Opening-Day Bow Double

Oct_15_06 ZONER Adam Freeborough sent me this story from the PA opener:

I was bowhunting near my hometown of Youngsville with my dad Dave, my brother Brett and a close family friend, Ernie. We hunted that morning and saw some deer, but no shots were taken.

Around 5:30 that evening I got an excited cell call from Ernie. He’d shot a nice doe. Ernie has had a 9-year string of bad luck with his bow. I climbed down from my stand and went to congratulate him and take some pictures. Ernie was fired up! He asked if I wanted to hunt out his stand for the rest of the short evening.

Figuring I might shoot a doe too, I took him up on it and climbed up. Ernie left his doe where she fell, about 40 yards from the stand, and he would come back to dress her out in an hour or so, once I was done hunting.

Minutes later I looked up and saw 3 bucks! They fed out into a field 75 yards upwind and began working away from me. I had forgotten my call so I began grunting and bleating with my voice. They'd lift their heads and look, but plodded away. I kept calling, loud enough to get their attention over the wind.

I was losing hope, but I gave one last loud bleat. The biggest buck turned 180 degrees in mid-stride and headed right for me, and the smaller bucks followed. I began to shake. He never paused until he hit the wood line, and he kept coming. At 20 yards he stopped behind a tree and I drew my Mathews SQ2.

After 10 seconds he took 2 steps and went broadside. I buried the pin on his shoulder and fired the arrow. He bucked, took 2 jumps and stopped. The shakes really set in as he started to sway and then went on a death charge. As he passed the white belly of Ernie's doe, his legs buckled and he crashed down.

I called Ernie and begged his forgiveness—I’d killed a great buck from his stand! Ernie, a class act, was as happy and excited for me as if he’d killed the deer. He hurried back and we shook hands, laughed, took more pictures and dressed out our deer.

What a way to start the season. What a great friend to share the fantastic hunt with. We had quite the celebration that night Mike!

HANBACK’S MORALS of the STORY:

1. Everybody worries about over-hunting a stand, but you can under-hunt one too. If a stand is in just the right place, and if deer are on an active pattern there, and if the wind is right, and if you hunt smart, you might kill 2 deer there on consecutive days or even on the same day like Ernie and Adam did.

2.Never hunt without your call. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by grunting and/or bleating at EVERY buck you see. You never know when one might turn and come. If you forget your call like Adam did, grunt or bleat with your voice.

3. When Adam saw that the 3 bucks weren’t very interested in his calls, he kicked up the volume and intensity until he rifled them up. Read a buck and adjust your grunts/bleats like that.

4. Anytime you can hunt with family and/or close friends do it. Life and your hunting time are too short to waste with jerks or egomaniacs (i.e. those sad sacks who get hurt feelings or even pissed if you get your buck but they don’t). Hunt with people you like, and be happy when they kill one and help them drag it out.

Awesome job Ernie and Adam!