Archery Triple Play- Lloyd Kimmen
Even though the 2007 bow season is just under way, it seems like it’s already over, I guess I should explain. I guess it started way back in the early 1990’s when I really started to get serious about bow hunting whitetail deer , my son, Shane, just 8-9 years old would accompany me on most of my scouting trips , going to hang tree stands , looking for shed antlers , riding around glassing for deer in the evenings. I showed him a lot of tricks, where to hang stands , how to play the wind , what signs to look for , how to pattern bucks, camouflage , when to draw ,and especially when and the exact spot to hit when shooting at a deer . I showed him how angles figure into shots, what are the best percentage shots. I have always felt that wounding a deer and not finding it was the worse thing any bow hunter can do, I explained to him the dedication and practice required to be a truly great bow shot. And “we” owe it to the game animals that we are pursuing, to kill them as quickly and humanely as possible, I tried to explain it in terms that bow hunting is a very exacting, patient sport , as I will and have gone 2 years without ever shooting an arrow at a deer , I figure most years I sit on stand close to 150 hours , and probably put in close to that much additional time scouting ,and close to 250 hours shooting the bow, and in a terrific year, I may shoot 2 arrows. So the work factor probable averages 400-600 hours per nice buck. And what is really funny is most of my friends and families think that my son Shane and I are just the “luckiest SOB’s that ever picked up a bow”. And granted we both have shot big deer that seemed to be”lucky”, as we had not ever saw those deer in that particular area before. But I can assure you, any hunter that consistently shoots nice deer, is any thing but “lucky”. I mean to consistently bag nice bucks , every detail must be addressed , you must start planning for next season ,as soon as the current season ends , as I start my scouting in January when I’m out rabbit hunting , looking for last seasons rubs ,(not just any rubs , but the ones on 4-6”diameter trees),scrapes, big tracks, trails etc.. as everything is very visible at that time of the year, I try to write it all down for not just next years season, as sometimes crops in my area change , and the patterns change , so what I write down this year may be used for 2-5 years from now when the crops are real similar, as it seems a large field that has soy beans , deer travel to and from it a certain way , that same field with standing corn , they can travel at will it seems, so we make some adjustments in the form of multiple stands. I try not to hunt a particular stand more than 2 times a week, as it seems the few times in the past that I hunted a particular stand frequently and hard , due to a sighting of a real monster buck , I saw a steady decrease in the amount of deer that were seen, and also I believe deer pattern hunters faster than we pattern deer, and once one of these large mature bucks knows he’s being hunted , I think it becomes at least 10 times harder to even get a look at him ,let alone a nice clean shot. But when all the pieces fall into place it is truly magical. It’s more like a huge chess game that covers miles of real estate, than it is simple “hunting”.
So now it was September 2007, I had my fingers crossed as both Shane and I impatiently waited for the October 1st opener of bow season. We were still seeing a couple of good bucks in our evening glassing trips that confirmed that all we needed was the right wind, and for them to follow their feeding patterns .As we were talking one evening, I said,”it seems either you or I kill a nice buck most years , but we have never connected more than once or twice in the same year , maybe this year would be different. October 1st came ,I started off conservative hunting a stand in the morning that I hadn’t saw a nice buck in , as I didn’t want to hunt either of the 2 hotspots , instead wanting to slip in there in the afternoon, so as to not spook either of the bucks. The morning hunt was pretty uneventful, as all I saw were 5 does, which still made my day , as if I have learned anything , it’s that you can never be sure when a trophy will show up. The following day I sat my “good spot”, Shane sat another area. When I got to the house I saw his truck was already back, hummm… suspicious……., as he hunted a piece of property farther away than I was hunting, so he shouldn’t have beaten me to the house . I unloaded my gear in the barn , went up to the house , he was in the kitchen , I said “ any luck?”, he replied that he had hit a small 4 pointer and that we needed to go look for it ,I said “Shane why did you shoot such a small deer , you know there are way bigger ones in there?” He said “let’s just go look for it “. So we hopped on the 4 wheeler ,loaded up Maggie my black Labrador retriever, that we have used for years now to find all of our deer, and headed over to his stand , Shane said “ He was about 20 yards out in the corn , he almost got past me before I spotted him” , so I had him point toward the spot that the deer was standing when he shot , we started looking for blood with the flashlights , we could not find any blood but Maggie picked the trail immediately, and within 3 minutes she was sniffing the deer, not a 4 pointer at all ,but one of the big mature 8 pointers we were watching all summer, the Mathews Switchback propelled Carbon Force arrow made short work of the buck. I looked at him and said “very funny”, he said,” I couldn’t resist teasing you; I knew he was the big one!” I congratulated him, saying also,”I’m going to have to beat this one for teasing me”, he said “in your dreams, look at the size of him!” I thought to myself,”I only know of one area that I hunt that holds a buck of that caliber.
When I first heard it , it sounded like a combination of a cat meowing , and a baby crying, I knew it was a deer making that sound , I figured probably a really young fawn, then I saw her as she ran by, then she turned around , and ran past my stand again, this is strange …..Then I heard him, grunting, as he approached, he was 40 yards away, walking and grunting nonchalantly on a course that would have him pass my stand on the left at 15 yards, just as I had planned back in July, when I scouted this spot.
I took a quick look at him through my Alpen Binoculars, which even in such low light I could see his rack quite clearly, and positioned my bow at the shooting lane waiting for him.
