Monday, September 28, 2015

First Bow Hunt in the Books

Since I started using a compound bow that actually fits me (15 months ago), I've come to enjoy archery more than I have in my entire life.  Not surprisingly, that parlayed into practicing archery two months before archery season (never done that) and getting in a tree within the first 10 days of our very early bow season in Maryland (never done that).   Since I'd been so jazzed up that I'd also gotten my tree stand sufficiently ready in the weeks prior to archery season (rarely did that), getting up, and through the woods to my stand at 5:45am wasn't a big deal at all.

It was a warm morning, about 63 degrees, and I wondered if the deer would move at all.  At least two deer scattered from their beds near my tree stand, and I scampered up into the darkness, leaving most of my gear on the ground, ropes dangling from my harness to ensure a safe gear pickup once I was clipped to the tree and seated in the stand.   Once I was set up in the dark, another deer let loose an alarm call, which is a common occurrence on this piece of property.

As the sun rose, I saw the bounty of acorns all around me and wondered if it would help or hurt.  Long story made short - it doesn't help on a day when the air temperature is at 63 and rapidly headed toward 70.  100 yards behind me in the swamp, I saw a doe and her two fawns.  They never moved closer.  Around 30 minutes after sunrise, a buck came from behind me and feasted on acorns right below the stand, paying me no mind.

End of the hunt, safely on the ground.
I became excited as I strained through the branches in the understory to see how big he was.  Three points on the right side!  And....zero points on the left.  I debated - and am still debating - what the right course of action was, as I let him circle my tree for 10 minutes.  On the one hand, this forest has several much larger bucks, some of whom I've spotted less than 50 yards from my tree stand (not while hunting, of course!), and so using a precious buck tag (1 of my 2) on this animal didn't seem wise.   On the other hand, as I watched this deer spend almost 20 minutes inside of the 20 yard mark from my stand, would I be doing the herd a favor by eliminating this kooky animal?

In the end, I let him walk.  Unlike past years, my dedication toward summer practice made me feel pretty confident that I could have killed that animal multiple times - I don't feel that it is a mystery at all.

I didn't see another deer in the next 90 minutes, and decided to lower my gear down, unclip myself from the tree, and mozy down the ladder (still tied into a harness loosely around the tree and ladder, of course).   It was great to have a well planned hunt also executed well, without incident or mistake.  Hope I can parlay that into the next hunt and hopefully a successful harvest!




1 comment:

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