4PT16.10 – First Deer of the Year and Other Exciting Stuff

New Hampshire Archery Doe

It’s true, I finally shot a deer. It wasn’t the biggest deer, but hey, it was a great time in the woods. The kill was extremely quick and clean. What more could I ask for?

I was perched in an oak tree over some very fresh sign from deer feeding on acorns. The leaves were all torn up and a fresh rub was twenty yards to my left. The weather had finally turned blustery with snowflakes striking my face as the wind carried them past me. To put it bluntly, it was awesome. So much anticipation wrapped up in one hunt.

Buck Rub

Shooting a doe is fun, but I am really excited about what is coming – the rut! With muzzleloader season opening this Saturday in New Hampshire, I was mainly there to scope the area out since I had been spending the majority of my time in Vermont lately. Those of you who hunt Vermont know that archery season ends this Friday, just in time for the rut to kick into gear. This is precisely why I decided to migrate back across the river to prepare for the next two weeks where I’ll be able to hunt during the rut.

Hunting the early season is its own kind of fun, but it’s really hard to beat hunting in colder weather when the bucks are on their feet cruising for does, making scrapes and ripping up trees. That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Saturday morning will be my first morning hunt of the year. I’ll be hovering in the oaks near a fresh scrape, excitedly anticipating the sound of a deer walking in the leaves as it approaches my position. If I close my eyes, I am there already.

Back to my hunt the other night. Most of you know that my success with my bow this year has been, shall we say, not great. It was nice to be able to regain some confidence with a nice ten yard shot. I knew it wasn’t the biggest deer when I shot (thought it was a little larger, though…), so I was real patient with the shot opportunity. That’s a great lesson to be reminded of, but it’s a lot harder to do when a big deer is standing in front of you! It’s all part of the fun.

Even though my mechanical broadhead worked great, I am 99% convinced I’ll be making a switch to a fixed head next year. I’ve shot NAP Spitfires for seven years now, and over that time I have learned that the margin of error is pretty small with them. When they work, they work great – heavy blood trails and quick recoveries (see below). On the other hand, I have seen them deflect on a rib bone even when the deer is standing broadside. I think it’s time to make the change. I’ve been eyeballing the G5 Montec heads for some time now, and I think that’s what I’ll be switching to.

Blood Trail

Now that I have some meat in the freezer, I feel like I can be a little bit pickier with my firearm tag in New Hampshire. If I hadn’t been able to put one in the freezer by this Saturday, my plan was to shoot the first deer that gave me a shot opportunity. In New Hampshire, muzzleloader hunters are allowed to shoot a buck or doe during the first few days of the season (varies by management unit). Now I think I’ll wait for a buck…. unless a doe walks by. Then I’ll have a decision to make, but it’s a decision I welcome. I can’t wait!

Tim FaceIt’s going to be hard to get some sleep between now and Saturday. So much to look forward to! 

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