I finally got it done!
So much has happened since I last wrote…but that gives me plenty of material to write about correct?
Kelly, my younger brother, called and suggested I come down for a morning hunt. Understand that when he invites me down for a hunt it isn’t just an around the corner trip. I’m an hour and a half away from our favorite hunting ground. So, when he said 5:00 inwardly I groaned, but I agreed and scrambled to get my gear together.
3:15 rolls around and I do my best to roll out without waking the wife. I’d already showered and packed my gear in the truck and set out my hunting clothes the night before. I dressed quickly and headed out the door, not looking forward to the long drive. Feeling tired and hungry I stop by Walmart and grab a G2 protein bar and two Low Cal Monsters and hit the road.
We met at the parking spot, chatted for a little while I strap on my climbing harness, get my tree stand on my back, and grab my bow. We head out towards our perspective trees with him leading the way. We get a few yards from the vehicles and he stops and turns around. He puts his hand on my shoulder and bows his head. He says a simple prayer, asking for a good hunt, whether that be fellowship or fare for the table, and that all be according to the will and the glory of God. Amen, and we are on our way.
We’re hunting a bow only public property that is being leased for crops. Not a bad idea as it gives the deer a steady source of vegetation as well as variety. We know the lay of the land fairly well and our selected spots are within eyesight of the vehicles.
In order to get to where we are going we walk about 300 yards through a break in the trees, then hang a left and about 100 yards to my tree which faces a long sweeping field that is a little over 50 yards wide. Kelly’s tree is across the field to another tree line and another couple hundred yards down.
We wave at each other and I climb through some foliage to the base of my tree. Being in the brush, pre-dawn, trying to setup a climbing tree stand is sometimes an exercise in frustration. I think back to the last time that I attempted to climb this tree and grimace. My foot strap broke about 5′-0″ off the ground so I wound up hunting off the ground. Not a performance I wanted to repeat. Luckily everything went off without a hitch.
My spot is an interesting one. My tree is almost too big for my stand so starting off the base is almost at a 45 degree angle, but the tree tapers very quickly into a manageable climb. I have to get this just right. If I climb too high I stand up into the canopy above for a shot, too low and I cannot see over the foliage between me and the field.
I got it right.
I sit in the chill of the December air waiting for shooting light. I close my eyes then feel the vibration of the cell phone in my chest pocket. I peel off a glove, fish it out and see that Kelly has text me. Shooting light. As I put the phone back in my pocket I notice that Mitzi has text me, “Good Luck! I love you”
I attach my release to the D loop and settle. I didn’t have long to wait. I find myself staring at my broad heads. One of my main concerns is a clean kill. The broadhead I have selected is one that my Physical Therapist had given me. He didn’t know what they were, knew that I had an archery ministry so passed them on to me. I later discovered that they were Steelforce Sabertooths.
I heard something to my left and see brown. It’s a doe, but she’s almost into the brush in front of me. No shot. Then I see two fawns walk scamper out into the middle of the field. Followed by a doe. I slowly stand up.
From his vantage point Kelly can see my tree and the deer. He later tells me that he has been praying all morning that he be with me when I take my first deer. The good Lord decided to answer his prayer.
Unaware of what Kelly is doing, I slowly raise my bow. I figure I am about 30 yards out but being cautious I split the difference between the 20 and 30 yard pins and release my arrow. I remember praying for a clean hit.
I watch the doe react to the impact. The doe under me runs across the field, the fawns flee. My intend target takes a hard left headed towards a break in the trees. I watch the second doe as she gets to the treeline and pauses. Nice lines, I’ve knocked another arrow and toy with the idea of taking another shot. She decides it for me and disappears into the trees.
I breath and sit down. I remember Kelly and text him “Deer down”. Then I shake. I lift my eyes to heaven and give thanks. I bow my head, close my eyes, and listen. I hear movement again. I look up and the second doe is moving across the field again. Nervous, unsure. I remember thinking about taking the shot again but decide against it.
We give it another half hour and then climb down. We meet in the middle of the field. Kelly asks me where it was standing and I show him. We immediately find the blood trail leading into the trees. We follow the blood trail into the brush. I recall Kelly asking me what kind of broad heads I was using and him saying they did their job well. We find the deer beside a log so I grabbed it’s tail and pulled it out into the open.
I grimaced when I saw the wound. It wasn’t as clean a hit as I wanted. I spined it right at the hip and clipped a major artery. It went about 20 yards and bled out quickly. Then I noticed the buttons. Not a doe, but a button buck. Not what I wanted but what was provided.
We prayed a prayer of thanks and took the mandatory first deer pictures. Kelly demonstrated how to field dress a deer then went to his truck to get a deer cart he had just acquired while I use the TWRA app on my iPhone to check in my deer. When he gets back we lifted the deer on to the cart and with a twinkle in his eyes he said “It’s yours haul it out!”
So I grabbed the handle and off I went. Little did I know that he was taking pictures as I was pulling the cart through the field. I still have them on my phone.
I was tired and looking forward to learning to butcher my deer. I was also thankful. Thankful for the bounty, but more thankful for the time that I spent with my brother. It’s amazing the amount of fellowship two men can experience several hundred yards apart.