Well, as I left off from the morning hunt, it was already a successful day in my mind as I had already seen several deer and had had a great outdoor experience. It was time to head out for the afternoon.
I arrived at my stand by 2:30pm and slowly and deliberately made my way up the tree. I was using a new Summit climbing stand and was in awe of how quite it would allow me to make it up the tree.
After settling in and hanging up my bow it was time to focus and take in the world around me. I checked my problems at the door and now I was in a new world, a world that washes all other worries away. Perched way up in that tree I was in heaven.
The silence of the afternoon was broken only by the barking of the squirrels and the chirping of the chipmunks. I watched as one chippie ran around collecting seeds for the long winter months to come.
They were like umbrellas for the tiny bugs in the area.
The sun started to drop slowly through the trees and was soon below the horizon. This is the time when the deer really start to move and tonight was no different. It wasn't long and I had a couple of yearlings working their way around my stand eating and chewing on all the green leaves they could find.
I watched as they made their way up to an area I had seen several of the deer come down in the morning and as I watched I saw a flash of white and the trees start shaking violently. It soon came into view and I saw a buck with a thick main beam with a lot of mass. There were not a lot of points, but I could tell that this was an old salt of a deer with his big mass and huge neck.
He stopped his thrashing of the trees and came down into the meadow area and started to work his way to one of the openings that would allow me to take a shot. Unfortunately he would have to go behind several trees and be out of my sight for a while until he would come into the area I could get a good shot.
I waited and as he stepped out he stopped and my arrow sailed with precision. His instinct was to take off and I watched as he floundered up the hill and out of sight. My heart was racing and my legs were weak. It took a bit to compose myself, but slowly I came around and I descended the tree and began the tracking process.
He had run a good distance and with all injured animals they often take the path of least resistance. In this case it was no different. With the aid of another hunter we were able to track and recover this magical animal. He was all I had thought he was and more. A soft prayer was said as a thank you for the opportunity to take such a magnificent creature and to thank my creator for what I had just experienced.
It certainly wasn't an easy job getting this guy back to the truck, and with the help of two others we made the long and bumping drag back. I had to be grateful that I spend my lunch hours at the gym as this deer was over 200lbs and even with two pulling it made for an adventure in itself.
Well the Deer is at the Grainery in Antioch and soon I will have fresh steaks, chops and roasts for those warm bowls of chili that take the chill off the winter's air.
I can't help but think of how I have become to love the outdoors. It was my father who had gotten me started and it just grew and grew from there. I have not taken many deer in the 23+years I have hunted, but each one is a memory in its own.
Thank you God and my family for giving me this opportunity to experience this and to enjoy all that I had seen on what would be an opening day of deer season I will not soon forget.
Shoot Straight, Shoot Often.