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PostPosted: November 3rd, 2014, 9:57 pm 
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Location: Lake Mills, WI
I'm not proud to have to post this one. They say all's well that end well, but I still don't like it when things don't go as planned. But there are a couple of lessons to be taken from the story, so here goes.

I had spent the past 4 days at our hunting cabin in west central Wisconsin with my wife. I had been seeing deer, and the start of some good rutting action. But we had planned only on the 4 days so headed for home yesterday afternoon. The good news is that the deer hunting around my home is as good if not better than at the cabin.

A couple of hours before dark I headed to a favorite stand just a 100 yards or so from my back door. I have a small apple orchard there and the deer really love the treats.

Five minutes after settling in a small forkhorn appeared and gobbled up a few tasty apples. He wandered off, and I spotted another buck out across the marsh along my back ditch line.

He appeared to be a fairly wide buck, but only a six point assuming he had brow tines at all. Not one I wanted to shoot, but cool to see. Then a doe popped into the open near him and stood as he approached. He climbed on top and had his way with her. That was a first for me. After all the hours I had spent in a tree stand I had never witnessed an actual breeding take place. And this one seemed to be much earlier in the month than I would have expected. Maybe they were just practicing. :saywhat:

Shortly after than episode the small forky came back looking for more apples. Following directly behind him was another buck that brought my interest to a whole 'nother level.
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Last edited by Joe Lasch on November 3rd, 2014, 10:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: November 3rd, 2014, 9:59 pm 
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The picture above was taken by my trail camera. I was perched in another tree off to the left of the photo.

As if scripted, the bigger buck walked closer toward me before turning broadside, then slightly quatering away. Completely unaware at 15 yards, I couldn't ask for a better opportunity. After beginning my draw the rest of the shot seemed to be on autopilot. A very faulty autopilot as it turns out. I can't say I remember anchoring, aiming or pulling through. The next thing I remember was my arrow smacking the deer in the right rear leg!!!

What the heck??? I've never missed a shot so badly in my life!!!! Totally disgusted with myself I could only helplessly watch as he ran off with the arrow imbedded in his lower hip. He stopped and looked back for a bit before slowly walking off into the thick red willows of my marsh.

I was literally sick. Animals don't deserve that kind of treatment and I felt aweful to be the sole cause of it.

I had still only been in the stand for about 45 minutes, and headed back to the house to figure out what to do next. A phone call to a good friend venting my frustrations and berating myself led to a more calm discussion on the next best course of action. Even though the hit was horrible and the chance of recovery nil, I had the obligation to follow it up. My best hope was that when he got into the thick willow cover the arrow might pull out intact, the blood flow would clot, and he would live to see another season.

I have a Boykin Spaniel named Arlo that lives to blood trail deer. After dark I took him down to where I had last seen the buck. Blood sign was good, but of course everything I found was going to be all there was. There would be no body cavity filling up with blood.

Shortly after entering the willows I found my arrow. The broadhead itself was missing and had broken off at the adapter. Twenty five yards past that I heard the deer jump from its bed and crash off throught impossibly thick willows. We trailed to his bed, and the blood trail continued past it. Arlo was as hot on the trail as I have ever seen him and I struggled to hang on to his lead. I use a 30 length of rope for trailing and knew that I didn't dare let go of it for a second or he would be gone.

Everything I knew (which isn't much) about blood trailing a muscle hit deer is to keep them moving and hopefully the blood flowing. We continued on as fast as I could possibly go through the thick cover. The trail crossed a ditch and then a fenceline into a picked corn field. We could make better time out there and were nearly running on the track.

I shined my flashlight ahead and saw deers eyes reflected back to me maybe 150 yards across the stubble at the edge of a brushy fenceline. To far to identify if it might be the buck, but the blood was leading us toward the eyes. As we approached closer the buck suddenly got up and loped across in front of us at 40 yards. He was obviously hurting to let us get so close. He made a wide cirle and headed back toward my little marsh.

We followed back across the original blood trail, crossing at the same spot on the ditch. Arlo had no trouble staying on the fresher trail. Continuing on as fast as we could on to our neighbors property, the trail was still very good with plenty of blood. As we entered a section of tall marsh grass the buck once again jumped from a bed only 15 yards in front of us. He had to be getting weak. I know that I was!

He was now headed toward the road. I stopped for a short break to give Arlo (and myself) a chance to catch our breath. I again called my buddy to discuss what his thoughts were on what to do in a situation like this. We both felt the only hope was to keep pushing on.

Forty or so yards past our rest stop we came on to the buck in his final bed. The nightmare was over for both the buck and I.

