A deer season of highs and lows ends with a buck
I recently shared with you my experiences with the emotions that resulted when an afternoon bow hunt Nov. 3 went very wrong. I shot a 2.5-year-old buck, and despite a great start to a blood trail, looming darkness and heavy rains that began soon after I shot him made quick work of washing it away. Even without blood, we grid-searched for several hours the next day, but didn’t find him.
But during a late-afternoon hunt Nov. 13, my luck changed and I was able to regain my confidence as a hunter. I was sitting in a stand on the edge of the southeast corner of a section of our property we call The North Timber. With approximately a half-hour of daylight remaining, I noticed a buck approaching from the west.
The buck made a beeline towards me. When he made it to 25 yards, I bleated. The buck stopped and I slung an arrow. I could see the Easton equipped with a lighted nock sticking out of him as he bolted and then stopped at about 50 yards. From my vantage point, it looked like a good hit.
The buck stood humped over and almost completely still at the edge of the cornfield for 5 minutes or so. He then proceeded to saunter away slowly, heading north. This type of response can often indicate a paunch or liver shot. I wasn’t thrilled but knew he was a dead deer walking.
I still felt unsteady from the adrenaline surge when I called my husband, who was also in a treestand. I waited in my stand for 15 minutes before climbing down and going to the spot where the buck had stood. I found two large areas where the ground was saturated with blood. From there, it grew sparse.
Rather than push the buck, we opted to exit the deer woods and came back three hours later. Except for the area where the buck had stood, the blood trail was reduced to droplets. This quite possibly may have been due to the area of the body where the deer was hit, coupled with the fact that I knew the arrow was still three-quarters of the way into the buck’s side, preventing blood from being expelled.
Of course, by the time we headed back to the deer woods, it was completely dark. With a headlamp and a bright flashlight, I crawled on hands and knees, marking the miniscule drops of blood I was able to find. My husband walked the paths, hoping to spot the lighted nock of the arrow. It appeared that the buck had veered back into the timber, probably to a bedding area. After crawling until I could barely stand, we decided to walk a larger area. Finally, I decided to back out and come back in the morning.
Read how this all turned out in the Dec. 14 issue of Illinois Outdoor News.