Weather: Partly Cloudy, Temperatures in the upper 30s
Wind: 5-15 mph out of the West
Time: Dawn – 7:45am
After the warm temperatures rolled in on Tuesday, I sat Wednesday and Thursday out. However, I got a report on Thursday that the bucks were moving and moving in a big way. While the forecast for Friday wasn’t ideal with midday winds in the teens, I knew that I had to go out. I could only hunt until 9am, so I could get to work in time, so I chose my hang-on in the middle of the property, which is the same stand as Day 2.
It was a fairly slow morning. The wind was blowing pretty hard right from the start. Fortunately, I had plenty of layers on so I was not worried about getting too cold. I scanned the area in front of me constantly hoping to spot movement. With the leaves mostly gone, I was now able to see a good 100 yards out in front of the stand. If anything was going to come up the hill, I was going to see it.
Around 7:40 I caught movement about 80 yards away on the main trail that eventually comes past my stand. I pulled up the binoculars and immediately recognized the rack and patches of missing fur on the back. It was the buck that I shot at on October 18th. I grabbed my bow and turned on the lumenock as he continued to close the gap. As he got into bow range, I soon realized that I was going to need him to pass my stand before I would be able to get a shot since he was quartering towards me. As he got behind a large double maple tree, I drew my bow. He walked past me without ever looking up. I slowly turned and positioned myself for when he hit my opening. As he entered the opening I made a grunt with my voice. He immediately stopped. He was quartering away pretty hard so I aimed around the middle of the body. Once I got my pinned settled, I released the arrow. I watched as the green lumenock went into the center of the body, out the other side and into the ground. I knew immediately that it was a good shot. He ran out across the trail that connects to the trail that he was on and dropped 60 yards from the shot. I didn’t know whether to be excited or relieved to have finally taken this buck after a long 21 days of pursuit. I gave him 30 minutes to ensure that he was down for good. In the meantime, I texted friends, family, and called off of work for the rest of the day.
I climbed down and found my arrow and noticed good blood on the arrow. I walked over and found him piled up. Now that I could see the rack up close I realized I had a little more history with this buck. He was the very first buck to show up on my trail camera back in August and it just happened to be right in front of the treestand I had just taken him from. Going back even further. I had scouted this spot hard since last December and hung this treestand in early July, because I was that confident that this was going to be a go-to spot this season.
Trail Camera Picture
After examining the antlers, I looked over the body to see how well I placed the shot. I noticed a patch of hair missing just behind the shoulder and another patch with fresh blood near the middle of the body. Then it hit me… The front mark was from my shot in October. Upon examining the insides I noticed that I had just barely clipped the back edge of both lungs from the October hit. There were small notches out of the lungs with black and blue marks around them. One inch to the left and I would have had a double lung hit and a dead buck in October. An inch or two to the right and I would have hit the liver. It is pretty remarkable how small the margin of error is in archery hunting. There has always been the debate about whether or not you can hit a deer in the vital area and not actually kill it. I think this proves that you can hit a buck in the lung area and not actually kill it.
The two hits – Which shot would you think was the fatal one?
While skinning the deer, I got to the area of the October hole exit and my knife hit something out of place. I pulled the skin down a little further and noticed a triangle under the skin. I dug around with my knife and pulled out half of one of my broadhead blades. Upon further examination, I noticed that my broadhead had hit a rib, broke the rib (that had since almost fulled healed), and either the blade wedged in the rib or broke off and caused the arrow to not pass through.
What are the chances of this ever happening? When I began this journal at the start of the season, I never could have thought that this sequence of events could have ever occurred. Now that my buck tag has been filled, it is time to chase turkeys and then begin my pursuit of my first deer with a flintlock rifle with my doe tags.
8 point with a 14″ spread