The day started off with 32 degree weather that quickly warmed up to 71 degrees by noon-definitely not great hunting weather.
Our walk into the stand this morning was a muddy one. Prairie soil is about as slick as fresh owl scat and sticks to you tighter than fresh cow pattie. Richard was having to carry the deer decoy along with his bow and backpack and I was carrying the camera arm, video camera, deer decoy head and my backpack–so this added to the awkwardness of slip-sliding to the stand in the dark.
The area we set the stands up was absolutely gorgeous and had a ton of scrapes and rubs. I was excited to see what the day was going to bring. However it was evident that filming was going to be a bust because the camera arm was set up all wrong but this is what I brought the camera for-trial and error learning. We did swap the location of the camera arm and lowered it so tomorrow should be a great morning for filming.
The morning started off very quiet. Around 8:20 a.m. I heard something moving around in the grass just across the creek. I motioned to Richard and he stood up and looked but the sound stopped and we didn’t see anything. Richard sat back down. I remember thinking to myself…no way would that be a shooter buck within the couple hours of our first morning hunt, that would be too story book ironic. We would have a celebration dinner tonight and could head back to Alabama first thing in the morning. Shortly after that thought I heard the movement again, but still was unable to detect movement. Then finally I heard some splashing as if something was walking through the creek. I looked down to see Richard looking up at me. I motioned to my ear and pointed in the direction I heard the sound. He nodded his head then stood up.
I was looking into the woods in the direction of the sound when I spotted the deer…a buck…a NICE buck. I looked at Richard who was looking around the tree on my side to get a view of the same area. He said, “a buck…a shooter buck.” I immediately took the camera off the camera arm because it was all wrong for filming as it was, I turned the camera on and tried to get on the buck as Richard was getting his bow and getting in position to shoot.
The buck walked right in toward the stand. He stopped and rubbed his head in the low branches over a scrape. He was a nice 150 class 9 point with some odd tines on his right beam-if that doesn’t get the old ticker a pumping…I could feel my heartbeat in my neck and hear it beating in my ears and I was just shooting camera footage. The buck began walking again and was on a trail that led right in front of the ladder stand. He stopped short when he saw the decoy. He stuck his nose in the air trying to pick up a scent and turned to his left and started to walk toward a scrape in front of the stand when he walked a big circle and was headed back the way he came. He was walking through a clearing at 27 yards when I saw Richard come to full draw. The shot was made. I looked over my shoulder quickly to see if I could see which way the buck was headed.
I seen the buck run about 4 or 5 strides then leap into the air, then another 4-5 strides and he leaped in the air again. He circled up the hill, along the edge of the hill then out of sight. I did see the arrow sticking out of him. I turned to Richard quickly and Richard said that he shot him forward. I told him I seen the arrow sticking out of the side of him. Richard said he thought that it fell out, but I seen the arrow fletching as he headed up the hill. We both took a seat and determined the time so that we would know when to get down and search for the buck.
Richard asked if I had the shot on tape so we could see where the shot was…unfortunately I didn’t. I had footage and even heard the shot and the quick short sentenced conversation Richard and I had….but because of the position I was in I never could get the camera on the buck. We waited just over an hour and got down to track the buck. We found blood where we last saw the buck. Within 45 minutes we tracked blood to a creek bank, up the creek bank and to the edge of a cut corn field. Then we spent about 35-40 minutes trying to see which way the buck went and we finally got on another blood trail across the cut corn field. Finding that blood trail was like finding a needle in a hay stack. The blood splatters were getting smaller and more coagulated as we walked. We tracked the trail for a mile and a half and then Richard when on another half mile. The trail went dry even following his hoof prints on the edge of a field. It was evident at this point that the shot was not a lethal one. I felt horrible for Richard and he was really down about wounding the buck.
We went back to the stand and while we were there I had Richard rearrange the camera arm so that I could actually do some filming tomorrow morning. We loaded up our stuff and headed back to the truck. We ate a quick roast beef sandwich at the truck after stripping down to our base layers…it was already 71 degrees and we had way too many layers on. Have you ever noticed that food just tastes better off the tailgate of your truck? We headed back to the hotel so Richard could watch a little bit of the Alabama-Auburn football game. Both of us were needing a shower after the 1.5-2 mile hike looking for the shot buck and having 4 layers of clothes on in 71 degree weather.
When we headed out for the afternoon hunt, we were headed to a new area. We decided to hunt from a blind on the edge of an alfalfa field. Richard put up the decoy in the field. The only deer we saw was a Mulie doe that saw the decoy and backed out. We left the blind for tomorrow’s afternoon hunt. We were back at the hotel by 7:15 a.m.
We have plans to return to the same hunting area that we were in this morning. I hope and pray Richard will have the same opportunity in the morning. The morning was excited to say the least and we both have mixed emotions about the hunt. Richard felt terrible about wounding the buck-I told Richard he was going to have to shake it off and get right back out there. Boy…am I ever starting to sound like my Father…that was his philosophy. I hope to have a wonderful post tomorrow!!
© Nancy Jo Adams 2009