In late July, after a year of hunting with a crossbow, I decided to get my first compound bow. I practiced every day even after the season had started. On October 21st, I took my first deer, a doe, at 23 yards. The shot placement was great and I found her less than 50 yards away. I was ready to hunt the rut!

Thursday morning, October 6th, brought with it light scattered showers, heavy clouds that often blanketed the brightness of a full moon and a fog that laid across the field. I got up early and headed to a stand I've been waiting to hunt all season. My sister came along with me to help film as I was hunting in one of my double tree stands. The wind was perfect, so we got settled into the stand with a little over an hour until first light.

This particular stand was next to a creek and overlooked a small woods surrounded by harvested crop fields. Early season scouting lead me to believe that a mature buck was bedding along side this creek some 30-40 yards to the right of my stand. I knew it was a gamble setting up so close to what I thought was a buck's bedding area.

Not long after first light, we had a small buck cross in front of us, nose to the ground, at 20 yards. Then, right before 7:30am, movement in front of us caught my eye. It was a rack dancing above the dense wooded edge of the woods. It wasn't long; however, before the buck's fast paced walk brought him 40 yards away where the woods opened up exposing him. I knew right away that he was a buck I wanted to take. I whispered "shooter" to my sister and stood up hoping to get a shot.

The buck walked right to our stand and I noticed he was breathing hard, looking worn out. It was at about 10 yards in front of us that he turned and started walking past the left side of the stand towards the creek. Where, he briefly paused three or four times looking up at us in the stand and as he walked, I drew back my bow. I waited until he had stepped into a shooting lane between the small trees that were scattered around us. Then, the buck paused once again; although, for only a split second this time, but my arrow was already on its way as he moved closer to the creek.

I stood shaking with excitement as I watched the bright blue nock of my arrow hit the buck's midsection and then, quickly darting off out of sight along the creek. Instantly, I felt sick about my poor shot placement. Even though I knew I should have made a noise to stop him, my nerves had silenced any sounds from leaving my mouth.

An hour later, we got out of the stand to look at the amount of blood left once the arrow had hit the buck. It seemed to be a lot of blood, but we didn't go far. I already knew not to push a gut shot deer. So, we went back home and watched our poorly filmed video a million times. Finally, after much advice, I decided not to start tracking until 3:00pm that day.

Well, at 3pm as it started to rain, I set out on blood trial knowing the possibility that I might not ever see my buck again. We followed, to my surprise, a very heavy blood trial in the direction we had seen him run after being shot. Luckily, at less than 100 yards from the stand, along the creek, there he laid dead. It was obvious that he had been dead for a long time. I breathed a sigh of relief.

In my opinion, he had died not long after I had shot him. Not only had my arrow been further back than I had wanted, but it had also been high as well, which apparently hit a major artery causing lots of immediate blood loss. While, I realize I got extremely luckily, those long hours of painfully waiting to track him have taught me a valuable lesson and in the future, I will stop every deer before taking a shot.

This is the third buck I've taken in my years of hunting and nothing else comes close to the excitement of taking one with a bow. All the hard work and long hours in the stand were so worth it and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Thanks for reading!!!

Any guesses on his age or what he might score?

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