Zone Reader's Sika Deer Story

Oct_26_06 _From a Big Buck Zone reader in Maryland:

_I have lived in Md. all my life and this is my 20th Archery season but I have never ventured to our lower Eastern Shore to hunt Sika Deer "The Poor Man's Elk". These little guys are awesome. I hooked up with some guys I met through our Md. Bowhunters Society that have been hunting these deer for years and we headed for some of the swampiest mosquito infested public ground that Md. has to offer. After a mile long hike through knee and waist high muck in the dark while listening to the sounds of the "Mini Elk" whistling (sounds like a bull elk after sucking on a helium balloon) we were in our stands in flooded timber. The Sika rut was in full swing and shortly after first light I saw my first live Free Range Sika...a small calf...meandering slowly through the swamp eating marsh grass...Then things got crazy...I saw a large Hind being chased by an awesome 3X3 Stag and a 2X2 in tow. The Hind was making sounds like cow talk from an Elk and the Stag was frustrated, grunting, and wheezing. The splashing and crashing brought back the small calf from earlier which caused the big Stag to come closer to my shooting lane to investigate...Once he realized this was just a calf he jumped up on a clump dry ground and put out his neck as if to bugle...only to let out a uuumph...whhheze...of frustration...I had already hit this clump with my rangefinder at 35 yds. so I sent an arrow on its way...a 20 yd brisket dragging run was made by the deer before piling up in the water.....I stood there in my stand with my Jaw on the platform in disbelief...I knew the magnitude of this animal...He looks small but for this type of critter he is pretty good...I have had people tell me since the hunt that this is the equivelant of taking a Booner Whitetail on your first bowhunt. I cant say that I did any work to find the animal...that was kinda luck because I was relying on my friends to lead the way...but boy did I work getting him out...The GPS said 1 mile to the truck and even though he was only about 90 pounds the drag through the muck was difficult.

Thanks for hearing the story Mike... I have had one of my best seasons ever and this added to it...earlier in August I killed a near B&C pronghorn with my bow and then a big whitetail here in Md.Here are some pics of all of them...The scenery pic and the drag pic are from the sika hunt...Thanks, Troy Knoll