So as a hint of spring teased us into perhaps leaving the third layer of clothing behind and trying our luck , I was cautious not wanting to be caught out with any random cold front that might turn up and when you have the luxury of an ATV to carry all the gear you need it was a no brainer to have my Element jacket on but not zipped up. Graeme and I spotted the cull buck with does and several other bucks, he was clearly a cull with only having a spike on one side and an antler albeit small on the other. At 320 yards with the rifle we let him walk but I scribed it down in the grey matter upstairs as to a job to do and soon,before we wouldn’t see him again and or both antlers dropped off..
What I love about hunting is forming a strategy,making a plan and going for it, the bigger the plan the better the apathy when it all comes together, when things turn to custard we take it on the chin and accept defeat, the great Winston Churchill wrote, ” Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without any loss of enthusiasm”. This saying has a lot of application when it comes to my bow hunting endeavours especially when targeting one animal in particular, its free ranging and its spot and stalk..
My plan was this,watch where this buck was coming out of the timber get there set an ambush and hope for the best..
Late winter often teases us Spring promise.
So with some shooting practise under my belt and full confidence in my new bow I left the stationary Honda several clicks from Buck gully it was all down hill a bit of an old mans hunt but I will still need ninja wits to get this one buck,that I was already in acceptance of. Reaching the tree edge I loaded an arrow ranged a few marks and sat and waited…I suddenly had peace,my mind totally free of the cruel world,the task at hand sole focus. A thing I do now is visualise the hunt before it happens, the deer will come through between those two trees I will wait for him to pass the hanging branch before drawing my bow, the distance is 20 yards that is where I will take my shot, my aim will be inside line of the leg 1/3 of the way up and I will stop him with a quiet grunt before releasing…I have been coached into visualising the hunt and it works well especially with arrow placement , I totally imagine where I want the arrow to land fix the spot and focus and concentrate on that spot nothing else, the mental game of bowhunting is heavily reliant on you ability to concentrate where adrenaline surges play havoc, that— have learnt the hard way..
So a rabbit hopped through the trees and a cock pheasant pecked at this and that , a slight breeze pushed the right direction the sun still quite high I didn’t expect to see a deer for at least another half hour–that I did have wrong. A doe appeared real close just 15 yards, I crouched not even wanting to breathe, this rattled me a bit my visual hunt was wrong I now had to prepare for a real close shot would he see me draw? would these does graze too close and alert the others? have I even shot this bow at 15 yards? shit BJ get it together. I hoped the does would mooch away thankfully they grazed into the slight breeze away from my spot, it was then I noticed movement another deer slowly came forward its legs could only been seen then as it came forward I saw antler .. BUCK.. but not the cull, his mate, at least I now knew this could all work and he would be here soon, these deer stick together and are creatures of habit. The nice young buck came forward oblivious to me crouched like a coiled spring so close I could hear him biting the grass as he grazed past my heart hammering away like a jackhammer, more movement … another animal is this him?, finally emerging with a spike behind him the cull buck now committed to leaving the timber , I ran over my task in my head and stated to fix my spot concentrating on the spot right behind his shoulder I would wait for him to turn into the wind when I had him quartering way I would stop him, this took a while and it was torture, he grazed back turning toward me twice and the spike cut across between us covering his vitals all this going on while I battled with buck fever and at least once in that battle of wits let the thought of failure in. My chance came what was seconds later, (which seemed like minutes) he turned away and I drew my bow. The mistake I made was easy the spike saw the movement of me drawing, even in the worlds best camo clothing, movement inside 50 yards from a deer is dangerous, I was busted,the spike looking at me fixated on what was perhaps in his mind a small bush that just moved randomly, he wasn’t happy this distraction broke my concentration and started a whirlwind of semi panic. I held and ignored the potential disaster now eliminating the alert spiker that stood gawking at me one yard from my target animal , I took two breaths, deep ones in though my mouth out through my nose relaxed and then before I knew what happened the arrow was gone smashing into the very spot which had become my fixation. He ran straight back to the timber but stopped short and tipped over the spiker and others barking,bouncing and buggering off in quick succession ..My job had been done the plan for the first time in a while had worked out I had won , a good victory one cherished as there had been a few failures in recent missions the first arrow fired at a deer in some months had done the deed, so with shaking hands and enough spare adrenaline for a small army I wandered up to the dead animal still buzzing that a bow and arrow can do this. A great victory and once again Sport defined so often we loose the game against deer this was my turn to win, its little wonder I was happy..
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