While the Hoginator and his wife are enjoying a vacation….yes, I said vacation! Taking non-hunting vacations that overlap with opening day is just plain wrong but that is a subject for another post.
My game plan for opening weekend was to hunt the morning on some private land where I would kill the first legal deer that came out. With that out of the way, I would go to the national wildlife refuge where my plan was to kill another deer or hog or both in the afternoon.
Everything was going as planned. My gear was ready; truck packed, and alarm set. When Saturday morning arrived I was out the door at 4:55 AM. The drive was uneventful under the dark night sky. there were no deer or hogs seen on the side of the road, a good indicator that there may morning activity. When I arrived at the property I pulled my climber out, strap my pack and go to it and walked in to my setup location. The pine tree I climbed is a perfect tree in the perfect place….not easy to come by even in a forest. It's a tall straight 10 to 12 inch diameter longleaf Southern Yellow Pine. It's one of my favorite trees on the property and from about 25 feet up and looking under the canopy of a very large Live Oak to one side and a fence line to the other. I’ve probably killed at least 10 or more deer from that tree.
I was up the tree and ready just before first light. I listened and watched as the sky grew lighter and when I could see the pins of my sight I stood up ready just in case deer would move. Finally at 8:45 AM ago and three yearlings and a mature doe came out of the thicket and under the oak tree. They all moved within range but one of the yearlings was acting skittish. The deer all decided to turn and head back into the brush. The mature doe offered a steeply angled shot and only for a moment before she would slip into the brush. I drew back put my 20 yard pin in the exact location that I expected my arrow to enter, cut through any ribs pierce the lung and perhaps even the heart. When I released my arrow there was there sound of a good hit as the arrow found its mark. However in that split second before the doe disappeared, I was surprised to see is that my arrow was not buried as deep as I had expected. In fact for the split second I watched the deer run out of sight it looked like most of the arrow was not embedded.
To make a long disappointing story short, I waited some time, followed a weak blood trail and determined that the doe had travelled onto private property I did not have permission to enter. I think that the fact that I had substantially reduced my draw weight due to a shoulder injury, and was using a new broadhead that was not a cut on contact head contributed to not recovering the doe.