I’ve killed deer over the years, mostly with a rifle, but with a bow too. I still hunt with a rifle, though the need to kill a deer isn’t there anymore. I like venison and won’t turn it down if offered and I appreciate it being offered. I can spend hours sitting in a makeshift blind – ground blind mostly – that was put together with branches, cedar boughs and debris scattered on the ground. The more natural it looks, the better.
My gun of choice is Winchester Model 70 in 30-06 with a Nikon scope, but in tight, brushy areas, I like my Winchester Model 94, 30-30. I also have a Winchester Model 94 pre – 63 in a 32 caliber. All of these guns have taken deer.
I haven’t hunted deer with a bow in years and I’m not sure where my Bear, Grizzly II compound is. I’m sure I still have it somewhere at the cabin but I’d have to look for it to put my hands on it. The arrows are in the shed and the broad heads are with the stored ammo. All are old technology by today’s standard, but then the recurves were old when I bought the Bear.
I’ve taken my share of game, and if for some reason I don’t take another animal, I won’t feel cheated – thought I’ll be in a blind on opening day. Whether I shoot a deer with my rifle or camera is up for grabs.
Over the weekend, Seamus and I were hunting along the Jordan River on the west side. It’s state land and open to all that’s in season. Woodcock use it for a staging area for their mating and to rest on their journey south. There are few rabbits that I’ve seen and grouse can be found, mostly in the low lying portion adjacent to the river. And there are deer.
Seamus was working the high ground, checking in and beneath every cedar clump, berry bush and in deep ferns, and was having a ball. His bell, the new set of bells I sent away for were working; they sounded like sleigh bells on a horse collar. Their sound was actually pleasant sounding and let me keep track of where he was when the cover was too dense to see him.
We had walked almost a mile along the ridge from where I parked the Jeep when I whistled Seamus to turn and put him on a new direction that would take us back to the Jeep. There was a small clump of six or eight cedars that formed a patch and looked like good cover. Seamus went in, and as I approached to follow, a buck – at least a six point, maybe an eight – jumped up from beneath one of the trees. He left the ground with all four feet and came down with his hind legs pushing him forward into deeper cover. He had an arrow stuck in his neck.
There was no sign of blood and the position of the arrow was too high to have penetrated a major organ and it obviously hadn’t severed his windpipe. The arrow looked as though it may have only penetrated a few inches, but it was too high up on his neck for him to grab at it and pull it out. If he could have managed to pull it out, he probably would have done more damage due to the design of the new broad heads.
I don’t think he was shot in the area we were hunting in, he probably came from across the road. I looked and waited to see of anyone was trailing him, but not seeing any blood, it would be difficult if not impossible to find him, and no one came. He disappeared and it became quiet again.
I don’t poach and I try to follow the edicts the DNR puts down for me to follow, but, if I had a slug available, I would have been tempted to follow and try to put the buck out of his misery.
We returned to the Jeep and drove around the area looking for a parked car that might have led to the hunter that shot the buck. We found no car nor orange strips of tape that marks the way to a blind.
There are a million reasons as to why the buck was shot in a non-vital part of his body. If the reason is the archer is a poor shot, more’s the pity.