Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Shot In The Dark

Part Two: Sunday (October 17/10)

Yes. I have been majorly slacking on part two of this story due to being out hunting and working and various other reasons but here it is finally.

Sunday morning rolled around and Tom and I were eager to get back in our stands. Glenn had gone home Saturday evening as planned after tagging out with his spiker the night before. We didn't make it into our stands as early as we had hoped due to a late night of skinning and possibly a celebratory beverage or two. Our morning hunt was rather uneventful as we had missed the morning crossing of the deer returning from the fields. It was also rather frigid that morning and I wimped out after only about an hour and a half in the stand.  I am not a morning person and thoroughly enjoy my evening hunts as opposed to waking up insanely early and wanting to fall asleep in my stand. Tim had gone out on the Big Red in search of bush chickens and Tom and I arrived back at the club well before he returned. We were enjoying our coffee when he showed up glowing with happiness. He had gotten his limit in spruce grouse, the first time he had done so in years. He was a happy camper. I helped him breast the birds, a first for me, and we chucked them in the freezer for a later meal.

The three of us went over to Marcel and Terry's to take care of the remains of the deer we had dressed the night before, then sat and had some more coffee and chatted for a while. We decided to go for a little bush cruise on the atvs and headed out in the early afternoon. We went and checked out some stands Tom was considering for muzzleloader which opened that Monday morning. We wanted to get to our stands at about four o'clock to have a bit more time as Glenn had shot his deer quite early into his sit the evening before. We headed back to the club to get changed and headed straight to our stands. Tim was to meet us again at ten after seven, a few minutes before legal shooting time was up.

Tom dropped me off by my stand, the same spot I had sat the night before, and headed off to Glenn's spot to sit. As soon as I got strapped in and settled down, the previous late night and early morning wake up hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt my eyelids getting heavy and my mind getting foggy. It was a calm windless evening and I drifted off into a dazed sleep. Thank goodness for tree harnesses.

I woke up about fourty minutes later, still feeling pretty groggy. As per the norm when I wake up I was grouchy and thought the whole situation was ridiculous and dumb and was convinced there were no deer in the forest and wanted to go back to the club and go to bed. I looked to my left and saw a massive mature doe carefully making her way past me at about fourty yards. Had I been paying attention and stood up well before she had made it to the place she was already at, I could have definitely gotten a shot off at her. I knew I had missed my chance and based on the way she was looking around so nervously I figured she would have been gone before I even raised my bow to try. I watched her pass behind me and cross the road. It was still dead calm with not a breeze to be felt. I just sat there listening to nothing until it was almost dark. That was the only deer I saw during my sit.

I left the stand around sundown. We are allowed to shoot until half an hour after the sun goes down and usually sit until then. That night, I said to heck with it and climbed out of my stand and hit the road. I could see Tom's truck up ahead. He was still in his stand. I could hear Tim coming up the road on the trike from a distance behind me to the North. It was getting pretty dark. Still within legal shooting time though. I heard something to my right in the bush. Sounded like walking. I stopped. I realized I had stopped right in front of a deer trail that crossed the road. I could still hear the walking. It had to be a deer. I tried to take a few quiet steps backwards in case the deer popped out right in front of me on the trail. Tim seemed to be coming faster up the road behind me. I hoped whatever was in the bush came out before he got to me. I stood listening intently on the rustling sounds that refused to exit the trees. Tim pulled up making all kinds of noise on the trike. I, assuming the creature in the woods was long gone, began talking to Tim, telling him what I had just heard. We chatted for a few seconds until I realized the sound was still there. A bit farther North from me now but still very close to the road. I whispered to Tim that I could hear it again. And he heard it too. It was very dark by that point. I checked the time, still legal to shoot. I turned the tiny light on on my truglo sight, which I had never had to use before. I saw a dark figure emerge from the tree line about twenty yards behind the trike. I turned around and watched the deer make two bounds straight away from us and then slow to a walk and begin to cross the road. I drew my bow, placed my glowing red thirty yard pin on the bulk of it's body and released.

Tim said he heard a sound like a balloon popping. I heard the sound of my arrow smashing into rocks and dirt. We both watched the deer bound, hunch backed, across the road and then vanish into the field. I heard one rustle off to the left side of the opening it had entered the field by and then no more sounds. I thought there was no way I could have hit the thing under such conditions. I checked the time again worried that I may have shot too late, but was still good, but only just. Tim insisted on going to find my arrow and I just stood there by the opening listening for more noises. Somehow Tim found it, despite having forgotten his head lamp at the trike, and came back with a red blood covered arrow. I could barely believe my eyes. I had definitely hit it and, from the looks of the arrow, it was a good hit.

Tim went to get Tom, whom we had just seen emerge from the bush with his flashlight. He pulled his truck up as I continued to stand there listening for more rustling sounds, hearing none. I was sure the deer was just around the corner in the field. Tom could barely believe I had just shot one as he too had had no luck in his stand with the lack of wind. We tracked a faint blood trail into the field and lost it after only about fourty yards. There were only specks of blood in what looked like foot prints in the deep grass. We tried all the deer trails we could find and could not find more blood. We also did not have the best lights with us. Tim zipped over to Marcel and Terry's on the trike and they showed up barely five minutes later. Terry is an excellent tracker and found fresh tracks in the grass that Tom and I had completely failed to see. Some of them had more blood in them but we still lost the trail after only another twenty yards. Marcel and his son went up a deer trail Tom and I had already checked but came back with nothing. As he was making his way back towards us he randomly found another speck of blood. Terry and I rushed over and she found speck after speck and then a bloody bed where the deer had lain down. We lifted our lights up from our feet and there was my deer ten feet away. It was a beautiful doe. I had shot her clean through the lungs. The first and last rustle I had heard was her jumping the ten feet from her first bed to her last. Could I believe I had just shot two deer in one weekend? Hardly. But there she was lying at our feet.

Back to Marcel and Terry's shop we went and dressed her out. I really need to start bringing the camera out in the field with me but a picture in the shop is better than no picture at all. 

Terry shot a nice mature doe in the morning with her black powder rifle. Though Tom did not get anything that weekend, he did harvest a nice doe as well the following weekend. When all was said and done, everything turned out great. We all went home with meat for the freezer and some good stories to go along with it. That is all for now. I wish you all good luck in your endeavors and cheers to backstraps, which were my inspiration to finish this story tonight :)


  1. Congrats! You pushed the envelope, but you pulled it off. Times like that are when all that practice pays off.

  2. Way to go Laura. Awesome job. You will be enjoying that meat for sure.

  3. Congratulations on your doe, Laura! Enjoyed the story!

  4. Good story and a good blog. congratulations on your deer. Rex

  5. A lovely and sensitively written post. Thank you! Jack