I know this is an old post, but I really enjoyed reading it. I applied for Javelina, but did not draw and did not jump on any OTC tags. I am new to hunting so reading these stories really helps with the little tips I pick from them. Hope you stuck with the bow and drew an elk tag, I will be doing my first elk hunt ever this year (2021) with a bow.Howdy y'all!
Been a member of this forum for a little while now but only just now getting around to sharing my best hunting experience so far. I figured it was a good first post. I've been hunting for 3 years now, mostly dove, and i've been branching out more and more as I continue to experience the wilderness. I'm not new to the outdoors, I hike quite a bit not just for fun but for work as well. Starting to hunt though has provided me a whole different perspective and made me realize that being outdoors isn't enough to really experience the outdoors. I had to force myself to sit, wait, and have patience to discover that I had been missing out on a lot. Apologies if this story runs a bit long.
Contrary to most people here, I have to drag my husband along to come hunting with me. It's not that he doesn't like it, its just a little more complicated . Anyway, I convince him to get up early with me so that we can look for deer. I wasn't going to be picky, any deer would do for me. I has been reading, watching videos, and really got hooked when I stumbled across Randy's videos. About 98% of people where I live use deer feeders and deer blinds, which i've always struggled with. To me that seems like a wasted opportunity to go out and explore the outdoors, among other opinions I have. The other problem is that where I live we have no trees, and very little cover in general. Just squatty brush, lots of thorns and spikey plants, and TONS of loose, limestone rock. But when I started watching Randy's videos, I realized that I could, in fact, spot and stalk. I just had to be smart about it.
So for the first 4 hours or so, we check out a few spots I had been scouting that season. No luck. We move to an area I hadn't explored quite yet but our other hunting buddy recommended because he sees deer there consistently every season. We park about half a mile away and begin walking out towards the end of a ridge. The wind wasn't great, blowing down onto a flat below us where I wanted to glass so I hoped all my scent killing would buy me some time. We sat in the same spot for probably about 45 minutes, not seeing anything at all. I was about to give up when I saw an unusually shaped branch. I stared at it really hard for some time, arguing with myself the entire time about whether it was a deer or not. When I finally decided that it was, It took me another 5 minutes to quietly tell my husband where to look to help me confirm what I had found. He was bedded down underneath some bushes and hadn't moved the entire time we were there, at this point about an hour. My husband was taking photos and used his telephoto lens to locate the deer. Finally, the buck turned his head. From where we sat, there was probably 300 yards between us. I was not comfortable shooting at that distance, especially since he was bedded down so the hunt was on.
It's about noon when we come up with a plan for me to go back the way we came, use a drainage to hide my descent, and come around on the flat to try and get close to the deer. It was overcast, about 68 degrees, a light wind, but it was blowing unfavorably but my adrenaline was pumping. When I finally get back to around the area where we were glassing, I look up and see my husband standing, waving his arms, and signaling that I just come back up. Turns out, as soon as I left, the buck stood up and walked away, likely going into the drainage behind us. We hike over the ridge and to the other side and waited for the buck to reappear. He never did. My husband hikes back to where we first spotted him, hikes back to me and tells me the buck was back on the flat and was just milling around! We get back to the flat but I can't seem to locate the buck. My husband can see him so I leave him my binos and start to try and close the gap between us.
it's about 1:45pm now. The wind has shifted and this time, it was blowing up in our faces. I couldn't believe our luck! I dropped my pack, took my stick and rifle, and started to move quickly and as quietly as I could (limestone sure is noisy). I still couldn't see the deer so I would turn around and look for a signal, most of which were ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ because my husband has also lost the deer. I closed the gap to about 75 yards, WAY closer than I thought I could get, turned around, and saw my husband pointing. He found him! The buck was still milling around, without a care in the world. I found a nice limestone bench to situate myself on, got steady, took several deep breaths, and fired at this deer who had stood perfectly broadside for me.
I missed. He ran about 10 yards before he stopped, turned his head towards me, and stared. I stared back stunned, not only because I had missed, but because he didn't run away. I snapped back to reality, cycled another round, and took another shot at this still perfectly broadside buck. He went down where he stood. We butchered and ground the meat ourselves and it made some incredible sausage as well. I wish I could've afforded to had a mount made but I am still very happy with doing a simple Euro mount.
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I will never forget that experience. The thrill of the hunt has started an addiction, and I can't wait for the start of hunting season this year. As if spot and stalking in my area wasn't challenging enough, I'm going to try and start bow hunting with a traditional bow. For now, i'll probably stick to hunting javelina with a bow since they're pretty easy to find around here. I will also probably wait until the following hunting season to bow hunt so that I can just focus on getting my form down and taking time and care to build my archery hunting kit.
Maybe one day I can try my luck at Elk. Thanks for reading!