With the season winding along, I’m hearing many hunters talking the blues of a missed oppertunity, lack of mature buck sightings or just plain burnout. Trust me, I know where you coming from! Though I’ve been very fortunate to harvest good early season deer for the past two years, my three previous seasons were an all out grind till the closer. So, in response to these moans, I’ll share a story to let you know your not alone and provide you ,maybe, with a little light at the end of the tunnel.
I remember the day very vividly, It was October 28th 2002, a chilly,cloudy, blustery day and I was hunting a deep ravine in a large block of wooded timber in central Ohio. My perch this evening was in a small oak tree with a new API climbing stand. The oak tree was so small that it only allowed me to ascend a mere 15 feet high. I faced away from the ravine wall and watched deeper into the hollow with the wind in my face. It was a new farm and though I thought the area should hold some giant deer, I was not expecting what was about to happen.
It was early in the evening hunt and I was startled to attention by the sounds of rapidly approaching footsteps from behind me. I turned my head and in an instant, found myself eye to eye with the largest whitetail I had ever seen! The buck was traveling with a large herd of does and once reaching my obvious stand location, low in the small oak tree, the group of deer slowed and proceeded with caution. I managed to twist my torso from a sitting position and draw my PSE Mustang tipped with a Steel Force 125 grain, cut on contact, serrated broadhead. At only 15 yards from the base of my tree and a perfect broadside shot, I loosed an arrow. I watched my arrow strike the monster whitetail buck high in the chest cavity, slightly back but the arrow buried to the fletchings. The buck ran off and I remember fist pumping and saying to myself ” I just killed a Booner”. But with my limited archery hunting experience and lack of knowledge on deer anatomy, I did not know what I had just done. I had just shot the “no zone”.
Now, some say the “no zone” is a mythical spot that does not exist on a deer but I’m here to tell you, it is not. Where the confusion lies on this spot, is just that, the actual location. On every deer, the area just below the spine but above the thoracic cavity exist a void. An area that has no vital organs or arteries. When this “no zone” is shot, many hunters may think they smoked the deer. But in actuality, the deer is going to run away, show no signs of being hit, bleed very little (if at all) and usually heal just fine.
When an incident like this happens to you, it can leave you feeling pretty dejected and ready to give up. But the fact is, If you hunt long enough, sooner or later your going to miss, wound or lose a deer. But when it does, you must keep pushing. The same goes for when you have had a bad year, bad hunt or bad season. You have to keep pushing!
A few weeks after “missing” the giant, still with a ill feeling in my gut, I pushed the hurt aside and did a hang and hunt in an another area. This area was where a large mature woodlot met a thick new growth creek line. Just after getting settled for an evening hunt, I rattled my antlers together and made a few grunts. Almost immediately , a buck emerged in the woodlot and walked straight to the base of my tree. I made a perfect broadside shot at 20 yards and placed my tag on a great Ohio buck. This was only my second archery buck and although I still had that ill feeling in my gut from the biggest buck I had ever seen, I was very pleased with my accomplishment. I was only 16 and my own teacher for hunting whitetails. If I had given up after my miss, an easy thing to do I would have missed out of a great buck and a lesson learned: Archery season is a marathon, not a sprint.
So, if you’ve had a rough season, take some time off to enjoy the holidays and family. But then, get back in the race and finish strong. Just don’t wait too long as the weather is right and in the past three days I’ve seen some absolute giants being harvested. Good luck and go get yourself a second chance buck.
(If you care to read more about the giant “missed buck”, visit this link and read Steve Byers version titled: Revenge)
Also, a great blog and many informative post about the “No Zone” can be read here
Category: Whitetail Hunting