First bow buck

I shot this buck on opening day of bow season on state land. He dressed out at 186 lbs and had an 18" inside spread.

First bow buck
bkearney, Dec 30, 2005
    • mossyed
      realy nice buck for stateland its good to see there are still some good bucks out there.
    • bkearney
      Imagine my suprise when this buck stepped out! There is a decent story to go along with the picture:

      I have been hunting deer for over 20 years, mostly Columbian Blacktail in California, but I was Whitetail hunting in Michigan for several years before moving out of state.

      I just recently (within the last couple years) picked up a bow and started getting serious about bow hunting. I had just moved back to MI in July of 2005 and was lucky enough to have a brother-in-law invite me to tag along on a Verona weekend trip for the opening of Bow season. I was excited and went out and got myself a self climbing tree stand a few weeks before opener.

      I was practicing with my PSE thunderbolt, shooting from my new tree stand in my backyard, on Thursday night (if you remember, Oct. 1st was on a Saturday). After taking a few shots, I pulled back the bow one more time and on release, @%^$^&, I heard a loud snapping noise. I looked at my bow, and the piece on the top limb where the cam attaches broke!!! The cam had slipped into the notch cut in the limb, and was stuck there. Well, after thanking my guardian angel that the cam slipped forwards and not back (it could have smacked me right in the forehead)... I cursed my poor timing. It didn't look like I was going to get a chance to hunt with my bow this year. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed out.

      The next morning when I woke up, my wife talked me into going to see if I could get another bow hooked up and still make it hunting - what an awesome gal she is. My main problem is that I am a lefty - my thought was "Who is going to have a left handed bow in stock the day before opening?!?". I figured that would be an impossibility. After hearing my brother rant and rave at how much he loves his Matthews Outback, I decided to try to find a local Matthews dealer and see if they could accomodate me.

      I called the local dealer and he tells me "Yeah, I have a left-handed switchback hanging right here with your name on it.. come on down!". I make tracks to his shop, get the bow all dialed in and shoot for about an hour... then leave his shop, pick up dinner the way home for my wife and two small children, eat a hasty pizza dinner with them, load up my truck and hit the trail for Verona where I am meeting my brother in law.

      After getting a few hours of restless sleep ( I never sleep well the night before opener), we wake up, gear up and hit the trail. We had scouted a great spot before season opened, so we drove there in the dark and jumped out of the truck. Of course, when hunting on public land, if you find a great spot you can be pretty sure some other folks have probably found it too. We passed no less than 4 hunters on the way to our spots... not a great way to start your season. I didn't see a single deer that morning, although my brother in law saw a group of does that were all out of range.

      We took a drive after coming in from the morning hunt just to see where people were hunting and what the potential spots for the afternoon were. we decided on a spot that my brother in law had hunted a few times before and went to grab some breakfast and relax for a couple of hours before the evening hunt.

      That evening, we parked out on the road and hiked back in to our spots... he set me up in a tall tree that overlooked an apple tree and a large field beyond. The tree I was sitting in was actually on a corner of the field, so I had visibility on two sides. He told me that he had hunted around this tree, and had seen some bucks turn the corner that I was sitting at but had never been close enough to get a shot. He had found the tree that I was sitting in to try to catch one of those bucks a previous year but had never seen anything from it.

      I climbed up the tree as he left for his spot, which was a bit to the West and south of where I was set up. I sat in that tree without seeing a hair until right before it was too dark to shoot... about 20 minutes before last light I notice a deer creeping along the edge of the field towards the corner. A buck! I looked at his horns just long enought to see that he was a shooter. I could have taken a shot at him before he turned the corner, but it was a longer shot... and I was not totally confident in my new hardware, so I waited. I had to trust in my brother-in-law and hope that this buck turned the corner. If he had gone any other way, I would not have seen him again.

      Sure enough, after milling around out of sight near the corner for what seemed like an eternity (it was probably only a few minutes) I caught a glimpse of movement through the trees and could see that he was heading across the field in front of me. The wind had been perfect, and this buck had no clue that I was only 30 yards away. I purposefully did not look at his rack, knowing that he was a decent buck... but instead focused on his vitals and where I wanted my arrow to hit. He was walking through some tall switch grass, and I couldn't really see his wheelhouse. I had to take my best guess on where it was, and when he was fully broadside I let my arrow fly.

      I heard the thwack that accompanies a hit and the buck jumped up and turned 90 degrees in mid air... he landed hauling white tail away from me. It was then that I realized what a nice buck he was. He was out well past his ears and had some decent mass... and a huge body. I revelled in the moment and said my obligitory prayer to god for helping me to be in the right place at the right time. After about 30 minutes of sitting in my stand and enjoying watching the day turn slowly to night, I climbed down from my tree and began the search for the deer.

      I went to the spot where I thought I had hit him and looked around... after a short search, I confirmed what I thought I knew and found the back half of my carbon arrow, covered with buck. By this time it was well dark, and my headlamp was getting a good workout.

      I saw Craig (my brother in law) coming towards me as I was following the blood trail into a small swath of trees (which was where I last eyeballed the buck). As he caught up to me, I fibbed a bit and told him that I had shot a small basket six. We searched inside the stand of trees, but we had a hard time following the trail because of the lack of ground cover. We finally picked the trail up again on the other side of the trees, and followed it to the downed buck in the field about 30 yards where he came out of the cover. Craig almost fell over when he saw that buck laying there. It was after 11:00 p.m. by the time we got the buck dressed, dragged and back to camp.

      My arrow had entered through the bucks right elbow then passed through the left shoulder before exiting the body cavity. It took out both lungs in the process. I have no idea how the arrow broke, and never found the front of the shaft with the broadhead in it. Needless to say, I was impressed with the power and accuracy of the Switchback. I am now a matthews believer.

      It was an awesome hunt, and I had far more than my fair share of luck on that trip. It was the beginning of what I hope will be many years of successful hunting and fishing in Michigan with frields and family.
    • huntmdown
      Great story and splendid buck! Check your PM!
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