is the whole story!
first archery buck!
son Chuck and I head out into the Everglades Friday afternoon. We arrive
there just in time to run into a terrible lightening storm, so we wait in the
truck for about an hour for it to pass. It finally passes, so we don our
bug suits, backpack tree stands, belly packs and bows with quivers full of
razor sharp arrows.
walking is slow going and treacherous because we are so heavily packed down,
the water is knee deep and full of sawgrass, cypress knees and the dreaded
pinnacle coral rock. We get about 100 yards in and my leg gets trapped
in a piece of pinnacle rock. Luckily I did not break my leg, but I did
go down flat on my face. My left leg felt like it had been tore open at
the shin and I am laying there on my face under water with this 28 lb climbing
tree stand on my back. When I finally get myself back on my feet, I see
that the top of my quiver had broken off. This left the razor sharp
points just dangling in the air. I tried to field rig it, by it was only
a matter of time, before it fell off.
finally make it to our scouted set up locations and up into the trees.
These were great spots and right on heavily traveled deer trails. My
problem now is that after taking that dive, everything that I have is soaking
wet. I am so hot in this bug suit that I am literally steaming. My
glasses are fogged and greasy from sweat. So I try to make the best of
it. Luckily, the little Motorola Talk-About radio was still operational
and with the earpiece microphones Chuck and I are still in contact with each
around 5:00 PM, Chuck hears something coming his way. It turns out to be
two doe and a 4 point
buck. They get past him and by the time he says that they are coming
right to me, I turn around and they are right behind me at about 20 yards!
So I slowly turn around and draw back the bow. (I remember cussing
myself for increasing the draw strength and wondering how long was this
arrow!) At this point, I can barely see anything through my fogged up,
sweaty and dripping wet $300 hunting glasses. I experience my first
"buck fever" and forget everything that I trained myself to do.
I loose the arrow and I missed the buck. I couldn't see were it went, so
I have no idea if I shot high, low or whatever! The buck reacts to the
arrow splashing next to him and runs around my stand to my right. I
slowly pivot, and nock another arrow. Unfortunately, my shoe
made this huge squeak on the stand and
the buck looks right at me. I freeze! He finally looses interest
and starts to slowly walk off. I slowly draw back the bow and loose
another arrow just before he enters the thicket. I miss again and he
takes off splashing loudly through the water. That day was a bust!
next morning we head back out to the same location, set up and I am still
steaming from the walk. Again these glasses wire fogged up, so I decided
to do without them this time. (My eyes are not bad enough to where I
can't see at all!) About 9:00 I hear deer splashing through the water.
I advise Chuck that I have something coming my way. He asks me to tell
him what it is when I can tell. I see a big
doe and a three point buck! (In the swamp, any legal deer is a trophy!)
I tell Chuck that they are coming right towards me! The doe walks right
by my stand at 15 to 20 yards. She urinates right in by lane of fire.
She walks on and the buck comes slowly after her. He stops to smell her urination
and I slowly draw back the bow. He is head down and facing right in my
direction at 20 yards. Just as I was about to loose the arrow, I hear
"Sight through the peep!" in my mind. This is my practice
coming back. I look for the peep and can't see it! Finally, I
realize I am holding it an inch out of my field of vision! I center
the top pin on the kill zone (through the peep this time!) which is
downward through his shoulder and neck and loose the arrow! The arrow
hit right where I aimed it! The buck went straight down and thrashed
around for a minute or so before succumbing. I tell Chuck that the buck
is down and dead. (Under the water.) We wait about 45 minutes to
see if something else comes by.
Nothing does, so we climb down and meet at the deer.
the hard part begins! We are only 300 to
400 yards from the road, but it is a tough trek. I tell Chuck that I
will field dress the buck while he goes to the truck and gets the Cabelas Game
Carrier. (This is a cart with big spoked wheels.) It takes him
about 45 minutes to an hour to return. When he does, he says, "I
don't know if this thing is going to help because of the rocks, logs and
trees." I remark that it has to be better than dragging or carrying
this deer all the way back!
we load the deer onto the carrier with my bow and broken quiver on top of him
and start back to the truck. He was right. Every 10 feet
there was some obstacle that we had to go around or pull the cart over.
It was a monumental undertaking! This deer started slowly started to
slide out of the carrier. Finally Chuck and I tried to reposition the
deer on the cart.
was then the unthinkable happened! Chuck brushed across an exposed razor
sharp broad head with his leg! (Because the quiver was broken, they were
not secured!) I look at his leg and see six inches bright red!
I said "Oh Shit!" It was only then that we realized that we
were looking at his bright red shorts under the "Bug Tamer" Suit!
The inner lining weave had been just enough to stop him from cutting himself
wide open in the middle of the Everglades!
we secured the deer (and the arrows) and continued our trek. Every
attempt to pull the cart got shorter and shorter in distance before I had to
breathlessly say "Stop! I have to catch my breath!" My
heart was pounding at about 150 to 180 beats a minute. Finally we made
it to the road, put the deer in a tarp, filled the body cavity with ice,
wrapped him up and tossed him up on the top of the Chevy Blazer.
we made our 1 hour journey back to the weigh in station. The damn deer
was only 82 pounds! It felt like a ton!
I guess the lessons that I learned are, watch those razor sharp arrow heads,
remember your practice and SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY! Thank God everything
came out ok in the end.
and the buck at the weigh station.
and the buck at my buddy Lucky Cole's place preparing to skin and butcher the
son Chuck and the buck.
This is after the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission took part of his jaw
for the biologists to study.