Mathews Inc.

Kansas Live

November 8-14

Day 5

Morning Hunt

The pressure's on! I had a bad day yesterday so we agonized (a little more than usual) about which stand to hunt. As it turned out, we picked wrong again. I hunted the Condo stand which was one of the original, and still one of the best stands they have here at CRO. I saw nothing for the early morning except the single biggest bobcat I'd ever laid eyes on. At 8:30AM I had a doe and fawn show up. Two coyotes raced out of nowhere trying to catch the fawn. They were unsuccessful, the deer took off and stopped 50 yards away, blowing. I hate coyotes. And there was no way I could just sit there and let this act go unpunished. So I turned on my video camera, picked out the nearest dog, aimed and shot.

I missed.

WTF? No way I could have missed that shot! The coyotes ran off so I re-watched my video in slow motion. As I was squeezing my release the coyote had turned to walk away. My arrow missed by an inch. Dammit! Thirty minutes later two packs of coyotes started howling. One 80 yards to my west and the other 500 yards to the east. It was predator central here today.

I put my pin on the spot above and squeezed
But the dog moved just as I squeezed my release and missed.


The remainder of the morning was terribly slow. I saw one shooter buck, but he was a thousand yards away and visible only through my binoculars.

Perhaps the biggest surprise happened at 10:30 AM. A doe walks in towing a little baby fawn. What the hell? I took a pic of it so you can see for yourself. We think this fawn was 3 months old. That would put conception back around April. Even if it was 6 months old conception would be February. I've never seen anything like it. More amazing is this little guy is still alive with all the predators around. If he was the deer those dogs tried to ambush he would have been torn to pieces.

When this doe and fawn walked in I couldn't believe it. What the hell? It's mid November and that fawn looks 3 months old. That would put it's conception in April.


Afternoon Hunt

I really wanted to get back to the Woolfolk Creek stand after I saw that heavy, dark ten. I felt that was my best option and I always find a buck I like here at CRO and tend to focus on it, rather than bounce around and take my chances. The issue was the wind was marginal. It was a NE switching to an E at dark. North wind is bad for this spot and Kent felt like it was a gamble. I did too but we both agreed that there was enough easterly to give it a shot. It was the right call.

The buck I've been waiting for walked out of the trees. I was calm and ready.

Only a handful of deer were seen the entire afternoon and then 20 minutes before legal shooting light was gone, the dark-horned ten emerged from the trees and was walking straight to the bait 18 yards away. My heart beat a little harder but I was in control. As he came in range I went into kill mode and waited for the right angle before I drew my bow. It was still, and I was in plain view of him. It was so quiet that when I drew my bow he would hear it, so I had to be ultra-careful to draw only when the shot presented itself. Unfortunately, the deer came into the bait and faced me the entire time. I've watched so many big bucks here that I knew they eventually give you a good broadside, or quartering away angle. There was a doe feeding next to him and she increased the likelihood of that happening.

The buck fed facing me the entire time. I was disciplined, and waited for the right angle. Then he walked away quickly - and my discipline went out the window.

With the bow in my hand and the release clipped onto my loop I was ready. I just needed him to change his angle. I won't take a frontal shot on a deer and quartering-to is out of the question as well. The deer motioned to change position. I was calm and ready. He was a great buck, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on him. He turned and walked away quickly. The standing still angle never materialized. Now that he was walking away - I sort of panicked. He was four steps from vanishing into the thickets and the fact that it had been a slow week with one day left factored into my decision. He was now at 30 yards. I drew my bow. As I had assumed, the sound of me drawing brought him to a stop. He snapped his head in my direction. The situation was sub-optimal but in a rookie move, I took it anyway.

I have learned many lessons after 35 years, and hundreds of deer - including some real monsters - and that is never take a rushed shot. It always ends bad. Well, I need to study that lesson a little more because I took the shot and my first reaction was it was a clean miss. The arrow seemed to sail over the buck. That's what I saw anyway. He had walked out of the video frame so I couldn't replay it to see exactly what happened. He simply vanished. No crashing, no splashing in the river right in front of him, and no sight of him. It was strange.

I texted Kent and told him I had shot. It read: "I have no idea if it's a kill, wound or clean miss." The arrow would help answer that question and we checked it out once Kent arrived. There was no blood on the arrow, but there was dark hair with a light tan tip. There were two options I hoped for, an arrow that was a bloody mess, and a perfectly clean arrow. I had the worst possible option. We walked the trails for 50 yards to see if a blood trail emerged. Nothing. So we decided to back out and look during daylight. Honestly? I put the chances of finding a dead deer 1000 to 1. I think I bounced the arrow harmlessly off the deer's back, taking a chunk of hair and skin off. But there's also a chance the arrow actually got inside of him. It's slim, but we have to look. So I'm typing this on the morning of day 6 as we're eating breakfast and waiting for more daylight. I'll post the results on day 6. Good, bad, or ugly.

Don't get your hope's up.


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