Late Winter 8 Point
By Lee Phillips
Excalibur Field Staff
The temperature was around twenty degrees as I settled into my blind for the evening’s hunt. Ohio had been in a stretch of very cold temperatures, and I had hunted through them the past few evenings. I had been seeing deer every evening, but I just had a very slow year in seeing a shooter-sized buck. I had several prospects on my trail camera, but all of the mature ones had stayed nocturnal during hunting season. As always, I was hoping that tonight a buck would show himself.
I had been enjoying a cool evening in the deer blind, and had been sitting for 1.5 hours. I noticed a quick movement over the embankment, and three deer came running into my feed pile. I had never seen this grouping before – three yearlings by themselves. They nervously checked the air and surroundings, and then settled in to eat. I sat almost motionless while they ate 20 yards in front of me. This continued for about 10 minutes until they had their fill and gently trotted off back into the big field behind us. Always seeing deer is enjoyable, so I was hoping that maybe a buck would come soon!
There was about 20 minutes of shooting light left when I noticed 3 more deer approaching, and the middle deer was a buck! It was one of the 8 points I had on camera. In typical fashion with a buck, they approached the feed with a deliberate walk. As they approached, I slowed eased my Excalibur Micro Raid crossbow onto my Excalibur Cross-Stick shooting stick. I was now in the ready position as I waited for the buck to turn broadside.
I waited almost motionless for ten minutes as the deer fed in front of me. The two does were standing directly in front of the buck which prevented me from getting a clear shot. When the buck was finished, he lifted his head and took 3 steps to the left. I put the illuminated crosshair of the Tact Zone scope right behind his front leg and squeezed the trigger. I heard the WASP broadhead make a loud smack when it hit the deer, and all three deer bounded off. I sat there for 10 minutes, and called my good friend Jason Massie to see if he could lend me some assistance.
Jason arrived 25 minutes later. We soon recovered my illuminated Quill arrow and it was covered in blood. The deer only bled a few drops at the point of impact, but we were soon following a nice bloodtrail in the snow. We continued slowly for 100 yards, and found a bloody spot were the deer had bedded. We decided with the cold temperatures to resume at first light.
We easily found our spot in the snow the next morning. The deer went up a small hill and walked across an open field. Jason used his sharp eyes to determine which tracks belonged to the buck, since there were many deer tracks in the snow. Once we were on the correct set, we followed them, and occasional drops of blood, across the wide field. The buck had begun to drag his feet in the snow, and Jason remarked…”He’s getting weaker, we will find him”. We continued for another 100 yards, and Jason found some blood where the deer had jumped a fence. We crossed over it and Jason said…”Right there he is”! The buck had bedded down one final time.
I was thrilled to recover the deer, and equally thrilled with the performance of my new bow. After 31 evening hunts – this was the second largest buck I had seen all season. It took some time, but a buck finally did step out in the daylight!