Brandon Reed, from southern New Hampshire, emailed me a story the other day of a somewhat scary experience he had in the woods last year after shooting a nice doe with his bow. I had looked at the pictures before reading the story and just assumed that the pictures were of a doe he had recovered the following morning after shooting it the night before. WRONG! This is a rare story and one you have to read!
Guest Post: Bearly Dead!
by Brandon Reed
My buddy Jesse was back in the states in New York from Germany where he had been serving in the US Army. He and his family all came down over the weekend to visit their families and Jesse to do a little hunting with me. A few texts ahead of time established our plans and I had a tree stand ready for him to sit in.
We arrived at our spot at 5:30. I explained to him where his stand was located and where I’d be and we headed off to get into our stands. The woods were very quiet as it was still dripping rain from the overnight showers, but man what a perfect morning.
I was in a ladder stand that I and my buddy Rob just set earlier in the year. It was a nice spot with acorns dropping like crazy and it overlooked some trail intersections and the edge of a large swamp.
Around 6:45 I heard something to my right and turned to look. Sure enough, I saw movement and it was a deer. I reached for my bow and slowly stood up. At first a there was just one and then a second deer appeared with it. They were slowly making their way right in front of me onto one of the trails. The trail they were taking would put them at 20 yards or less. I got to full draw and settled in. It then clicked in my brain…STOP THEM…So I gave them a Blahhhhh…They stopped dead in their tracks and I picked my spot and let the arrow fly. It looked like a good hit and I was pretty sure I drilled her right in the heart. She and the other deer run off straight for the swamp but fortunately I didn’t hear water splashing which is a good thing…I hate dragging them out of that swamp.
I get on the phone after a bit and text my buddies Rob and Jesse, letting them know I hit one. I wanted Jesse to wait on stand until I was sure she was down. Meanwhile, I sat and waited, texting back and forth with Rob and Jesse with details and such. I was trying to decide when to get down and have a look for blood.. Again, I didn’t want to mess up Jesse’s hunt if I didn’t have to, but after about 30-45 minutes I figured I better get down and look just in case more deer come in. Of course, another one did come in from my left and caught me tying off my bow. I’m almost sure it was one of the bucks I was after but who knows. All I saw was rear end going away. It didn’t blow but just left the area quietly. I was surprised it didn’t blow if it did bust me. I’d soon find out why he didn’t blow once I got to my deer.
Oh on a side note…While waiting and texting with the guys, I had crows instantly all around me in the trees going nuts..I mean at least a half dozen of them were squawking like nobody’s business. I didn’t give it a lot of thought other than I thought she must be down and they were just waiting for that gut pile. I just couldn’t believe they were there that fast or why they were going nuts like they were.
I got down and found my arrow painted blood red. There was tons of blood right at the shot location on both sides of where the deer stood which indicated a good hit and likely heart shot as I thought. I began taking up the blood trail which was so big a blind man could follow it. I really like a blood trail like that.
As I was following the blood I heard something take off into the swamp. From the way it sounded I just figured it was the other deer and it had just been hanging around. I didn’t give it much thought and kept going. When I got closer I saw the hind end of my deer and as I approached closer I couldn’t believe what I saw. The whole side of the deer was ripped open. I actually stood there a minute and looked back to check my blood trail thinking it was someone else’s deer and that mine must have gone another way. But no, it was the deer I shot and the blood trail was mine. Rigor had not even set in yet and the blood was still dripping from her so I knew it was my deer. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I immediately looked around and felt very nervous. I figured it was a bear and given what it had done to this thing it had to be a big one. I then got on the phone and called Jesse to come over. There was no way I was going to take care of this deer without someone else keeping an eye out. I did not want to be his next snack.
I will let the pictures give you an idea of what I found and that will really put this story into perspective. The bear didn’t get a ton of meat but it did take some back straps and some shoulder meat. I think, judging by the bite mark in the shoulder, that it was trying to rip the entire front leg off before I interrupted it.
She weighed in at 118 lbs. even with all that was missing. So I figure she was a nice doe, probably pushing 130 lbs. when she was fully intact. Not a bad doe at all. I will take it. But man, what a scary moment for sure! I’m not afraid to admit that I was shaken up and a bit and nervous.
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