Well, as everyone saw from following on Facebook the wind and weather all pointed towards tendencies of RD being on the move opening morning. So the decision was made 2 days prior to take the whole opening day off and possibly put an end to the RD saga quickly with the first hunt of the year.
I tossed and turned the entire night after going to bed about 3 hours earlier than normal...2:20am I shot up thinking I'd overslept the 4:20am alarm but quickly realized I could go back to sleep. Well, that wasn't happening. Between my excitement for opening day as well as knowing I was hunting RD made me stare at the alarm for nearly 2 hours before finally just getting up and shutting the alarm off and begin my pre-hunt routine of eating, showering and loading up (INSIDER's Only will learn about this procedure step by step).
Normally my first hunt of their year things go wrong or I'm an unorganized mess so being well ahead of schedule I thought would be a good thing as I pulled in to the property nearly an hour before I'd planned on.
Amazingly getting dress, sprayed down and ready went smoothly and I soon found myself strapped in and sitting there waiting on legal time....which was over an hour and a half away! Nothing really happened during that time save for a coyote kill of what sounded like a rabbit at about 6:30am to my West.
All was quiet as I would sit and watch my first sunrise of the season...and I'll be honest nothing really takes my breath away or captures one of the biggest reasons I hunt like that moment...God's creation painted across my view.
The morning hunt would end quietly with only one lone yearling buck coming by at a little after 9am...as the wind began to shift and blow up towards the bedding I slipped down and headed back to the truck thinking of what I would do for an evening hunt.
---Evening Hunt....The Perfect Shot = Worst Blood Trail---
While I don't always video up the stand and I've yet to set myself up for videoing my harvests I did take a minute and set up what the stand set up was for the evening hunt as I shifted gears away from RD for wind purposes.
As you saw in the video I was encircled with food options so the question was simply would the deer pick one soon enough to get near me before darkness would overtake the hunt.
About one hour before legal time was up I had movement on the alfalfa side of the stand. First movement was a bigger than average fawn running out into the alfalfa followed closely by a real big mature doe...then seconds later exact same scenario played out again big fawn and than a mature doe joined the already present 2.
As I watched them they were taking a route that would put them roughly 30-40 yards from the stand in my widest shot lane directly out into the alfalfa which is pictured in the image here:
As they started to get near the shooting lane I decided to draw and settle my 35 yard pin on the doe that was taking that path (the first big mature one that entered)...however the odd thing is all 4 in unison started trotting to my right (East) past my shooting lane. As you can see in the picture there is a dead tree just to the right of my main shooting lane...the first 3 does made it beyond that and then on beyond where you see the oak leaves start. The last one (the 2nd mature old doe to enter the field) stopped righ there to the right of the main shoot of the dead branch at 40 yards.
Now I knew 40 was well within my ability as I practice routinely out to 55 and place a self imposed 45 yard maximum on calm deer only because of personal choice...this doe was head down relaxed and feeding but I passed on the shot and let down. The very small chance I caught a branch and it being extremely early in the season kept me from taking the shot.
I then for about 4 minutes would watch them through the leaves beyond and to my right as they looked as if they were going to out of sight and into the beans off to the East any minute...
...that's when I heard one doe make an uneasy half hearted wheeze and I instantly saw the lead mature doe circling back along the tree line my way at a mere 15 yards out from the tree. I drew as the 4 does trotted back into the main shot lane and in unison all stopped. Every single deer was 12-16 yards away standing broadside save the one I wanted (the biggest oldest doe) which was quartering slightly away. I breathed out as I put the 15 yard pin on her to give an exit hole infront of her offside shoulder/leg area and slowly squeezed the release.
The illuminated nock hit right behind her front leg and disappeared only to reapear where she stood stuck in the ground as she leaped and took off towards the woods.
Picture of illuminock just moments after shot was taken.
I instantly knew that was a dead deer and the shot was one of my best ever...I thought to myself if that didn't get heart I doubt anything does...but as she took off butt tucked and tail down I was amazed she made it the 60 yards West to the wood edge and on into it farther than I could see.
Astonished at the fact she'd apparently just made it 100 yards with both lungs and what I felt was a heart shot out of my sight I sat down and decided to give her time as I called pops for blood trailing was gonna be needed and he is like a blood hound with his eyes instead of nose.
Oh side note after the shot and while on the phone with pops I did have another lone deer almost give me a double opportunity but wouldn't get closer than 50-60 yards out.
I climb down and head back to the truck assured that once pops gets here it's gonna be a short and sweet recovery job between the bloodhound eyes of him and sign reading skills I rely on more than sight (due to colorblindess).
We make our way to the site of impact and the arrow is just covered in blood...I'm talking dripping in blood still...I hope I never see another kind of arrow because man was it a beautiful thing.
We mark the impact spot and begin to look in the alfalfa for blood....and continue to look....and continue to look....and continue to look.
I'll be honest both of us were amazed no blood was being found...judging from the arrow and the shot replayed in my head I couldn't believe there was like a murder scene type trail through the alfalfa. Realizing we were getting no where we decided to scout out the tree line of the big woods for her entrance trail...and pop's bloodhound type eyes spotted a speck of blood.
Now when I say speck of blood I mean a speck. Like a sunflower seed sized speck...and not the outer shell but the inner edible part. We began there and over the next 40 minutes would follow one of the slowest blood trails ever; only twice did we ever go oh there's a good bit a blood. It was almost always a speck or dime sized type drop here then 4 feet away another and then another.
However the whole time we noticed along the way the ground was pretty tore up and she wasn't necessarily taking the easiest way through the woods...which confirmed to us this was in fact a death run. Now over the years I've shot many a deer and it seems to me more often than not the ones that are the matriarch of a doe group have the biggest knack for making it farther than they should...and I was beginning to realize this more than likely was one of those cases; this doe was running with the others until she literally wouldn't be able to go another step.
Which is exactly what she did as we looked right there she was...she'd only gone about 140-160 yards from where she'd been shot but it'd taken us nearly an hour.
I quickly realized why from looking at the exit wound which was clogged with busted shoulder bone and muscle...causing very little blood to get out of the hole. Now some of you reading this are probably thinking well what broadhead was he using...my "insert head" would surely have done better. Wrong, no broadhead would have done better except for maybe a single beveled head but my slick trick magnums had gone through a rib, two lungs and we discovered the top part of the heart and still busted though leg/shoulder bone on the offside exiting and sticking in the ground as you saw in the picture before (illuminock in field).
This doe had ran over 100 yards with both lungs and her heart not working anymore...I was utterly amazed by her and thankful we'd been able to recover her. It was an awesome first day of the 2014 season and hopefully just means 2014 is setting up to be an awesome year for my pops and I here at Small Acre Hunting!
Be sure to check back and keep up to date on Facebook as I chase RD and potentially some other awesome bucks we have running around...I'll do my best to always share thoughts and hunt experiences with all of you!
God bless and good luck out there this season!