Ever since I started bowhunting 5 years ago, I’ve killed at least one deer every October. No exceptions. Its just the way it is. This October I also killed a deer, though it did happen a little differently than it usually does. The deer I shot this year was the first I’ve ever shot with my bow while hunting with someone (my boyfriend) and also my first deer out of a ground blind.
It was October 12th, still fairly early in the season. It was still warm out, and the big bucks weren’t moving until late at night. I was following Mr. Big on trail camera, and just trying to get a doe to fill my freezer.
Feeling alittle frustrated that October was halfway over and I still didn’t have my doe, I was more than happy when my boyfriend texted me and asked if I wanted to go hunt with him in his groundblind.
Before I say anything else, I’ll just say this. I’ve hunted out of the groundblind with my boyfriend countless times, but I think we only ever saw deer three times at most. My boyfriend always teased me that I was bad luck, but in reality he just can’t keep his mind on hunting when I’m in the blind! Not that I’m complaining.
He stopped by to pick me up that afternoon, and I started the process of gathering all my hunting gear from my truck, and putting it into his truck for the evening hunt. I was beginning to contemplate just buying two of everything and keeping half of it in his truck. But then he would probably use most of it and I might never get it back.
We drove up to his uncles farm where we had hunted the previous week and settled in to the ground blind. We had it set up against a haybale in the middle of a field, and we had hunted here several times. The last time we had tried a spot and stalk, which had been unsuccessful, probably partly due to our laughing, but was fun all the same.
We were only been in the blind about ten minutes when a tractor drove past with a load of hay bales, passing about 20 feet from the blind and circling around the trail camera we had set up. This was not a good start.
Needless to say we got comfortable in the ground blind and after a while we started talking about our upcoming trip to Illinois. We were so engrossed in conversation that we didn’t notice when dusk started to fall, and deer started filing into the field.
Then, my boyfriend froze mid-sentence. “I see deer! Get the bow ready”.
I got the bow ready and tried to see around the edge of the blind to where the deer were coming from. My boyfriend had closed all but one window in the ground blind, saying he could see out of the little cracks and it was fine. I laughed when he told me that, but I didn’t think of that fact I wouldn’t be able to see the deer until they were within shooting range. It was a little frustrating. He was going to have to tell me when they got close; this was truly going to be teamwork.
“Ok,” my boyfriend whispered “there are three doe coming, wait for the second one to come in, its bigger.”
No problem with that. My heart started beating double time as the first doe appeared in front of the blind and started eating the scattered corn we had put out. I could hear the other deer coming, but couldn’t see them yet. Dark was falling, and it was becoming a race to see whether or not my doe would come into bow range before it was too dark.
“Maybe I should just shoot that one,” I whispered.
But he wouldn’t let me. Hunting his uncles farm, I had to respect the fact that I wasn’t allowed to shoot just any deer either. His uncle didn’t allow anyone to shoot fawns or button bucks. Only mature does and bucks. And if my boyfriend made the call, I was more than willing to listen.
I could here the other deer coming closer, and I was starting to shake. I pulled my bow up and clipped my release on the string.
My boyfriend launched into a whispered monologue as if I had never killed a deer before. "Waitwaitwaittheotheronesbiggerwaituntilshecomesin,waituntil sheturnssideways,
And I did! The arrow zipped neatly through the deer and imbedded itself in the ground. Deer scattered, and I could no longer see them. My boyfriend was practically jumping up and down in the blind, and I wasn’t even 100% sure I had made a good shot.
The next thing I knew he pulled me out of my chair into a hug. “You dropped her right there!” I was shaking so bad I couldn’t even talk. My boyfriend reached out and unzipped the ground blind and I stumbled out, still clutching my bow. I very nearly fell over my deer, laying about 10 yards from the blind. There was a blood trail about 2 feet wide, spraying from where the deer had stood, to where it now lay.
This wasn’t my big trophy buck, but this was still one of THE best hunts I had ever been on. My boyfriend put his arm around me and I could feel his heart beating as fast as mine was. It made it that much more special that he was there to share this hunt with me.
We walked back to his truck and left the deer where it had fallen, its head tucked back against its spine. At the truck I had started filling out my bow tag, when his cousin pulled up in an ATV. After the usual congratulations, and listening to my boyfriend brag about my shot, his cousin broke the news.
“It’s a button buck.”
We froze for nearly a full minute, then my boyfriend laughed. “No its not!”
“It is!” his cousin insisted. “I swear!”
My boyfriend and I looked at each other and simultaneously headed for the truck. “No way that’s a button buck,” my boyfriend said (rather hopefully) as he put the truck in drive.
My boyfriend was right. It wasn’t a button buck. He hadn’t even put the truck in park when I was out the door and lifting the deers head. “It’s a Spike.” Very small spikes, but a spike nonetheless.
My boyfriend came around in front of the headlights. “Seriously?”
“Yeah.” I held the deers head up for him to see. “It BETTER be under three inches! I don’t want to use my buck tag!” I could just see my night going downhill.
Lucky for all of us, the antlers were under three inches, but just barely! Hopefully my spike is the first of several deer for me this year. I still have my buck tag, and hopefully will kill at least one good NJ buck this season with my bow. But, if my luck doesn’t stay with me, I’ll at least have made some good memories.