• Dustin

Learning How to Recurve Bow Hunt Deer– 2019 Archery Season Guys Trip Day 3

Updated: Dec 31, 2020


Natural ground blind for traditional recurve bow public land hunt.
Natural Ground Blind for Traditional Bow Public Land Hunt

After a very restless night of sleep the night before, we drove through the darkness on the final morning back to the public cornfield finger we had scoured for my arrowed deer the night before. We got our gear together at the truck and snuck into our spots. On the way to the field, we passed a couple of deer in a field off to our west but ended up moving away from our direction back into the woods. We continued to our spots and set up for one last day of hunting together.


About thirty minutes before shooting time that morning we saw headlamps walking toward our location. It turns out some guys from out of state set up a ground blind twenty yards from our location on the same ridge. We had several hunters walk through our setups on this public ridge. The morning was pretty much shot, and we knew it. We tried to stay mentally focused and optimistic, but with the amount of foot traffic in this small area, we were ready to abandon the morning hunt around 09:30 am and start looking for the deer from the night before.


Knowing we were going to eventually pursue the area from last night, I told Alex and Sam to stay in their spot until after they see me come back out of the pond area. Specifically, I said be ready in your spot in case I bump something out of that area and it runs back up the ridge towards your location. I started to creep into the wood patch on the other side of the ridge. I slowly snuck about 15 yards into the patch when I started to hear loud voices and close shotguns. Immediately behind the trees lining the pond was a field that was being hunted for pheasant by two guys. They were doing typical pheasant hunting things like talking loudly, marching through the brush, and running a dog. Just after one of the shots went off, I watched a group of four wood ducks take off from the pond. At this point, I was only 10 yards from the pond, and I was standing behind a medium-sized tree observing the pheasant hunters and action around me. I turned my head back to look up ahead of my path and out walked a giant bodied whitetail buck. I crouched down and watch him walk/trot nervously up to the edge of this thin patch of woods looking out into the field towards Alex and Sam’s location. My instinct was that I was not going to get a chance to shoot before he bolts. He was a magnificent animal, super wide-bodied, and a thick beam six-point.


The buck ended up bolting out just as I had suspected, and all I could do was hope Sam or Alex were paying attention and ready. After he pushed out of the woods, I grabbed an arrow and hurried to the field edge right where he entered. I got there just in time to see him run up the ridge and into the woods. I reconvened with Alex and Sam and they had both saw the deer cross the field, but Alex was not in a good spot for a shot and Sam did not have a good angle. They both got a look at him before he ran off and were equally impressed by the size of the buck. Later we found out he had three does with him and they ran across the pheasant field in the opposite direction away from the pheasant hunters.


At this point, we went back into the wooded patch and looked for the deer I shot the night before, but we never found a sign, blood, or the arrow. We searched back into the marsh and past the pond, but still nothing. After a few more hours we called it and figured the deer was long gone. It was a sad moment, but as I mentioned in the article on day two, it was, unfortunately, part of being human and part of hunting. We kept our spirits high and did not hang our heads. We grew and learned exponentially over the course of three days and we all had unique experiences that will last a lifetime. Some lessons we directly applied a month later during gun season, and they resulted in a successful hunt. Our first group hunting trip was in the books, and we were sold. It was so much fun, and we could not wait for our next trip.