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Tuesday, January 3, 2012


A Dream Hunt

Through out most of my life as far back as I can remember, I have always been very drawn to hunting. I'm the only hunter in my family and am not sure where the obsession comes from. I started attempting to hunt when I was 15 years old. I was taken on a couple of hunts but was never really taught how to hunt only to be still and be quiet. In 1996, I enlisted in the Army when I was 24 years old in San Antonio, TX. My first duty station was Fort Bragg, NC 1/505 PIR 82nd ABN DIV.

While I was assigned there, a young couple moved in next door to us and come to find out that the gentlemen was in my company. A couple of BBQ's later and getting more acquainted, the subject of hunting came up. He was a big time bow hunter from Southern New York. As we spoke more about it, he was able to help me convince my wife that it was time I really got into hunting and buy a bow. We took a couple of trips to his fathers ranch and I was educated more about hunting by him and his dad. Choosing the right tree, looking for trails, scrapes, rubs, and so on. I was finally headed in the right direction and was even more drawn to hunting than before. After a short assignment on Fort Bragg, I was assigned to Fort Hood,TX.

Fort Hood was a hunting and fishing paradise as far as I could tell. Deer and turkeys every where you looked it seemed. After about a year in on Fort Hood, we were assigned a new 1SG to our detachment. Fortunately for me, he was a big outdoorsman. Really into hunting and stuff. He took me out to a couple of spots and gave a few pointers on what to look for and what would be the best route of travel to and from certain key stand locations and finding some key deer hot spots. That November, it all finally came about. I had hunted this one location a few times and would almost always see deer moving about. I had missed three does already that season. Two from other sites and one from this particular stand. When I asked what could possibly be the problem, we looked the bow over, checked my pin settings and my rest. Apparently, the Nok loop I had bought that season had started slipping upwards and therefor causing my shots to be completely off resulting in arrows with hair in the fletch instead of blood on the arrow. Easy enough to fix with some nok clamps.

That friday, at the last minute, I was able to draw a rifle area and with a borrowed 30/30 took my first doe. It was something else to finally harvest my first deer. Earlier that day, I was able to draw an archery area for saturday. After taking that doe, I told my wife the next day I wasn't really sure I wanted to go being I had already taken a deer and living in an apartment with a small freezer over the fridge, I knew we wouldn't have room for more meat. I was also a bit skeptical because of the misses with my bow previously. Ironically, that saturday on Realtree Outdoors, Mr. Jordan's tip of the week was proper posture when hunting from a tree stand. After seeing that, my wife said, Well there you go. There's the second part of your problem, you don't have the right posture. There's only a couple of hours left in the day, why don't you just go out there, you've already got an area drawn and just see what happens. So I did.

After I got to the stand and had a seat, about five minutes later, I saw two does coming about 100 yards out. Low and behold right behind them was a big buck. I started shaking and I didn't know what to do. They were heading away from my stand. I pulled out a grunt tube I had recently bought and blew on it a couple of times to no avail. Really getting freaked out at this point, I remembered I had this small call in my pocket that was given to me when I first took interest in hunting at 15. I adjusted the band on the reeds to a bleat and began to rip with my hand cupped around my mouth to project the call. That got his attention. He immediately began to trot towards me. I called about three times before I put it away, stood up, put my release on the loop and waited for him to close the distance. It seemed like an eternity before he finally got to within 30 yards from me.

I saw his rack once at a distance and knew he was a big one, but didn't look at him to avoid becoming even more nervous and blowing my chance at my first buck, first deer with a bow, and possibly my first trophy deer. He came up head on and then immediately dropped his head to sniff around. He slowly turned broadside and I drew back, put a pin on him, and let one go. He jumped the string and I saw the arrow hit right in front on his hind quarter. As he ran off, I could see blood coming out of both sides but only the broad head was sticking out of his right side. He blew three times and then nothing. The sun was slowly starting to go down and I was sure I wouldn't be able to find him if he had run off, or that if I didn't find him, being a highly pressured area, what were the odds that someone else would find him first the next day? Over the course of 20 minutes or waiting, the sun had set and I finally climbed down, pulled out the flashlight, and began to follow the blood trail.

Of course, being that I didn't check my equipment that day the batteries lasted long enough for me to get about 50 yards from where I hit him at before I was in the dark. I immediately back tracked and headed to the jeep to head home. I was so spazmatic, I didn't know what to do. My wife said, What happened? I told her about the buck and she was completely surprised and excited for me. She did her best to help me keep the shaking to a minimum and I called the 1SG and told him what happened. He said calm down it will be there in the morning and that we would meet at that spot at first light. We arrived at that area after calling in to the game warden to let him know we were looking for a down deer at first light.

The weather was easily in the 50's so we knew if the deer was down, it would still be good. We went to the tree and were able to pick up on the blood trail. As we walked along, the blood was heavier and easy to find, and then nothing. I was really stressed at this point and he said, I'm going to walk ahead, you look around and see if you can find anything at all. About a minute later, I heard Holy crap! He's over here. Sure enough, there he was laid down about 100 yards from where I had shot him. A symmetrical main frame 6 with 7 1/2 brow tines, and a small kicker. I had apparently hit him in an artery and some of the intestines, causing him to expire. I had taken my first buck; not sure what he scores but definitely a trophy for me making that my first true dream hunt. Thank GOD for Texas and the people he puts in our path to help us along the way.

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