Week Off from Training

This has been a spectacular week so far. Outside of it being the last week home for a pretty long stretch, I have gotten to do some really cool stuff. Tuesday was the opener for the dove hunt and John Neff and I got out before dawn to sit over some water to try and bag a couple. The part I love about hunting is the friendship that you get to develop with other people when you are pursuing a common goal. John owns a medical devices distribution company, and so we get to talk small business strategy and other very interesting stuff.


The dove hunt was alright. We really didn’t see too many birds, but we bagged a couple. Doves are very difficult to shoot — they weave through the air like there are obstacles up there that we can’t see. It is amazing to watch a dove in flight. It is a great feeling to have the skill required to actually harvest a couple.


About 9:00 John and I went pheasant hunting. We had our guy at the farm place us a handful of birds so we could work John’s dog before the start of the season. We got out and a bird flushed about 50 yards out. About the time John was ready to shoot, the bird was way out. He took an amazing 95 yard shot and downed the rooster. I was amazed. I would never have taken that shot because I would more than likely not have made a clean shot.


I took two — a rooster and a hen. One shot was about 20 yards and the other about 25. I had to wait for the birds to elevate above the dog so I didn’t shoot Lady. She worked really well. The heat got to her after an hour, but I was surprised she lasted as long as she did. I shot my Beretta Silver Pigeon V and absolutely loved the feel of the gun.


Fast forward to today, Thursday. When we got out of the truck Tuesday morning for the dove hunt, we jumped a wide and tall 4 point mule deer. He was big. He was the size of the deer in my dreams. So today I went out with my bow to try and find him. I got out to the farm at 0-dark-thirty (really early) and started walking to the spot where we saw him. I got to that spot about 6:00 a.m. Of course he was wasn’t there. Deer are creatures of habit, so I hoped I could find him. This is the archery hunt, so I had my Parker Wildfire that I have been shooting for three seasons. I usually shoot Easton Lightspeed arrows. I love how solid these arrows feel. They always fly straight.


So I started to hike a mountain behind the spot to try and get a good vantage point to see other deer in the fields. It took me about 45 minutes, but I made it to where I wanted to be. I spotted a small herd of what looked like all does with their fawns from this spring. I knew if there were that many does in one spot, I should be able to find at least one buck. The group was about two miles away, so I started the hike so I could find the buck.


I got to within about 750 yards and I pulled out the binoculars. I started to scan the field and low and behold, I found the buck. I could tell it wasn’t the same one from yesterday because his rack wasn’t as tall or as wide. I couldn’t tell how many points he had because he was facing away from me, so I decided to follow a small depression and sneak up to him.


So as I was sneaking, he was coming towards me. I am not sure how he did not make me, or see or scent me. I came up to the point in the depression that provided enough cover to peak my head over the top and he was about 100 yards away from me. A shot that will kill instead of injure a deer needs to be made within about 50-60 yards, so I still had some work to do. I pulled out my binoculars to get a really good look at his rack. I was a little disappointed because he was only a two point. His rack was really tall, but he wasn’t very wide. I knew that next year he will be a great buck. But right now, he just wasn’t what I was looking for. So I decided to practice stalking in the case I actually find my four point this year.


I came up out of the depression and put the sneak on this deer. The group of does had moved off a little and I was sheltered from their view by a small stand of cedar trees. As I was moving towards this buck, he started to move towards me. We got within 25 yards of each other and I froze. At this point the buck knew there was something up, but his curiosity held him in place. We sat there looking at each other for about three minutes and then he just lazily walked away. He pulled around the bend and I sprinted up the mountain as I thought the four point may be up on the other side. But no, it was just the does, their fawns, and this buck.


I started back to the truck and saw two huge antelope. I really wish I had a tag this year. Antelope tags are about has tough to get as a win in the lottery. But, I will keep putting in for preference points and hope I draw out sometime this century.


So, why did I pass on this deer? I have two more days to hunt and wanted to try and get something bigger. If all I find is this two point on Saturday morning, I will take him. So here’s hoping that I can find that big boy and don’t end up empty handed!

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...