First archery deer kill was thrill, Part 2

Killing your first deer with a bow is probably one of the best feelings in the world, and not being able to find it is definitely one of the worst. Last post I began to tell the story of my first bow kill earlier this season, here is the rest of the story.

I was a bundle of energy as I watched the doe take off into the woods. I felt like I had made a good shot, but was nervous and could hardly control the adrenaline rush that follows when shooting a deer. I mentally marked where the doe had entered the woods and began to take slow breaths to calm myself down. I hung up my bow and called my dad to let him know I had just shot a deer. I could not wait to share the news with him. At this point the sun was beginning to set.

After waiting a little while, I carefully descended from my stand to look for blood. I examined where the deer had been standing when I shot, and did not really see anything. I then made my way over to the woods to the location the deer had entered. I saw the lighted nock on my arrow glowing just inside the woods. My dad soon met me to help survey the situation. After examining the arrow, and with no clear direction, we decided to play it safe and back out.

While backing out when you are unsure is the right thing to do, it is also agonizing not knowing if you made a good clean kill or not. I felt completely sick and began to doubt myself. Maybe I had made bad shot? Where had I gone wrong? These questions kept me up most of the night. I prayed we would find the deer.

In the morning my dad and I met around 6 a.m. and began tracking the deer as soon as the sun was up. We returned to where we had found the arrow and began searching for any clues as to where the deer had gone. There really wasn’t much of a blood trail to follow, which made tracking extremely difficult. We followed the direction the deer appeared to be going, but found nothing. We then began to comb the woods, splitting up to cover more ground. As the minutes passed I became more and more upset with myself. After a several hours of searching I had to leave for work. I felt terrible. We had combed the north, east, and south sections of the woods. The only spot left to cover was the far west section. However, based on the direction the deer appeared to be going it seemed unlikely she would be over there. I began to lose hope that we would find the deer.

Several hours later I got a text that turned the whole day around, a picture of my deer! I was so relieved and could not get out of the office fast enough to go put my tag on my deer and help drag her out. A friend had helped my dad continue to look after I left and had spotted her on the far west side of our property, the only place we had not yet checked. While my shot was not perfect, it was not a bad shot. I was a touch far back and had hit one lung and the liver. While it appeared the deer had been traveling northeast, she must have made a hard turn and went northwest instead. The deer had traveled 300 yards. With no blood to follow, it was hard to know which direction she had gone.

It was an experience I will never forgot. Whitetail deer are pretty amazing creatures and during each hunt I learn more about them. While tracking proved to be an emotional roller coaster, at the end of the day I achieved my original goal and harvested my first deer with a bow!

 

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