BowThe deer have been rutting pretty hard, with a lot of bucks chasing does. Unfortunately, the weather has not been too cooperative. It's been unseasonably warm. When it gets this warm, deer movement is curtailed. As a result, most of the chasing that I've seen has been young bucks, not the older mature bucks I'm looking to harvest. So I decided to go out and sit on a good stand with the intention of harvesting a doe. My wife ordered me to bring home some venison. We've been out for some time and venison is the staple meat in our home. 

I walked carefully down to the New Government Pond Stand (cleverly named because it's next to the government pond and just down from the "old" government pond stand), and as I made my way in, I spooked two does bedded directly under the stand! I guess they're not concerned about that stand at all! After I got myself strapped in and situated, I began a slow careful scan of the area. The best way to handle this is to slowly move your eyes from side to side and then slowly move your head to see farther one way or the other. Even though I'm firmly entrenched 20+ feet up a tree, it's still imperative that I sit still. Contrary to popular opinion, deer will look up.
I saw several does, but they were all out of range. At about 5:05, I heard the sound of crunching leaves coming towards me. There is a finger of woods that I'm hunting right in the middle of that is a natural travel corridor for deer. There are three main travel corriders that run north and south on the north side of my farm and I was hunting in the one farthest east. Usually, the deer travel on one side or the other of the finger of woods, but this sound was coming from right up the middle of the finger.
As I waited to identify the target, I grabbed my bow and got into position for a shot. Then I saw it, a nice big juicy mature doe! She came out of the finger and walked up the little road to my right. Perfect!
I could have drawn on her and whacked her as soon as she stepped out from behind tree, but decided to waited patiently for her to walk out and past me before I drew my bow. Why? Because I was scanning the woods behind her looking to see if there was a big buck trailing her. This time of year (when the rut is in full swing), a lone doe walking along casually usually means that she is in heat, and has left her fawns behind temporarily, until she is bred by a buck (actually, she is likely to be bred multiple times, probably by several bucks).
As she walked slightly past I could see down the trail and saw no buck coming, so I carefully drew my bow and anchored it. The key to shooting a bow acurately is to make sure that you anchor it the same way every time. I put my chin on the arrow/string junction and put my nose forward onto the string. This perfectly aligns my right eye with the peep site. I peer thru the perfectly-aligned peep site, put my aiming pins in the middle of peep site and the place the pin where I want the arrow to hit. Sounds complicated, but it's not. I can draw, anchor, align, center, aim and shoot in a matter of seconds. It's all about practice, practice, practice until you develop the muscle memory to do it the same way every time.
Just as I had picked center of chest as my aim point, she started to walk. Now, this is normally not a problem. A broadside deer at 20 yards with nothing between her and me is seconds away from having my tag on her. However, since I was in no rush and didn't need to take a chance on being slightly off, I decided to stop her. So I "bleated" at her…."maahhh" (a very nasal cross between a cow mooing and sheep going "baahhh").
That stopped her in her tracks. She looked back in my direction (but not up) and I carefully aimed and slowly squeezed the release. Thwack! Even standing perfectly still and broadside at 20 yards, I hit her a little high and forward.
But therein lies the beauty of my aiming process. Some guys are great archers and can hit the inner bullseye on a target nine times out of 10. Even with all my practice, I'm not that good. I'm more of a "pie pan" guy. I'll hit a pie pan (a bit smaller than the kill zone of a deer) at least four out of five times — until I can't. Then I know that's the end of my effective range. So when I aim at a deer, I don't aim at the heart (a rather small target), I aim center-mass (the center of the chest), so if I'm slightly forward, I'll hit the lungs/heart. If I'm slightly back, I'll hit the liver/spleen. I've realistically got, depending on the size of the deer, about a 6" margin of error in any direction.
I was well within that error zone. The arrow passed cleanly and completely thru her, puncturing both lungs. A double bubble! Exactly the kind of shot I want. She jumped and kicked and ran off up the hill. I heard her veer off into the finger and then I heard that magical sound. I heard her crash to ground, kick around for a moment and then nothing. I knew she was down within 30 yards of where I had arrowed her. From the time I released the arrow, till the time she expired was less than eight seconds.
Mother Nature is a vicous task master and is brutal in her kills. This was a good clean kill!
I almost got down right away, but opted to wait, as a tardy buck might be trailing her. Sure enough, about 1 minute after I had arrowed the doe, I heard the same crunching noise coming up the trail. It was accompanied by another beautiful sound. Grunting! A very nice buck was coming up the same trail, nose to the ground, tracking the formerly estrus doe. The sound he was making was a "tending grunt."
He was probably 3 1/2 years old with an incredibly wide rack, way outside his ears, easily 22 - 25 inches! On his left antler, he had four short stubby points. The longest may have been 10 inches and the shortest around six inches. Not great, but pretty good. But there was something wrong with his left antler. It was deformed, probably by an accident while it was growing. It grew straight down his head before it grew out. It looked like it came out of his ear! Then it went out just like the left antler, long and wide. But it only had one point on the main beam plus a "crab claw" on at the end.

