It was a little warm at 48° last Saturday October 28th as we set out into the woods for our hunt. I arrived at my tree shortly after 6am. As I situated my stand and gear I could see the lights from Mike and his Son Noah maybe 100 yards away as Mike got him situated at his tree. The three of us were hunting together this morning all hoping to bring home a prize. Everything ready to go I headed up my tree without any incidents and got myself situated in anticipation of the early light which was already starting to peak out over the ridge to the east. As I sat there I was having an internal struggle in my mind. Shortly before we headed out Mike has asked me not to shoot any Doe’s. With the Rut about to begin Mike said they were too important to bringing in the Bucks. My internal struggle was about what I would do if the right Doe happened into my shooting lanes which has happened every morning so far that I have hunted this tree.
As I pondered on this trying to decide what to do I finished setting up a few last things. After my last hunt I ordered a handlebar mount for my camera that I was able to strap on the arm of my tree stand. I strapped it on and mounted the camera, it worked out perfectly. The mount was on a ball swivel so I was able to adjust the camera to any place I wanted if a deer wandered in. All set with my crossbow in hand and the safety off I was ready for whatever came my way. Well almost. I had forgotten to switch from my glasses to my contacts. My glasses are too annoying to wear switching between binoculars, range finder, and my scope on my bow, so I took them off and decided to deal. With the aid of my scope I was still able to target without them and that is what mattered the most.
At a little before 7:20 I heard a noise coming from the west side of my stand. At first I just figured it was one of those annoying squirrels or chipmunks that always seem to be around. As I looked out and spotted the culprit I noticed it wasn’t either. It was a fox. This was my first encounter with a fox out in the woods so I thought it would be cool to film this guy as he searched for food less than 10 yards away. A few minutes into my filming I decided to see what he would do if I used my Primos Doe bleat can. I made two bleat calls within a few second of each other, but the Fox was not very interested. He turned to look around the first time and barely acknowledged it the second. My hope was that he would look up so I could get a better shot of his face. A few short minutes later I decided to cough to see if I could get him to look up. When I coughed he quickly scurried off a few yards, but then just went about his business. Roughly 8 minutes after I used the Doe Bleat I spotted a deer coming in to my area.
When I spotted the deer, I didn’t actually know it was a buck. If you remember I wasn’t wearing my glasses. Without them I could see the deer, but his antlers just blended in with the surrounding foliage. Although the video footage above makes it look like the tree is in the way the of the buck, it was not. I pulled out my range finder and ranged the deer at 35 yards. Perfect! Looking through the scope on my crossbow I had a perfect broadside shot right above the front leg. At the time I was lining up my shot I believed the deer to be a Doe and I had to make a decision. Am I going to take a Doe or am I going to let this one pass like all the others from my earlier hunts. More importantly like Mike had asked me to. Wanting to put some Venison in the freezer I decided to take the shot. As I lined up for the shot I was oblivious to everything else around me. Once I pulled the trigger and the bolt was away I realized something didn’t sound right. I looked down and saw why. I failed to realize my crossbow limbs were too close to my camera and once they released they would inevitably hit the camera. Hit the camera they did. As a result of the crossbow hitting the camera the bolt was not on course and I missed the buck.
Pissed at myself for the events that transpired which led to a broken camera (I found out just how tough the Olympus TG-4 is) and disappointed about my miss I decided I was going to cock my bow, load a new bolt and hope to see another deer in the hours to come. Still standing from cocking and loading my crossbow I look out and see a deer. Not even three minutes after my miss it came back. This time it is straight out in front of me at 30 yards in the wide open, slightly quartering away from me. I brought my TenPoint Eclipse RCX Crossbow up to my eye, took a deep breath, steadied my aim and pulled the trigger. Amazed at the loud thud the bolt produced when it hit the buck I knew it was a good hit. I watched as he took off downhill towards the body of water that laid down below to the east. My heart racing and my adrenaline pumping it was hard to not start jumping up and down from all the excitement. I just shot my very first deer ever! Super excited I pull out my phone and let Mike and Noah know I had just shot my first deer at 7:45am on Saturday October 8th 2017. Still not wearing my glasses I had not seen his antlers and still thought I shot a Doe.
Finally three hours later Mike, Noah, and I exited our trees. Once I was on the ground I immediately went to collect my two bolts that I had fired. As I came upon the bolt that I had fired the 2nd time I could see the blood on the fletching or my TenPoint ProElite 20″ Bolts. Pulling the bolt from the ground I could see the blood all the way down the bolt confirming a good hit. I left the bolt standing straight up to mark the spot and went searching for the first bolt I fired. Finding it after a few minutes of searching it was clean confirming the shot was a miss. I then headed back to the first bolt and began to track the deer from there knowing the direction he had run. Heading out to the main trail I met up with Mike and Noah and took a few minutes to exchange some stories. It turns out they both saw the 4 point buck I shot about 15 minutes after I shot it. At the time neither one of them knowing it was the deer that I shot. Noah had seen it but didn’t have a shot, Mike had seen it limping past him, and while at full draw decided to give it a pass.
While Noah stayed with all of our gear Mike and I set off in search of my prize. Within a few short minutes my buck was found lying under a briar patch. What an exciting day! I had harvested my first deer ever and it was a 4 point buck! I want to thank Mike (BleedingCamo.com) for all his guidance and help through this amazing experience. Needless to say I’m hooked and can’t wait to get back out in the woods again for my next hunt.