TAILS FROM CAMP BUCKSKIN
My First UFFDA Doe
We were excited to once again be headed to Camp Tesomas to attend the 9th Annual UFFDA hunt held Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The camaraderie and hunt experience has come to mean a lot to both of us. After many years of striking out, last year I broke the drought by harvesting a spike buck.
On Thursday morning after checking in and unpacking, Elroy checked the blind to make some minor adjustments to meet my needs. We arrived at the blind around 4:00 and settled in for a beautiful afternoon. While Elroy got his camera ready and did some practice filming I did some meditation, asking my Spirit guides and Deer Spirit to send a fine buck or doe to feed us during the coming winter.
After a short time, I felt Elroy do his 'nudge' thing and whisper that he saw a nice doe coming into view. She paced in to range slowly and stopped facing me. While she did a bit of browsing, I carefully maneuvered myself into shooting position and flicked the safety off my Excalibur crossbow. Elroy began filming as the deer stood facing me. After five minutes, I was becoming painfully stiff waiting for her to give me a better angle to shoot. I sat back and carefully wiggle the stiffness out of body, hoping I wouldn’t spook her. Finally, she began turning and I quickly resumed my shooting position.
Elroy whispered that I should shoot whenever I was ready. The doe was almost broadside and moving away so I decided to shoot. When I had her in the crosshairs I took a deep breath and carefully squeezed the trigger. The arrow leaped from the crossbow and we could see it lodge behind her front shoulder. As she bolted off
Elroy realized the battery had gone dead on the camera!
He left the blind and went to check for blood signs and didn't see any even though we both saw the arrow enter. Since it wasn't a double lung shot we decided to give the deer plenty of time to expire so we waited half an hour and then quietly walked out to our truck and returned to camp. Elroy wanted to wait at least two hours before tracking the deer, so after a consult with the Hunt Master it was decided that Elroy would track the deer after supper with the aid of three helpers.
After eating, Elroy and his team of trackers went off to recover my deer. They arrived at the spot where I had shot her and scouted around for any blood sign. It is hard place to track since the land is low and has a lot of high grass and the deer seem to love disappearing into it. About 30 yards away, Bart found blood sign and now the tracking began in earnest. They followed the trail for about another 45 yards when they spotted her lying under a little pine tree. The arrow was still in her shoulder after passing through her and was stopped at the fletching. Elroy removed the arrow and leaned it against the little pine tree so it would be out of the way, yet easy to find when they returned.
Elroy field dressed the deer and left the dragging out to the Bart and Tim. The night was very dark so it wasn't long before they got turned around, and decided to phone base for help. A couple of trackers arrived in a pick-up and their headlights were spotted by the lost boys, who had been standing only 30 yards away from the road.
After loading the deer up in the pick-up they all returned to base. Elroy came in to get me, and while we went out to the truck to see my deer, he told me how good they were at tracking. The guys had hung my doe out back with the other deer that had been harvested. Friday morning we went to town with some of the other successful hunters to register the deer. Elroy and I had planned to bring the deer home to process it there. On Saturday, one of the helpers skinned the deer, so Steve and his cutting team went ahead and cut up the deer and put it in our cooler.
Oh and my arrow? It’s still leaning against that little pine tree, waiting for my return.