SoCal Hunter Arrows First Deer With Archery Tackle!
A well laid plan, plenty of hard work, practice, sweat and patience. All of those things finally came together this past Saturday as my hunting partner and good friend, Michael Giudici, dropped his first ever deer with archery tackle! The headline is misleading as Michael is well versed in deer hunting and has taken multiple deer using a rifle, but prior to Saturday he had never taken one with a bow and arrow.
Now, I have to begin this story with the conversation Michael and I had a few days prior. After getting on watch late the past two times, I wanted to be certain we were at the top of the foothill well before sunrise. That after my calculations, I knew we would need to be leaving the trailhead at 4:00 AM. Michael did NOT want to arrive any earlier than 4:15 AM, thus leaving at 4:20 AM. We went back and forth on the time. I argued that fifteen minutes wasn't going to make a difference in his sleep, but it would for us getting to our spot in time to cool off and relax. He said he wasn't sure, but he said he would try to meet me by 4:00.
The next morning, I was waiting at the trailhead at 3:50 AM. Five minutes later Michael arrived. He made it and early to boot! Awesome! I told him I had a great feeling about today and that we were doing the right thing. We had learned much this year and we were ready to make it happen.
At 4:05 AM we hit the trail with determination. We decided to take breaks only to catch our breath. We wanted to walk quickly and cool off before the sun came up. I don't know about Michael and his pack, but with my bow attached, my pack weighed in at 46 lbs. Three liters of water, optics, tripod, extra clothing, and my bow made the pack heavy, but I was ready. We made tracks and were at our spot in record time.
While I can go on and on, this was Michael's first ever kill with archery tackle and this is the story in his words...
We got to the bottom of the hill at 4:00 AM, hiked in 2 miles up the hill, got on stand, and were ready to go at 5:30am. The sun rose at 6:30 and we started glassing. It was only a few minutes before I got a text from my good buddy and hunting partner Al. “Deer behind you coming from your left”. I turned around to catch them passing behind the bush I was sitting in front of. 25 yards out, came a yearling and 2 mature does. I drew back my Mathews solo cam and the deer startled and ran up the hill a little ways. I figured they were right about 50 yards. I put my 50yrd pin right above the shoulder of the biggest doe and let the arrow fly!
With much anticipation and adrenalin flowing through my veins, the arrow went high and the deer ran off… No dice. I sat back, shaking like a dog sh$(%*ing razor blades, that was awesome! My first opportunity to shoot a deer with an arrow. Although a failed attempt, I believed it could be done!
Now let me say, no matter how much time you put on the range, or how many arrows you can put in a tight group in a hay bale, when the moment comes, that adrenalin kicks in and your shot is now put into god’s hands.
Just as I was calming down I looked to my left and saw a doe on the skyline staring directly at me. I couldn’t move for fear of spooking her. This went on for 10 minutes until another doe came out. After 15 minutes of a staring contest, she began to feed again figuring I was no threat. The does followed down the trail coming closer and closer as if I was pulling them in on a string. At 24 yards short of my stand, they moved behind the big bush I was parked in front of just like the last does had. I again spun around to intercept them then they came out on the other side.
As I turned I noticed 2 more does coming from right at me from the opposite direction! There were deer everywhere!!! This one saw my movement and again the staring contest was on. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed movement through the bush and out walks a deer 8 yards from where I was sitting! Following her, 15 yards up the hill were 2 mature Pacific Hybrid does. I slowly reached to pull my bow around and the doe at 8 yards took notice, took a dump, and then proceeded to stare. I drew back and she ran to about 45 yards.
Startled by the movement the 2 does above her moved up to see what the commotion was about. I didn’t have a clear shot because the bush I was hiding behind blocked the path between the deer and my arrow. I leaned left, put the 30 yard pin right on the vitals and let my second arrow of the day fly. CRACK!!!! The deer dropped dead in her tracks! Success!
Michael and his first deer with archery tackle!
We gutted, skinned, quartered, and packed the deer in my pack and we off on our 2 mile walk back to the car. It was one of the most exciting, rewarding hunts I have ever been on.
I am super proud of Michael for his dedication and determination. I have met plenty of guys who 'want' to be bowhunters, but don't have what it takes to go the extra mile. Michael certainly does and I want to send out a big CONGRATULATIONS to him for filling his A31 tag and getting that first bow kill under his belt. Oh, and Michael - I have a few cubic feet open in my freezer and can help you store some of that venison.
We have been hunting this spot hard and have seen deer every day. I still have a couple of weeks left and we plan on hitting this spot one or two more times to help me try and fill my tag.
We have had great success already and we'll try to make this a first year for both of us... you see, I have never taken a SoCal deer in the four years I have hunted out here. I still get a thrill out of helping my buddies fill their tags and to me THAT equals success.