outdoors: The buck stops here - experiment with crossbow ends in success
I’ve had an interest in hunting with a crossbow over the last few years but hadn’t spent the money. A part of my hesitation comes from being a traditional hunter with the longbow, although I’ve hunted primarily with the compound the last few years due to a bad shoulder.
The cost involved in buying a good crossbow is another factor in my reluctance, since I already have quite a few bows at home to choose from. I also wanted my 11-year-old son Ricky to hunt this fall with me, and a crossbow is legal during the archery season.
I had taken Ricky out the other day, and I can honestly say that the crossbow we used was awesome. I had Ricky hitting the bulls eye at 40 yards and great groups at varying distances. I do plan to take him hunting with the crossbow this week if the wind is right.
I made it out to my tree stand and climbed up, put on my safety harness and haul up the crossbow.
To be quite honest I found the crossbow to be cumbersome in the tree. I was lucky enough to hang it above my head from a dead branch that had broken off. There wasn’t any deer to speak of and I began to worry that I might not see anything this evening.
I couldn’t help but laugh and curse at the squirrels chasing each other in the woods. It sounded like a piÃ±ata-beating contest out there, and it was virtually impossible to hear the sounds of deer walking through the woods. I had to depend on my vision this evening yet not get caught moving around too much.
The sun was about 30 minutes from going down when I saw two does walking in my direction from the down wind side. This isn’t good; it was just a matter of time before they winded me, which is exactly what they did.
Thankfully, they stomped their feet here and there and slowly went back the way they came.
The sun had just set, and I began to doubt my chances of getting a deer for myself. Suddenly, I heard the pitter patter of hooves charging in my direction. It looked like the same does coming right back the way they came. They were running pretty hard, and they came a lot closer than before.
That could only mean one thing; a buck was chasing them! Thank goodness for the rut! I quickly stood up, looked through my binoculars and watched the does come to within 25 yards of me on my left side. I looked back in the direction they came from, and there he stood; this gorgeous nine-point buck running towards the does.
Suddenly, one of the does ran back the way she came, and the buck turned around to chase it.
This was my one and only chance to change fate, so I grabbed my grunt call from my backpack. I aggressively grunted and watched in disbelief as the buck put on the brakes and snap his head in my direction.
It was straight downwind of me, and I was waiting for his nose to do its job, but it didn’t. He turned at 80 yards away and trotted in my direction without hesitation. He was looking for the other buck challenging his dominance and was not going to let that happen.
He quickly closed the distance, 60 yards, 50 yards, 40 yards, and he slowed down to a determined walk. I had this buck firmly in my crosshairs as I leaned against the tree. He began to cut across to my left a bit more offering a more broadside shot. He was now at 35 yards and closing, now 30 to 25 yards away.
It was at this moment that I knew this was going to happen. This buck had walked out of my scent trail and was in perfect position for a shot. All I had to do was stop this bruiser and hope to put a good shot on him.
His walk never slowed down, and I had to stop him from coming any closer. I whistled, he stopped at 16 yards and I put the hammer down. The shot was perfect as the bolt drove into his shoulder ,making this a mortal hit.
He ran off and I watched him fall over dead in less than 10 seconds, only 55 yards from my stand.
Wow! What a hunt and to think I did it with a borrowed crossbow. I did practice hours earlier at the range, and its designed for a woman shooter. I’d like to give a special thanks to Tina Yerkes for allowing me to use her crossbow on this hunt.
I hope you’re able to get out there and shoot the deer you’ve been after this fall. Just remember that the rut is on so best of luck!