Modern gun season has come and gone for 2020. Today is Saturday, December 5th, and I am hunting on my farm with Scott Devine; he is in pursuit of a doe, and I would love to take a buck today with my crossbow. I have passed up nine different 8 point bucks this year in hopes of harvesting a 10 or 12 pointer, which I have trail camera pics of in recent days. Scott has set up in my cabin on the south side of my food plot, where he has about a 40-yard shot to a feeder, and I am hunting on the southeast part of the farm, where I have pictures of a 12 pointer.
It’s 30 degrees and calm this morning. I can see my breath as I exhale, and I can hear a barge pushing up the Cumberland River not more than a mile away. Slowly I am starting to see the ground below me as the sun begins to rise. I can hear an owl hooting in the distance, and I know the songbirds will soon be filling the air with their songs. Then the acrobats of the trees (squirrels) will begin chasing each other through the branches.
Now it’s about 8 am, and the sun is slowly making the frost disappear from my neighbor’s hayfield. It’s a great morning to be in the woods, out in God’s creation. Nearby I heard a volley of shots from duck hunters on the river, but by late morning, neither one of us had an opportunity to make our shot – we had not even seen a deer. I began wondering if deer hibernated for the winter like bears do or traveled south for the winter like ducks and geese do.
Scott had prepared to hunt all day, but I had a couple of things I needed to do, so I checked in with him before I got down and let him know I’d be returning for the evening hunt.
It was early afternoon, and my neighbor’s dogs were taking part in a barking marathon. I texted Scott, and he was watching four does. Since he wasn’t able to harvest one today, he decided to head back home before it got dark.
After we said our goodbyes, I settled in my stand for the evening hunt. I noticed the dog barking marathon was finally over, and the woods were quiet again. Just before dark, I could hear something approaching my location in the leaves. It was a deer. As it got closer, I could see antlers. I had my crossbow aimed in the direction of the buck as he continued directly towards me. He stopped at twenty yards and looked up at me. Since he was slightly quartering away, the time was now or never to take the shot.
My heart was pumping hard, ready to jump out of my chest, when I pulled the trigger on my crossbow. The deer bolted and ran! I quickly got down and looked for my bolt and /or some blood while it was still light, but I could not find either, and now it was dark. I decided to back out and return in the morning.
After a long night, morning finally came, and I started looking for my buck. I found him within five minutes! There was no blood trail because the bolt was only sticking out of him about four inches (which is why I could not find my bolt at the scene of the crime). He is not the biggest or the smallest buck I have ever harvested, but he is my first crossbow buck! Thank you, God, for this experience.