It was opening weekend of Bow Season in Ohio. Got out and set up in my treestand on Saturday morning about an hour and a half before daylight. The first day came and went fairly uneventful, as I only saw three yearling deer with one older doe. I did get some practice in on Saturday by standing up in my stand as the deer came into range, and drawing back on the deer to get myself set up for the real thing later on in the season. Saturday was rather warm (mid 60’s after 9 a.m.), and windy so I knew a lot of the deer would stay hunkered down most of the day.
Sunday was a different day as it did not get over 50 degrees and the winds were calm, nothing over 5 mph all day. A small doe came out at 8 a.m. on the dot and stayed lingering around until around 8:30. She slowly moved off out of sight. I settled back into my stand and waited for the next deer to show up. I caught out of the corner of my eye in the direction that the doe went some movement. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was at the time, but knew something was over there. I figured the doe was still there, so didn’t really think much about it at the time. I heard a deer jump the fence about sixty yards from my stand, and about thirty seconds later saw it was the doe. Directly following the doe were two small bucks (one was a six pointer and the other was a button buck)…
A little back story of location and deer in the area. I am set up on the top of a small hill on a fence line in South Central Ohio, on a 300 acre farm. My treestand faces into a small group of trees that separate a soybean field from a cattle field. The deer regularly use this spot for travel to and from different location due to its dense vegetation. I am set up about 10 yards from a deer highway that cuts through this vegetation, on which I have set up a trail camera. My trail camera has caught pictures of five shooter bucks in the area this year. One of which is seven years old this year, two other turned four this year, and two more which turned three this year. All of which are Pope and Young bucks easily, three are possible Boone and Crockett caliber bucks (haven’t seen trail camera pictures since June, but were pushing this size last year). I know these deer well, and have hunted this property all of my life, but back to the story.
Shortly after the two small bucks came out, I saw a nose of a deer hanging back against the fence line. I saw where the doe and two small bucks had ventured, about ten yards closer to my stand making it a fifty yard shot. The deer that was hanging back finally made his appearance. It was one of my four year olds that I had been chasing all of last season, a large ten pointer last season, and this year it appeared that he had two additional points making him a beautiful typical 12. He moved out away from the fence line and stopped at exactly 48 yards. Broadside, nose in the dirt munching on some clover. I stood up, and having practiced at fifty yards for the last two months knew I was capable of hitting him at that distance, and knew that my arrows had enough oomph at that distance to still make a clean kill. I pulled my bow up, drew back, and lined up my shot. I then noticed something odd. Two tiny limbs, about an inch thick a piece, were going across my opened shooting lane. I looked at the two twigs and I mentally gathered that they should be out of the way and that my arrow should travel over one of them and under the other. I then again got him back into my sight picture, readied my shot, and held. I then decided I did not want to take that chance. I had been after this deer for over a year now, and did not want to take the chance of wounding him. Judging on hoof this was easily a 160 plus class buck, with his antler around three inches wider than his ears on both sides, and mass that carried all the way out to the tips of his antlers. I believe that I will have another chance at him since it was opening weekend, and he was none the wiser to my presence in the woods so hopefully I will see him again real soon and maybe this time a little closer with an open shot.
Would you have taken the shot?