Last Day of Archery Deer Season 2011
Saturday was the last day of 2011 and the last chance for me to shoot a deer in Southern California. Again, we hit the trailhead early and hiked in to our spot. On our way in we spotted a big skunk with his tail up. He was 30 yards away and kept looking back like he wanted a fight. Tell you what... it's pretty creepy when you are on a steep hillside with a fired up, beady-eyed stink machine staring you down. Needless to say, we made our way around the long way to our spots.
Once I got to my spot I made quick work of my sweaty base layers. Even though it was 48 degrees, there was a chilly breeze and I wanted to get rid of the sweaty clothes and warm up. I sprayed on a hefty amount of SEEMZ spray on my sweaty clothes and on my dry ones. I set up my turkey blind, brushed it in and sprayed that down and settled in. Looking at my watch I realized we had made it to our spots a solid hour before shooting light. It was our best time yet! It gave us time to cool off, relax and let our eyes adjust.
Once the sun came up animals started to materialize. Not deer, but more skunks! WTH! Six outings to this spot and this was the first time we had seen skunks and there were a bunch of them. These newest ones were 300 yards away, but still!
After a couple hours of sitting I finally spotted deer down the ridge. They slowly fed up the hill and then stopped. I knew something was amiss and raised up my binoculars. I stared into the brush and spotted the other bowhunter making his way down the opposite ridge. With any luck, the does would spook and head toward me. My plan worked and they bolted right up a trail that crossed 30-40 yards in front of me.
I tried to range the lead deer, but the grass in front of me kept throwing me off. That's what I get for not practicing on elevated levels. I drew and waited. The last doe spotted me and they bolted 40 yards uphill. I had time to range the only one broadside, but it just happened to be the on on high alert. She was at 60 yards, leg raised and bent, and wondering what I was. I stood there, at full draw for two minutes. I let down because while I felt comfortable shooting at 60 yards, I was not about to risk a long shot on an amped up deer and risking a wounded deer.
The fun was just beginning as the deer walked behind a bush and started feeding. Then, according to a text from Michael, the largest doe bedded down 50-60 yards from me, but I couldn't see her! She stayed that way for a half hour! I watched the other deer walk around, feed, stare at me some more, but I had no shot. Then, the little one started snorting, stomping, snorting, and snorting some more. She knew I was there, but had no idea what I was. All four deer jumped up, walked around the bushes and then came back. Then the one bedded again and I had to wait for them to appear for a shot. One of them started to come out at 45 yards and just as I was about to draw she turned away. Then she started snorting and stomping again. It was truly comical to hear. It was an odd snort, like you knew she couldn't smell you, but she knew damn well I was something out of place. A few minutes later all four deer bounded over the hill and out of sight.
I sent a text to Michael letting him know I was going to wait an hour and see if any other deer appeared. On a far hillside I spotted a lone doe, but that was it. No more deer for the day. I decided that it was time to head home after that. In our adventures out here we hadn't seen the deer moving in the afternoon. Time to throw in the towel.
|Ending the day in the hills.|
We had a great season, learned a lot and I am super thankful to have been out as many times as we did. I am bummed the season is over, but I learned that I need to hit a 3D range, work out harder and get in super shape. 2012 is going to be a super year and I am ready to grab it by the horns!