This past Saturday was opening day of archery season in West Virginia. For the first time in five years, I was completely unprepared for archery season. At this point I had ran my trail cameras all summer, but that was it. I had a few very nice bucks on camera and the majority of them were coming in during the morning hours. My hopes were as high as they could be for this season. Little did I know this opening day would be one to remember.
After finally getting my first deer with a bow, I was hoping to get another deer early in the season. After knowing I had deer, especially buck coming in between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM, I was planning on holding out until at least then. That was a lot easier than I thought it would be, the fog set in early and finally lifted around 8:15 AM. By this time, I was sure I had heard deer milling around but still hadn't seen any. At around 8:45 AM I was scanning the area when I thought I heard something but still hadn't got visual conformation of the noise. A little before 9:00 AM I finally saw what was making the noise, it was a buck using a licking branch. I couldn't tell which one it was, but it seemed to have a nice body and decent main beams. I was wanting to wait for a decent buck, but at the first sight of this deer I grabbed my bow just in case... By the time I got my bow the buck had closed in from 115 yards to 85 yards. At this point there were two trails this buck could have came in on, one would have allowed me to get a perfect broad side shot, but that didn't happen. The other trail he took, lead him on a string to within six yards of my stand. This didn't allow for me to draw on him, at this point I thought my chance was done. At that point, he turned to walk away and and this allowed me to draw back on him. This caused him to spook a little bit, but this actually allowed for a better shot. He spooked out to 22 yards with a quartering away shot. This took a millisecond to get my sights on him and release, it felt like a great, solid shot but I didn't see him drop in my sight.
As the rule goes, at least with the guys I hunt with, if you don't see them go down, you back out and give them time. Not more than five minutes after I shot my buck a spike came in on the same trail and worked its way through the area. I watch this buck for a while and finally got down from my stand a worked my way back to the truck where I was meeting Jared. At this point I wasn't sure, but was feeling good and just wanted a cup of coffee, funny I know, but Jared and I even discussed while waiting to go recover the deer about how great that cup of coffee is after taking a deer. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to see the truck door already open and Jared working on perking a pot of coffee. As I was walking up the trail he caught side of me and I gave him the thumbs up I got one, but then the conversation of what happened ensued. After telling him this and a discussion of previous deer shot like this we decided to wait a minimum of two hours. After waiting over two hours we went back to track if from my tree stand. I was worried about finding blood, because I did not get a pass through, but this was not an issue. After finding the first spot of blood 10 yards from the shot, it looked like the trail was painted with blood. we proceeded to track this deer 50 to 60 yards over top the ridge and a quarter of the way over the side. At this point we lost the blood for a second, at that same time we heard twigs start to snap and my stomach sunk, we saw the deer and it went another 25 yards over the hill before we lost sight of it. We held tight there to make sure it didn't advance any further and we backed out again. This time we back out and went to make/eat lunch and wait another two hours. After a great lunch and a little fretting on my part we went back to where we saw the deer jump up and we found the spot where it bedded down, then in 10 feet from it was another bed covered in blood with my arrow, still fully intact. At that point we heard something crashing and trashing down through the woods and finally come to rest in the creek. We held tight for 20 minutes to make sure it didn't get out of the creek, then we slowly progressed toward the creek. Over this four hour period and bumping this deer twice it still only traveled 150 yards roughly.