We want to read your story about your first harvest with a bow. Simply write the story (300 – 600 words) in a word document or pen directly into an email body and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be selecting some of the more informative and entertaining pieces to appear in an upcoming issue of Bowhunting World magazine. Check out the piece about “my first” below. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!
I was disgusted. I mean, I’d given up duck hunting to sit in some gnarled cottonwood 20 feet off the ground and wait for a deer to walk by. It didn’t make much sense. Typically, if I’d hunted ducks nine separate times I’d have shot at least six limits, fired a pile of rounds and seen hundreds if not thousands of migrating birds. Deer hunting with a stick and string proved a tad different. This was to be my ninth sit in the deer woods – in the same stand, my only stand – and I’d yet to see a tuft of tan hide. I spied a few noisy squirrels and even had the landowner’s prized hound make his way through my river-bottom funnel a time or two, but not a single deer slipped past.
I vividly remember letting out little sigh as I threaded my safety-vest carabineer through my tree strap. I even remember whispering the words “Another awesome four hours in the tree” as I plopped my butt down in the seat.
I went through my usual rituals, most of which I’d learned from the “whitetail experts” who penned magazine articles and appeared on outdoor television. I had committed the yardage of every single landmark to memory, but I ranged them all again to make sure. I sent a little stream of white powder into the northerly breeze just to confirm the direction and even practiced drawing my bow and bending at the waist a couple of times.
The hours passed just as they did on the eight previous sits – slowly. I hadn’t even seen a squirrel. In fact, I was toying with the idea of getting down and going to check my game camera, but then I reminded myself it was the pre-rut and, according to the experts, “it could happen at any moment.” I chuckled a bit to myself, amused with the “it could happen at any moment” thought and settled back into my stand.
The sun finally made its descent into the western horizon. Nothing. My elbows rested on my knees, and I plopped my head into my hands. My watch vibrated, letting me know I had exactly 15 minutes of legal shooting light remaining. I reached in my pack, tipped my Primos Can call over a few times for good measure and tossed it back into my pack. I muttered, “Thank God, I can almost get down.” That’s when I heard it. The crunching of leaves. Not the scampering sound squirrels make, but a steady crunch, crunch, crunch. Then came a low guttural grunt. My heart sprang into my throat. I could hardly turn in my stand and grab my bow. I fumbled to get my release clipped onto my D-loop. Thank God the small basket-racked buck had his nose to the ground grunting like a pig or he’d have picked me off for sure. After all, I’d done everything but an Irish jig in the treestand.
I remember drawing my bow and grunting the buck to a stop at 18 yards, but I don’t remember a single thing about the shot. I’m sure I slammed the trigger, but by the grace of God my arrow was true. I heard the distinct “plop” of the arrow, and to this day I remember every single other detail of that evening. Blood leaking from the buck’s side. Him stopping down the trail, stumbling and crashing to the earth. The surge of adrenaline that shot through my veins. The feeling of plucking out an embedded-four-inches-in-the-dirt arrow, inspecting it and sliding it back into my quiver. The sight of his small rack inching above the vegetation. The intoxicating smell of “rut” emanating from his body. The feeling of holding his rack for the first time. Duck was, at that moment, the furthest thing from my mind.