The world of bow hunting has seen drastic changes in the recent few years. A while back I remember seeing a meme saying in the old days, hunters would say “Look at my 10 pointer,” another hunter says “Look at my 8 pointer,” as the hunters gave each other high fives and congratulated each other. Now it is let’s see the trail cam pics, did you get any of his sheds, was he standing in his bed and so on, and on. I want to send a message out to anyone who is on the bowhunting curve like me. Shoot whatever makes you happy.
One goal of bowhunting is to take an animal with said weapon. It is not as easy as hunters on T.V. or your favorite web show make it seem. Every animal with a bow is a trophy in my eyes. This day in age where people want to place all the surrounding elements ahead of the simple fact of success in the woods with a bow, it is easy for things to get in your head. I have learned that bowhunting has a curve to it. One thing that can help you on that curve is kills. Success should be one of your goals as your season opens up. Don’t listen to all the hype of bedding, sheds, and pics hold you back from getting some deer down. One thing I didn’t do enough of was kill in my early years of bowhunting. I had killed a couple of small bucks with a shotgun but nothing to even brag about. So why was I passing 120 inch bucks with a bow? Honestly I do not know, and looking back I now regret making the decision to pass in every single one of them encounters.
I was waiting for a giant to show up before I shot a buck with a bow, when I hadn’t even shot a big deer period. What I didn’t know is how truly hard it is to shoot a deer with a bow and have a successful recovery. Shooting does is still no easy task and I’m not sure if any amount of doe kills can compare to a buck cruising in on you. It is just a whole new level. The amount of years I went without shooting buck, when I had no previous bow buck kills just blows my mind. That is the ultimate goal each year and I was passing up opportunities at learning so much more. All of those extra blood trails, shot angles, placement, ranging, misses, clipped limbs, hit trees, no man’s land hits, and sadly unrecovered deer. The amount I could have learned on each shot, track, and recovery is gone. The stories, memories, and feeling of success are things that I missed out on as I look back. Missing all of that for what? To let a small buck walk by to think I was going to see him again in 2 years, when I had no idea how to bow hunt anywhere remotely close to intelligent. (Still don’t) The chances of seeing that buck again were about -7%. There will always be more bucks. There will always be bigger bucks. There won’t always be a lifetime to learn. The years click by one after another and now suddenly I have 6,7,8 years of no kills, no experience, no success, things I now desperately seek and work so hard each year to do. If I live and am able to hunt until I’m 70, that means I have only 40 more whitetail ruts to enjoy. 40! and that is IF I LIVE that long.
When I had decided to take my first buck with my bow, my landowner had asked for some meat. His happiness being the upmost importance I was set out to almost brown it’s down mode. That year on November 13th, this 2 year old 110 inch buck came walking in off a field edge heading back to the bedding area. I pulled back settled the 30 yard pin a tick high as he was at 32 yards quartering too. I shot and I knew I hit him, he circled around and I seen my arrow in him but a bit far back. I called my brother and we followed the blood in the direction of where the buck went but not on the trail that I had thought. On hands and knees tracking through tall grass to where we came up on him bedded. I had got my first buck with a bow. Not overly excited because it wasn’t a giant that I had been waiting on, but as I look back I should have had 6 bucks smaller than him 3-4 about his size and some bigger than him to help me along on my bowhunting curve. What is done, is done. I can’t go back and change them encounters with all those bucks that I passed, all I can do is spread the message of our time in the woods is limited, and our chances for success no matter what stage of hunting you are in, are even more limited. You have got to strike when you have the chance too. Shoot what makes you happy and have no regrets, killing one deer is not going to wipe out your herd.
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