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  • Rookie Reflections

    The 2011 whitetail season is over. With broadheads quivered and field points at the ready, it’s time to start preparing for next season. That’s right, there’s no time to rest; the off-season is where the greatest strides as a bowhunter are made.
    I’ve come an incredibly long way since I purchased my first bow last June. Under the tutelage of my older brother from another mother, Steve, I’ve put myself in position to have a really successful season in 2012. Under his guidance, I’ve learned everything from anchor points to lunar influence to proper field dressing technique – and then some.
    No bucks took an arrow of mine this season, but horn-hunting isn’t what bowhunting (or any form of hunting, really) is all about. It’s about understanding. If one is able to understand his mistakes, lessons are learned and reinforced much quicker, and with greater breadth and depth. As a result, one is apt to become a more efficient hunter. With efficiency comes success.
    I am no exception. I never found the first doe I shot. Well, I did, but it was too late to reap any harvest. It wasn’t for lack of effort, rather it was a rookie error that I made – once. Make no mistake it will not happen again. In a rush of adrenaline and excitement, my commotion pushed her farther than where she chose to lie.
    Losing my first deer because of my error was disappointing. Steve, though, encouraged me to continue with my efforts. We discussed in great detail the situation and the events that caused the doe to jump and continue her flight. From noise to bloodtrail and everything in between, we broke the hunt and what went wrong down in search of complete understanding. I am now better for it. Two weeks later in the same location, I arrowed another doe in the early morning hour. The second time around everything went right. My arrow flew with purpose. I knew I put a great shot on her. Fifty yards from first blood, with a highly visible blood trail, we found the doe. Steve gave me quite a bear hug in congratulation. For me, the sight of my first found doe was a massive accomplishment.
    Throughout my rookie season, I learned and have come to understand a wealth of information that I will carry with me in my quiver for the rest of my life. Now that I have a solid foundation underfoot, it’s time to build a bowhunter out of me. As for the next eight months, the name of the game becomes practice, practice and then practice some more. A little fishing never hurt, either.

    January 03, 2012 at 10:25am
    A comment titled: Treed in response to a report titled: 3rd Times A Charm


    I wasn't questioning your abilities at all, and I know every man has his way of going about hunting. I thought some discussion might help me reinforce some of the points I've learned, in addition to maybe generating some other discussions through different people's perspectives. And indeed, it was a good conversation. I find it interesting to hear about other people's experiences because I'm sure we all want to learn more about the sport, and what better way to find out than through some good 'ol discussion?

    I'll get a photo or two up at some point. I harvested a doe a little over a week ago, but I was doing it all solo, so I couldn't really get a good picture. It was also after dark and still a bit warm when I found her - I was more concerned with taking care of the meat. Oh well. I'll get a pic of the next one, just for you, Viper.

    October 10, 2012 at 12:09pm
    A comment titled: Discussion in response to a report titled: 3rd Times A Charm


    So, with the first doe, you came down the tree 10 minutes after the shot. If your stand and/or climbing sticks have ANY metal on them at all, I have an idea as to why the first two eluded your recovery efforts. *You didn't indicate if you climbed down from the stand 10 minutes after shooting with the second doe. Did you do the same with the second doe?

    Metallic clanking noises are not normal in a deer's environment. Add that to the fact that you've mortally wounded the deer. At that point, pure adrenaline and an instinct to survive is what is keeping that wounded animal alive.

    Having been shot, running on adrenaline/instinct and hearing unnatural, metallic clanking noises is going to compel that animal to keep running, to keep going to get away from whatever has just wounded it. Even 10 minutes after the shot when that deer may have already crashed and laid down to die in peace, hearing a hunter climb down from his or her stand will almost assuredly cause that deer to make another push to get away from your location.

    It has happened to me, but only once. I make sure I sit absolutely quiet for at least 30-40 minutes after the shot to give that animal a chance to die peacefully, without taking the risk of pushing it further than it intended on going by making unnatural clanking noises. That is my hunch.

    As far as the blood trails for those two does, I don't have a distinct explanation for that. Maybe they took a hard turn somewhere along the way?

    In regards to the buck you mentioned, I can offer an observation. In the first minutes after you shot that buck, and, depending upon where the arrow hit, there may have been enough pressure in the deer's body cavity such that initially, blood isn't simply running down its sides - it may be spraying to either side of the animal. That can definitely lead to a weak blood trail, especially close to your arrow and first blood. Once some of that pressure has been relieved because of blood loss (when 'its bottom fell out') then you'll start to see that nice, easy to follow trail. In the future, if you think that might be the case, you can look at nearby trees to see if any spray has left a mark as the deer passes those trees in its flight.

    I hope that helps. Again, congratulations on your first recovery of the season!

    October 09, 2012 at 5:02pm
    A comment titled: Post-shot in response to a report titled: 3rd Times A Charm


    I completely understand why you took a shot. We're all after ideal shooting conditions, but quite often some factor afield just doesn't want to cooperate. In your case, it doesn't look like ANY of those factors were cooperating! With a need or want for meat, however, sometimes we are forced to take less than ideal shots.

    As far as broadhead choice, you really just have to find what works for you, with your bow, your arrows, your set up; everyone's is unique because there are simply so many choices out there that you can mix and match. I prefer Rage 3 blade expandables because they work well with my bow, my arrows, my set up. So, all in all, I don't think your choice of broadhead has much to do with why you weren't able to recover the first two does, especially if they were well placed broadside shots.

    May I ask what you do after you have arrowed a deer, any deer? In other words, what is your typical series of events from immediately after the shot to actually going to find your arrow and first blood? I've got an idea that might explain why you ultimately couldn't recover the first two does, but I don't want to make any assumptions.

    October 08, 2012 at 1:50pm
    A comment titled: First two does? in response to a report titled: 3rd Times A Charm

    What kept you from recovering the first two does? Can you pinpoint anything that could be the culprit?

    October 08, 2012 at 11:23am
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