My oldest son, Toby, is in his first year of college. Between his class work and wrestling practice, he has realized that he has very little time for anything else. This past weekend however, he was able to come home for three days. We had all been looking forward to this weekend together knowing it would be his last at home for a while since the wrestling season gets under way on November 5th. Clearly whoever set that up was not a bow hunter.
As the sun rose on Saturday morning, we were in four different tree stands on public ground along the Republican River. All four of us saw deer, but no one was able to take a shot. I had two young eights about 50 yards out in front of me hitting a licking branch. Jesse saw several deer out of range, Sam got busted drawing on a nice buck and Toby let a few fawns walk and got caught by several does as they walked up the creek bank to his stand. It was a beautiful morning spent enjoying the majesty of God’s creation. Sunday morning we spent time together in worship and then headed out to our favorite spot along the Platte River for the afternoon.
We got set up about four o’clock and waited with great anticipation for the deer to begin their daily trek from the river to the corn and alfalfa fields. I was sitting in a ladder stand along an old river channel about 50 yards from a standing corn field. I had not sat in this spot for two years and did not know what to expect. On this evening all three of the boys saw deer but again did not take any shots.
At about six o’clock I heard the familiar sound of deer walking though the freshly fallen leaves. Soon a fawn stepped out of the cedars about 35 yards in front of me. Movement behind the fawn caught my eye. Two nice does were following close behind. As they went behind another cedar I quickly stood and prepared for the shot. As I prepare mentally for a shot, lots of things are racing through my mind. I begin with a quick prayer. I often ask God to steady my nerves and to allow me to shoot straight and true. Then I focus on the distance of the shot. Earlier in the evening I had ranged several possible shooting lanes. There is a dead fall lying just in front of a deer trail at 25 yards. I knew any deer on this trail would offer a broadside shot at 28 yards. The fawn was now slowly walking left to right on this very trail. If the does continued to follow the same path I would have to hold a little high with my 25 yard pin. As the lead doe went behind the next cedar I drew my Hoyt Turborhawk. As my right hand found its familiar anchor point I set the pin just behind the doe’s shoulder. As the doe stepped into the open lane, she suddenly stopped walking and looked right at me. My mind raced again. If I hold a little high the arrow should find its mark. But I also know that an alert deer can drop over a foot before an arrow arrives. What should I do now? The distance says I should aim a little high. Yet, I fully expect her to drop causing either a high lung hit or even a miss. Yes, she was looking at me but she didn’t seem real nervous. I decided that in spite of the distance I was not going to hold high. I hoped that she would drop right into my arrow. I took a deep breath, placed the pin exactly where I wanted to hit her and started counting. One…two…three—Twack! Almost immediately after sending the arrow on its way, I watched the fletching disappear through her chest and bury in the ground behind her. She took a few steps forward, turned completely around and ran back where she had come from. As she ran I could see the large exit wound left by my broad head. I knew the shot was good but she quickly ran out of sight into the security of the thick cedars.
After dark, the boys and I took up the blood trail. We had difficulty finding blood at first but I knew where she had gone so we followed the trail. With Toby in the lead, we found blood about 40 yards down the run. At first it was just a few small spots but it quickly increased. We soon found her lying about 20 yards off our access road. She had gone only 70 yards before piling up.
Being prepared for the shot is vitally important. The same is true in life. In 2 Chronicles 12:14 we read that King Rehoboam did evil because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord. We prepare our heart as we pray, read and do God’s word. The next time a deer offers a shot, be sure that you are prepared. But even more important is being prepared to face the trials and temptations of life head on knowing that by faith we are children of the King.