconds and he takes another step, exposing his vitals. I settle the pin, and hit the release, I see the fletching disappear right behind his shoulder. He takes off, obviously hurt and I expect a short tracking job. After 5 min I get out and go to locate the arrow.....no arrow. Look for blood, I find some but it is sparse. Following the trail, I find better blood but nothing great. After about 50 yards i find the arrow, covered in blood laying on the ground. About this time I hear another shot, Dan comes in and says he shot a really good buck. I track the deer for another 10 min, finding blood but not good blood. By this time we are probably 80 yards from the impact site.
I back out and go get Dan, sure enough, he has a dandy 10 point on the ground. We look for 20 min for the first deer, and find no sign of a hit nor any deer. We load up his deer and go back to find mine. We go back to the last blood and we find, lose and find his trail about 10 more times. Dan is able to spot the blood better than I am and he is looking while i am fanning out looking for the actual deer. Another 150 yards later, I'm starting to lose hope. We have yet to find more than a few drops of blood in any one spot. We continue to follow this very sparse trail, I make a big J-hook loop while he picks apart trying to find the next drop of blood, when I see an antler sticking up in the grass. Get to the deer and am very surprised to find the exit wound in the middle of his body. Upon examination, the arrow entered the deer right where I thought, but must had deflected off a rib and ended up coming out his paunch, which was clogging the hole and preventing any serious blood loss. Not a huge deer by any means and If I would have held out, I'm almost certain I could have killed a bigger buck, but I'm tickled to have taken him with my bow and ecstatic about how the morning played out. I have a hard time seeing blood and had Dan not been there, it would have been very difficult for me to find the deer as quick as we did.
Pics from the morning: