Everyday we get a ton of emails from you, the viewer, and we really enjoy reading through them and answering any questions. Just the other day we received one that I thought was worth sharing. This is the story of Justin Lee’s first deer with a bow. Enjoy! Thanks for sharing Justin!
It was a typical late October Sunday afternoon, with a cool northeast breeze. As I made my way to my favorite stand on small secluded clover field, half of me was full of optimism, and the other half was telling me to go elsewhere. I had missed a nice little 6 pointer the previous night from the same stand and thought it could use a rest after my disruption. Never the less I headed on, laying down an estrus drag and freshening a mock scrape on the fields’ edge with buck bomb. As I settled into the stand, I reached for my grunt call and got to work. After a couple of hours of very unproductive calling, the light but steady rain that had fallen much of the afternoon had finally stopped. Although the quiet that fell around me seemed to forecast another unfruitful night, the peace that comes from being on stand at dusk quickly reminded me that there was no place I’d rather be.
About 5:00 pm I catch a faint glimpse of movement on the fields’ edge to my east. I focused my attention and watched as two does cautiously entered the field. These were two familiar faces I’d seen on two prior Sundays; both times also right at 5:00 p.m. This mature doe seems to keep a tight schedule. As they began feeding toward the middle of the field, I hoped they would stay in a little tighter this time and said a quick prayer that this third time would be a charm. The older doe is extremely alert and doesn’t appear to like my estrus scent. As she reached my drag line she stops to display her frustration with a couple of hoof stomps and I’m thinking she may be nervous enough to leave. She carefully continued feeding toward the end of my shooting lane, and she’s quickly standing in the tracks of my missed buck from the previous night. It was now or never, and for the second time in as many nights, I find myself drawing my bow on the most beautiful and elusive animal in the woods, and this time I know from experience where to settle my pin.
As I released my arrow I hear a distinctly different “thump” than I heard the night before. I watched intently as she tore across the field with her tail tucked, and looking like a wheel was about to come off. Excitement won out over judgment and I immediately climbed down to assess the situation. Initially I found no blood, and my arrow broken off only 4-5 inches up the shaft. I knew I’d hit her, but penetration was a major concern. With rain again falling, and light fading, I knew I needed more eyes, and quickly. I called my father, who headed out with my nephew to help. When they arrive I have still found only a few small drops of blood heading into the oak flat on the opposite edge of the field, and my optimism now too is fading with the light. What little blood there is seems to disappear just a few yards into the woods and we resort to only tracks. Now completely dark and raining harder, I realize the three of us are just wandering aimlessly across this ridge with little more than hope leading us, so I tell dad I’m going back to pick up the trail from the start again. With no help from the dead batteries in my flashlight and very little from my cell phone I’m now using as a replacement, I spotted the very faint, and now watery blood trail. I quickly noticed she had taken a different angle than we had thought and whistle to dad who is now 100 yards ahead at the ridges drop off. I managed to follow her trail about 25 yards farther than our first attempt when I see dads light coming. I gesture to him and point to the ground in the direction I think she had gone. Now only 20 yards away he points his light at the ground and says “there’s a huge blood trail here”. I couldn’t believe what I saw when I got over there. It looked like someone just pulled the plug and let the flood gates open. The blood trail was now nearly a foot wide and couldn’t have been easier to follow.
It was only 20 more yards before I spotted her, looking like she’d been wondering where I was for the last hour and a half. My emotions welled up, and I couldn’t do much to stop them. As I sat down next to her, and put my hands on her to verify the reality of her presence, I felt the presence of something else as well. The presence of the lord was there on that ridge, and as I put my face in my hands to give thanks, the culmination of a long hot summers worth of scouting, practicing, and anticipation ran down my cheek. This was not my first deer, but it was even better. This deer had come into that field, on that day and time, for me to take her. My first animal with a bow is something I wont soon forget; and for those who truly love and appreciate the sport, and spiritual adventure of deer hunting, if you’ve not yet done it with a bow, I hope you do soon, and I wish for you an experience even more fulfilling than mine.
Great story! Congrats Justin!
What a well told story. I felt like I was right there with you on the hunt. Congratulations on your first deer and I hope you have many more to come.
Right on! I killed my first deer (a doe) with the bow this season as well….your story sums up my experience perfectly! Thanks for allowing me to share it with you.
That says it all! Very powerful writing Justin. Thanks for sharing it with us all Mike.
Congratulations!.. That is a great story and one I can relate to, as this year I got my first deer with a bow as well. Not my first deer ever, but my first deer in almost 3 years. See, I am a former marine, and I just returned from overseas this past May. This past fall was my first time picking up a bow and deer hunting in about 3 years, as I have been deployed off and on that whole time, always seeming to fall perferctly in time with the opening day of the Indiana bow season. It meant so much to me to be back in the woods again and be home and spending time with my friends and family in the deer woods! I was fortunate enough to take a nice doe the 2nd weekend of the season here in Indiana and then I also took a buck and a doe the opening morning of firearms.
Very well told and that is the 100% truth you haven’t hunted until you have bow hunted. Everything changes when you have to look the animal you are about to take in there eyes! When you do that you have really accomplished something.
Great Read!! As an avid hunter myself (muzzle-loader and Rifle) I love hearing about another hunter’s success stories, especially when it’s about their first dear when trying something new. I also found it was very well written. Great Job Justin I look Forward to reading more of your posts.