The past few weeks have seen a major shift in my usual sporting priorities. This season I decided to get serious about hunting, and therein I put the fly rod down and stopped fishing.
Every day I have been dedicating a few hours to shooting well, as it is my worst fear to wound an animal. The backyard range came in handy, and I really focused on 20-50 yards.
Holding with the “aim small miss small” philosophy, I shot as much as I could and honed my skill and instinct.
The scouting was a blast, but also very challenging at times. It took us a while to find the animals, and many of the visuals were just glimpses. There is truly something special about walking in the woods and cutting sign.
After scouting around for quite a while, I found my spot and got my stand set up. I sat for 8 hours, and nothing came in. I was pretty surprised as we had animals coming in as we were getting setup a few days prior. I had an opportunity at a small black bear, but being it that it was opening day and it was small, I passed.
Me and my friends regrouped and talked our evening plan. There was a ridge line hike that I wanted to check out, so I broke off from the group and hit some high country. The ridge was covered in sign as well as fresh beds, but no one was home. There were about 50 big mountain quail around that we will meet again soon.
I finished my hike and popped out at the spot I was going to be picked up at, found a nice spot to sit a waited for the truck. After 2 hours, I found myself a bit bummed as I was hoping to sit for a few hours in the stand before dark, and my guys were nowhere to be seen.
A father and daughter roll through the area, and head on up the road out. Not 20 seconds later, I hear crashing in the brush up ahead, so I stand up and grab my bow, arrow already nocked. The buck comes out of the brush at about 35 yards, turns broadside and stops. I am ready and fully drawn, and I let fly. The arrow passed through the buck and flew another 15 or 20 feet, he runs less than 100 feet and falls over. A clean kill, this animal did not suffer. As I realize I just killed my first buck, and with a bow, a wave of emotion and reverence passes over me.
The father a daughter group walk over to the deer with me, and he offers to help me drag it to the road. I say thanks, but no, I need to do this on my own. Not 10 minutes after I have the deer down and am preparing my blade, here comes the truck with my partners. We field dress the buck, and head home to finish up.
It was about 9:30 by the time we were done, and being that we live in a sportmans paradise, of course the local processor Siskiyou Distributing is open.
Now, it’s time to enjoy the harvest. Nothing like fresh tenderloin after a 24hr soak in some secret sauce.
In our group, first buck down gets a bottle of Pendleton. Man is that good stuff!
Good luck to all the hunters out there!