It is truly amazing how the mind will change gears so quickly. It was like I had flipped a switch and now a renewed hope had entered my mind. I think nature brings that out in us, no matter what our mood is before we enter the outdoors. Mother Nature has a way of bringing out the best in us.
I start back down the two track and through the swamp towards the tower stand. It is still dark out and the air is cool this morning, but the stars are twinkling brightly. It looks like it is going to be another great day afield. I arrive at the stand and make the climb up the stairs and into the blind. I find the chair in the dark and remember that I had left the shooting panels open from last nights hunt. I find everything just as I had left it from the previous day's hunt.
As I sit in the morning darkness, I can feel the damp cool air wrap its arms around me and begin to pull the warmth out of me. You know when its happening, because you get that little tingly feeling and the small shaking in your muscles begin. I move around a little to try and stir up some warm beneath my clothing. Finally I can see day starting to arrive over the horizon and it isn't long until I see a few deer filter through the field.
The small bucks again make their appearance in the field. Nothing to get too excited over this time since I watched them all day the day before. I do see a lone doe coming through the field browsing towards me. I think to myself, "Do I want to take a doe today or not?" I keep asking myself this question as it walks closer to me. I watch her for about a half hour and she is coming into shooting range. It was then that I decided to make an attempt at her since she had no young deer with her. I won't take a doe that has young deer with her, that would do nothing more than make sure that the young ones won't survive the winter.
I slowly raised into shooting position but she was quartering towards me, so I waited a moment longer. She finally turned broadside at 15 yards, it was the perfect opportunity. I drew back and raised my bow at the same time with as much stealth as I could muster. She didn't notice, this is going to go down perfectly. I made sure my stance was good and that I had hit all my anchor points. The pin on my sight was placed right over her vital area. Without even realizing it, I squeezed the trigger release and let the arrow fly. I watched the arrow enter the left side of her into the lung area. A nice shot! I watched her kick and run towards the swamp! No, I thought to myself, do not run into THAT swamp! She went over the little rise between me and the swamp and disappeared. That particular swamp is dense and very very wet.
I looked to the ground to see if the arrow was there and it was, a pass through shot! I felt better now that I knew i double lunged her. I waited for an hour to pass before I went to look for her. When I got down to the ground and went to the rise where I last saw her, I found a nice line of blood on the ground, this was a fatal hit. I followed the blood for about 40 to 50 yards and then it stopped at the watery swamps edge! My heart sank inside me, this was my Colorado trip all over again! Where I stood at the edge was a fist sized area of blood with bright red frothy bubbles in it. I knew that this was a good lung hit, but where was she? The water got deep quick and this swamp was full of small willow type branches. You couldn't see more than 20 yards in any direction. I grabbed my field glasses and began to glass as far as I could see, with no luck. I didn't dare go any deeper into the water, I only had knee boots and I was already getting in deep. I circled around trying to get a better look into the swamp, but it wasn't meant to be. I had to face the fact that I had lost her. This begins to wear on a man's soul, this is the fourth time that this has happened to me. I know that I made a great shot, but we cannot control which direction and how far the deer will run. This is a fate that I have to accept and not let it deter me from hunting even though I can't stand myself for putting myself in this position.
I had seen 15 different deer this morning, and heard the turkey again coming off roost along with the coyotes again. The coyotes this morning were a lot closer than the previous morning, they must be working the other swamp behind me. Despite the lost doe, I'm having success and seeing and hearing game everytime out in the field.
The afternoon hunt came quickly as we had to pack up everything so we could leave as soon as we left the woods. My dad hunted closer to me this evening in hopes that a change in stands would change his luck. It did change for him. He saw a nice six point buck, but decided to let it walk. He had ample opportunity to take it but he was looking for something a little bigger. I on the other hand saw the usual small bucks and a good number of does. I watched 20 deer this evening browsing the field from one end to the other. I also had the opportunity to hear the turkey roost again behind me. As they were making their usual crashing noises as they roosted, I noticed that there was something coming into the field from the direction the noise came. It was four turkey coming my way. I watched them walk within 20 yards of my stand, I could see that each of them had small beards protruding from their chests. The four jakes were cautious as they made their way across the field in single file and down the two track between the two swamps.
We had made plans to leave just at dusk, so I had to climb down while deer were still in the field. I hate to do that since it gives away your location to the deer giving them another edge against you. There were 12 different deer from one end of the field to the other, it didn't take long for them to see me and flee.
When you know that it is the last day of the hunt and it is time to leave, you really don't care if you spook the deer. It is like leaving an old friend behind. You don't want to go but you know you have to, and you wonder when you will get back to see him again. Fortunately I have made plans to visit again this coming week during the firearms deer season. We will once again greet each other and enter my sanctuary of peace, solitude and soul cleansing. On that November 15th morning at day break we will once again shake hands and hunt together!