If you read the title of this post thinking I got a deer I must unfortunately inform you that you are wrong. Oh how I wish this was the case but it, regrettably, is just not.
On Saturday Morning I got into my stand at about 6:30am, a half hour before legal shooting time. I hunkered down and got comfortable thinking about a show Tim and I had recently watched. I believe it was Monster Quest and they had been talking about Sasquatch. One guy on the show claimed Sasquatch had walked up to his tree and reached up to touch his tree stand while he was sitting in it. This is about where my mind was at that morning. Sitting there waiting for the squirrels to start chattering away and for the geese to start passing I started hearing loud cracks and crashes a little ways into the woods. Suddenly the crashing was approaching my little opening. CRASH, BANG, CRACK, SNAP, THUD, THUD, THUD, THUD. It was Sasquatch and I was going to shoot him down and become rich and famous for discovering he was real.... Turns out it was a deer, a nice little buck, the loudest freaking buck I've ever encountered, but not Sasquatch. (darn eh?) So this buck pretty much flew across my line of sight and straight into the bush on the other side of the clearing. A bunch of little fawn bleats from me had absolutely no effect on this guy and he continued on his little mission through the woods. I watched him circle back through the bush ahead of me and head back to the area he had come out of in the first place. I lost sight of him. In the mean time I had started hearing some more cracking and thumping sounds from the same place I had heard Sasquatch only moments earlier. My brain, now a bit more awake, knew that another deer was approaching. This time not as loud. I heard him come out of the bush and could see him through a tree right in front of mine. My heart began it's attempt to exit my chest. He was walking slowly and casually along the same path the first deer had flown across. It was perfect. He was about to give me a perfect broadside shot at about ten yards. I drew my bow as he was walking behind those tree branches, then, as he stepped out into the opening between the two trees in front of my stand, time sped up. When I set up the stand I thought this opening would be great to shoot through because it provided me cover from both sides, but it sure seemed a small gap when he walked out. I placed my 20 yard pin low just behind his shoulder, too close to his shoulder in hind sight and too low. He was about to walk behind the next tree when I released. He jumped, bounced about sixty yards to the back of my little clearing and stopped. My heart continued it's battery inside my chest as I sat, waiting for close to a minute for something to happen. Thoughts raced through my head. Had I missed him? Was he hit and about to go down? What is he doing??? The forest seemed to echo with sounds and I wondered if more deer were coming or if the squirrels had declared war. I reached for my quiver below my seat to knock another arrow because now I heard a distinct thud, thud, thud of yet another deer coming from the same trail again. Out flies Sasquatch again but this time he bee lined for my deer and chased him off! Now what?! The deer I shot at ran away seemingly fine. I waited a while to get down from my stand not wanting to spook them even farther in case they were just out of my sight. When I got down I found my arrow stabbed into the ground. It wasn't covered in blood. It was covered in something, but not blood. It was sort of light reddish brown, not a good sign. I questioned whether I had gut shot him but based on where I had placed my pin and knowing how I normally shoot, I didn't think that was the case. The arrow smelled odd, like the smell of raw meat. I called Tim and he came and met me with the truck and we began our search for blood. The biggest patch of blood I found was in the spot where he had stopped for that minute. We tracked tiny droplets of blood on dead leaves and blades of grass for only about a fifty yards past the first blood sighting. It was tough going finding what we did and boy are there a lot of little green plants with naturally occurring red spots on them! When we couldn't find any more blood we began searching all the deer trails in the vicinity and ended up doing a random search anywhere we thought a deer might have gone. Four hours later we finally admitted defeat. I was heart broken.
I don't want you to think of me as a spoiled brat, angry because my deer got away. I'm just so disappointed in myself for botching the shot. This is what I had hoped for for so long. I had worked for this. I've been sitting in that bloody stand every weekend since archery opened here on August 30th. I know I am a good shot. I practice at the range regularly and even won a provincial archery championship this summer. The perfect shot opportunity walked right in front of me and I was paralyzed with classic buck fever and blew it all to hell. I just feel awful about this. I feel bad for the poor damn deer walking around out there now with a hole in his brisket. This is not something I wanted to happen again.
Yes, I said again. I have failed to mention that a very similar scenario happened last year when I shot another buck too high in the shoulder and we were unable to find him after tracking a faint blood trail for hours.
These are the only two deer I have ever shot with my bow. I am extremely disheartened right now and question whether I should be out hunting at all. After last year I was afraid of wounding another deer and then there I went and did it again. I don't know how but I need to find a way to keep myself calm when deer come out in front of me. Until I can do that I don't think I should be up in a tree.
That is all.