Blessings: A First Deer

God blessed me with my first deer on September 21, 2013.

This day, and the preparation for this day, was filled with teamwork. Each venison meal brings back memories of the hunt I shot my first deer. It’s a great taste. There’s only one “first deer” for a hunter.

first deer

A trail camera about 30 yards from the tree I was sitting in captured me and my first deer. We found the deer the morning of September, 22. I dragged it from the brush to the clearing.

It was a calm September evening. I was sitting 20 feet up a tree listening to a Tom turkey calling, while anticipating any kind a movement from a deer. All of a sudden tall grass was moving in the distance. Then, lower branches of a tree on the edge of a cornfield began to shake. (If I was sleeping, I would have missed the subtle movement, and possibly, my first deer.)

Deer were walking through the woods towards the cornfield.

My heart began pumping quicker as the deer kept walking. I couldn’t make out if the two deer were bucks or does at this point because they were in the brush.

At first it seemed they were heading into the cornfield. Next minute, it seemed as if they were heading towards me. A few seconds passed and, sure enough, the deer were heading my way!

Instantly, my heart started to pound and my breathing increased. They were closer and out of the heavy brush, one was a buck, the other a doe.

Both deer stopped at a clearing about 40 yards away. Suddenly, the buck started walking towards me. He then stopped abruptly, shook his head violently and jogged back towards the clearing’s edge where the doe was standing still. I asked myself, “Did he get wind of me or hear me breathing hard?” (I jokingly wondered if they could hear my heart because it was still pounding.)

To my surprise, the doe he was with began walking in, hugging the treeline beside the clearing. Closer and closer she game. She then stopped and began feeding. She was 20 yards from me.

whitetail doe

The buck followed this doe. The trail camera captured the doe that was with the buck I took.

The buck, still at the clearing’s opening, started towards the doe following her path. As the buck walked closer, I could tell it was a young buck. As he continued to walk into a comfortable shooting range, about 20 yards, his walking slowed. Aiming for the rib cage I released my arrow. Thunk! I heard and saw the arrow hit.

Upon impact, the buck dashed towards the West through the treeline and into tall grass. Turning away from the cornfield ahead of him, he stayed in the tall grass and made a half circle back towards the woods. I took mental pictures of that path and continued to look where I heard him last.

Man, was I shaken-up and full of adrenaline. I took several deep breaths while thinking, “I just arrowed my first deer! I get to eat venison! Now I must wait 30 minutes before I start after him.” It was 6:30 when I shot him. (Rule of thumb is to wait 30 minutes before looking for a deer, especially in bowhunting.)

 Patience In A Tree
That was a long 30 minutes. I spent it thanking God for this hunt, praying my hit was as solid as it looked and observing nature. My heart rate gradually fell as I looked towards the sky. Also figured this was a good time to pull out my phone to remember how high I was. It was clear and the sun was shining on the cornfield enhancing its golden color. Most leaves were still green with a few turning color this second weekend of bow season.

When my pocket watch f i n a l l y reached 7 o’clock, I slowly climbed down the the ladder-stand. Walking towards where I shot the buck, I heard movement behind my treestand. I paused and questioned myself, “Am I starting too soon?” Silence shortly followed, so I continued to where I remembered the deer take-off after the shot. I found tracks, blood and a few feet further, my arrow. The arrow provided proof it was a good hit. There was red blood and it didn’t have a foul smell.

I found blood and started tracking until I came across a small creek and lost the blood trail. It was now 7:20 and getting dark. I took out my flashlight but could not pick up a blood trail again. Because of the movement I heard early on, I turned back and headed to camp to get advice of more experienced hunters.

Sunset while deer hunting

Walking back to camp that evening, I turned to admire the sunset.

 Around 8PM
Back at camp, I told my hunting party I had hit a deer, felt confident of my shot, lost the blood trail and asked for advice. After seeing my arrow, they also said it was a good hit. We headed back out after the deer.

Arriving at my stand, I picked up the initial blood trail and we all continued to follow it. Finding more of the trail than I did, we found an area of heavy blood and it seemed as if this was the end of the blood trail. We decided to head back and return in the morning.

 Is It Morning Yet?
The night was long. Prayer and anxiety made it tough to fall asleep. I was still replaying the shot in my mind.  Although I was confident of my shot, I was questioning the hit since we were going back out in the morning to look for the deer.

Morning came. We headed out to begin the search. Not long after searching, we found my first deer! The deer was about 50 yards behind the tree I was sitting in. It was found beside a tree in thick brush.

Holding my first deer.

Fulfillment is the best word to describe how I felt walking up to the deer and laying hands on it. Though hunting is a solo sport, it took teamwork for my first deer and I appreciate everyone that helped.

I have been gun deer hunting since 13 and started bowhunting in 2012. Although I didn’t get a deer in 2012, I learned hunting skills and bowhunting preparation that was crucial in getting my first deer on September 21, 2013. The friends and family who helped out are as much a part of this as myself.

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