One of my good friends and former rugby teammates was successful in his quest to take a deer with archery tackle this past weekend. I have known Seth Sikes for at least a decade and he's a great friend. He is a guy who once he sets his sights on something he goes right after it. Just ask him how he got his nickname 'Spikes'. He is a new bow hunter, but you'd never know after seeing the passion this guy has for the sport. Read his exciting story from last weekend below. Congratulations, Seth!
|Seth Sykes with his 2011 NY whitetail taken with archery tackle. Great job, Seth!|
November 20, 2011 was the second day of gun season in upstate NY and my hopes weren't too high. The weather was in the fifties, breezy and carrying a light drizzle. After an already long (for me) bow season, with 2 close misses, and an opening day of gun season not seeing anything I didn't have the highest spirits when I got in my stand at roughly 6:30 AM. The stand I chose was the exact one that I had missed two nice bucks during bow season, but I was hoping that it would still prove to be a pretty active area.
At 6:45 AM shots started ringing out through the woods around me. At that point I decided to start using my grunt call (a hardwood Primos grunt tube) to see if I could attract anything to my area. For the next forty to forty-five minutes I grunted and bleated on and off with no sign of any life.
At 7:40 AM I leaned around my tree to check the trail leading up to my stand because already this year I had had two doe follow me in right up my trail. As I straightened back up and looked out into the field directly ahead of me a large doe was standing in the clearing at maybe 45 to 50 yards. I saw my opportunity to put meat in my freezer so I lined up my shot with my smooth bore Mossberg pump action and took it. She flinched, jumped and ran off into the ding-weeds on the other side of the field. I was so excited I set down my gun and laid my head back to thank the powers that be for giving me the opportunity to take such a nice deer.
After my thirty second prayer, I opened my eyes, looked out and there in the same exact spot as the doe was a good sized 6 pointer looking around. I couldn't believe my luck and swooped up my gun to realize I hadn't chambered another round yet. Trying to be as quiet as possible I pumped the action and he stood straight up looking around for the source of the sound, but never moved. So I lined up and took my shot. He flinched and ran to the exact same spot as the doe and was gone from my view. What luck!! I couldn't believe it and no one else was going to either.
For the next half hour I sat shaking with excitement before I got down to check for blood. That was when the hammer came down to crush my hopes and dreams... no blood! Not a drop from either deer. Those were my last two bullets and some how I had missed both deer, my gun season (at least til I got paid again) was done. In the hopes that either bullet had exited the deer I spent the next three hours on my hand and knees crawling through the thickest brambles and pricker bush you can imagine trying to find a hint of a trial to follow and found nothing! So I tucked tail and went home for lunch very depressed and VERY pissed off at myself.
For the next two and a half hours I scolded myself and thought about giving up on hunting for the season... I mean come on, I didn't deserve to call my self a hunter. That was four open shots so far between bow and gun season now and four huge misses! At 2:30 PM I decided I had put too much time and money into this season to quit now, but I had no bullets left. My bow! Since the day I got my Hoyt Rampage this past August, I had practiced constantly and felt very comfortable with it so that was my weapon of choice. so I scrambled to get my gear on and get into a treestand far away from early morning debacle.
At 2:45 PM I was settled into my stand and the waiting began. For the next two hours I sat motionless except to blow my grunt call and all the while hadn't seen a hide nor hair of a deer. At 4:45 PM, a mere minutes before the end of legal shooting hours, here comes a buck straight to my stand. Oh please don't take too long to get to me, the light is fading fast!
At about 20 yards he cut to his left and started sown the trail that would come straight by the left hand side of my stand. PERFECT! I'm a right-handed shooter so this would work great. He disappeared behind a large tree just off the left front corner of my stand and stopped with just his head showing. that's when he started sniffing the wind. Great he's gonna wind me at ten yards in front of my stand and I can't even draw on him. Nope! He dropped his head and kept right on coming. Just as he was getting into the open I started to draw and he stopped again to sniff and looks right at me. I held my draw at a about a quarter and froze! This was it. Do or die (pun very intended). He dropped his head back down and and walked right out into the open. I brought my bow to full draw got my sights on his "boiler room" and gave a quick yelp. He froze and I let loose my arrow. I watched in what felt like slow motion as my Easton arrow with its Muzzy 3-blade broadhead found its mark! A chunk of fur flew and he took off. He got five big leaps and then four slow paces behind me, stopped and just stood there! What?! Did I miss again? Nope his legs got really wobbly and he stumbled maybe three steps and dropped! BUCK DOWN!! When I got down he wasn't the original 6 points that I thought he was, but a good sized 8 pointer with a great symmetrical rack. That day is one that I will never forget not just because I got my first buck, but because of the lessons I learned about never giving up!
I hope you like reading my story because I LOVED living it! Hunting is something I always wanted to do and I now know why. It is ingrained into my DNA now and I can't wait to learn more, live through my disappointments and be over come with joy in my future adventures and successes. This lifestyle is not for everyone, but I can't wait to pass it on to my son, who when he saw me in my camo with a deer squealed 'DDAAAAA!' and gave me a huge hug. I am a hunter now and forever!