Updated: Dec 16, 2021
It has been more than a decade since I last harvested a whitetail with traditional archery gear. Our farm has moved, our business and children have grown and I have been heavily involved in coaching hockey. However, for the last two hunting seasons all of that has been in the background, or as in the case of coaching, non-existent. The Fall of 2020 and 2021 however has been more or less dedicated to reconnecting with bowhunting whitetails.
Last season I sat, bow in hand, 32 times and ended the season with 2 complete misses. One of those misses was another 'buck of a lifetime' (I should maybe stop using that phrase now) at 12 yards or so. The other miss was from a great ground blind set up, at a doe who was also within that same yardage. Both, I remember, were completely frustrating at the time. I chalked up the miss on the buck to a folded wool mitt that somehow I hadn't noticed was elevating the arrow off of the bow shelf. I didn't discover that issue until the following day when I dressed exactly as I was the night of the hunt and took some practice shots with similar high shooting arrow results.
Looking back at my Instagram post from the last evening of the 2020 season though, I was in good spirits. I remember being completely happy with the outcome. I even wrote an article for Traditional Bowhunter Magazine titled "The Success of Failing". It was an online article so I doubt it is still available there. I'll repost it here on the blog for everyone to read. My point with the article was that despite the failure of harvest that season, I was never in doubt that I was getting closer and closer to my goal of reentering the world of traditional bowhunting success. Every minute spent in the woods bowhunting, was a minute closer to a special hunting encounter.
"I could hear him breathing and he had no clue that I was 12 feet above him."
My favourite bow right now is a 1957/58 Bear Kodiak recurve. I bought this bow off of ebay maybe 10 years ago or so for around $100. I have shot it on and off over the years, but never hunted seriously with it. It was time for this bow to add to it's story, and I was determined to make that happen. It is a great little bow with a draw weight of 48 pounds, which is perfect for my ageing shoulders. I paired it up with some matching arrows from Stumpstalker Archery Blayne even gave them a 50's theme crest and fletch job! They're great arrows.
Again this Fall I've been diligent with using the old Bear bow, although I have spent more time than ever with the rifle too. Our rifle season opens here on November 1st, but back in bush camp where we film many From the Wild episodes, it is open in September. Kevin Kossowan and I spent 6 days rifle hunting whitetails there in October, and again in November during the rattling season. I didn't have any luck then, but I did manage to take a target animal, a beautiful fawn, in mid-November on our family farm not far from where I live.
In total, I spent 17 days sitting in a stand or ground blind chasing whitetails with the recurve.
The 17th sit was on November 24th. This evening would be special.