My first deer ~ 2009

November 25 2009

I lost count of how many times I’ve been in those woods, but it has been almost every day this month. It was pretty much like any other day heading out to the treestand, except this time I left the house early enough that I had to use my headlamp to walk through the woods and I set up Ed’s camera by his stand.

I made it to my stand about 7am and didn’t really expect to see anything as the trail camera had shown that the deer were coming in the afternoon and late night that week. So I sat and waited and around 8:40I see the trio come in. It was a doe, a yearling and a 2 year old. that I have seen just about everyday I am out there. They are the stars of my trail camera, I have many pictures of them.

I decided that I just really want some meat and that my first deer doesn’t have to be a buck. When the doe was behind a tree I tilted my bow up and that caught the attention of the youngest doe. I went still and closed my eyes as she was trying to figure out what the heck was in the tree. She snorted and they all stomped off about 10 feet. They walked back when they didn’t see anything.

I drew my bow when the doe was behind the tree again except this time she didn’t want to step out and I knew that if I tried to relax the shot and draw again she would step out in the middle of that and see me. I waited for what seemed like forever until she stepped out. I shot but it was too low. It went through her front legs opening the front of one and the back of the other. I didn’t find this out till we found her later. She took off and then came back around and was lying in the water in to the west of the stand. The water is from the heavy rains we had a few weeks ago. I kept hearing her snort and I could see the water rippling. She went quiet and still for a while so I climbed down and walked towards her, as a neared she got up and took off, I could see she wasn’t running normally. I went back to the stand and waited for Eddie to come from work to help me track her.

After about 30 minutes I walked around, found my arrow and found a good blood trail. When he got there we followed the trail for about two and a half hours. It took a lot of teamwork and we came to a point where the blood trail just stopped. There were other deer nearby and Ed went to see if they were with her. They spooked as he walked near but when he stopped one started back. He knew that there had to be something really interesting in order for a deer to risk instantly walking back at what spooked them.  Then he saw my doe, hiding near a large puddle of water.

He called to me and told me to put an arrow in my bow and walk toward him. When I got there I couldn’t even see her she was so well hidden. She didn’t even move but was looking at us. My shot went through her lungs, I could hear the loud hollow thud as it hit. She jumped up and ran forward then u turned across the puddle. We waited then followed her. I found half my arrow lying on the ground near the puddle. We walked to where we thought she was and split up to try to find a blood trail. We didn’t find one but Ed found her not even 20 feet from where I shot her. I was ahead of him and circled around them. She got up but fell forward and laid down.

I sat where I was, about 15 feet in front of her. She had her head up and was aware of where we were but was only looking at me out of the corner of her eye. She was fighting it but fading fast. When she laid her head down we walked over. She was alive but in shock. Ed told me to bring him my knife but I knew that it was my deer and my responsibility. I took out my knife and after Ed told me how to I stabbed her through her neck hitting the jugular vein. Her eyes went wide but she didn’t move otherwise. It wasn’t long after that when she breathed her last and then the nerves started.

It was kinda hard for me because before she died she looked so scared and the animal person in me wanted to comfort her. Although, saying “it will be ok, I’m just trying to kill you” seems a little oxymoronic. At the same time I knew that she needed to be put out of her misery as soon as possible.  We dragged her out without gutting her because we were exhausted and the processor would do it for us for a fee.

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I got her hide tanned, it hangs off the back of my reading chair and is a reminder of the adventures of my first deer.