4 days, 3 deer, 1 arrow and 1 ball

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4 days, 3 deer, 1 arrow and 1 ball

Postby dhaverstick » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:20 pm

Missouri's firearms deer season started this past Saturday (11/14/15) and I decided to get a bit more bowhunting in before the Orange Army hit the woods so I took off Thursday and Friday to do so. I got to my farm in south-central Missouri Wednesday afternoon where Dad awaited me with open arms and hot food. The weather for the next few days was going to be prime and I was really excited about my chances of adding more meat to my freezer. Not that I really needed it, though. I had gotten lucky enough to kill a moose with my longbow in September so anything else would just be icing on the cake.

I hunted Thursday morning on the high ridge behind our barn. There is an old logging loading ground up there at the north end and a big oak flat that the deer and turkeys just love to feed in. On either side of the flat is a hollow steeper than a horse's face. Not 15 minutes after shooting light, I see a little 9-pointer coming my way. He is halfheartedly chasing a doe and I figure I will shoot whichever one gives me the first chance. Well, neither one of them gave me a great opportunity and I let them both pass without tightening the string. I am using my Lucky Arrow that I killed my moose with. I thought the arrow was lost during that hunt but my guide miraculously found it four days later. With a little soap and water and a broadhead touchup, it was good as new.

After another 15 minutes, a doe and a fawn come in to the loading ground and I, again, am not picky about who to shoot at. The doe finally gives me a pretty good shot at 15 yards and I send my lucky arrow her direction. Unfortunately, she turns just as I shoot and as she runs off down into Tater Cave Holler, I am sickened by the sight of my arrow falling out of her off side angling front-to-back instead of back-to-front. She disappears from my sight and I mark the spot with some landmarks. I know that I've just gut shot this deer and the rest of the day is going to be a long one. I wait 20 minutes or so in the stand and am given a glimmer of hope when I catch a glimpse of the fawn at the spot where I last saw the doe. Maybe she is down after all? I decide to get down and tentatively check out the blood trail. I find my arrow with gut material on it and I start feeling dread again. To make a long story short, though, I find the deer right where I though she was. I hit her liver square on and she died while I watched, although I didn't know that at the time. The relief I feel is immense and I give thanks to the doe's spirit for the meat she will provide.

Now the job is dragging her out of the holler. It is 200 yards straight up to the closest place I can get my truck. But with some rope, some sweat and a little cussing I manage to get the job done. She is gutted and hung up in the barn yard and I clean my lucky arrow and put it back into service. Tomorrow is another day and another hunt.

Friday morning is crisp and cold and you can almost reach out, grab the air and break a piece off. I hunt at the south end of our farm at a place we call the Deer Turnaround. There is an old skid trail that goes about halfway up the ridge down there and my dad has a food plot and salt lick at the end of it where you can turn a truck around. Deer are everywhere and I have to kick the turkeys out of the way just to get to them! I have several close encounters but no shots are fired. At around 9:00 am, a doe and button buck come to the salt lick and mess around. The button separates from his mom and stands about 20 yards in front of me. It's cold so I draw on him just to loosen my muscles up. He then proceeds to scratch his offside with his head giving me a shot that is too good to pass up. I let the arrow go and watch him run down the hillside with it sticking out of both of his sides. In a little while, Momma goes looking for her baby and I see her hanging around the spot where I had last seen him. That is a good sign! I take a compass reading on the spot, get down and head that direction. I find the little feller in short order but this time my arrow did not survive the encounter. I do find my broadhead so all is not lost. Again, I give thanks to the deer's spirit and prepare for the work ahead.

The drag I get to do this time is downhill and I have him hanging up next to the other one in no time at all.

Saturday I put away the bow and got out my flintlock rifle and flintlock pistol. I had already decided that I would only shoot a buck with the rifle but would shoot anything within my 25 yard range with the pistol. I went back up to the place where I had killed the doe on Thursday to hunt. I saw a boatload of deer but no shots that I wanted to take. All the deer crossed up on the oak flat another 50 yards behind me. I decided to move my position that direction for the hunt on Sunday.

I got set up way before daylight on Sunday and the first couple of hours were slow. At around 9:15, I saw the same little buck I saw Thursday morning right under the tree where I had shot the doe from. There was a doe he was harassing so I grunted a couple of times and he immediately started closing the 100 yard distance between us. From his approach I could tell that he probably wouldn't get within pistol range so I put it back in its holster and got the rifle ready. He stopped on my right at 30 yards giving me a nice broadside shot. I was way up in a tree so I held low on his chest to compensate for the steep angle and bullet rise at that distance. Smoke filled the air and the buck ran off down into the holler like a scalded dog. He didn't act too hurt but I couldn't for the life of me see how I could have missed at that distance. I took another good compass reading to the place where I last saw him and got down to take a look. Over where I shot him I saw a sight that made me sick; a piece of bone. I just knew I had held too low and had somehow hit his front leg at the elbow. I gathered up all my stuff and got ready for a long tracking job. The blood trail pretty much disappeared but I wasn't too concerned. I wasn't exactly sure where he had run but I did have a good reading on where I had last seen him. I figured I would ease my way down into the holler and when I got to my compass-marked spot I would really start looking for blood. Well, my idea worked like a charm! I arrived at the spot and walked to my left to find quite a bit of blood. I then walked another 10 feet, looked up and saw my buck laying dead against a tree. My shot was a perfect lung hit and the piece of bone was from his rib! He also didn't run the path I thought he did which explained why I couldn't find any blood. But the compass delivered and all was good. Now I just had to figure out how to get him loaded. Again, it was straight up hill to anyplace where I could get a truck to or I could drag him down into the holler and then another 1/8 mile to a place I knew I could get my truck. I tried the uphill option and could barely stand up on the shale hillside covered in leaves so I went the other direction. It was a loooong drag but I at least I knew it could be done. By the time I got to the end of the drag, there were big places on the deer's side that had no hair left. I wasn't planning on eating the hair anyway so I didn't fret too much about it.

This picture doesn't do justice to the uphill drag I was going to have to make. In the center of the photo,where the sky meets the ground, is where I could drive to.

So now it's just work. I've got all the deer cut up and iced down in a cooler. I will commence to boning all the meat out and bagging it up tonight. Grinding and sausage making will have to take place at a later date.

Life is good!

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Re: 4 days, 3 deer, 1 arrow and 1 ball

Postby stickandlimb » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:24 pm

good job
Its all mind over matter..If you don't mind it don't matter.......
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Re: 4 days, 3 deer, 1 arrow and 1 ball

Postby Greywolf » Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:45 am

Congrats Darren !!
You never get a second chance to make a first good shot Greywolf

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Re: 4 days, 3 deer, 1 arrow and 1 ball

Postby KsBow » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:24 pm

Congrats. Nice story and pics. :applaud:
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Re: 4 days, 3 deer, 1 arrow and 1 ball

Postby TradRag » Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:26 pm

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Re: 4 days, 3 deer, 1 arrow and 1 ball

Postby hawkthrower » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:39 pm

Lot of deer in your woods! Good hunt!
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Re: 4 days, 3 deer, 1 arrow and 1 ball

Postby wattlebuster » Mon May 30, 2016 7:34 am

Great pics an story
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