Video: Blacktail Deer Hunting on Afognak Island, Pt. 4

After beating myself up over some bad shooting, a good night's sleep, and a few extra practice arrows in the morning after breakfast, we were back in the boat. The weather was holding, so we headed back into the bays we had hunted the day before, and it quickly became apparent that there were even more deer on the beaches. On the first beach we checked there was a buck that had some real potential. We got within rifle range, but Wayne decided to pass since it wasn't any bigger than his first buck.

We headed back out into the bay and within minutes had spotted deer on several beaches. As we got closer, we saw that one beach had a dandy buck. "This one's not getting off that beach alive," said Luke, once saw how big he was. The deer walked around a rocky point to another beach, wading in surf up to his chest, one swell almost knocking him over! He made it to a group of does, however, just as we made our final drift in. Wayne took aim and fired, with his buddy Zeev giving a quick backup shot. Wayne's shot was good, although it actually went through a small log that was right in front of the buck's heart. Luckily, Wayne had good bullets and the buck didn't go far.

After loading Wayne's buck, we backed out to glass other beaches we had also seen deer on, and almost right away Luke spotted what looked like a good shooter for me. As we got closer, we saw that this was a really big 3x3. I hopped off the ramp onto the beach as the swell went down, and Luke backed the boat up. I took a few steps, but the buck knew I was there and wasn't sticking around. He started working his way up the hill, and paused at about 30 yards. I drew my bow, and Luke hit the deer bleat to get his attention. I made sure to focus on the shot, released, and saw the feathers disappear into the buck's front shoulder. He took off, but piled up just up the hill, and a huge wave of relief swept over me. It's hard enough to stay consistent with a traditional bow, without having an audience of 4 or 5 guys waiting to see if you've gotten over your yips.

The deer was even bigger than I had thought, and one of the biggest of the week. He was heavy and wide, and should easily make the Pope and Young record book. Records aside, it was an awesome trip, and a heck of a way to close out my 2012 hunting season. Josh and Luke are a blast to hunt with, and it was as hard as ever to leave.