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  • When A Miss Is A Good Thing

    Oct. 1, 2011- Good marksmanship is essential to being a successful hunter. But there are times when a miss is a good thing, and can be just as satisfying as getting one. It is a humbling experience, but at least we all come back with a good story to tell. There is value in all wildlife encounters, and here is my story.

    We all have very busy lives, and have to make a sincere effort to get our little bit of time in the woods. I decided to cook for my friend and his family in return for allowing me to get a little time in stand on his property. Having a personal chef whip up something delicious in the kitchen wins lots of points…trust me, it’s a fact. I love making a good meal and seeing friends enjoy it.

    I dropped off my kids to play with his, and told his wife I’d be in just after dark. My friend had gone to an NCSU football game and would be back around the same time in the evening. This would give me a couple of hours to hunt. He also told me that he saw a nice buck in the front field.

    The property he has is beautiful. A soy bean field 300 yards wide with a pond to the South. The field is sandwiched by hardwoods on both sides, East and West. In the middle was a small island of hardwoods and that’s exactly where I planned to climb a tree.

    I got dressed at the truck, sprayed down thoroughly with no scent, strapped on my Summit climber, and grabbed my trusty old Kodiak Magnum with two home-made wood arrows.

    I carefully walked around to the East side of the wooded island and found a way in. I climbed up an ash tree that was crooked at the bottom. I put out some scent and settled in.

    It had rained Friday night, and the weather had cooled off significantly. There was a good breeze and that kept the mosquitoes at bay so I didn’t have to use the Thermacell. It is a great product, but I do believe deer can smell it.

    There was a little creek that ran down into the pond. It went right through the little wooded island. I didn't see any deer signs, but it just looked like a place that they could enter quietly and not be noticed. This was a perfect staging areas for them to wait until it got dark.

    Every now and then I would blow the grunt call. I made calls from a young buck, and then the doe. I had to take my shooting glove off to press down on the soft plastic of the call. I blew at 5:30 p.m., and then again at 6:00 p.m.

    By 6:25 p.m., I saw deer moving in the field. There were too many leaves on the trees for me to see out far, so it was going to have to be very close shot. There were a couple of holes in the foliage for me to shoot through if a deer were to walk around the island.

    Three does and one cow horned buck that came right in. The buck stopped at around 25 yards and I took a shot. I didn't concentrate well and didn't have my foot positioning right. The bow was so quiet that it did not spook the deer at all. He jumped, but didn't go far.

    I could still see him, and his body was exposed. A limb was blocking his eyesight so he couldn't see me. I loaded up another arrow, and drew…taking careful aim this time. Again I missed, and the bow still didn't spook these deer. They came in cautiously, but it was “game over” for me….all I could do was enjoy the show.

    The buck had not a care in the world and started to thrash a small bush 10 yards in front of me, and then a big doe walked right underneath me. They did not go to the scent I had set out, and they did not notice my dropped plastic bag with a scent bottle in it.

    Two other does stayed in the path around the island, and the second doe looked up and saw me. She knew something wasn't right, didn't blow, but just took off trotting away.

    Wow what an adrenaline rush! To be that close to deer, and have eight eyes right beneath me. It was an awesome end to the day, but no deer.

    That's fine with me because I didn’t have to drag a deer out of the woods, clean it that night, and probably didn’t spook off the big one. I still had plenty of sunshine left to scout around.

    I made an awesome dinner for my friend that evening, had time to play with the kids, and was able to share my story. Hopefully that big buck will still be around when rifle season is in, and hopefully I will be telling you a different story then.

    Hind sight being 20/20, I should have waited a little longer and those deer would have been 10 yards closer, but I have no problems with missing deer with the bow, because sometimes a miss is a good thing.
    Big-Buck...Cow Horn? Had 3 mature Does and you took 2 shots at a Cow-Horn on private land?....'To each thier own' is about all i can say....Oh and Great Story...Thanks for Sharing...Being a Chef...You have GOT to share that recipe for Antler Soup LOL...I'm Just kidding, I always say...If it's a Deer that tears you up like a Train-wreck then Go For It!!!
    Kodiak Magnum
    Hunting with the recurve is a challenge, practice, practice, practice and patience, patience, the key to success. A cow horn with the stick and string would still be a trophy to me, but then so are the memories.