Saturday finally arrived with some good weather after two solid days of rain Thursday and Friday. Got out Saturday morning and decided to hunt what the Norhtwest wind was willing to give. Got in stand about 15 minutes before daylight. There is a Boy Scout camp about 3/4 mile away on the Wabash river. The forest was still and quiet with no sign of activity. Then right at sunrise Revelle breaks the silence and I chuckled to myself. I have not heard that since I was in the Navy 25 years ago. Not five minutes after Revelle ended I see that unmistakable flicker of white in the thickets about 75 yards up the trail. I watched one, two then three does meander around slowley making their way up the trail to me. They eventually go to within 40 to 45 yards and the big lead doe stops. The wind was starting to stir with the rising sun and it was being fickle. She didn't stamp and blow, but she obviously caught wind of something that was not right cause she did a 180 and headed right back into the thicket. You know those old does are almost as wiley as the old bucks. They just seam to have that sixth sense about them. I bailed about 9:30 and called it until evening.
I was hoping the wind was going to change direction so I could hunt a pinchpoint between two woodlots, but the wind stayed out of the NW. I decided to change spots to a different woodlot altogether to not sit any one area too much. Rut is still a good three weeks away. Unfortunatly my cousin beat me to the spot so I sat in the very east end of a long stretch of woods where a uncut corn field and cut bean forms a border leading into the NE corner. I stalked in with the wind to my face, nice and slow. Didn't bump any deer so I got up in a tripod stand. Got in stand about 2 hours before sunset. Sat watching squirrels til 6:45 pm. Saw first deer come in that NE corner. It was a small buck 4 maybe 6 pointer. I already took a buck during urban so I am saving my second for a 3.5 year old buck or better for early bow during rut so I decide to let this guy walk. Tried to get pics, but being in the far east end the woods it was already too dark for my cheapo camera. That was the only deer I saw and I promised to be at dinner on time so I quit 15 minutes after sunset.
I exit out of the NE corner from behind the corn into the cut beanfield. Low and behold I catch a deer coming up the edge of the corn field and It did not see me. I quickly took a step back into the corn row and wait. I can see through the corn stalks as they advance there are actually three does. They look about the same size as the three does I saw earlier. Made sense cause my uncle had started picking the corn field adjacent to the earlier woodlot that afteroon. They probably were bumped by the activity.The lead doe was pretty good size and with fading light I waited until she was what I thought was about 35 yards away. Then to get her to kick out from the edge of the field and into the beans I jiggled the corn stock next to me and gave blow on my grunt tube. I did this because I was standing in the rows and I could not get a good shot angle unless they straight out from and I was loosing light and legal shooting time fast. It was the best plan I came up with on the fly. This turned out to be a big mistake cause it worked... The doe perks up and makes a quarter circle and that puts her right at the perfect angle at about 35 yards just like I wanted. While she was moving to get a bead on me I managed to draw and put my sight pin between the 30 and 40 yrd pins and as soon as she stopped I let loose. I see her do the duck and run and run and run, blow, and run some more. Well I had to have hit, but I start thinking I must of gut shot her. I step out of the corn row just in time to see the does jumping the ditch next to the road and then hook into the corn field and disappear.
Oh man, here comes that all too familiar sick feeling when you know something has gone really wrong with your shot, and now I am really going to be late for dinner with my family and with nothing to show... I stepped into the bean field and try and find my arrow. Stepping it off I also now discover she was 10 yards closer. But now I don't really know now if she "ducked" the arrow or "hunched/dropped" from the shot. I suspect I am high. I cannot find my arrow and now my light is all but gone. I decide to head home for dinner, I'm already late. So now I have, no deer, no arrow, and no excuse.
I eat and then explained what happened and played some cards with my Dad and re-asses the situation. I figured I'd best give the deer a couple of hours to bed and expire I know approximatley where the deer went into the corn field and I know the ditch runs the legth of it so she will be near water. I don't expect her to go far as long as I don't get after her too soon and that is if I hit her. I gathered up my flashlights and set back out. Started with search for arrow and looked for over an hour, but I can't find it. So I set off in the corn field in the middle of the night searching row by row and checking along the ditch bank on both sides on foot and in my truck. I bump one small doe out of the corn field. It is well after midnight now and I decided to call it off and return at first light. I got up next morning and my two youngest sons got up with me. We arrived at first light and went through the setup and shot and started zigzagging outwards in a cone from the shot area. My youngest son found the arrow a good 50 yards from the where the deer stood! Inspection of the arrow showed nothing. No blood, no green bile or food particles. Clean miss. Phew! We also back tracked the trajectory and found where the arrow had hit about 20 yards behind the deer, skipped and went airborn again.