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Ok Ok, I missed a doe!

I?m almost embarrassed to write this blog posting, but if I?m going to keep it real then I must.  This past Sunday evening I went hunting.  WeHuntSC.com team member, Will List also went with me.  I dropped him off at his ground blind and continued deeper into woods back to my stand.  I went back to the same stand where I?d been seeing deer.  I got in the stand about 5:30.

On the way in, Will and I both had talked about the Solunar Forecast and discussed how we hoped that it was a positive sign for the evening hunt.  It was a bit cooler today, but still not cool enough to keep mosquitoes away.  I sat down and put my mask on.  Even though it was cool, I got warm on the way in.  I was sweating a little bit and didn?t want to put the mask on, but when you don?t, your face looks like a light bulb to a deer?s eyes.  So I put the mask on and having my head covered only made me hotter.  It?s a battle that many hunters (especially the ones who wear snake chaps) face early in the season.  When you?re hot, the mosquitoes can find you more easily.  Thus, I was fighting off mosquitoes for about an hour until I cooled down.  This was not fun and is an aggravating aspect to early season hunting.

Usually it's tough to hear deer when they walk, but today was different.  I was sitting in my stand around 6:20 when I heard some leaves ruffling behind me to left.  I turned slowly and looked and saw movement.  I knew it was a deer when I saw brown move into the scene of the green leaves.  Here again, the heavy cover offered by the trees made it difficult to see a good distance from my stand.  1?2?3?4?5 does were traveling together coming up the hill.  They were in the oaks heading towards the pines that I was sitting in.  They were muzzling their noses in the ground eating acorns and they were in no hurry at all.  I could hear them as they moved slowly through the trees.  One of them was headed straight for the corn pile. 

When I saw all the does my heart started pounding.  The crazy part is that I had time to get nervous and calm down before I actually pulled the trigger.  I watched them for about 10 minutes before one got close enough to shoot.  One deer was way ahead of the pack and came straight to the corn pile. The corn pile is only about 25 ? 30 yards away from my stand.  As the deer was heading to me, I adjusted my position and took the safety off.  It was the perfect setup and I was waiting with my gun up, looking through the scope when the leading doe got to the corn pile.  I waited for the perfect shot.  The deer looked up at me and froze and I pulled the trigger quickly.  The deer jumped immediately and then bounded off.  The shot was so loud that it jarred the other deer, but they were unsure of where the shot came from. 

I figured I hit the doe and I chambered another shell and waited again.   Immediately Will started texting me.  The other does still moseyed around as if nothing had really happened, but I think their senses were heightened as the loudness of the shot had them on edge.  Though, after 20 more minutes they were heading in the other direction.  They may have headed the other way as they heard my phone vibrating every 5 minutes as Will continued to text message me. 

Eventually I put my orange on and got out of my stand to go and start tracking the doe.  I went to the corn pile and didn?t find any drops of blood.  I knew this was not a good sign.  Since I shot at the deer farily early, some day light remained and I could see pretty well.  I then began fanning out and walked in circles towards the direction the deer headed.   I was looking for blood or slides where a deer would ?fall-step? while running injured.  I didn?t find anything but a hill that had been completely scavenged for acorns by the deer.  My dad came to help us look for the deer and he picked Will up on his way.  We managed all this via text message and as time went on, hope grew smaller.  Dad and Will arrived and we covered more ground and still no sign of a doe.  It was getting dark and after 20 more minutes of looking we called the search off.

Long story short, I missed a doe broad-sided at 25 yards.  The only explanation I have to offer for how or why is that I must have flinched right as I pulled the trigger and shot under the deer.  I think the images and feeling from this happening will haunt me for some time to come.  And I call myself a hunter?

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