As I said at the start of this thread, I am not proud of what happened last night. I am happy to have ended up with a great buck, but it will always be tainted with remorse over a shot poorly executed on my part.

The lessons we need to take from this are to follow up every hit, no matter how slim the chance of recovery may be. Secondly, be as knowledgable as you can possibly be on how to follow up different hits after the shot. When I came back to the house to get Arlo I actually got online and found a great short tip sheet to use on following up wounded deer from DeerSearch.com http://deersearchflc.com/RecoveryTips.pdf

I have a copy printed out and will be carrying it with me in the future. It will go in a pocket of an orange vest that I have set up specifically for blood trailing. Some of the other items that I have in the vest are flashlights and batteries, knife, toilet paper for marking trails, gps, gloves, hat, and of course Arlo's harness and leash. Having a seperate vest or at least a bag prepacked with everything you might need helps to make sure you are not stuck out on a trail without something that you wish you had remembered to pack.

Arlo and his deer. He earned it far more than I did.
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PostPosted: November 3rd, 2014, 10:13 pm 
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Congrats Joe on finding your buck. Sometimes things just don't go as planed, even in all our best efforts. A good ending to a not so good beginning.

Joe


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PostPosted: November 3rd, 2014, 10:21 pm 
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You did it AGAIN Joe! Congratulations!

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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 5:39 am 
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Joe...nicely told story. You've got more experience in the woods than a majority of bowhunters, and I think THAT is what made the difference here. A flier arrow is a real p---er but especially so on a living animal. No guarantees when the string drops. Anyway...

I feel stories like this are great for us to read and think about. Commitment to wounded animal recovery must be 100%, and PBS guys have always held themselves to a very high standard. You (Joe) represent us very well, and that...at least...should put a 'bow' on this kill. A double handful of really nice antlers doesn't hurt either!


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 6:04 am 
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Thanks for the lesson Joe......handsome buck as well

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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 6:09 am 
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Congrats Joe. What happens after a poor shot can very often make the difference in recovery. Your experience and diligence paid off in the recovery of this deer. Be proud that you stuck with it and your knowledge and tenacity got it done. Great buck!


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 6:21 am 
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Joe, first of all, congratulations to Arlo and to you on a very fine buck! Your story was fantastic, I was right there with you, gasping for air quite far behind you of course. How exhilarating it must have been to put your tag on him after such a WTF moment, which most of us have had at one time or another. Great effort that you'll remember for a long time. Hopefully Arlo got some tenderloin out of the deal!


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 7:58 am 
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That was a good story Joe. Congratulations.


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 8:55 am 
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Fantastic Buck Brother!


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 9:17 am 
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Joe, congratulations on a fine buck. If you've done it long enough, things happen in the real world we'd rather not. What happens during the recovery is often the difference between venison and nothing.

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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 11:07 am 
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Congratulations. Glad it all worked out ok.


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 11:20 am 
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Way to go! To add to Mark Viehweg's post, "What happens during the recovery is what separates a PBS'er from the common."


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 1:13 pm 
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Congrats to you and Arlo. That was quite a tracking job and although you didn't like it I bet Arlo hopes they are all like that. Good job on the follow up.


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 6:19 pm 
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Congrats Joe on another fine Wisconsin whitetail.


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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 8:01 pm 
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Joe glad you were able to recover your deer. As you know if you hunt long and hard enough, eventually something like this will happen. Being prepaird obviously made the difference in this situation. Great lesson for all of us. Thanks for the link and again congrats on a fine buck. I'd say Arlo earned himself a steak dinner. :D

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PostPosted: November 4th, 2014, 8:25 pm 
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Congratulations Joe on a great buck! I'm pleased with the outcome and the lessons learned. Way to stay with it!


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PostPosted: November 5th, 2014, 4:50 pm 
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That was a good recovery from one of those ??? shots that happen once in a while. Bill Dunn and I were just talking about you - we want to be like you when we grow up. You have had several GREAT years with the bow.

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PostPosted: November 10th, 2014, 8:02 pm 
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Joe, rewards can be found in every hunt. You found yours on many levels.


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PostPosted: November 15th, 2014, 6:46 pm 
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Just got to see this. Great job Joe in all aspects. Persistence pays off. Congrats. bw


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PostPosted: November 16th, 2014, 3:48 am 
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Joe,congrats for your hunt. Things can happen,but you resolved them in the best manner,showing how a well knowledge hunter can manage the situations.

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PostPosted: November 16th, 2014, 8:08 am 
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Great looking buck, Joe! I'll bet Arlow did not have to sleep on the floor that night. :D


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PostPosted: November 19th, 2014, 9:31 am 
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Super buck, congrats and thanks for the story.


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