With his antlers in this shape, he was, at best, only a high 120, to low 130 class buck. If his right antler had been normal, he would have been a high 140 class buck. I passed on nine bucks that scored 140 or above last year, so there was no way I was taking this buck. Let him have another year to get over his injury and grow another set of antlers, and then he can come see me again. The outcome will be very different!
As he followed the doe's trail with his nose to the ground, he came to the spot where I arrowed her and abruptly stopped and looked around. He knew something had happened there!
He stood there for a full five minutes looking around, sniffing the air and pivoting his ears in different directions. I stood perfectly still and watched him. He was directly down wind of me, but coudn't get my scent. I'm a scent control freak and it was paying off now.
After five minutes he continued on his trek and disappeared around the bend. I gave him a few minutes and then climbed down. I found my arrow sticking in the ground where I shot the doe. It was completely coated in bubbly blood, confirming I had hit the lungs. I looked for blood, but couldn't find any as it was getting too dark. So I opted to just walk up the trail and see if I could find her since I had heard her crash just ahead. I carefully walked up the trail, looking for signs of the deer. I went about 20 yards when I saw her lying on the ground, just ahead! 

Her live weight was 150 and her field-dressed weight was 115. I had the meat processing plant cut out the back straps (tenderloins) and grind the rest up into venison burger!

It was a good day on the Brooks Farms!

We received the following some time ago from Dean Parisian:

Sunday morning October 28 found me in the woods of south Georgia still hunting parallel to a scrape line moving very slow and occasionally getting my rear on the ground and hitting my rattling bag and grunt call in the hope of enticing a mature whitetail buck to come in close to see what the fight was about.

I happened on a large oak tree and a flash above caught my eye as I heard a grey squirrel chattering very loud above me in the same tree. In the old tree sat a red-tailed hawk and the squirrel, both close to each other, both hungry, both making no attempt to hide their presence and both wanting the tree to "feed" them, the squirrel eating the fruit of the tree (acorns) the hawk wanting to eat the customer of the diner called an oak.

I took a seat on the ground for a view of what might happen, knowing that squirrels are great barometers for the finest in falling acorns, which are surf and turf to a deer herd and thought I might get to witness a solid hit on a squirrel by one of North America's better aerial hunters as well as harvest a hungry buck.

Looking up waiting and wanting to see death instead of squirrel noise I got to thinking of some parallels to the market beast..

First, no shortage of chatter and noise in the market, the algo's are here to stay. Two, death isn't far away if you hang out on a limb without watching for who might take you. Three, don't hang with excessive leverage. Keep your foundation under you unless you are sure of the weather conditions. Four, you can't eat the obvious under your nose because you may die a quick death. There is always somebody around to feed on you. Somebody bigger, faster and just as hungry. And fifth, when danger flies away, don't relax. Eat quick and put some food aside for another day.

For the day, I saw a couple of young bucks but let them continue on to maturity. You can't eat big horns (and I hate squirrel as a food source) but they sure look nice hanging in my cabin when feasting on a big thick juicy Black Angus fillet!!! 


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