Bowhunting for whitetail deer is a timeless pursuit that requires skill, patience, and a deep connection with nature. As the crisp morning air envelopes the forest, and the first light of dawn paints the landscape, a bowhunter embarks on a journey that is both challenging and immensely rewarding. In this blog, you will get a chance to relive my experience this Halloween where I got a chance at my LARGEST Whitetail Deer
Setting the Scene:
It was Halloween morning. Cold, crisp, and y favorite time of year. I take this week off specifically because I love the pre-rut so much. Scrapes get opened up, deer are receptive to calling and rattling, and the elusive Buck will be on his feet searching for the first hot doe.
The Art of Patience:
Bowhunting is a testament to patience. Hours may pass without any sign of the elusive whitetail. It’s during these moments of stillness that the true essence of the hunt is revealed. The bowhunter becomes attuned to the nuances of the natural world, learning to appreciate the subtle sounds and movements that signify the approach of their quarry. There are several different types of hunters out there, each out for the same reasons, but also out for different. Me personally, I like to pick out 1 buck and pivot as any times as I can until I can get that opportunity to take a shot at him. For me, this is the ultimate challenge. To beat a specific deer in his natural habitat is extremely challenging. Not that harvesting a deer in general isn’t, but for me, I love the hunt
The Perfect Shot:
Spotting a whitetail deer in the distance is a heart-pounding experience. As the deer cautiously grazes, the bowhunter must carefully plan their approach. Drawing the bow silently and steadily, they take a deep breath and release, sending the arrow hurtling towards its target. Precision is key, as a well-placed shot ensures a humane and ethical harvest. I didn’t do this unfortunately. What I did do, is what we all dread. I put a bad shot on the deer, much farther back than I practice every night of my life. The last thing we ever want to do was wound a deer, especially the one I’ve been waiting my whole life for. Seeing where the entrance was, I was ensure he would expire. So we gave him 24 hours and returned back the next day for a grid search
The Intimate Connection:
Bowhunting fosters a unique connection between the hunter and the hunted. Unlike the relative distance of firearms, the bow requires a hunter to be within close proximity, establishing a more intimate encounter. This connection with nature and the animal kingdom is a central aspect of bowhunting, emphasizing respect and appreciation for the wild.
Tracking and Retrieval:
When my daughter and buddy Chip entered the woods that morning to recover my buck, it had snowed the night before, so all blood trails have been covered. We thought this would hurt us, but in the end, it actually helped us. As we spread out in 30 yard grids, we found the deer. ALIVE. My daughter didn’t see him and almost stepped right on him. He was obviously wounded and took off towards the other end of the property. So we retreated back home to put a game plan together.
At this specific location, the property ran up against a road at the other end. With the snow on the ground we were able to see if the deer had crossed the road. After taking a walk in the only places he could cross, we noticed there were zero tracks. It meant he was still in the block of woods we bumped him in. There were cattails at the end of the property, which meant that he was probably held up in them bedding down. The plan then became to drop my buddy Chip off and have him walk towards us to see if we could bump him towards us, almost like a deer drive.
The moment came where my daughter and I were on the other end of this 100 yard cattail section. We were laser focused on any movement coming from that direction. I heard my phone going off in my pocket, but I had to ignore it as the buck could be running towards us at any moment. It was my friend calling, telling me he was heading my way. At just about that time, I saw the most gorgeous, and wide rack heading in my direction. My daughter was on the rangefinder and I was anticipating where I could make a shot at him. I could here her counting down the yards, “57′ “42” ETC. I knew now was the chance. As he approached, I yelled out the loudest MEHHHHH I could possibly yell, and I heard her whisper “13”. I let the arrow go, and it perfectly entered both lungs, and he expired 35 yards away.
To say this hunt was one to remember is an understatement. With my daughter there, my friend there, the 2 days of stress and worry made it all worth it. Sometimes things happen at certain times and we can’t explain why. Sometimes we never know why. I shoot my bow literally every day of my life to ensure I am prepared to make an ethical shot on these animals we love so much, and still made an error. Why? I’ll never know.
In summary, It was awesome to shoot my LARGEST DEER with the strings I built by hand. It was awesome I got to share this memory with my Daughter and my Buddy Chip. It was Awesome that this day taught me so many things about myself.
Shooting a whitetail deer with a bow is a journey that transcends the act of hunting; it’s a communion with nature, a test of skill, and a celebration of the primal connection between humans and the wild. It demands patience, precision, and a profound respect for the natural world. As the sun sets on a successful bowhunt, the bowhunter carries not only a trophy but a collection of memories and experiences that will forever be etched in the tapestry of their outdoor adventures.