So, November 4th-6th was the second weekend of my Metro Bow hunt at Fish Creek. If you remember from my first weekend, I had three different combinations of stand locations for each morning and afternoon. That was not the case for this weekend.
For the second weekend, I had one stand location morning and afternoon for all three days. Turns out that one of the hunters that was chosen for Fish Creek was not hunting on the second weekend, so I got his area.
First weekend I moved around section 6. Well, this weekend I had section 3. I was now on the top of that 120 foot bluff side I described in the 1st weekend post instead of in the creek bottom below, however, I would still have what I call a “small bluff side” to deal with, but more on that later.
One thing that I didn’t mention in the 1st weekend post was the hill that the hunters had to climb to get to the land on top. Now, I am fat and out of shape so take this with a grain of salt, but that hill was a bitch to climb. It was about 200 feet long on a pretty steep angle. It is marked in the image with a green line as to approximately where it was. It was a combination of dirt and gravel so getting good footing was hard to do. Needless to say I biffed it a few times climbing up and down. Luckily only my pride was bruised.
There are a few things I want to point out about the image. You will notice that I have drawn two brown lines. These are there to help you understand were two very steep changes in the land were. The brown line to the NW on the map shows you where the ridge line of that 120 foot bluff side is. You can kind of see how the image is darker which indicates were the steep drop is. The brown line between the green and blue star shows you where the ridge line for the “small bluff side” is. This smaller bluff was about 50 feet high and the ridge line was about 50 yards from where my stand would be.
So Thursday came and it was time to hang our stands. Thanks to my buddy Nate, the other half of The Shoot Straight Guys, I was able to hang a hanging stand instead of using my climber.
Now, remember that each of the hunters was assigned a section and this time I had section 3. Section 4 was next to me directly to my SW. Unfortunately there is only one decent stand location in 4 and it butts up against the border between section 3 and 4 (shown by the blue star). This put the stand for section 4 on top of that small bluff I described earlier and prevented me from putting my stand up there as well. So, on the advice of my coordinator, I put my stand on the edge of the open field and below the small bluff. This is indicated by the green star. This ended up being a very good thing and very bad thing.
If you look at my stand location, you see a cluster of white trees to the NW. In this area the land slanted down from the bluff and down from the open field creating natural funnel that I figured the deer would use to get from the rest of section 3 to the open field. To the SE of my stand where the brown line is was dead fall that would also funnel the deer out into the open field. All of this was indicated by at least three game trails that went from the woods into the open field near my stand. It all forms what I call a natural pinch point for the deer to use.
So, now you have a feel for where my stand was and why I picked it…on to the hunt.
Let me ask you this…when you are deer hunting what is probably the single most important factor you should check when hanging a stand? The wind, right? Well, guess who didn’t check the wind on the Thursday before he hung his stand. THIS GUY! All I checked was for temp and precipitation. It was going to be highs in the low 50’s and dry for all three days. I saw that it was going to be windy, but I didn’t check the direction. Turns out the wind was from the S or SSE on Friday and Saturday. Now look at the map and see where I put my stand. Where is the wind going to blow my scent? Right up that natural funnel where the deer would be coming from. Joy.
But, I had not choice, I hung my stand and had to hunt from it.
But before I could hunt, I had to climb that hill. Man that sucked. I climbed up and got to my tree, bent over to drop my backpack and almost passed out. Seriously. I got all woozy and had to sit down and compose myself. Climbing into a stand 15 feet off the ground is not something you should do when woozy.
But needless to say, I recovered and got up on stand. Got everything set, was pulling my bow up and right as it was getting to the platform, the rope gave way and my bow crashed to the ground. Man was I pissed. Now I had to climb all the way back down, re-tie it and climb up. Not to mention the fact that I may have broken something on my bow. Luckily that was not the case as everything was just fine. So, I climb back up and as I go to transfer from my ladder to the stand I hear this, slow, casual crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch of leaves behind me. I turn around to see four legs and a white tail walking slowly away from me. I thought “Shit”. Granted, it was too early for a shot and the deer was clearly not spooked, but not the way I wanted to start the hunt.
Saw nothing during the day and when the end of the day came, I got down off stand a tad early because I am not a big fan of climbing down off stand in the dark. Of course, what do I see when I am on the ground? A deer on the other side of that open field. So I quick nock and an arrow and grunt. The deer hears me an begins to work my way. Unfortunately I lost the deer in the grass in the field so I took a step or two to get a better look only to have the deer come up along the edge of the woods behind me, get spooked and run off. Perfect ending to the perfect day.
