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Indiana Hunter Takes Her First Deer with a Recurve Bow

“I just decided this year was going to be my year”
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indiana hunter first recurve deer
Lesley Snider with the first doe she harvested with her recurve bow. Courtesy Lesley Snider

After four years spent practicing with her recurve bow, Lesley Snider went into the season feeling confident enough to hunt with it. In early October, the mother of two used the bow to harvest her first deer from a tree stand on private land.

Snider, who lives in Trafalgar south of Indianapolis, started shooting a recurve with her family’s help. She eventually signed up for some local archery tournaments and preparing for those events helped her become a more confident and proficient archer. She tells Outdoor Life that she always saw herself hunting with a traditional bow, but that she didn’t want to rush into it until she felt like she was ready.

“I didn’t want to take [the recurve bow] out without the confidence and skills needed to shoot at a live animal,” Snider says. “They’ve got to be close, 30 yards or less, for me to feel confident making a good shot. I’ve seen plenty of deer over the years, but I never had a chance at a deer until the afternoon of Oct. 8 on family land in Brown County.”

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Snider gets ready to process the doe in her father-in-law's barn. Courtesy Lesley Snider

That day around 2 p.m., Snider climbed into a ladder stand overlooking a food plot surrounded by timber. Sitting 20 feet of the ground with spotty cell service, she settled in to watch squirrels and the occasional wild turkey off in the distance. Hours later she spotted her first deer of the sit.  

“Two small deer stepped into the food plot late that afternoon,” she explains. “They were there for an hour or so and bedded down about 40 yards out.”

Since they were too far outside her comfort zone, Snider patiently watched the deer until a bigger doe showed up. The doe was only 23 yards away as it walked out of the timber and headed for the field. A tree blocked her first shot opportunity, so she repositioned and saw an opening.

“I was able to move over a bit on the ladder to get a clean view of her,” Snider recalls. “Then I picked a spot behind her shoulder and concentrated on it. I drew my bow, anchored it in the corner of my mouth and released my arrow.”

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The carbon arrow hit the doe in the spine and the fixed-blade broadhead did its job, dropping the deer on the spot. Snider then called her husband and her father-in-law, who arrived with a truck and helped field dress the doe. The three hunters then proudly brought Snider’s first deer to her father-in-law’s barn, where they butchered it and processed the venison.

“I just decided this year was going to be my year,” Snider says. “But I still can’t believe I shot my first deer with my recurve.”