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Finally tagged my first deer with a bow!

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Well it finally happened! I was able to harvest my first deer (and a buck at that!) with a bow. I've been archery hunting for about 10 years now and was finally able to draw back on a buck last season but missed him cleanly. So I was even more determined this year.

I had my cameras out a little bit late (I think the middle to end of July) and checked them mid August. That's when I first got really excited about the season. I had a group of really nice bucks running around together and really close to my stand! There were two 9 points and one 8 point that I would have been happy to see in the season, but the first 9 point looked like he had some nice character. So I was really hoping he had stuck around. (first 3 photos)

When I checked the camera again in September and didn't see ANY of those 3 bucks, my heart sank. I thought they had high-tailed it out of the area and were going to make the neighbors very happy. All hope wasn't lost when there was still one decent 8 point remaining in September so I thought I may still get lucky or at least a chance to see a good buck.

Fast forward to September 30th (opening day of archery in my part of PA). Cooler weather had FINALLY come back to the area after several 85-90 degree days. So I climb into my stand and start to settle in by 6:30am. Around 7:00 I already hear walking behind me but I can't see a thing. I had wanted to turn this stand around to face that direction and clear some shooting lanes but I didn't have the time during the summer. Still standing and holding my bow after a few moments of not hearing any more footsteps, I start to calm down. Then I hear that wonderful sound of a stick breaking and everything ramps up again. Heart starts pumping, legs shaking; it's go time.

Being early in the season yet, there's still a lot of leaves on the trees (you all know that! You're hunters!) so I catch a glimpse of this deer walking on a tail not 10 feet from the base of my tree. I see that he has "3 up" on his right side and has a brow tine too. "3 up" meaning a legal deer in my neck of the woods. Now I'm really getting excited because he's super close and legal! He walks by on my left and starts to turn right to go down the hill right in front of my tree stand, so I draw. All of a sudden he stops dead in his tracks and puts his nose on the ground. He smelled RIGHT where I had just walked into my stand. I'm thinking "Oh crap, now what?" I can tell he's on edge and ready to bolt. Problem is, I haven't practiced the Straight down shot before and he is facing my direction.

Feeling like this deer is going to dart away at any second, I make the decision to try to put my arrow just to one side of his spine and hit some vitals. I let the arrow fly, it hits its mark just beside his spine and he crashes through the brush down the hill with my blue Nockturnal glowing bright above his back. He disappears down the hill behind the brush and I think I heard a crash and some kicking, but I can't be too sure. I really didn't know what to expect with that kind of shot. I tried to give him some time to expire but I was too anxious. I tried glassing from the stand, hoping to see that blue light but no dice. After about 5 minutes lower my bow and climb down as quietly as I can to glass from the ground level. Still no little blue light. I wait another 20 minutes or so and have finally calmed myself down. Not wanting to push the deer, I decide to sneak out of the area and give him some time. Unfortunately, I have to kind of walk down the hill in the direction he ran to get out but it's only briefly and I wouldn't make a lot of noise in doing so. On my way down I keep glassing in the direction he ran and catch a glimpse of brown. Upon further inspection I can see his right antler again sticking up. "YES!" but I still don't want to rush things. I head back to the house to get a bite to eat and another cup of coffee.

Of course I was too excited to finish my bacon, eggs and toast and barely got half of my coffee down when I decided I just needed to go retrieve my buck. I knew he was down. I walked back in and as I expected, there he lay, right where I last saw him. Pure joy and relief when I walk up to him and see that in fact, he was the 9 point I had on camera in mid August. It was actually the first I had seen his left antler since first spotting him next to my stand, I guess I was too focused on placing my shot to notice.

As the title states; this is my first Archery deer and actually my first buck in 12 years. My wife says I am just too "picky" when it came to shooting at a buck (I have passed on several smaller ones) over the years so it was nice to finally get the monkey off my back. I know it's a long read but thanks for sticking it out, hopefully it entertained you.

*Upon gutting/skinning I learned that my broadhead had hit the top of his heart and made short work of him. He maybe ran 60 yards before piling up*

*Mathews NoCam HTX*

*NAP Spitfire 100gr broadheads*








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Awesome! Congrats! That's a great buck! Big healthy body and some nice mass on him. After 10 years of bowhunting you were due lol. He'll be the first of many I'm sure.

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On 10/8/2017 at 10:29 AM, Mathews XT Man said:

Nice job! Took out the pump head was slicin and dicin as he ran too!  Yup, you earned that one! 

Nice buck!  Gonna mount him?

Yeah he ran off kind of funny that's for sure! Going to do a European mount with this guy. Going to try to make a nice Cherry plaque to put it on. Once I get it done I'll be sure to post it, too.

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