Enjoying a great day in the woods

March 16, 2012

Faith Outdoors

I took some time yesterday to do some deer scouting down in Goodhue County. I found a new piece of property to bow hunt, and I will be taking my disabled friend, John Nesheim, out this fall. The plan is to set up several spots for both of us to hunt, then hunt together during the archery season.

We actually have two pieces of private property – at least John does. One landowner gave both of us permission to hunt, while his next-door neighbor will just allow John to hunt. That’s fine with me. There are plenty of good spots on the one piece we both have permission to hunt, which is about twice as big as the other.

This will work out great because John is the only one who will be hunting the one piece, so he will get a chance at unpressured deer. That’s always the ideal. And, I can set up on the other piece near the border of the piece John will hunt. Thus, we both will end up being able to hunt unpressured deer.

My friend, Rod, and I walked the larger property and found several good-looking spots. Now, we have to get some stands and ground blinds set up. It would be nice to do this before the trees green up, but we won’t have long before that happens, with the weather warming up fast.

I hope to get out there again in the next week or so. Meanwhile, after we finished hiking around, we went to Rod’s place in Red Wing and had a nice venison dinner. I made one of my favorites – venison cheeseburger on a stick. It included two of his favorite ingredients: ketchup and bacon. It was delicious.

After dinner, we headed outside for some archery shooting. That proved to be an amazing experience. Rod said we were going to try shooting at longer distances like 40, 50 yards and even more.

I freaked at the idea of shooting at such long range. I shoot at 20 yards about 90 percent of the time, and only rarely have tried 40 yards – never 50.

The results proved shocking to me. After painting a black bullseye on his target block about the size of a softball, I tried shooting at 20, 30, 40 and, finally, 50 yards. I was worried about even hitting the block, which is about 2 feet wide and 3 feet tall, at that distance.

Turns out, I did much better. The first few shots, I was within about 6 inches of the black mark. Then, a little later, I actually put one in the bullseye and the others close to it. Finally, on my last group of three shots, I put them ALL of them inside the bullseye.

Needless to say, my confidence took a big leap forward. As Rod pointed out, it’s not so much that I will necessarily try to shoot at a deer  50 yards away. It’s more that I will feel much more confident at shorter distances like 20 yards. I have heard many times that the average length of an archery shot at a deer is about 18 yards. I now am confident that I can make that shot.

Now, I need to keep shooting and get stands and blinds set up for the fall. Oh, and I’ve got a little turkey hunting to do in the next few weeks.

Q: What has been your favorite way to enjoy this beautiful stretch of weather we’re having?

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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.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek