My first buck with the bow – First Place, Senior Prose

I burst into tears of joy, as I saw my first buck taken with a
bow, lying dead on the ground 10 yards away. I did it! Through a
long, hard summer of practicing shooting my bow, I had accomplished
my goal.

Falling to my knees crying, I thanked God for the wonderful hunt
He had given to me.

Oct. 9, 2009, was the second Saturday of archery season. During
the evening hunt, I  was in one of the food plots on our 102 acres
in Apolocon, Susquehanna County – with a north-west wind – downwind
of anything that would walk in front of me.

It was about 5 o’clock, and I had seen nothing yet. I was
becoming impatient. About 30 minutes before dark, a little spike
came out from my right, approximately 25 yards away. As I saw him
making his way deeper into the field, I cautiously stood up.

He was too far away, and not in my bow range, which is only 20
yards. I continued to scan the woods and off to my left I saw a doe
with a buck trailing. Slowly, the buck was walking closer to me and
the doe was gradually making her way around a large white birch
tree.

On that tree, about 20 yards away from me, my dad had hung a
tarsal gland (this is a very useful hunting tactic because the
scent can lure curious deer in). The doe picked up this scent and
moved in to investigate.

The doe walked up to the tarsal gland curiously and then backed
up suddenly after she sniffed it. (At this point, I was so excited;
I was having a difficult time trying to prevent myself from going
to the bathroom in my pants.)

The buck was 18 yards broadside, and I was about to draw back my
bow from my ladder stand, secured against a large spruce tree, when
the doe caught my movement. Her eyes were locked on me and I froze
every muscle.

She started to stamp her feet and was becoming extremely
spooked. I was getting so nervous and praying extremely hard that
she didn’t. If she had, my chance at shooting that buck was gone. I
honestly thought I had blew it, but for some reason then, she
stopped paying attention to me.

It was like a miracle. She looked the opposite way and then
started walking away with the buck now in tow. His back-end was
facing me and I had no shot. As he was walking away from me I was
thinking, “No! God, no! Please! Make him come back! No, no,
no…”  

At that very moment he picked up the scent of the tarsal gland.
He made a circle, and turned around broadside, 21 yards away,
sniffing the ground and scent checking the air. My heart was
pounding faster every second and it felt like it was going to bust
out of my chest.

I had been given the chance so I took it! I struggled to pull
back my Parker bow, which was set at 38 pounds (given that I was so
stiff, it took everything I had). Focusing as I’ve been taught, I
aimed right at the lungs, took a deep breath, exhaled half way, and
gently squeezed the trigger on my release.

The shot looked and felt good. When the arrow made contact, he
bolted. The buck ran around a large white pine tree and stopped
where I could still see him, about 80 yards away from me. For about
two seconds he was just standing there and then he darted off.

The other deer in the field had disappeared and about 10 seconds
later I heard a crash in the woods down behind me. I was almost
positive that I had made a good hit but I wasn’t certain, given my
inexperience.

 I radioed my dad – who was in disbelief I think – and met him
at our cabin about 30 minutes later just down from my stand.

It was dusk and dad assessed the situation. He asked me a bunch
of questions. We examined the area where the buck stood still first
and we found frothy, oxygenated blood, so we continued to track
him.

My dad wanted to take the  trail to the food plot edge and
investigate the crashing sound I heard before we decided whether
the deer needed more time. We didn’t want to push him into going
further.

We weren’t tracking very long when my dad said, “Gina,” and
pointed 15 yards away. There, lying dead, was my first buck taken
with a bow. I was so relieved.

All the pressure, stress, and anxiety that was built up inside
me, was let out at that very moment. Tears came bursting out of my
eyes, and I hugged my dad!

He was so proud of me! I could see a tear in his eye. I then
fell to my knees, and thanked God for His blessing! I had just
harvested my first buck with the bow – my third buck overall and
fifth deer – something I had dreamed about for so long. 

 This was one of the greatest days of my life and I got to share
it with my dad. My passion for hunting is everlasting in my heart
and soul, and I consider it a blessing to have had this
opportunity.

My buck, which I harvested with a double-lung shot, was a
four-pointer, weighed and estimated at 120 pounds.

Categories: Youth Writing Contest

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