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My Shortest Hunt - December, 2010

by Gene McGill |

It was late October and I had been working on our house trying to get it ready to put on the market to sell. We were ready to move out of a fast growing city to a more secluded area in the country. As a result, I missed the first two weeks of the Texas archery season for the first time in over 20 years. What a bummer.

As it turns out, I haven’t killed a deer during Texas archery season in three years with many hours logged in the stand. Well, that luck changed in a hurry, as you will soon find out. I finally had enough of working at the house and decided to go hunting on the 17th of October. I got packed around noon, after my grandson’s football game, and headed to the lease in Megargel, Texas.

Anybody ever been disorganized on the first hunt of the season? I had trouble finding everything. I finally shot my bow on Friday afternoon about 20 times. (I wounded my lawnmower and scared all the cats out of the neighborhood.) So I was just ready to get away for some R&R. Ha!

I got to the lease about 3:30 p.m., and ran and checked the pictures on one of my trail cameras, only to find out it died about two weeks earlier. So I had no good recon info available and the wind was wrong for my No. 1 stand anyway. So I decided to hunt from my No. 2 stand on the big creek where the blowing northeast wind would be perfect. My scent would carry back into the thick stuff next to the creek, away from the bedding area and away from the deer’s approach direction.

I headed to my stand about 5 p.m., when I parked the four-wheeler and started getting my hunting stuff together. I couldn’t find my trigger release in my soft bow case, so I hopped back on the wheeler and flew back to camp to get the release out of my hard case. Could anything else go wrong?

I finally made it to my stand and had to wade through the wait-a-minute vines that had grown around my tripod. Ouch! Of course I didn’t leave any scent on the vines, just some blood. Can deer smell and recognize human blood?

I had been in my stand about 30 minutes when I noticed a doe browsing in the field between the dead mesquite trees. I watched her for about 20 minutes then she disappeared. About 10 to 15 minutes later, I noticed a doe coming from the bedding area north of my stand, then another one, then one more; a total of 6. The first old doe cautiously made her way along the edge of the creek brush to the feeder and the others followed in single file.

When the last three does were about 50 yards from my stand, they spooked like a covey of quail and ran about 80 yards out into the field. I said to myself, “What the heck was that all about?” thinking a group of hogs I’d heard earlier were coming out on the trail from the thicket. Boy, was I wrong.

The big 10-point I was after popped his head out, and all I could see was a head full of antlers. I have at least 50 pictures of this deer so I recognized immediately. My hunter instincts went into overdrive as I tried to get ready for a shot. “Don’t get excited,” I told myself. “Clip on the release—move slowly, don’t let the does in the feeder see you. Where’s the shot?”

The buck followed the trail that the first does used to come to the feeder. When he went behind a big bushy tree, I moved into position, also keeping an eye on the does. The buck came to the edge of a big tree, stuck his head out surveying the situation, making me all the more anxious.

He didn’t wait long. Two quick steps and he jumped into the pen running the does out. I took this opportunity to draw my bow during the commotion, but he faced away from me and I tried coaxing him to move forward and turn. One bite of corn, two bites of corn, “Come on, move,” then he took two steps to the right, giving me a quartering away shot.

I settle the 20-yard pin in behind the last rib and squeezed the trigger. The arrow appeared to fly in slow motion and found the target. He exploded out of the pen and up the hill for about 80 yards. Inside the stand, I was screaming, “Go down! Go Down!”

The buck’s legs finally became wobbly, and then he fell. All that took place in about one minute. The best part after shooting a deer is not having to follow a blood trail. I guess good things do come to those who wait.

The buck had 10 points and gross scored 1314⁄8 P&Y. It wasn’t my biggest buck taken with a bow, but a very special and memorable one. Definitely my shortest hunt.

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