I am not the worlds greatest hunter, I'm not an expert, but I have been hunting for more than 25 years and you would think I would have some clue as to what I am doing. This past weekend I reminded myself as to why you never get complacent when hunting. The picture above was taken from my trail camera last week, it is one of 8 pictures of this deer taken over the last 2 weeks. He is not a monster buck but in the area that I am hunting there are not a lot of bucks and I would be very happy to shoot this guy if given the opportunity. That isn't going to happen if I keep cutting corners and become lazy.
Sunday afternoon I made my way out to my stand around 230 in the afternoon. I walked quietly into the woods and made my way up the ladder into my stand and got situated. I attached my harness to the tree, hung my bow on its hook and got comfortable. I reached into my pocket to grab my release and there was no release. For those that have bow hunted, you know that a release is a device used to aid in the shooting of a compound bow. It is possible to shoot a compound bow without a release but if you have never practiced shooting off your fingers it isn't recommended. When I realized that I had left my release in the car my immediate thought was, "you probably won't even need it". I made a choice to not go back to the car and get my release, that was foolish. It would have taken me very little time to get out of the tree and run back to the car. I just figured that if I got down there was a good chance of me spooking something and if something did come within bow range I would be able to shoot without the release.
I was wrong, at about 4:38 pm I saw something about 40 yards out through the woods. It wasn't the nice 8 point buck I had hoped it would be but it was a nice sized doe and if she came closer and gave me the chance I would have meat in the freezer. I watched her walk silently towards me, I am always amazed how and animal that sized can walk to with in 15 yards of me and not make a sound. When she got to within 15 yards she turned broadside and presented me with a perfect shot. I drew my bow back and immediately felt awkward, my sight picture was off and I didn't feel comfortable. When I finally got the sight picture I wanted I released the arrow and hear the most awful sound, It was the dull thud of an arrow hitting the ground. I knew immediately that I had missed and the doe took off running and disappeared into the woods.
It was close to dark and I was disgusted with myself for not going back to my car to get the release. I wasn't disgusted because I missed the deer, I have hunted many years and I have missed my fair share of deer. I was disgusted because I took a crappy shot and could have wounded the deer just as easy as I missed. All because I was to lazy to get down from my stand and get my release. Had I gotten my release I could be writing about a successful deer hunt and a recipe for deer haggis. Instead I feel the need to scold myself publicly for being complacent. It doesn't matter how many years I have been doing this I should never get complacent and risk wounding an animal.
The worst part is I am all out of venison and this was my best opportunity so far this year. It might be my only opportunity, which would be sad. Fortunately for me a friend of mine recently gave me a beautiful tenderloin of moose. One loin was about 2.5 pounds, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it and I was tossing around a few different ideas including a moose wellington but I decided i was going to go with a Moose Bresola. Before I salted the loin to start the curing process I cut a few very thin pieces and then pounded them out to make a carpaccio.
This was the first time I have eaten moose and I loved it. Moose tasted to me like a very good grass fed beef, it was tender and clean and had absolutely no wild flavor at all. After pounding the cutlets between to pieces of cellophane I sprinkled it with sea salt drizzled it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil then added some sage leaves, capers and shavings of pecorino romano. It was the best carpaccio I have ever eaten and I can't wait for the bresola to be done.