I’m just back home from the Week-long 2nd Annual Concept Archery (www.conceptarchery.com) Hunt and have lots of stories. It was a fantastic week of fun, family, and friends. Oh and plenty of hunting too. I’ll just start with the story where arrows were flying!
Thursday afternoon in camp, I noticed a beautifully crested C.A.S. (Cliff Touroo) http://www.cascustomarrows.com/ custom Gold Tip XT Hunter arrow just laying around camp. Just a single one. I knew it was Jons because I always admired that set of arrows he had. So I said “Here you go Jon, this was laying around”. He informed me that particular arrow had been misfired in his basement, cracked on a concrete wall and cut down an inch or so. He just brought it along to have in the “extra arrows” stash. I measured it against my arrows and it was exactly the same length. It was also the same make, model, and spine of my arrows. Jon said “Merry Christmas”. So I screwed in a broadhead and placed it in my quiver for that evenings hunt. I climbed the tree that afternoon in a new spot that I had scouted via Google Earth and other various satellite methods. Many times, these spots don’t turn out as good as they look from outer space. Hmm, go figure. But this one looked just as I imagined. It was a spot between a food plot and two draws that came to a point. I was situated right in between just 15 yards off an obvious game trail. I was starting to get desperate as I had seen next to no game so far that week. But I was encouraged by this spot. I checked the wind, picked my tree, and climbed on up. Not 5 minutes after settling down, I noticed this 6 pointer moseying along the edge of the food plot just browsing the daylight away. I was watching him for a while and was about to text Yooper to ask him if I should shoot it or not if the opportunity presented itself. Before I got the chance, the buck turned and walked right into the woods on the game trail. I love it when a plan comes together! But just as he entered the woods, he made a beeline for,…ME! I was situated on a down slope with the plot being the high side. As he turned towards me, he was only a couple of feet below me, eye level to eye level. I was prepared for that however. I was already standing, bow up and ready, with my release clipped on. I was dead still as he strolled casually to my tree, sniffed my pull-up rope and stopped. I looked cautiously over the guard rail of the Summit climber. I thought I was busted. I must have left some sort of stink on that rope. He didn’t seem to care even if I did leave a stink. He turned and headed back towards the game trail. Here was my chance. Fueled by adrenaline, I curled back the 70# Concept Believer limbs swiftly and silently. As he reached about 10 yards away, I let out a stopping grunt which sounded more like a sheep bleating. Oh well, it did the job. The buck turned to his left enough to give me a nice quartering away exposure and the arrow was away. I watched him blaze off and crash through the woods straight away from me. My phone was low on juice so I made a quick call to my wife and then texted the guys to inform them the buck was arrowed. I was careful not to say the buck was down because I hadn’t recovered it yet. After I calmed down a bit. I climbed down to look for my beautiful new blue crested arrow,…hopefully coated with a nice shade of bright red. No such luck. I saw some blood, but no arrow. How could that not have passed through? Oh well, the fun begins. The problem was here’s where I made a mistake. I lost track of time between when I shot and the start of my tracking effort. But I was on the trail nonetheless. And what’s done is done. The blood trail was just OK for the first 30 yards. All of a sudden the trail picked up,…like crazy! I went from crouching and searching for blood specks, to walking comfortably upright on a massive blood trail. I was about 50 yards from the shot when my fears were confirmed. About 15 yards to my left, a deer burst out of the brush and sped away. I new I rushed it. I turned a quick track job into a long, drawn out chore that it didn’t need to be. I pulled out my GPS, marked my spot, and left the woods. I hiked back to the truck disgusted with myself. I sat near where Kurt was going to meet up with me at dark and waited for almost two hours. When darkness fell, I met with Kurt and told him the story. He didn’t get word that I shot, because cell signal at his blind location was poor. After discussing my options, we decided to go looking for my deer. After all, it now had about 2 and half hours. After getting back to my blood trail, Kurt carefully examined the blood for bubbles and his findings were inconclusive. When we reached the spot where the blood picked up, the bubbles appeared. He was confident that with bubbles and a trail as strong as this was, we would find the deer shortly. And guess what? The deer I spooked was not my deer. And not 20 yards further from that spot I marked, was my buck. Dead as a doornail. Kurt guessed he was dead for a couple hours. Go figures, I guess you don’t have to worry about it when you shoot through the boiler room. A quick gut and drag and we were back in the truck heading for camp.
It was a satisfying end to a hunt, but there was something missing. Call me sentimental, but I wanted that arrow back. I couldn’t figure out where it went. So the next afternoon I went back to the spot and carefully looked near the impact area. After a few minutes of head scratching, I saw my broadhead buried in the root flare of a tree. It was buried so deep I couldn’t get it loose. So the arrow DID pass through. But the arrow was still missing. It started to click in my head what happened. Remember the scarce blood trail that suddenly got massive? Well I figured that the arrow separated from the insert and traveled with the buck, slowly working its way out. All the while ‘plugging’ the hole allowing only a little blood to flow. When the arrow finally fell free, the blood flowed freely. I retraced the blood trail and found the arrow exactly where the blood trail picked up. Now the hunt was complete. Well maybe not. I took the arrow home with me and glued in a new insert and that beautiful arrow is ready to fly again.