Suddenly he started running toward me , obviously chasing the doe that was running in circles , my mind screamed ,”No!”, then as if by magic, when he hit the shooting lane , he slammed on the brakes , pawed at the scrape , and stretched his head upward , rubbing and chewing the overhead branch , I was already at full draw ,when I slowly squeezed the Winn Free release trigger , I don’t really remember much other than seeing the sight pin right on the shoulder , at the shot , he thundered out into the weed field, was gone from sight even before I could get the binoculars up to try to follow him. I sat there, tried to relax, as even though I have shot probably close to 100 or so whitetails, I don’t get nervous until after the shot. I could hardly stand waiting 20 minutes before climbing down to look for blood.
As I searched and searched the spot that he was standing, I could not find one speck of blood, or the arrow. I didn’t panic, like I use to years ago ,you see ,waiting at home was my 7 year old Labrador ,”Maggie “ who has tracked numerous hit deer for not only my son Shane and I , but all of our friends as well. As I trained her years ago, and continue to keep her sharp by training and using her to find wounded or dead deer. The power of her sense of smell is really remarkable. I quickly returned home got Shane and Maggie and returned to my tree stand , she immediately hit the trail, and pulled hard on the leash, that is always a great sign, a short 5 minutes , maybe 125 yards later , we were standing over the giant whitetail, which on the hoof probably weighed close to 250-275 lbs, what a beauty!!! We strained dragging him to where we could load him on the quad, and the 2 of used grunted and groaned pulling him onto the quad.
A ½ hour latter I could hear deer walking in the leaves behind me , a quick look through my Alpen Optics confirmed the same 5 does were heading back , hopefully with a buck not far behind. I slowly rose, grabbed the Mathews Switchback, snapped on the release, and waited.
They picked their way down the trail constantly looking and using their noses, but the wind was perfect, and they would not scent me until they were 50-70 yards out in the field. As they fed not 20 yards from my stand I was contemplating shooting the largest doe, but something inside told me,”just wait Lloyd, just wait”
Then I heard it ,the sound of a walking deer, a quick glance , I could see the rack ,as he walked the same trail the does had taken but mere minutes ago, as he passed my tree , I settled the sight pin just behind the front shoulder ,and pulled the trigger on my Winn Free release , the arrow hit perfectly , burying into the far shoulder , he stormed into the woods.
Maggie found him as quickly as she had the other 2 , although he had ran in a semi circle, and there was very little blood visible, she had little trouble.
He was a beautiful 7 pointer as one tine was broken off, me and Maggie sat there in the woods a good long time next to that deer, and just absorbed the beautiful evening as the moon rose in the east casting it’s mellow light through the woodlot, I strapped him on the back of the quad and headed for home, satisfied, and what an incredible season, an” archery triple play”.
The first week came and gone, I didn’t tell him about the big buck I saw one evening, even at 200 yards in low light I could see he was nice, probably even bigger than Shane’s deer.
October 9th was one of those picture perfect Michigan autumn days , 45 degrees, slight southwest wind , one of those crisp ,clean afternoons, that I realized along time ago , is the true meaning of hunting and being outdoors. As the sun was setting and the orange glow to the west was being chased down to the western horizon by the clear cobalt blue October sky, when I looked down at wind indicator tied to my Mathews Switchback’s stabilizer, which hung limply, showing no movement what so ever, I saw the first few deer , slowly picking there way to the pasture.
The first group of does, 5 in all, filed past my stand, pausing to feed in my shooting lane, I thought, “come on big guy, I know you’re here”. As they fed out into the center of the field, I could here more deer approaching, as it was now dusk, what I call “the witching hour”, as
when you can only see perhaps 20-30 yards, s usually the time the deer come out.
That brings us to 2007; I had 2 areas that I hunt that seemed to be holding nice mature bucks in both spots. In mid August I snuck in both areas, and hung 4 stands in each place, to try to cover different wind directions, as if all these years have taught me anything, if you can fool a whitetail’s nose the odds swing a long way in your favor. I have lately started what I like to call a “safety valve” stand, let me explain, say I find a super bottle neck or scrape line, I will hang one prime stand there, usually one that works well with a West or Southwest wind, then I may hang another stand 50 yards or so away, that is maybe better for a North wind, all the while keeping within 20 yards of the trail or bottleneck that I may be watching. Does it work?? 2 years ago I got busted by a large 8 point that happened to spot me in my stand, I was so mad at myself for not seeing him approaching from the opposite direction I thought he would be coming from ,based on the sign I was seeing. So I waited a couple of days , the wind was wrong for my prime stand , but it was good for the “safety valve “ stand , so I decided to hunt that one that afternoon , just at dusk I saw him approaching , when he was 15 yards away he stopped , peering intently at the tree my other stand was in !! He was looking to see if I was in that stand before venturing out into the hay field. He only went 45 yards before he went down from the Mathews Switchback propelled Carbon Force arrow tipped with a Steelforce broad head that passed through both lungs.
As I had one more buck tag , I continued to hunt passing up numerous small does and bucks, I decided I would shoot either a buck with the legal 4 points on a side or if I got the opportunity I would take a large mature doe if she didn’t have fawns in tow.
October 25th was a beautiful fall day, sunny, cool, a steady westerly breeze, just perfect for a stand I hung earlier this summer, but as of now I haven’t sat in it. I like to have numerous stands, so as to not over hunt any of my areas.
As I idled into the field on my Bombardier quad I noticed deer already out in the field feeding, I could clearly see from 400 yards away through my Alpen Binoculars, which I absolutely love , and would never go hunting with out the , that they were all does , so I cut down the ditch, and settled in to watch them, hoping they would wander back into the woods ,allowing me to slip into the stand, it only took 15 minutes for them to disappear into the woodlot, I ran over quickly, and climbed in, strapped on my Winn Free release, and settled in to see what would happen,
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