The 2015 deer season is coming to end and as of writing this I still haven't shot a deer. That makes this deer season either the worst deer season I have ever had, or the best deer season I have had. It started on a sour note two days before the opener I was at the range and my beloved 2007 Bear truth bow, that I bought with money I saved from my Iraq deployment, exploded in my hands. the module on the lower cam sheared off and bent the grooves on the lower cam. that was the first lesson I learned this year, don't be so cheap that you don't take your bow in to be professionally tuned every once in a while. That bow shot really well all the time and I just figured I wouldn't mess with a good thing. That mistake cost me a great bow. Bear no longer makes replacement cams for that model bow and nobody has an extra cam laying around.
Left without a bow for opening day I decided to take my longbow out with me. I climbed into my stand and in the afternoon had a perfect broadside shot at a nice doe about 10 yards away. An absolute can't miss situation if I had my Beat bow with me. I drew my longbow back thought to my self, "aim low" let the arrow fly and shot right over her back. Lesson #2 If you have only ever shot your longbow from the ground don't take it up in a tree with you. I was lucky that I missed cleanly as opposed to wounding the deer.
After that unfortunate miss I borrowed a bow from a friend of mine and took it to the range and got it all lined up. I headed up to Northern Minnesota to hunt with some old family friends and had a great hunt up there. I actually passed up a number of smaller deer and a few deer that I shouldn't have passed up. Lesson #3, don't pass up a deer in the early part of the season that you would gladly shoot on the last day of the season. I was thinking that I still had all this time to go hunting and that I would see more deer and I would eventually get a deer. While on the trip I shot a decent 8 pointer and thought that I had gotten a good shot off. As it turned out my sot was to far back and for the first time in 25 years of hunting I lost a deer. I clearly needed to spend more time at the range with that bow I borrowed. Lesson #4 Switching bows after the season has already started was a bad Idea. I should have scrapped the bow hunting and changed my plans to include some rifle hunting. I was stubborn and wanted to shoot a deer with a bow this year.
Other than my trip up north and hunting at a friends place near the cities the majority of my hunting was done on Wildlife management areas Southwest of the Twin Cities. In total for the whole season I probably saw about 70 deer which is more than I have ever seen. I also spent a lot more time out hunting which was one of my main goals this season. I set up one day in a portable stand and had a doe coming to about 10 yards. she was standing behind some bushes and I didn't have a clear shot. she turned around and walked a loop popping out further down the trail directly in front of me. As she stepped into the opening I was going to have a clear shot in a 4 foot window as she crossed the trail. I had forgotten my range finder at home that day and had guessed the distance at about 30 yards. I drew back put my 30 pin on her and sent the arrow towards her. All I heard was a loud crack. I knew I had missed I just had no idea how. I got down and walked out to see where my arrow had hit. I found it embedded in a tree about ten yards behind where the deer was standing. I paced off the distance from where she was standing to the base of my tree. It was 21 yards. I don't know how I misjudged that so badly. Have I gotten so dependant on electronics that I have lost my ability to judge short distances.
That was the last deer I had a good shot at. I have seen a lot of deer since then but can't seem to get anything to come within range. I am starting to think that I am cursed this season. I had gone out with a buddy of mine in the beginning of December and he had two does walk out about 20 yards away. As he drew his bow back he accidentally bumped his trigger and prematurely launched and arrow about 12 feet in front of him spooking the deer. At the time I was a few hundred yards away but I still feel like that was my bad luck rubbing off.
In the last week I have hunted the same spot three different nights and have seen the same four deer. I don't know if I have been out there to much or what it is but they come down the trail towards me then stop about 60 yards out and take a detour through the woods. Its almost like they know I'm there. I can see their tracks go right under my stand but cant get them to come down the trail when I am there. I have 4 days left in this season and I don't see myself making it out again. I am off tomorrow but the weather terrorists are predicting 12-16 inches of snow tomorrow. I might have to start begging for venison this off season.
I have seen more deer this year than I have in any year before. I also made a conscious decision to only bow hunt this year. In a perfect world minus all my mistakes I would have three deer in my freezer right now and would be writing a completely different post. But I don't live in a perfect world and deer hunting is never a sure thing. So was this the worst deer season of my life, yes it was, but it was also one of the best.