By Kyle Donovan
It was the afternoon of November 15th, 2011, a day I’ll never forget. I decided to try a new stand location, as my other stands were not producing as well as they have in the previous years. I settled into the stand around 1:30 p.m., feeling discouraged as I had not seen many deer in the previous weeks. Despite this feeling, I was dedicated and motivated to put everything I had into archery hunting this year.
It was about 3:15 p.m. when I heard some shuffling of leaves behind me in the thicket. After the sound stopped and I could not see any deer, I sat back down in my stand. About one minute later, the biggest deer I have ever laid my own two eyes on in the woods was charging through the thicket. I stood up quickly and he caught me. Game over was the thought in my mind, but fortunately he only ran about ten more yards. I took the fifteen yard shot and watched the arrow hit the mark right behind the shoulder. The whole sequence only lasted about ten seconds.
I watched the buck run about 70 yards from where I shot him and stop. I could see the massive rack in the high grass in the field where he stopped and all the sudden the rack was gone. I thought he was done and couldn’t have been more excited. A few minutes later, I look over to where I thought he went down and noticed that his head was up again. My heart dropped faster than you could imagine. Only a few minutes later the deer had put his head down again. Deciding to play it better safe than sorry, I backed out as quietly as possible and waited 3 hours to go back.
I shared my excitement with 6 of my friends, who fortunately were all eager to help. At 6:30 p.m., we arrived back at the spot I had shot the deer. The blood trail couldn’t have been better from where I shot him to about 40 yards away, then suddenly the blood stopped and once again my heart dropped. After failing to find blood for an hour, we decided to walk the field and cover as much ground as possible. After another hour of no sign, that feeling no hunter wants to feel set in. That feeling that I wasn’t going to find the biggest deer I had ever shot quickly affected my mindset. As I continued to search, one of my friends screamed that he had found it. I sprinted to his location eager to put my hands on this deer. When I finally arrived at the deer, he was even bigger than I had originally thought and I could not control my emotions. It was easily one of the happiest moments of my life.
Fortunately, my brother was not upset with me, as I had shot this deer in his stand while he was sitting in his office at work. I owe a special thanks to all my friends who helped me find my deer and I was glad to share my success with all of them. This deer was shot in Niagara County, unofficially scored 151, weighed 195 lbs field dressed, and was shot with my Mathews Z7 xtreme.