Each year I get an early start by bowhunting Connecticut. This season was no different and there was much anticipation to get into the woods with my brother Derek for his first season of bowhunting.
We got to the woods well before first light, but by the time we were settled in day was breaking. My brother was about 80 yards away from me and we were hoping we'd have some bucks we had been watching all summer long would come through.
At 6:40am I saw the silhouette of a buck a mere 40 yards away. I couldn't really see how big it was but I knew it was a shooter. As the buck walked closer I anticipated an easy 20 yard shot, but the deer had other plans and made a sharp turn to its left and started walking away from me.
As the buck moved away, he stopped to feed at 30 yards away and I was able to get a shot off. The hit was less than ideal, however, and I ended up with a shoulder shot. The buck ran off and I decided to give the deer plenty of time before tracking.
Shortly after, a familiar 6-pointer came through - the wide six. We had watched this deer all summer long and he looked to be heading in my brothers direction. Unfortunately, he ended up walking between us and never gave my brother a shot.
By 9:30am my Derek was at the base of my tree and we put together a game plan to track my buck. A long tracking job through a swamp, across a river and up a hill into the hardwoods ended with us jumping the buck at 10:30am - almost four hours after the shot. At this point, all we could do was back out and continua the search in the afternoon.
It was 3:00pm when made it back to the deer woods. I told Derek that I'd look for the deer on my own and he should hunt from my treestand because the wide six would surely be back that afternoon.
Heading to where we jumped my buck earlier I struggled to find any more sign. The last few drops of blood left me scratching my head as to where the buck could have gone. My brother texted me to see how I was doing, but I had no news to report. By 6:30pm I was tired, mentally drained and still lacking any clues to where the buck could have gone. I decided to head back to the truck. I needed to come back in the morning to continue my search when I was fresh and could think straight.
It was at that point when my phone rang and Derek was on the line half rushing through a story and half catching his breath - he had shot the wide six - or so he thought! I grabbed my pack and ran through the woods to get to his stand.
The buck had snuck in behind Derek and he first spotted the deer at 30 yards. When the deer got to the 20 yard mark he drew back and quickly got the pin on the deer. The shot felt good, but Derek was unsure if he hit the buck as it slowly walked off. Quickly nocking a second arrow, Derek got ready for a follow up shot - that's when the buck fell over. The deer only made it another 20 yards and when we walked up to it we got another surprise, it wasn't the wide six, but a nice 8 pointer!
It was an opening day filled with ups and downs, but my brother had his first archery buck on the ground and I couldn't have been more happy. The long uphill drag felt good and we had officially begun the 2012 archery season.
The next day we returned to look for my buck. After about an hour of searching I jumped him again just 100 yards from where he jumped at 10:30 the previous morning. He was hurt, but still alive - my shot was non-fatal. Hopefully, the buck survives and we cross paths again.