Having hunted all but two days of archery season hunting bears I finally made it to my hunting club in Gordon County arriving just before Noon on Wednesday. After some cabin work I hit the woods to scout and see what was going on. I started searching a favorite hardwoods ridge and didn't go far before I found really good feeding sign. A few white oak acorns were still falling and the ground was torn up under most of the white oaks. I found fresh deer poop and bed sites so was encouraged to say the least. I continued scouting another 200+ yards out this ridge and another one that makes a hard left turn off of it finding more of the same. I had placed three game cams out over this stretch on Sept 8th and pulled the cards to look at before I decided where I would hunt. All three showed a lot of deer activity with a good many coyotes too. I decided anywhere should be good so I hung a lock-on on a tree I had hunted last year in a grove of both white and red oaks. By the time I got settled in and had an arrow nocked I looked at my watch and it was 5;00 PM, straight up. A hickory branch directly in front of me gives good cover but the strong winds were shipping it around and brushing the end of my arrow. With my game tracker string attached I could see it would be problematic so I broke off one of the smaller branches immediately with intentions of doing more but before I could I saw a doe come from the bottom on my right. It was 5:05 and she made her way to the top only 20 yards out. I had stood up for a shot hoping she would feed closer then saw another doe coming up the same way, but this one angled up directly towards me and as I turned to my left for a shot op the wind and branches had my tracker line tangled up. I cleared it just as she was 15 yards away and feeding. She turned as if she would get broadside and I started my draw but once again the line got caught up in the branches. I let down, cleared the line again, but had to wait for her to turn again. She did and I was so focused on where I wanted my arrow to hit I paid no attention to the line or her, just the spot. She was now at 13 yards, THUMP, she did a 180 and the hit looked perfect as she bounded straight away paralleling the ridge. First thing I noticed it wasn't a pass through as the arrow was sticking out a good ways then I noticed there was no string line spooling from the tracker. I tried to listen for her crash but heard none in the wind. NOT GOOD!!! I surmised the tracker line must have tangled in the hickory branch and the line broke as she fled. I knew there would be little if any blood to track so of course I was seriously concerned. As I always do I said a prayer asking for the Good Lord's help finding the deer and if not that it wasn't suffering. I climbed down at 6:30 hoping that perhaps a bloody string end would tell me how much penetration I got if it had broken at the arrow. I followed the line just ten or 12 yards past where I had shot her and saw my arrow laying on the ground. The rock point had broken of where it was hafted to the foreshaft. At the very most it appeared I only had about 3" of penetration. I was sick! I didn't go further than the arrow and returned to the cabin where I inspected the it again in better light and in hopes of seeing something more promising. Unfortunately I was convinced even more so of a non lethal hit.
As I laid down to sleep I prayed again telling God I was sorry for wounding the deer and even though my prayer to recover it wasn't likely to be answered and that I accepted His will. As I was about to say "Amen" I was interrupted with what some might call a random thought, "It's not over." and even I thought the "thought" was odd but I now know better. The next morning I walked in to the same stand and hunted until 1100 seeing one deer at about 40 yards. All the while in the stand I reevaluated all the evidence, or lack thereof, and relived what had happened, convincing myself a search would be fruitless. I wondered if someone would kill her later and discover the stone point. I also started doubting my decision to hunt this past year with primitive tools despite having taken turkeys, pigs, and one small doe. I lost a doe last year because of poor penetration and I just didn't want it to happen a third time. A couple of things forced my hand, so to speak, to search for the doe. One, as a sportsman, I reminded myself it's my obligation and duty to do so and two, if I didn't go look I would be embarrassed if someone asked me how far went looking for her.
I walked to where I had found the arrow and of course found no blood on the ground. I then continued on the parallel line I thought she took kind of pretending to myself I was looking for blood knowing there would be none to be found. I scanned the side of the ridge as I slowly went along and after only about 25 yards saw a small patch of brown color just ahead but down below that I had to check out but not really expecting it to be my doe. IT WAS!!!! Kind of!! HALLELUJAH, thank you Jesus!!!
It was laying just on the opposite side of a big log and even the coyotes had not found it. I took a quick pic of her with my bow then headed back to the cabin to get my four wheeler to gether out. Returning I lifted her up to pull her over the log and saw that she had testicles. WHAT THE HECK!! I grabbed an ear suspecting it to be a buttonhead but found a single spike. She was he. lol
Got him (I can say "him" now) back to the hanging pole and went to work. The necropsy revealed the stone point had sliced the heart which might help explain why I didn't hear any crash and thrash because he was dead when he hit the ground. Isn't God awesom-er??? When finding this deer looked impossible, He made a way. When I doubted myself (not Him) He proved again to be the Encourager He has been so many times before for me.
As Paul Harvey would say; "Now you know the rest of the story." and, now you also know why I had to get home to a real keyboard to tell it.
Thanks for taking the time to read and for the kudos and encouraging words! Several pic's to follow.