Tue, 28 October 2008, 11:14 pm
Archery season for deer started last weekend in Western New York, and my dad and I have spent a lot of time already chasing after our white-tailed furry friends. This past weekend, Dad decided to take some time to spend with Mom (a smart idea). Since Tricia and I weren’t doing much after our High School Musical 3 fun with the kids, she told me to go sit in the woods. So, that’s just what I did early on Sunday morning. I saw plenty of deer – even a couple of bucks – 100 yards from my tree stand. Frustrated by everything being too far away, I took a trip to Gander Mountain to get some “attractant”. Literally some doe pee.
Sunday Night Special
Sunday afternoon, I gobbled up some golabkis while watching the Bills lose to Miami, then headed for the woods. I decided to sit in my dad’s tree stand for the first time because he’s been talking about all the deer he’s seen at night from there. I dragged some attractant around the area and hopped up into the stand around 5:00pm. It was a windy afternoon, but temps were in the 60’s, so I didn’t even need my cold weather gear.
At around 5:45 as I was standing there bored, probably singing a Rascal Flatts song in my head, I turned over my left shoulder and my eyes bugged out! A buck was standing broadside in front of a row of corn about 20 yards from me. I froze. Then the deer put down its head to munch on some grass. I slowly raised my bow and drew back the arrow. The deer took a few more steps beyond a fencepost that was obstructing my shot, and I let it fly! I saw it hit a little bit high, but I knew it was a good shot nonetheless. That’s how fast it all happens…from bored to shot in the air within about 20 seconds.
Tracking in the Dark and in a Thunderstorm
Since I was all alone, my first call was to my dad who was 40 minutes away. He said to get down out of the tree and see if there was a blood trail. If so, he’d make the trip and help me track the deer. Sure enough, there was a blood trail. When I called my dad back, he was already on the road. I called my wife and father-in-law next to give them the good news. I got out my surveyor’s tape and began marking blood every 20 feet or so, listening and watching closely for any activity. At about 6:15pm I saw a deer jump up and bound away from where the blood trail led. I thought for sure I had spooked the deer I shot – never a good thing.
I was mad at myself for being over-eager, but at the same time I was kind of worried. It was getting dark and a black thundercloud rolled in. I told myself to stand still until my dad would arrive in a half-hour. During that time it started to pour, freaking me out that the blood trail would wash away. Not to mention lightning streaked across the sky which didn’t seem real safe. Luckily, after about 10 minutes, the rain passed, and the skies cleared.
My dad got to the field at around 6:45 coming from the direction where I had last seen my deer bound away. It was dark, and we both started looking for blood again. For about 15 minutes I followed the trail, and my dad looked further up the trail. When I reached the point where I thought the deer had bedded down I asked him if he was picking up the trail. At that point he said “I don’t see any blood, but I DO see YOUR deer!” “Really?”, I said because I thought for sure the deer would be 50 yards away or more from the last spot I had seen it. AWESOME! I was so excited.
7 Points of Bliss
When we finally found the deer, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was my first buck, and a much bigger one than I could tell from my vantage point so far up in a tree. We counted 7 points – 3 on one side, and 4 on the other. I called the family to give them the good news, and let them know I wouldn’t be out all night in a thunderstorm tracking the deer. Then we got to work on field dressing and dragging the beast to the truck. After all that sweat and energy, I asked my dad to take a picture. His ‘uh oh’ reaction gave me a sinking feeling. See, I purposely had not brought a camera with me so as to not ‘jinx’ my hunt, but in all the commotion I forgot to ask Dad to bring his. All we had was my iPhone without a flash and we snapped this blurry pic in the headlights:
Getting the Photos and DIY Deer Processing
I had intended to bring the deer over to Steel Sausage, our favorite deer processor in Avon, but Tim wasn’t open Sunday night. So, we trucked it to my Dad’s garage and hung it from his car lift. That thing can hold 5 tons – and was probably the most overkill you’ll ever see for a deer hoist. For us, it worked perfectly.
The next morning before work, I tried to take it to the processor again, but I wasn’t hitting his hours of operation. So, we decided to bring the deer back to Webster and find a processor closer to home. And finally I was going to get my pictures! My lovely wife helped my pull the deer from my truck for some poses on the front lawn of my house. I like to let my neighbors know that I keep it real. Here’s some glamor shots:
Gary convinced me to process the deer myself (which we’ve done together before), so we decided to use my bike hoist in the garage for something other than what it was intended for…
Mason wore a tribute shirt to school in honor of the buck, and got an anatomy lesson when he came home. He was really excited about the deer – making a request to keep the antlers. I gently told the boy, that those antlers are DADDY’s, but that he’s very welcome to look at them whenever he wants to 😉
Tomorrow night Gary and I will finish processing and grinding the meat. I can’t wait for my trip to Tony Costanza’s to get some of the best sausage on the planet made. If you are ever at my house ask for a sample, you won’t believe how good it is!
Thanks to my dad for helping with the tracking, hauling, and for use of the stand that I used to get this guy, and to my dad-in-law for the processing. It was great to share this with you guys. Getting my first buck was an awesome experience.