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Hunter4623

My worst and best day of hunting....ever

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I've been hunting for many, many years and always dreamed about making the transition to traditional archery. Life always seemed to get in the way and I never had enough practice to feel confident in my skill set to attempt hunting with my longbow. Fast forward to this year. I spent a pretty good amount of time shooting my longbow and limiting myself to 15 yards, I felt I was ready. Let me preface this by saying that I usually shoot 2 deer with my muzzleloader to fill the freezer. Shooting bears gets my blood pumping....deer, not so much. It's exciting but there's nothing like hunting a predator. Back to the story....

Last night I got done work early and figured I'd sneak out to a stand I hung last week. It's a point of woods with mature white oak and it juts out into the meadow. Perfect funnel and the acorns were raining down. When I hung the stand, I felt some wiggle in it and wanted to add an additional ratchet strap. I figured I'd do it when I hunted it the first night. After climbing up and hanging on like a monkey I got the strap hooked (and sweated like a pig) I climbed into my stand, hooked up my safety line and sat down. Now I'm tired, sweaty, out of breath and....don't have any shooting lanes. It was tight except for the trail I walked in on. I figured I'd just sit in my stand and see how the deer moved. I'd come back with a pole saw on my next sit and clean up the lanes. I'm sweaty, made a bunch of noise working on the stand, the wind was blowing wrong, the mosquitoes were sucking my blood dry ( not the little mosquitoes you guys are used to....the mosquitoes around me are so big you can read the tattoos on their little arms....they must have love for family because one of them had a tattoo of a heart with MOM written inside lol) so there wasn't any chance I'd see a deer but I was going to enjoy the evening and just chill. I spend a few minutes figuring out where I can move and draw my bow. It's much more challenging using a long bow in a stand compared to a compound. I'm glad I didn't waste time creating shooting lanes in spots I can't actually shoot due to the longbow hitting the tree or the stand. A bit later, I'm settled in and relaxed when I hear the telltale snap of a branch. I look left and a spike buck is cruising thru. I hunt in a QDM area so bucks need to have 3 points on a side to kill. He's a little guy but I figure it'll be good practice to stand and go thru the process since another deer will likely travel that route again. I get up and don't get caught by him so I'm pretty happy with the setup. I failed to notice his little sister was sneaking in behind him....but she didn't fail to notice me and boogied on out. Oh well, another educated doe in the area.....great lol. Shortly thereafter, I spot another young doe coming thru the woods. She's skittish but the wind was blowing, branches are falling, acorns are raining so I guess that should be expected. She moves into a clearing and although she's small, I've never killed a deer with traditional archery so here's my chance. I'm 18' up and she's probably 15' from the base of my tree. I've been practicing plenty so I think this is a gimme shot. I draw back, pick a hair to aim at and let loose. Time seemed to slow down and I watch my arrow sail harmlessly over her back lol. She jumps up and takes a couple steps but I guess she didn't realize what it was. She's wagging her tail and does the fast walk away. Very cool experience and she wasn't harmed so I'm actually excited and a little disappointed but it's not the first deer i missed and probably won't be the last (well it definitely won't be the last lol). So I sit there and replay the Miss in my mind over and over. Everything felt good. I can't figure out what I did wrong so I figure I just blew it. 3 minutes later I hear some crashing coming thru the woods. It's not deer. It's not squirrels. We don't have bears or hogs in my area so what the heck can it be?? 2 fat little raccoons come cruising by. The munch on some acorns and head into the meadow. They sound like a truck crashing thru the frags and scared deer in the frags (I could hear them running in them). 2 minutes later the raccoons come back out of the frags and climbed a tree 15 yards away. They climbed about 30' up and a skinny branch and proceeded to wrestle. At this point I'm giggling and waiting for one of them to fall out of the tree. They heard something that I didn't and stopped wrestling to watch the trail I came in on. If they're watching something, it's a good idea for me to do the same. I look and see deer walking down the trail I came in on. A momma doe and a smaller one. I figure the stars are lining up and I'm gonna get an opportunity at redemption. I stand up and get ready....she walks in and stands in an opening about 12' from the base of my tree. I draw back, pick a hair and AGAIN sail an arrow harmlessly over her back lol. She looks at the ground and sniffs my still quivering arrow, looks up at me and runs faster than any deer I've ever seen lol. The little one just stands there. I'm in disbelief that I just shot over another deer. I quickly recover from the shock and grab another arrow out of my quiver. The little doe walks into the same opening as the doe I just missed. I draw back, pick a hair and.....for the third time, sail an arrow harmlessly over her back lol. She runs away. I left out a breath and looked skyward cursing my bad (luck or aim but I'm not sure which was responsible). I look up into tree and although I'm not positive, im pretty sure I heard those raccoons laughing at me lol. I'm down to my last arrow but I decided I wasn't shooting at anything else lol. It got dark so I climbed down, retrieved my arrows and on the way out I met those raccoons on my trail. They weren't very friendly and a tad on the belligerent side so I had to pick an alternative trail out of there lol. All in all it was an amazing evening. I got to fling some arrows. No one got hurt (well except for my feelings) and I enjoyed the experience. I just climbed up on my ladder and took a few shots. Clearly when shooting almost straight up and down....I need to aim lower lol. I hope I'm not the only one to embarrass myself to this level while at the same time having this much fun. It was awesome. I can't wait to get back out there and improve on my luck.

Edited by Hunter4623
  • Agree 11

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New equipment and new setup.  It's all a learning experience.    Good for you for being able to write about it, share it, and laugh it off.  :up:   I look forward to seeing your next post with one on the ground... and I don't mean another clean arrow.   :rofl:

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I agree with the above, good on you for having the good humor to post about your misses.  At least you saw some deer.  You're up on me at this point.  

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Great story and learning experience Hunter.  It sounds like you weren't bending at the waste.  That will get you every time.  

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New equipment and new setup.  It's all a learning experience.    Good for you for being able to write about it, share it, and laugh it off.  :up:   I look forward to seeing your next post with one on the ground... and I don't mean another clean arrow.   :rofl:

:agree:  :agree:  :agree:  :agree:  :agree:

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When you do connect and make a clean harvest that experience will be even more special to you.

Thanks for sharing.

Nick

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You had action and that’s not a bad thing under the circumstances. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck!

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