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Old 07-09-2012, 05:32 PM
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ElectricChicken ElectricChicken is offline
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Default Bow Kill on the Ground

I wrote this with intent of sending it to a magazine for publishing but never got around to it. Attached a few pictures of the deer and the situation I was in before the shot. Someone may enjoy.

Feet Firmly Planted

I could not believe they were still coming. The lead doe followed by another big doe, small 3 point buck, two smaller does and two fawns just kept getting closer and closer. I was frozen in the creek, squatted in a feeble attempt to hide, with only the backdrop of a sandy bank to disguise myself as something other than a hunter. My bottom bow limb was in the creek, setting on the gravel bottom in hopes of stabilizing my bow arm from shaking uncontrollably, a direct correlation to the pounding in my chest. At 15 yards she glanced at me and hesitated for a second before proceeding even closer. At 10 yards she looked again and you could see in her eyes that something was trying to register but she had a destination for herself and the crew following. As she turned to go around to my right I could no longer risk following her with my head, eyes squinted I was face to face with the second big doe at 8 yards and then at 3 yards, the first doe froze in that squatted stance that lets you know that all that is will soon change dramatically. How would this one turn out?
Ground hunting for me started in 1992 in my first season as a deer hunter in South Louisiana. I took up the bow during that first season, a borrowed gift from a guy at church that knew he would not use it ever again. It was a compound bow and although a hunter of ducks since childhood, (thanks Dad), I had never pursued deer before. Hurricane Andrew had passed and knocked down huge Pin Oak trees in Sherburnne WMA where we were hunting and I found myself on the root system of a fallen tree looking down a slough. One deer trail passed in front of my hiding place at 8 yards and another on the side at 18.
A deer flew across the slough about 60 yards away and then another deer followed. I knew nothing about rutting behavior and did not know what to expect. A doe soon appeared heading down the side trail toward a nasty briar thicket on the opposite side of the slough. I had no shot and when she entered the thicket I grunted at her with the call that someone told me to use to bring deer closer for a possible shot. Little did I know how good that would work! She stopped and looked my way but kept going wherever she was going. When I heard a twig snap and looked up a fork horn, obviously the second flying deer which had heard the grunt call was coming toward me at an angle and it looked like he might walk the 8 yard trail. I drew the compound back and held my 10 yard pin on the trail and he walked right into it. I hit the trigger release and my arrow shot off the string and he shot out of there and stopped at 40 yards looking back.
I could see my arrow in the dirt and there was no blood on it. I tried to put another arrow on the string but the deer saw me and started to stomp his feet. I thought another animal was making a snorting sound, (I did not know that deer blew an alarm), and that whatever it was would scare him back toward me and possibly another shot. Turns out it was him saying, “I see you and I am going to let every living creature in the Atchafalaya Basin know I see you!”
He left and I almost died –literally. I have NEVER had my heart beat so hard before. I thought I was having a heart attack. I was praying and asking the Lord to help me calm down- it was off the charts! My pulse was in my ears, pounding uncontrollably and seemingly would not stop. I was experiencing what I had been told about by almost everyone I had spoken with about deer hunting- buck fever! Man, this was the bomb! I was hooked from that moment on two things – bow hunting and ground hunting.
When I looked at my bow the second arrow was at an angle and I soon discovered that the knock had slid up about and inch and a half when I drew the bow and my shot went under the buck as he walked by. That was my first move toward traditional archery as well. I could not help but think that I could have killed that buck with a stick and string. In fact, I went to fingers and no release on the compound and then bought a recurve bow soon after and knew that I had found the way that I would like to do it.
Larry Dahlberg with the TV show, “Hunt for Big Fish” said there are 4 stages to a fishermen’s journey in fishing. First, you just want to catch a fish. Secondly, you want to catch a lot of fish. Thirdly, you want to catch a big fish. Fourthly, you want to catch fish the way you want to catch them. I am sure many of you can relate to this concerning deer hunting as well. I sure can. If the way you do it matters- and who that shoots traditional archery does not fit into that category-read on.
In 1993 I read Dr. Ken Nordberg’s Whitetail Almanac 5th edition, as he expounded on what he called “Portable Stump Hunting.” His research had shown him that they were seeing 2-3 times more deer of all age class’s ground hunting as opposed to tree stands and their success rate on adult bucks increased as well. Though he spoke of bow hunting from the ground it was obvious by the pictures and stories that most of his success was with firearms. I would find out in the ensuing years why. It is not easy to kill a deer on the ground with a bow! I do not oppose tree stands and in fact I hunt in them still today. The book however was instrumental in instructing me on the details of ground hunting that have led to many exceptional experiences on the ground with deer.
G. Fred Asbell has been writing about ground hunting in articles for Traditional Bowhunter Magazine for some time now and I have read them and the other things he has written with great interest. The part that he communicates that I want to stress to you is the utter enjoyment of hunting whitetails on the ground. Growing up in Louisiana we do not spot and stalk deer. You got your butt up a tree and waited for them. I knew no one that bow hunted whitetails from the ground. You guys out west can relate to adapting your hunting to the ground for whitetails because you have experience with other animals like mule deer and elk. You are a fortunate bunch!
Fred speaks of building blinds to sit in and it is obvious to see why that would work. Where I hunt in Louisiana and Mississippi, the deer are often bedded very close to where you hunt so the construction of a blind before a hunt is mostly not practical and actually hurts your chances so you have to build blinds ahead of time. I know it is different in the Midwest in regards to bedding areas, food sources etc. and I am sure that is why it works well there. Also, for us we do not need to build blinds because of our abundance of ground cover to tuck up into. Our stuff is so thick that the problem is more shooting lanes and what are you going to cut or clip than how or where to hide- just depends where you I hunt.
