My First Deer Part 2 (getting ready for opener)


Active member
Dec 10, 2019
Ruch, Oregon
I found a bow in my garage. It was grandpas old Indian Archery recurve from the 70’s. It was missing a string, and clearly the arrows were way too short for me. I had the money to invest into new hunting gear, but I liked the idea of trying to get my animal with a recurve. This is when the folks at Dewclaw Archery come in, they were very helpful and patient with my several questions about bows, and deer hunting in general. They got me set up with a new string, and some arrows after inspecting the bow for safety; they also gave me some quick shooting pointers.

I practiced every single day, and while my groups did shrink, I never stopped having those fliers that would wound an animal. I wasn’t bad enough to outright miss if I screwed up, and that made me even more nervous. I had to make the call on investment. Out of respect for the animal I went back to Dewclaw, and I asked to try out a compound to see what the difference would be. I was handed the only Hoyt Powermax left in the shop, camo with pink highlights (the special Vicxen edition). Without sights, I almost stacked 3 arrows and my typical recurve range.

“I’ll take it” I said.

“OK, if you choose a color, I can get one ordered to get here next week.”

“No, I’ll take this one. It shoots well and it’s in my hands now”

That’s how I ended up with the Pink Fury bow. The compound doubled my effective range. With daily practice, I was feeling comfortable with a 30-yard range cap. I have always been conservative about ranges when shooting at anything living, I’d rather get close. I’m still going to get something with a recurve but trying to hunt with it on such a truncated practice timetable seemed foolhardy at best.

The woodlot where I practiced also was the area I intended to hunt. The deer were using it as a feeding area and later in the season were using it regularly as bedding cover. I was looking at a group of bachelors, several of which were shooter quality. As they shifted their habits their bedding area often encroached or simply cut off my access to my practice range. I mused that this was an act of knowing sabotage by the deer. They hardly needed to make the effort; I can sabotage myself quite well.

I waited way to long to order my saddle. I knew the entry point for the deer would serve as a funnel for the animals, but I also knew that when the deer came in the wind was reliably on their noses. I had no doubt that if I set up a ground blind in their typical line of travel that I would get busted well before they got in range. If I could just get a bit higher, I felt that my scent would carry over them. As opening day approached and the shipping notices for Tethrd updated, I knew I was not going to get my saddle until a few weeks into the season. I needed a backup plan…and fast.
I scored some camo netting and set up a blind right on the fence line 40 yards or so from the pinch point I knew the animals would go through. Due to the way the fencing worked, if the animals headed to the north I would not be offered a real shot. But if they headed to the east, they would be in my lap before I could shoot. My hope was that they would feed along the creek bed, giving me an ideal 20-yard broadside with the wind in my face. I practiced what that would be like, from the blind, at an angle, while rising from a kneeling position. 4 days before season, I was so focused on all these details that when I triggered my release I heard and felt a very odd sound, and I could not find my arrow in the target. Other than not loading an arrow, the shot felt great. The folks at Dewclaw put my bow back together after I spent a sleepless night wondering if I had trashed my gear right before the season opener. I was told that everyone does it at some point, and at least I got it out of the way early on.

Ready or not, the opener was upon me. What happened next was the start of a long season...