I was excited once again to go deer hunting this year. Last year (my 2nd year of deer hunting) I harvested my first deer which was an 8 point buck. Not big enough to go on the wall but a great trophy for me. A good deer any year. An amazing deer for my first deer.
I was excited to go back out since last year had been such a good year for me with getting a turkey & a deer. I was also excited to go out cause my guy had gotten pulled for a bear tag. He sat 2 times and that second sit he harvested a bear. His first ever. And with a bow no less. He told me bears were in bow hunting distance so he thought he would give it a try & he succeeded.
Seeing as how he was successful with his bear he ended up going bow hunting for a deer once October hit. His first sit he harvested a doe. He sat 3 times and harvested 2 big game animals. I thought to myself this year is another great year for hunting. Maybe I’ll be lucky two years in a row. Plus, I got a doe tag this year. That is when I remembered the idiots who hunted the same area we hunted. I was hoping that they would be discouraged & not show up this year but I wasn’t so lucky. Walking to my stand opening morning a vehicle drives up on the trail behind me & it’s them. Great. Opening weekend reached a high of 70 degrees which is terrible but now I’m not going to see anything cause of these guys who drive down the trail & smoke in their stands.
They stop & ask if I’m the one in the ladder stand. I say yes. They tell me they are the ones who are hunting in the other stands just like last year. When asked how they do they say the got a couple deer last year & in my head I say bullshit. They were only there opening weekend. There is no way they got a deer. They ask me. I respond that I got a deer & the guy’s eyes widen. I could tell he was surprised. I think, Why would you be surprised if you had gotten deer?
I did see some does opening day but that was it. I ended up leaving at 10AM both days cause it was too warm. At least those guys will be gone. They only hunt opening weekend which means I’ll have the place all to myself. I’m lucky enough that I can alter my work schedule and go hunting before or after work. I went three times that first week and saw some deer but didn’t have shots at any of them. How is that possible you ask? Well I’ll tell you.
I hunt public land. Don’t laugh. I’m proud of it. I’m not just sitting in a box stand overlooking a field & being able to take pretty much any shot. I have to work for it. You have to scout & find land & find signs of deer. It’s also bow hunting distances so you have to take scent control seriously, pay attention to the wind, & be extra quiet. It’s fairly thick woods so I only have about 4 shots I can take. The deer have to walk down these certain trails to be able to take a shot. It’s not as bad as it sounds though. It’s actually pretty great. It feels more like hunting. As I said before, I also get to hunt before or after work so I’m not relying just on weekends. So when you think oh poor her for hunting public land let me ask how many animals you’ve taken in the past two years. Between me & my guy (guide) we’ve harvested 5 big game animals in two years. Which brings me to my announcement that I did harvest a deer this year. A doe. Which is what I wanted since I was lucky enough to get a doe tag (you only get them every 3-4 years where I hunt).
It was the second weekend. We went out Saturday afternoon and it was so close. There were two does but I didn’t have good shots at them. My guy trained me to wait for a perfect shot. We went out Sunday morning and it was so windy. It’s hard to hear the deer when it’s windy. I have to rely on sound to hear them coming since my visibility is not over an open field. The wind was in the wrong direction to make it even worse. In the morning they tend to come from one direction & in the afternoon the other. The wind was going right into the direction they come form in the morning so I was thinking it was pointless.
That’s when my guy said to me, there is a doe. Get ready. I could not see a deer for the life of me. There were too many trees in my view compared to my guys. All of a sudden there she was. I couldn’t believe it. She had completely snuck up on us cause it was so windy but she came from the wrong direction. She came from the direction that they normally come in the afternoon so the wind actually worked in my favor.
I started to position my rifle into my shoulder & rested it on the shooting rest. She started to turn away but then went down the perfect trail. My guy yelled & she stopped & looked. I shot & she ran away. I’ve never had an animal run away. My first deer last year hit the ground like a sack of bricks cause it was more in his spine & I had to go up to him & do one more shot. My doe ran but it sounded weird. Very noisy like she was running into everything & her tail was down. I heard a crash & then nothing. We waited a bit and then went to try & find her. I’ve never had to track an animal but it was easy. It was day time & there was a trail of blood. It looked like the trail ended & I was confused but then I looked to my right & saw the trail had taken a turn & there she was lying against a tree. I went up to her & she was dead. One shot. Thank goodness. I can’t stand having animals suffer & it should be a one shot kill at all times if possible.
My guy then proceeded to teach me how to field dress a deer. I put on gloves and started the process. I did a decent chunk but then he came in to show me how to pull everything out. It all comes out in a nice little bag if you do it properly & had a god shot. We were able to see that I had just nicked her heart & double lunged her & it passed out the other side. It was about as perfect of a shot as you can get. He dragged her back to our stand & then I dragged her out of the woods by myself. You want a tough workout try dragging a deer out of the woods. I don’t know what I’d do if it was a monster buck.
We hung her in the garage for a week cause it was cool enough and the following weekend my guy taught me how to remove the hide, quarter her, & deal with the meat. He helped with the hide & quartering cause it’s pretty tough, but I cut up all the meat, cleaned it, and vacuum sealed it. It took a few hours both days that weekend. I’m sure the next time will go a bit more quickly.
I have been extremely lucky with my hunting experiences thus far. I’ve had the opportunity to see deer, take the shots, & have made the shots. I’ve learned how to track & how to harvest the meat which is very important to me. I feel it is very important to be self-sufficient & the skills I have learned are priceless. I can’t thank my guide enough for helping me. I know I still have a lot to learn. I also know I won’t always be successful but I will always have these memories.