Deer sightings early in the bow season, but still nothing tagged

September 26, 2012

Faith Outdoors

I am a week and a half into the Minnesota bow hunting season, and there has been action aplenty. Unfortunately, I have yet to fill a tag. On opening day (Sept. 15), I had four deer come in, and got a shot at a small buck I grunted in. I was using a lighted nock and it looked like it went over the deer’s back, so I didn’t bother to check for blood.

That was a mistake. The next day, I went to clean the mud off of the broadhead and found clear signs that I not only hit the deer, but the arrow passed through. I know I hit the deer high, but there’s at least a chance I may have clipped the top of a lung, which is all it takes to kill the deer. But, I’ll never know.

Then, just this past Sunday, I went out for the third time and had a doe and fawn come out of a thicket on a trail 25 yards from my stand. I had cleared a nice shooting lane in it, and she stopped right in the middle broadside. I put my 20-yard pin on her and released the arrow. With my lighted nock, I saw it flying right at the deer, then heard that telltale whack as it hit the deer.

Looked like it went into the vitals, but the arrow did not pass through. I saw the lighted nock moving through the brush as the doe ran away. I waited a half hour, then got down and started looking for blood. I went about 40-50 yards before finally finding it. There was a nice blood trail at first, then it got lighter and finally disappeared. I zig zagged all over looking for blood or the deer, but didn’t find either. I spent a good two to three hours looking, but nothing.

I don’t understand what happened. I thought the shot looked good. But, I guess without a pass through, you don’t get much blood. I shot a Rage 2-blade broadhead, but now I’m thinking this is not the right broadhead for me. I only have a draw weight of 56 pounds, and I think you need at least 60 or more to get good penetration. So, I’ll probably try a different head. One thing I like about mechanicals is they fly the same as your field points. I know with fixed blades you generally have to adjust your sights because they will fly differently  than your field points. I do have a set of three Ulmer Edge mechanical broadheads I would like to try. They are slimmer than the Rage, have a smaller cutting diamter, and have blades that pivot when they hit bone, all of which should help penetration.

At this point, I’m really struggling with bow hunting because I really don’t like the idea of hitting animals and not recovering them. What’s even harder is thinking I may have killed two deer and not tagged either one of them. I wish I knew exactly what I could do to prevent this from happening again. Both shots this year were of deer standing still broadside, which is the shot you’re hoping for. I waited on both deer until I got the right shot, then I took it. I don’t know what else I can do. I guess, for starters, I’ll try to find a broadhead that works better for me.

There’s lots of time left in the bow season, so I’m hoping I can fix this problem and eventually tag my first archery deer!

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

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