Well, this year was a humbling year for me in the archery woods. After enjoying opening day success with a special regulations doe, I was given a good does of reality checks at how difficult this sport of archery really is. I have been on a hot streak over the past 7 years and had just about accepted the fact that I was going to be toting the Browning 7MM-08 after thanksgiving when I hit the cold 11 degree woods on the last day of general archery 2014.
I have been hunting hard every day except one over the past two weeks, most most days being all day sits. I saw 15 bucks, passed on 5 different legal bucks, and saw a true giant at 60 yards that had no interest in my calling. The first week of November I saw most of the deer. The second week has been slow for me with some lock down taking place, I suspect.
The alarm rang and I headed off into the frosted woods to a stand that I hung on a point that connects two ridges that the bucks like to use this time of the year. It was cold, and I was quite chilled by 9:00 without a deer seen.
I caught a glimpse of some legs up above me and saw a few does milling about. As I was watching through the binoculars, trying to pick out a buck, I glanced over my shoulder and this buck was already at 40 yards and closing. Thankfully, he was tired, with his mouth open and gasping for air. I had time to slowly grab my bow and settle in. I saw 5 points on his right beam but noticed his left being odd. With the size of his body and head, I knew he was one I wanted to take.
He stepped into my 25 yard shooting lane and stopped to pant some more with the bright morning sun glistening off his broad body. A picture perfect shot opportunity. I settled in, and squeezed off. At the shot, he lumbered about 30 yards, not knowing what had happened to stop and look around. I could see the blood already. Within seconds, his back legs begin to sag and it was soon over. Another great example of how effective a well placed arrow is.
As his movement came to a halt, a 8 point that I had passed earlier, cruised on past, gave him a quick look, and moved up the hill to the does. It was a magical morning. After settling my nerves I climbed down to look him over.
The arrow went completely through. This was the same arrow that I shot the doe earlier with that my daughter had signed the fletching "good luck".
The view back to my treestand high in a maple.
Where he took his last breath.
And a few hero shots. He had a big acorn knot on his left beam right at the mid point. He certainly suffered some injury during velvet. That side ended up looking like a crown on a red stag. He is my biggest bodied buck ever with a huge mule head. A buck I would be happy to tag at any point in the season, but to have it happen on the last day, after so many hours in the stand, was almost surreal. It was a great day to be alive!! Thanks for looking.
Shot with the TenPoint Vapor, Easton FMJs, and a 2 inch Swhacker. 2A, Washington County.