2018 Bow Deer Season
I went out for a quick Saturday bow hunt during the rut. While I was hoping for a nice buck, it wasn’t in the cards this year. I saw a few small ones and shooters out of range, but none came near me. Every buck I saw was tending does. The rut was quite early this year, had no real sharp peak, and lasted into rifle season. Just goes to show, every year is different.
This particular morning, I watched a buck trailing two very large does. They never came closer than 30 yards, which is at the edge of my shooting range. With the brush in the way, I never got an ethical shot at any of them. I watched them drink from the creek and meander around for 45 minutes or so. The buck himself was an 8 pointer. Tall, heavy, but not particularly wide. Probably 4.5-5.5 years old. I would have taken him had the chance come. Toward the end, they did head ever closer, but then decided to take a path that once again lead them away from me. The buck followed the does, of course.
About 30 minutes later, I heard a noise coming from behind me. It was a fawn slowly walking my way. I watched it coming my way, then noticed the good size doe behind it. Because it was the rut, I thought about passing on the doe. She got to about 25 yards behind me, an area I cannot shoot into. She suddenly looked up straight at me, despite me being very still. They have that sixth sense, although I must admit, I am in a ladder stand against a poplar. Not much to hide me. She did the usual, stared at me and occasionally bobbing her head. This made me want to see if I could now keep her close enough for a shot, Game On! The fawn was directly under my stand by that point and I remained motionless. I did not look directly at the doe, instead angled my eyes to the side and kept track of her through my peripheral vision.
The doe finally decided to follow the fawn, still very suspicious. She tested the air, but my Scent Eradicator didn’t leave her any odor to detect, and the cover scent left only the faint smell of fresh earth. She continued about 5 yards from my stand, then caught the smell of the synthetic doe in heat scent I had put out. At that point, she completely forgot all about me, more intent on exploring the smell of what she thought was a local doe in estrus. She completely missed my movements as I raised my crossbow and took the shot, less than 5 yards away. The bolt tipped with a Swhacker broadhead cut a large path through her lungs, and after a short trail, she expired. It wasn’t a big buck, but it was meat in the freezer.