First Timers: Bowhunting Mule Deer

First Timers: Bowhunting Mule Deer

I’ve been getting kicked in the dick lately in life, but I haven’t stopped working towards a better version of me. I control what I can control, and the rest will do what it does. The only time I feel frustrated is when I try to change the outcome from the other side.

My work on me has been consistent, and yesterday my work on me paid off a little. And I’m not going to lie, I fucking needed the win. I was feeling so beat up on every level. Physically, emotionally, mentally, I was spent.

I went on a poorly planned day of bowhunting in a tiny sliver of land that’s barely hunt-able, but I felt like I needed to get out and do what I could at least.

So I got out. Got into deer pretty quickly, my tag is for either sex since it’s the extended, so I was just looking for any mature deer to feed my kids. I stalked in on a couple groups of does and couldn’t make it happen as I worked up the ridgeline. It was well into the morning and I was seeing less and less movement, which was discouraging.

I was a half mile away from my pack, and a mile and a half away from my truck when I decided to start working back down. My head hanging a little lower now. Then I spotted some ears flicking about, roughly 150 yards so I got low, and started working. Didn’t really get a good look until about 120 yards, it was a mature doe in an ok position for a stalk. I decided to go for it, but not at that range.

So I did what I actually know how to do, got low, and crawled ahead, working the bushes and small scrub oak to my advantage. Keeping out of sight, checking through gaps to see if she was still there. She was every time, wasn’t moving and in fact felt comfortable enough to lay down. No other deer that I could spot around her, 80 yards now.

That shot is a little far, and I had more brush in front of me, so I knew I could get closer. Tucked in and moved up to 65 yards, but I couldn’t move any closer, thick trees to one side, a cliff on the other. She was still laying down, but the position I had worked into, she was facing me directly which if you hunt you know that a frontal shot isn’t the best. I thought long and hard while my breathing calmed down from the stalk. I ranged her again when I was steady, still 65.

I told myself I would draw and see how I felt, if I felt it was a good shot I would take it. I nocked an arrow, latched my release and found good footing. I came to full draw behind the brush, then stood, she focused hard on me, ears and eyes facing direct now. My pin floated while I pulled and the arrow let loose, 65 yards of air time is quite a bit for an archer. It seemed like everything slowed down even more, but I watched that arrow arc and sink home in the perfect spot and I knew she would be done.

She jumped and spun all in one motion after the hit. I grabbed my binoculars and watched to see where she was headed, I could see blood with every bound down the hill. She hit the trees and I lost sight. Holding my breath I listened, between heartbeats. I could hear a few more bounds, then...silence. 2 seconds felt like an hour, then all at once a crash. I knew she was done. I had just harvested my first big game animal with a bow on a stupidly lucky shot I probably couldn’t recreate right now. I nocked another arrow just in case as I worked towards her. I got to the spot she was laying down, blood was everywhere. I trailed it for the 50 yards she made it and found her at the base of a tree on a steep enough angle - it was hard to stand. Pulling out my knives and kill kit, it was now for the real work to start.

Control you, everything else will work how it works.


Written By Clint McInnes

(Instagram: @iamradness)

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