Bow hunting highs and lows

September 25, 2013

Faith Outdoors

This morning, I did my fourth sit in a treestand trying to harvest a deer with my bow. And, for the third time, I did not see a deer.

Yet, I was not disappointed. It was a beautiful morning, crisp and cool with only a whisper of wind. As I looked to the east out into a marshy area, there was a layer of fog hovering over the cattails.

I imagined a deer suddenly appearing in the tall grass on the edge of the marsh, much like last Friday morning, when I saw not one, but four deer materialize in the brush behind me.

A little before 8 a.m. that day, I got my closest shot at a whitetail with a bow – only 8 or 9 yards. One of the two does milling around swing around behind me, then came out into the grass to my left.

It gave me a broadside shot, which I took. Unfortunately, my placement was a little off, and I ended up hitting the shoulder. The deer ran off with most of the arrow outside its body. It is about impossible to get arrow penetration through the shoulder, and my 6-hour tracking effort revealed that this deer had suffered nothing more than a flesh wound.

As it turned out, I still needed to learn more about proper shot placement. As my friend and mentor, Steve Huettl, explained, “I ALWAYS am aware of the shoulder and will ALWAYS tell myself to aim a little farther back from the shoulder than I think I am.  You need to avoid that shoulder at all costs.”

Lesson learned. I kept his advice in mind when I was sitting in my stand this morning. Wouldn’t you know? I didn’t get a chance to put it into practice. But, there is lots of season left, and I am confident I will get another opportunity.

What I like about the spot where I saw the four deer is that there are lots of acorns falling out of the oak trees around me. Both Friday and today, I could hear them falling constantly. I’m sure the deer hear them, too. I’ll bet that sound is what drew them on in Friday, though I can’t explain why none showed today.

Oh well. That’s deer hunting. Every day is different, and just because you saw them on a previous day doesn’t mean you’ll see them the next time.

Strange as it may sound, I’m kind of glad I missed the deer the way I did on Friday. It got me thinking much more about shot placement, and I believe I will get it right eventually – hopefully, on the next shot.

The nice part is: the best is yet to come. As we get into October, the bucks will get more interested in breeding. They will start cruising more. Then, when the first does start coming into estrous, things will really break loose.

I want to be there when that happens!


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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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