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Long road back


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Yesterday's hunt topped off what's been a long, painful 3+ years, and a bit depressing too. In August 2013, I had my shoulder ripped up pretty good in a bit of a tussle at work. I won that battle but lost the war. By November, I couldn't lift my hand to the steering wheel and knew I needed to see a doctor. MRI revealed torn labrum on the right side. I'd had a torn RC and labrum repaired on that side about 7 years before so went back to that Doc, he said he no longer takes our insurance, so off to a very famous "Institute" in our area of south Jersey that does all the sports players for Philly teams. Long story short, even the best hitters strike out once in a while and my shoulder surgery went bad, very bad. Repair came apart, and when they did the nerve block at the hospital in Philly, they did nerve damage that took about 18 months to recover from, although it never came all the way back. After seeing a second shoulder specialist at that "Institute", they basically blew me off and said I'm not that young any longer, have had two surgeries and should just accept my limitations, which included never doing things like push-ups, paddling a kayak, and of course, I would never be able to shoot a bow again...according to them.


So as I'm trying to rehab the right one, I overuse and tear up the left shoulder. I need another surgery for a torn RC, torn labrum and removal of a bone spur. I went back to my original Doc at Premier Otho for that one and was glad I did, Dwyer is top notch and it came out pretty good. We worked out the insurance problem.That surgery was rescheduled a few times due to a sports hernia, and then pneumonia. Had the left one done in March and continued to do PT for both sides. I got to the point I could shoot about a dozen arrows in early August and do that about every day to practice.


So yesterday, I head to my stand on a small piece of private ground I can hunt. There are deer there but others hunt it, and you can see across the entire property so you can't make a season out of it. I got settled in at 2:30 pm and about 4:45 pm, I saw a doe and spike coming my way from nearly 100 yards out, searching for acorns. They would stop to pick one up here and there, and when the doe got too far away from the spike, he would track her down with that determined strut like he thought it was early November instead of October. 


She gave me a 21 yard shot and I drilled her but her leg was forward, which rotates the shoulder blade down, and although the hit didn't look high, it was through the flat part of the blade. I heard that loud crack and was certain that's what I hit. Saw my arrow snap off and was lying on the ground right near the hit site. 


I got down and found it with only a few inches missing so was not feeling good about my shot, but the way she ran off, my gut told me she was done. Here is a pic of how much was missing. There was only a smear of blood a few inches up the shaft from the broken end.



Didn't find any blood for a while but since I could see good in the woods, I went to where she crossed a woods road and slowly walked it for almost about 30 minutes, scouring for blood to do my due diligence. Finally found a few small pin drops, about 90 yards from the stand. Followed that for about 10 yards and then it opened up to a blood bath. It was a walking blood trail to the deer 30 yards from that point and there was so much on the brush, my pants were covered with blood from walking through it when I got to the deer.



Just a doe but after having two highly touted surgeon's tell me I'd never be able to shoot a bow again, well, she's an important doe to me. Big old, dry doe, 118 lbs on my scale. I tried using a crossbow last year but it just didn't do it for me. Felt like gun hunting and I like to bow hunt so the crossbow just isn't it for me.


Edited by DV1

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation UNDER GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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Congratulations :up:

Keep with it, but follow how your body feels.  Don't overdo it.

"Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich


NJ State Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs Member
NRA Life Member

NWTF Women In The Outdoors Member

UBNJ Member


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Congrats, very well don and deserved. No two blood trails are the same. I have seen deer drip buckets within yards of a good hit right to the drop site, and I have seen good hits not yield much blood at all.  I think I general, on a well hit deer that bolts like lightning and can easily run 100 plus yards on adrenaline alone, you don't' find blood for first 50 yards or so, then it starts to open up.  The best hits are those on a relatively relaxed deer or a buck that simply has one thing on his mind (doe #####), and barely realizes he was hit... They trot off and fall in sight with blood trail galore.   It's often a matter of inches in terms of the blood trail, there are arteries running in and around the core vitals... Double lung is great - but double lung and severing a major artery is even better and will paint a bigger blood trail.  I just hate to see those "thinking about changing BH's, wasn't happy with my blood trail" posts.. Make sure your BH is quality parts and construction, and razor hair popping sharp and the rest is up to you.

Nothing spooks deer more than my stank… 

16 3/4” Live Fluke Release Club

I shot a big 10pt once….

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Thanks for the comments. 


Many more Doug and thanks for sharing your story and that of your kill we should all be thankful for each hunt and each kill but we are always more thankful for those landmark animals no matter what their size.

Yep. Never know when it's your last time doing what you enjoy. 


As for the blood trail, the hole in the deer is large enough, you can see that, but the hole through the bone was only the size of the broadhead, a Slick trick 125 mag. So I believe that as the deer ran, the shoulder blade acted as a plate, covering the exterior hole, and not allowing blood out, until it got up high enough to overflow even through the small hole in the bone. When I gutted that deer, the lungs were almost welded to the rib cage. Don't think I've ever seen that before. I had a hard time getting them peeled away from the ribs. Definitely no "void" on that deer.  :up:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation UNDER GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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Well done! To me it all about the experience and the hunt. You have jumped some hurdles to get back onto the compound which is awesome.


Anything harvested after your injury is now a bonus and your doe is definitely well deserved!


Congrats! :up: 

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Great story and pics Doug! I know you've been battling through shoulder issues for years as we've talked about it a number of times. I give you credit for staying vigilant in your goal to shoot the vertical bow despite the adversity and it had to be a great feeling to be out there and succeed in getting that deer! Great job and best of luck the rest of the season! :up:

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