By Frank Thomas
This story doesn't start with the buck I got, but rather it was a bass tournament I fish every fall called the Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda tournament on the Erie Canal in Newark. I don't know why I bother fishing it because I'm not a fall bass fisherman, and have no idea relative to patterning big bass in cold water. But the reason I fish is because it removes that last little urge to compete, and gives me a good excuse to want to put my boat away for the winter. The downside is I give up a precious Saturday of bowhunting.
The sportsman Gods (Well God anyway), must have been with us because Jonny and I tallied 14 pounds for five fish including two over four pounds to win the event by two pounds! Not only that, I stated on a predator hunting forum that I wanted to catch a bass over 4 pounds, kill a deer (buck or doe), and bag a coyote all within 24 hours. Well now I was a 1/3rd of the way there. That night I made it to my stand behind the house and passed on a 6 pointer dogging two does, and I had no shot on the does either. I was hoping to complete 2/3rds of my goal, but I wasn't going to do it on a nice young buck. Just wish the does would have stopped. Oh well, it was just as well because I was exhausted from the fishing tournament.
The next morning I geared up to bow hunt, dog tired from the day before. As I was driving I was still uncertain where to go and ended up staying right in my home town of Marion. I decided to hunt where I got a trail-cam pic of a colossal giant. It was my only stand that was "okay" for a stiff south wind.
I didn't see a deer until 8:00 am, and what a great deer it was. He was about 200 yards away and I was overlooking an old growth field with autumn olive and dogwood bushes scattered throughout. After having three years of mishaps, blunders and bad decisions, my heart started pounding the minute I saw him. All the thoughts running through my head was enough to screw this up, and it didn't help seeing him so far away. It took him about 30 minutes to get into bow range, and after an intense stare off with him and then a 6 pointer, I was shot.
Somehow I managed to get my bow drawn, centered it behind his shoulder, and released the arrow. The buck barely flinched after I shot! He only spun around about five yards and stood there in the high goldenrod. I couldn't tell where I hit him, or whether I hit him. In a panic, I knocked another arrow, but this time my bow limbs were shaking so bad, I couldn't center a pin on him (must have been the wind). As much of a mess I was, I managed to release the arrow and dropped him on the spot with a spine shot.
I quickly scrambled down the tree and raced over to where he lay. He was deader that a doornail! Blood was pooled up from where he stood, and I remember thinking "this can't be from a spine shot?" Well I flipped the deer over and my first arrow found its mark right through both lungs.
Two-thirds of my goal was now accomplished, but the coyote hunt had to be cancelled because it was an impossible night to hunt. I was much too tired anyway, but satisfied in what I accomplished.
Thanks for letting me share this story. It makes hunting more fun knowing I can share the experience with nyantler-outdoor.com, rather than the urbanites I work with every day.
Frank's 9-point dressed out at 170 lbs
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