This deer season has been filled with lots of memorable moments, but unfortunately I still have a license full of deer tags. I've seen more deer this season than in any other season I have hunted, but I just haven't been provided many shot opportunities with the bow.
This past Saturday morning I finally had a doe within bow range. At about 7:30 I had three does walk by my stand. The wind was in my favor, and one of the does was standing broadside in front of me at about 28 yards. I loosed an arrow and felt confident in the shot I made. I waited about 30 minutes, then called my dad who was in a stand about 300 yards away, and we began the tracking job.
I immediately found the arrow. It was a complete pass-thru and there was blood on the arrow all the way from the broadhead to the nock, but it wasn't covered in blood like you would expect to see after a good shot. I didn't see any blood on the ground in the immediate area where the deer had been standing. We found the first drop of blood about 20 yards from the site of impact. I began to get concerned, as that was not a good sign.
For the next 4 1/2 hours my dad and I followed a very skimpy blood trail that covered about a 1/2 mile in distance. It was such a small amount of blood that we actually lost the trail on more than half a dozen occasions. It was like someone had taken an eye-dropper and squeezed out a drop or two every 8 - 10 feet. If it weren't for my dad's excellent tracking skills, I would have lost the trail early on during the search, but he had a keen eye to spot those tiny drops and to notice areas where the leaf litter had been disturbed. The deer had gone about 300 - 400 yards south of where I shot her, looped back to the west another 100 yards or so behind the stand my dad was in, and then cut back to the north another couple hundred yards, almost making a complete circle. The last two drops of blood we found were about 20 - 30 feet apart on a trail that was heading toward a large stock tank. The whole trail looked like she had just gone about her business browsing along as there never was a place that looked like she had bedded down. It almost looked like she might have gone to the tank to get a drink and then went on her way.
I hate that we weren't able to recover her. My hope is that I didn't hit any vitals and the deer will survive the wound. As I think back on the shot, the deer ducked slightly as I shot, but I thought it was a double-lunger. I must have hit a little high and too far back. I could make excuses and blame the conditions or my equipment, but the matter of the fact is I just didn't make a good shot. My fault.
After calling off the search, my dad and I were starved. So we each filled our guts with more than one double-meat-double-cheese burger from Herd Hamburger in Jacksboro. That, combined with a cold Dr Pepper, hit the spot and helped to ease some of the frustration brought about by the morning's events.
Later that evening we hunted along the edge of a winter-wheat field. I saw 17 deer that evening with all of them being does. I had taken my bow as well as my rifle with me, but I decided not to shoot.
Next week I am going to get down to business when it comes to deer hunting. I've got some vacation days planned, and it will be my number one goal to put some meat in the freezer. Until then, here are some recent trail camera pics.