An unforgettable weekend with my partner in crime.
This weekend I was able to end a chapter in my life I will never forget. I am blessed and so thankful to get to share this journey with my amazing wife by my side every step of the way! Truly amazing.
My wife and I took a day away from our 3 children (5,3,1) to head over to our plot of land in Vernon County, WI (2 ½ hour drive). After prepping for the babysitters to take 3 kids overnight, we were on our way to get an evening hunt in, followed by the next morning. For those of you with little ones, getting everything ready for the kids is more challenging than getting everything ready for your hunting trip. I know, far to imagine.
I have had the pleasure of getting to see my wife take on Whitetail Bow Hunting for the first time in her life this season. We have been shooting archery 3D league for the last 3 years at Buck Skin Archery Club in Cedarburg, WI which has been a great experience. She has always enjoyed Shooting, now she was comfortable enough to take on the woods. We set up a tree stand in the back yard with a lifeline and 3D target to let her experience what it was like to be in a tree stand. It was a little intimidating, but she was ready!
A few weeks earlier we got her up in a stand all by herself on the same property. She got to experience what many hunters dream of. She had 3 bucks come within 20 yards of her! One of them being a giant that many hunters spend a lifetime hoping to lay eyes on. The only problem was that her bow was not in her hands for all 3 scenarios! She was preparing to get down from the stand around 11 o’clock and her bow was at the base of the tree on her pull rope.
That leads us to the morning of 11/17/2019 as we get the expected delayed start to the tree stand. With 3 small children, being late doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. With my wife not being used to the property and a beginner getting into our stands that are all hang-ons with sticks, I decided to walk into the stand with her. We quietly get to the stand around shooting time (6:30 am). My wife then makes her way the stand. The steps were not made for a 5’2” frame wearing a Michelin man suit. As you can imagine, every step is a struggle! As I get to joke with my wife as I listen to what sounded like a tennis match between Serina Williams and Maria Sharapova with all the grunting, she gets to the top of the stand! 😊 Not to mention the car keys that were in her pocket that was going off because as she was climbing the tree she kept hitting all the button! We can luckily look back at this and laugh. As she gets to the top of the tree she looks back down and whispers “There is a buck, shoot him!” I quickly picked up the buck and got my bow ready as I am standing as the base of her tree. As buck is slowly walking the main trail browsing. He stops at about 20 yards and gives be a 8” x 8” window for me to shoot through. I take the shot! Buck takes off in a dead sprint for about 40 yards that starts to jog. My wife looks down with a thumbs up and a smile. I quickly tell her to keep watching! We decide to hunt the stand for the morning and give the buck I just shot some time.
About 2 hours later and finding some time to laugh about it being the 4th buck with her bow on the ground, we start the tracking journey. We start by going to the point of impact to look for blood and arrow. We find the arrow about 10 yards for point of impact and notice he is on a heavily traveled trail. We take a look at the arrow and see it was a pass-through and has a couple bubbles on it. It doesn’t smell not gut either. With the window I had to shoot, I don’t think it was possible to shoot him in the guts. We follow the blood trail which seemed like forever! During the track, we went through a roller coaster of emotions as there were a couple stops it was difficult to figure out what direction he went next. The lowest point came at the 2 hour, 630 yard and 100 feet difference in elevation mark when he got to the property line where a large pool of blood sat as he decided to jump the barbed wire fence. I called the neighbor and didn’t get an answer. I decided to text, he quickly replied “no problem, go ahead”. The property quickly turns into a large cut field and we lose blood! Trying to compose myself, we decide we are confident in the direction he is headed. There is water and some tall grass that quickly turns into timber. We head in the direction and quickly find blood again! As we get to the tall grass that is like a Bowl shape and can see pretty far down into it. As that point my wife points to my buck laying on the hillside!
Hugs and High-fives, trying to hold back my tears back. We nervously walked over to the buck. I quickly notice it isn’t my buck! WHAT!?!?! The buck is stiff and has a different exit wound. We sit there in disbelief trying to justify that it has to be my buck! Not to mention I just told the neighbor we found him. The previous week my neighbor ask me for permission to track an 8 point buck on our land. It must be his. So, I start looking for blood again. 10 yards away we pick up the blood AGAIN! This is at the 800 yard mark. It is headed toward the timber which I don’t have the approval to track in. The same thing as before, we see a pool of blood at the barbed wire fence. I text the neighbor, who is going to help me get access! What an amazing neighbor and individual. As I am working on that, my wife say “Look, it went up the fence line!”. This deer somehow worked its way up the fenceline which seemed impossible with how thick it was. As we are climbing our way from this stuff, I look up and see him 10 yards away!
Round 2 of Hugs and High-fives! Holy cow!!!, what an amazing 960 yard journey! As we walk over to the beautiful buck, I notice it is the same buck I shot at 2 weeks prior. I was able to track him for 60 yards and lost blood. It was such a great feeling to know I was able to harvest the buck I shot at 2 weeks ago. I now know he isn’t out there somewhere. Being able to do al of this with my wife was so cool and hope I get to do it again for many more years!
We get both bucks out of woods and make the trek home to cut of the deer. I quickly learn where I hit him previously. The exit wound hit him in the upper front leg. The entry was right inside his front shoulder. The shot was low and didn’t get any of his vitals. Just to share the deers reaction. After the shoot. It did a big jump kick and ran 30 yards with its tail down. It then paused and walked extremely slowly with a hunched back. I watched the deer for 20 mins. It would pause every 10 seconds before taking a few more steps. I thought for sure I smoked him and was going to lay down soon. I never saw him go down and didn’t like how he was acting, so I waiting until the next morning to track.
After an exhausting roller coaster of emotions, the story came to an end 2 weeks later and I couldn’t be happier.