Same weather, nothing really happened until about 4:00. That is when I looked up to the ridge line of the small bluff in front of me. The sun was coming down and shining right in my face, but I see the outline of a deer head silhouetted. Then the head moved and I see a big, thick 8 pt rack. He stepped closer to the edge of the bluff and I got a pretty good view of him. But, he was too far away, above me and never came down the bluff to present a shot. This is why my stand location was a bad thing as I was looking up at the deer and even if he presented a good sight picture, I never would have been able to take a shot. But needless to say it was cool to see a deer that big in the woods.
Well, the day was going to start out better than the others as the wind was going to shift from the S-SSE to the SSW which means my scent was now going to be blown out over the open field instead of down that funnel.
So around 9:00 some clouds roll in. Nate texts me and reminds me this is a good thing as deer tend to move more in overcast skies. Low and behold a little later I look across to the ridge line of that small bluff and there was a nice doe followed by a small buck about 20 yards behind her. So I slowly get my bow and wait.
She was slowly feeding and either didn’t know or didn’t care I was there. She moved from my right to my left and followed that ridge line I have drawn on the image. To the south of my stand where that ridge line comes to the open field is covered in dead fall so I lost both the doe and buck as they fed around me. I am now facing SSE looking to see where they are going to come out. To my surprise they followed the treeline back north right behind my stand. The doe took a path into the field that put her out of bow range, but the buck took a path that gave me a broadside shot at 26 yards and I took it. I saw the arrow hit the deer and he took off into the open field. But about 20 seconds later, he crashed to the ground. MY FIRST BOW KILL!
Turns out I hit the deer a little high and a little far back, but the Rage 2 blade did its job and didn’t let that deer get too far.
Now the fun part, I waited on stand for a few hours per instructions from my coordinator, but it finally came time to gut the deer and drag it out…down that frickin hill. Man that sucked. Have I mentioned how much I hate that hill?
So we eventually get the deer out to my truck and I eventually make my way back to my tree stand where I sit down to have snack and try an cool off. I am now on my third pair of socks for the day due to how hot I was getting going to and from my stand.
I get into my stand about 2:00 and sit down to relax. Not much happens until about 4:30 when I look to my left into that dead fall and see a doe in this tiny opening. So, I slowly grab my bow and begin to wait her out hoping she comes down. But, instead she beds down in the brush. So I put my bow down and wait. Then about 10 minutes later I hear this growling from beyond the doe. It almost sounded fake, but it was just like those growling calls they make. As I am looking for where the growling is coming from, I see a flash of the doe getting up a moving towards me. At first she seems like she is going to work her way back across that ridge line that the other doe and buck were on. But instead she pauses and when she does this fork horn buck pushes her down the small bluff and directly at my stand. Luckily I was able to get my bow drawn before she came under my stand. It was so cool. Just like on those hunting shows, she was directly under my feet. So there I am at full draw waiting for her to present a shot. She starts to walk directly away from me, so I take a quick glance to make sure that the buck isn’t spooked by me aiming my bow and that is when she turned.
And I shot.
It was about 10 yards and a perfect quartering away presentation. I hit her a little high on her back, but I was aiming at her off shoulder so I knew it was a good hit. Funny thing is though, the arrow completely passed through and took a 90 degree turn to my left. I thought, “What the hell was that?” Now, as soon as the arrow hit her she took off. I have never seed a deer run that fast. She took off NNW towards the ridge line of the big bluff. It’s 5:06 and legal shooting light was 5:25. So it was going to be dark soon.
I got off stand and waited for my coordinator to show up. He asked me to find my arrow, which like I said was 10 yards to the left of where I hit the deer. I let him know I found it, but he thought I found the deer, not the arrow. He didn’t provide any other direction so I am sitting there waiting for instruction on if I should start tracking. He and the other four hunters in area 1 show up at my stand and it is pitch black. At that point we realize the miscommunication about what was found and start tracking. It has been about an hour and a half since I shot the deer.
Well, it turns out both the entry and exit wounds were high, so there was little blood to follow. Five of us tracked it for over an hour. Turns out she not only took off toward the big bluff, but she went down it and followed a contour in the bluff that went down towards the creek. You can see it as that funnel shape I drew with the brown lines. Good news is the guys I was hunting with were really great guys. They helped me get my stand down as well as track the deer. We found it near the creek bottom. I gutted it and four of the five of us got our gear and the deer out of the woods.
When I skinned the deer I discovered that my arrow ricocheted off of the deer’s front left leg and that is what sent the arrow 10 yards to the left. There was enough energy after passing through the deer to send that arrow another 10 yards.
I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with my bow and the broad heads I used. Having never shot a deer before I wasn’t sure how effective it was going to be. Two complete pass-throughs with 8 broken ribs and two recovered deer I would have to say is pretty darn effective.
So that is my story about my first Metro Bow hunt and my first and second bow kills. I am definitely applying for a metro hunt in the future. Hopefully there will be plenty more stories like this in the future.
See you in the woods!