The things I employ in ground hunting are very simple indeed but important if you are going to get bow close on the ground. First, you need a place to sit. I use a Primos Double Bull stool mostly. It is comfortable, (i.e. back rest) and easy to carry with some adjustments. I have put 2 carry straps on my stool so I can carry it like a backpack. This helps with going through cover silently. The vinyl type seat material can make some noise if you rub it against branches and such. There are other stools with the triangle bottom that are on the market that will work well too. I also have been using a swivel seat that buckles to a tree that offers the advantage of a greater shooting radius. I have had to put silencing material in certain places to lessen the chances of metallic sounds but if you know you can strap it to a tree and have good cover it is something to try for sure. I have not tried the swivel stools yet but intend too. For me, what is most important is the comfort when you think of a stool because one of the biggest factors in ground hunting-besides the wind- is remaining motionless as much as possible. It is imperative that you limit your movement and when you do move to use slow deliberate acts of motion. It will blow your mind how close a deer will come to you if you just stay still.
Cover is next. I like to do as Nordberg suggested in his books. I utilize existing cover and change it as little as possible. Like I said it is necessary for me most times to cut holes to shoot through whereas in other instances and locales you may need to add some cover. Your face and hands MUST be covered. Use a face mask, gloves or face paint. I like the stretchy face mask that cling tight to your face for better feel on my anchor point. Use whatever works for you concerning clothing but make sure it is quiet when you move.
I have had great success this season for the first time ever calling deer to me on the ground. The key where I hunt is a low volume call. Where I hunt deer just do not respond to aggressive calling like the mid west and other parts of the country. I had almost given up on calling all together but am really glad I didn’t. I use a Primos Hands Free Buck & Doe Model 717 call. I only make one call at a time and it is a very soft note that last about 2 seconds. I have called up only does so far and that’s just fine with me because when the rut comes I know the bucks won’t be far behind.
One of the things that make bow hunting on the ground harder compared to tree stands or gun hunting from the ground is the drawing of the bow. As you continue to set up and get busted- and you will- you will be more aware of trying to set up where a deer will pass you slightly before the shot or the proper use of available blocking cover. In the early years I set up too close to trails and as many of you know, when you get inside a certain distance, movement just does not work at all. Set up further away and still inside your effective range. This may require you to aim low on the deer when the woods are really quiet to allow for deer to drop into your arrow as the react to the noise of your release. I am still getting a grip on that facet of ground hunting after a few over the back shots. Let the deer where you hunt dictate that. Where I hunt they come unglued even with the quietness of a longbow.
If you enjoy the adrenaline rush like I do, you just have to try ground hunting. There is no telling what might happen. Maybe it’s the raccoon at two feet before he notices you and the look on his face when he realizes that you are not a bush or the six point buck at six yards that messes up your shot at the eight point buck that’s ten yards behind him. Maybe you will have a water moccasin swim 5 feet from you while sitting against the bank of a small bayou on his way to who knows where when he notices you and kind of looks at you with that-well you know that look if you’ve ever seen it. How about 3 bucks coming down a creek crossing so fast that all you can do is sit there in shock when they zoom by you and shake like the blob of human jello that you really are in those circumstances. Maybe, just maybe you will put your stool in the right spot, at the right time and actually get the shot off and it will hit the mark and you will sit there thankful that you gave this ground hunting a try.
There I was with seven deer within 20 yards and the jig was up. Granted this was not a typical hunt in that I had not set up in this place. I was in fact on my way to a spot when these seven deer came down a bank, into the creek I was in and walked right at me. The first doe busted backwards and the others followed her lead. I figured the stampede had begun. At 25 yards she just slowed to a stop to take a second look, not knowing what it was she saw. As soon as her feet stopped the arrow was on its way and I watch as she, my arrow and the others retreated back to the thicket they had come from, knowing that she would not go far.
And there I was again; feet firmly planted, praying for God to help my beating heart.

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Old 07-09-2012, 05:37 PM
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jchief jchief is offline
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Submit it to Bayou Bucks.

Great read
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:16 PM
whunter29 whunter29 is offline
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Great read
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:24 PM
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calcutta37 calcutta37 is offline
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Great read
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:20 PM
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ElectricChicken ElectricChicken is offline
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Thanks guys. I read Bluechips post on his bow practice and it got me thinking about the upcoming season and how neat it is when you first start bowhunting. Nothing like it.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:30 PM
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bgizzle bgizzle is offline
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Dude that was great. Submit it and let me know how it goes I have done the same thing a few times and ppl told me to submit it but I didn't think it would do any justice.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:32 PM
Gerald Gerald is offline
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Great read......can relate a lot to your story, I was almost run over by 4 does one time.
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