Well I pulled off the California miracle. Stuck in Cali for the fall, it looked like I would have only about 4 days to hunt back in MI. With my short season, any buck was in my sights, but my expectations were low. It wasn’t going to be easy to tag a buck with only a few days to hunt and very little time for preparation, I would have to play my cards perfectly and then hope for a lot of luck. Today I’m excited to say that I made it happen, got ‘er done and got venison in the freezer.
On Saturday morning, November 7, I got settled into my blind at about 6 am. I had a good hour before daylight, but the moon lit up the woods pretty well. Within maybe 20 minutes I had a flagging doe move through, followed by another 3 deer. I was just able to pick out their sillouhettes as they moved by. 30 minutes after the sun rose, I had another two doe come crashing by and I thought for sure there would be a buck on one of their tails, but still no luck.
Finally at about 8 am, four doe moved in from the East. Long story short, the largest of the four doe moved in my direction and I decided that if she offered a good shot, I would take her. As she moved into about 20 yards, I waited for her to step into my shooting lane, but before drawing I turned my head just a touch, to make sure the other three doe weren’t looking at me. This was a huge mistake. That mature doe instantly spotted my slight movement and immediately locked down on me. Foot stomping, head bobbing, she stared me down for five minutes until finally snorting and running 30 yards off. But curiousity got the best of her and for another 15 minutes her and the other doe circled around me trying to pick up my scent or catch me making another move. They failed on both accounts.
Well as I’m frozen with my bow held up and these four doe eying me down, I spot movement from the North. Here comes a buck, headed right towards the doe and I. But of course, things have to be difficult. Seeing these four doe being so uneasy, he takes an interest in what I might be. So now I have four doe and a buck, stomping, staring and trying to wind me. Luckily, I didn’t flinch and I had gone to great lengths to control my scent. After maybe 30 minutes of this, the matriarch doe finally turned to leave and the other three doe followed. Immediately the buck lost interest in me and turned to follow the doe. He stepped into my shooting lane at about 25 yards and my mind turned to mush.
I always seem to stop consciously thinking when shot opportunities occur, my body just moves. My bow was drawn and a slight bleat came from my lips, stopping the buck broadside. My shot connected behind the shoulder, albeit a little high, with a loud thud and the buck took off like a bat out of hell. He busted through the brush along a hillside for about a 100 yards and then crashed like a ton of bricks, just out of eye sight.
I nervously waited half an hour and then crept out of my blind to check the spot of impact. Although I never did find the arrow, what I did come upon was a blood trail straight out of a h0rror movie. The 2 blade Rage lived up to the hype and absolutely blasted through this deer. After waiting another hour, I headed to where I heard him drop and spotted him laying a little over a 100 yards from my blind.
This is no Pope & Young monster deer, he’s a young 6 point buck, but still a trophy in my eyes. My season was short and dependent on a lot of things going right, if I wanted to harvest any deer at all. Although I don’t want to typically take young deer like this, given the circumstances, I was more than happy to fling an arrow through this 6 pointer. I consider myself lucky and blessed to have been able to have the opportunity to take this buck and I can’t wait to eat some back straps!
More to come soon on what I learned from this hunt, how my new gear worked and what the keys to my success were.