Just like it began...so too it shall end...
As I shared just days ago, the current hunting season was closing and I had just a couple hunts remaing...the final one set for Sunday night, or tonight.
Tonight would be the last hoorah of the season and with its sunset the season would end just as the day would end. Knowing full well from all the cameras that the deer at the swamp property were not making it to the brassicas till dark there was but one spot I may get some action before last light.
This spot would have no tree stand or ground blind set up...it would be a true pick a spot and ground sit. NOT ideal by any stretch of the imagination but I knew this was the spot that would end my season. It would position me 35 yards from a access opening along the southern most edge of the picked fields of the property. Just south of this location would be the large unhunted sanctuary where the deer would most likely come from.
The wind would be perfect out of the NW, allowing the deer to enter through the opening with the wind in their face but not smelling even a hint of me or my location...the tricky part would be getting a shot though. As in the video posted to the Small Acre Hunting's facebook page (still image above)...I would be tucked up right beside a small cedar tree to conceal all my movement from approaching deer...however once in the field I would be susceptable to being spotted upon drawing. It would be a definite "hail mary" type hunt but with nothing to lose I got set up, and for the first time since October 1st I would not just be buck hunting.
I'll be honest while I was excited for the hunt, about 20 minutes in I was ready to go...the wind was surging up into the 20mph range and it was cutting straight into my face the entire hunt. Not to mention the snow was coming down at times in such a furry making it difficult to see much past 45 yards.
With about 30 minutes left of legal light I even started packing my bag up and debated being done due to the simple fact I couldn't hardly feel my body any longer...however instead I tucked into my pockets deeper and tried to last the final 30 minutes of the season.
Mere minutes later...a head....now a body...the first doe was spotted and she was coming out just as I had planned. I couldn't lift the bow off my lap though yet as she'd surely pick my movement up. I sat and watched as 6 does filed out into the field in front of me and now all were in the 30-40 yard range, but were more directly in front of me than I'd planned on...meaning just the slightest motion at the wrong time would be picked up in a millisecond. The lead doe looked my way once, twice but both times her head went back down and I finally was able to draw.....anchored and placed my 35 yard pin on the one doe that stood on the spot I'd ranged earlier (knowing my yardage would be true). I began to breathe out like every shot but that is when everything went terribly wrong...
...a seventh deer must have come into the field to my left (West) and caught my draw, and had just stomped....causing my finger to tense and send the arrow before I'd fully settled in....to make matters worse the deer infront of me and jerked to attention too, including the one my site was on.
I nearly puked as I watched my arrow impact the right rear hind quarter's of the doe, and as she ran away to the North with the arrowing showing minimal penetration had occured. Sickened as I was, I watched her as she ran off. When she reached the small chunk of woods 130 yards away she stopped, then continued along it's Eastern edge till hitting it's northern edge and finally heading West into the small chunk of woods.
I shifted my attention to the other 5 does as I re-nocked another arrow...4 had ran off to the West a little ways and stood now about 40 yards West of where they had stood looking back at the lead doe. The lead doe hadn't moved at all since the shot, and like me was watching the doe that had been shot (which had stood just feet from her). Instead of fleeing the lead doe appeared to want to follow the wounded doe and started trotting along the same path as she had taken...the other 4 trotted over and joined suit.
This is when the pivotal point of the hunt occurred and led to it's ending. As the group of does got close to the point where the one had cut West they started acting odd. Hunt long enough and you'll know this sight. The deer were intent on something, but in a curious almost worried kind of way. They started walking into the woods in a particular way I've only seen when another deer is dead or dying...
I immediately knew what I had to do. Grabbing my seat and throwing my backpack on I headed towards where the deer had cut into the woods...I had at most 10 minutes of legal time left for a follow up shot. As I followed the trail of the shot doe through the snow I saw zero blood...then I reach the spot where she'd paused and a big pile of blood was there circling a hoof print. I knew instantly I'd hit a main artery and she was bleeding out and down that hind leg quite well, I may recover her afterall even if that meant coming back tomorrow and grid searching.
I hit the farming road which cut in/along the little woods where all the does had entered and begin walking and looking. The plan was to walk and look but not stop or search in depth, make it to the vehicle and come back the next day and grid search.
However, just as I got beside the stand I'd shot a doe out of back on October 1st I saw her, she was laying there not 10 yards away still alive but not doing too hot...unable to get up. I dropped my seat, drew instantly and sent an arrow through her lungs ending her suffering.
Just like that, a frustrating season unlike any other I've experienced was over, and it had ended just as it had begun...a doe had been harvested and I was thankful for the blessing.
So...the 2015 season begins now...fasten your seat belts, as we have a lot to do between now and October 1st, 2015.