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Video: Blacktail Deer Hunting on Afognak Island, Pt. 2

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January 04, 2013
Video: Blacktail Deer Hunting on Afognak Island, Pt. 2 - 5

Thanksgiving Day on Afognak Island brought a nasty windstorm. This made a lot of areas inaccessible by boat due to a large swell, so we hunted the woods around Seal Bay. Another of Luke’s buddies, Josh Tobey, and I were dropped off on one side of the bay, and Luke, Adam, and Kevin hopped off on the other.

We slowly hiked up the steep hill at the head of the bay through foot-deep snow covered with fresh deer tracks. I was hunting with my recurve, and also had along a simple bleat call to try on the blacktails. After things settled down and we topped a ridge overlooking a brushy draw, we decided to try calling. Within two minutes of my first bleat, a nice fork-horn buck came running over another ridge and held up at about 40 yards directly across the draw. I didn’t feel comfortable with the shot, and Josh passed on him, so as the deer worked around downwind, we lost him.

After seeing that, and remembering the way my dad and I would call mule deer with a bleat call when I was a kid, we tried the next set-up differently. Josh did the calling, and I set up 50 yards down wind, standing next to a huge tree. After about 15 minutes of calling I saw a big 3x3 walk up the ridge directly toward me. He was getting closer and closer, and when he was 10 yards away, he walked behind a group of trees. As he popped his head out the other side only 8 yards away, the buck caught me at mid draw and spooked.

About an hour later, I spotted a small forked buck bedded about 60 yards below us in a draw. I figured there was no way I would be able to sneak up on him, but Josh encouraged me to give it a shot, so I took off after him. The next thing I knew I was 20 yards from the buck. He got up and started feeding and spotted me. To make a long story short, I flubbed two shots at him, the second shot hitting him in the guts. We spent the rest of the day tracking him down, finally shooting him with a rifle.

As much as it disgusted me to make two bad shots and wound the deer, it was quite a relief to be able to wrap things up and make sure that we recovered him. We made it back to the beach at last light and were on our way to a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner.

Comments (5)

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from tylerfreel85 wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

that's a good point JM....there's a lot of critters that are wounded by rifles as well...the moose I killed with my bow this year had TWO old barnes TSX bullets in his shoulders

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from JM wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

Just re-read my comment and it kind of came out the wrong way, so please don't take my comment the wrong way John. I respect that you have made so many clean kills and that you seem to be a very humane hunter. I just wanted to give a different point of view on the issue.

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from JM wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

@John,
You act like no one has ever wounded/not recovered an animal with a rifle. When compared to rifle/shotgun hunting, I can guarantee you that there are (by far) less animals wounded/not recovered by bow and arrow.

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from John A Pierog wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

I have been a rifle/shotgun hunter for the last 53 years. After watching so many flubbed shots by bowhunters on The Sportsman Channel and listening about your miscues, I have to say I'm really starting to turn on the bowhunting issue. All of my kills in Alaska, Colorado and New York have been one shot affairs with the exception of one brown bear on Kodiak Island. I really dislike the thought of any living thing having to suffer because of human mistakes.

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from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

Nice footage, I would love to hunt blacktail again.

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from JM wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

@John,
You act like no one has ever wounded/not recovered an animal with a rifle. When compared to rifle/shotgun hunting, I can guarantee you that there are (by far) less animals wounded/not recovered by bow and arrow.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from John A Pierog wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

I have been a rifle/shotgun hunter for the last 53 years. After watching so many flubbed shots by bowhunters on The Sportsman Channel and listening about your miscues, I have to say I'm really starting to turn on the bowhunting issue. All of my kills in Alaska, Colorado and New York have been one shot affairs with the exception of one brown bear on Kodiak Island. I really dislike the thought of any living thing having to suffer because of human mistakes.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

Just re-read my comment and it kind of came out the wrong way, so please don't take my comment the wrong way John. I respect that you have made so many clean kills and that you seem to be a very humane hunter. I just wanted to give a different point of view on the issue.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tylerfreel85 wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

that's a good point JM....there's a lot of critters that are wounded by rifles as well...the moose I killed with my bow this year had TWO old barnes TSX bullets in his shoulders

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from idduckhntr wrote 1 year 27 weeks ago

Nice footage, I would love to hunt blacktail again.

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