In my last blog post I talked about patience and how as a hunter I needed to be patient and good things would happen. That proved to be true on November 23, 2016. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I had the day off from school. The wind was forecasted to be from the Northwest which was ideal for where I wanted to sit which has been a hot bed of activity over the past couple of weeks. I settled in to my stand with my Swift Fox longbow before first light and was greeted by a chorus of turkeys who had roosted nearby. Just after shooting light I saw my first deer. It was a young buck who was browsing about 60 yards away. He slowly made his way towards me and stood broadside at 10 yards for a few seconds. If only he was a little older I thought. I don't consider myself a trophy hunter and I don't set out to hunt a particular deer. If a deer get my heart pounding it's game on but this one didn't do it for me.
The sun was rising in the East as the young buck chased off a doe that had just appeared. After he had been gone for a while I hit the rattling antlers which resonated through the still river bottom. Just shortly afterward I heard footsteps coming up from the river. I grabbed my bow and got ready. It was the same young buck that had been in front of me a few minutes earlier. He came to the same spot and stood broadside at 10 yards. He hadn't matured enough in those few minutes for me to consider taking him! As he left the scene another buck appeared in the timber, and shortly thereafter two more bucks showed up in the CRP field to my East. All were respectable 3 year olds and all of them had my attention. The one that appeared first charged at the others and then all went into the CRP to figure out who was in charge. They never fought but two of them walked away to the North. One of them came towards the trees as I grunted a few times. He raked a tree and made a scrape then slowly worked his way down the trail towards one of my shooting lanes.
My two sons and I returned at 3:00 and began our search where I had shot the deer. I had hopes of this being a teaching lesson for them and a short, successful blood trail. The blood was much harder to see once it had dried. I didn't have a definitive trail but slowly worked my way towards where he ran all the while keeping an arrow nocked and ready. After about 100 yards we found his first bed but no deer and no blood trail leading away from it. This had me concerned but still confident. The three of us split up and carefully followed the river and surrounding timber with no sign of the deer. After an hour my boys had seen enough and returned to the house while my father-in-law came out to help. I also had my 4 year old chocolate lab on a leash who I have worked with to blood trail to see if she could lead us in the right direction. We searched the entire South end of the river and up into the canyons with no sign. We returned back to the last blood and found another bed just 20 yards South of the first. This second bed showed a direction of travel to the South following the river.
The next problem was how to get him out and remain dry. Luckily the deer had died within 30 yards of one of my tree stands. I always use a safety harness and lifeline when hunting from tree stands so I removed the lifeline and used it as a lasso to cowboy the deer to shore. After a few throws it worked and we had the deer on dry land.
It doesn't always happen the way that we dream it up but I am glad that I was able to find the deer and successfully harvest a fine buck with my CCA Swift Fox Longbow. My patience had paid off!