Bad Misfortune

A few days back I was so ready to get back into the treestand with the bow.  My cameraman and I climbed into the stand a little before 4 p.m.

The deer had been moving well in the area and signs up the rut were still showing. Thirty minutes into the hunt as I was checking the draws in front of me at the base of the timber, a tap on the back from the cameraman let me know we weren’t alone.  I slowly turned to look behind me to find a doe had just crossed into the field, and she wasn’t alone.  A mature, 5-year old buck named the short-tine 10 was standing 100 yards away eyeing the decoy we had placed 20 yards from our stands.  The buck stood on the neighboring property for a few minutes before jumping the fence and making a slow waltz down to our stand.  With every step we took the buck never turned left or right but walked in a dead straight line straight to the stand.

Hanging up at 15 yards and doing the staredown with my decoy, he never offered a shot. After 15 minutes of running footage the buck was convinced he was in trouble and slowly turned out and walked out of the field, quartering away. By the time the buck had cleared the tree covering my shooting lane he was at 44 yards and walking away. I quickly ranged him again with my Nikon rangefinder and called to him with my grunt call. He stopped and glanced back my way, opening up for a shot I was capable of with my Elite.

As I confirmed with the cameraman that we were good, and sent the Rage flying his way, he turned away and took a step forward with his left rear leg. This quickly blocked his vitals and left me shaking my head at a shot that missed his mark. The buck ran off from the same way he came in and jumped the fence headed to the neighboring farm.

After reviewing the footage I realized what I thought had happened was true. The buck ran about 50 yards before kicking out my arrow fully intact. I was able to glass the buck on the neighboring farm as he stood there for nearly 2-3 minutes, I was hoping that maybe I had caught an artery and that he would fall down and expire in sight.  But as quickly as my hopes were that he would fall he walked off over the ridge and out of sight.  We walked to the sight of the shot but were not able to find any blood in the area.

After finding the area and no blood in sight we followed his tracks to where he jumped the fence. On our way we found the arrow and could see it had 10 inches of penetration with white hairs and a blood. I walked to the fence to glass and as quickly as I arrived, two does ran away flagging. They passed a large body deer and with a quick glance from the binos it was the buck we had just encountered. We watched him move off to the south with no looks of injury or unsteady gait. Frustrated we called it a night. That night I called a few Missouri prostaff, my local MDC agent, and watched the hunt repeatedly in slow motion trying to figure the impact of the shot.

The next morning we sat on the stand for about an hour before going to look for the buck.  After obtaining permission from the neighbor, we walked for the next hour with no signs.  We will chalk this up to a bad misfortune and maybe a misjudgement on my part, and hope for some redemption in the future.

— Dave Fast