“So close, yet so far” – Whoever coined this phrase must have been a bow hunter.
I had been perched in my treestand for about an hour, and already witnessed several fox squirrels and a raccoon use the well worn deer-trail that forked just 15 yards in front of me, when I caught the movement. The lone doe was to my south, feeding under a large oak that stood just off the trail. I gripped my bow and attached the release to the string as the good-sized gal started to slowly browse towards me. Things were coming together perfectly; she was directly upwind of me using the trail that would lead her to one of the wide-open shooting lanes I had.
At 40 yards, I knew things were going to get interesting as the browsing slowed and she began to walk more than eat. At 30 yards, I was completely out of her sight-plane so my movement of drawing the bow would go undetected. At 20 yards, I took one last, deep calming breath and came to full draw. As if on cue, she turned right towards me – leaving the trail – giving me no shot. At 10 yards, she continued to cut her own trail straight towards me and still offered only a marginal angle at her vitals. At 5 yards, I let my draw down as the doe did not waiver from her chosen path. At 0 yards, I watched as she brushed against the very tree I was sitting in and continued on. I turned 180 degrees and came to full draw, knowing she would pass through one of the shooting lanes behind me – hopefully, giving a better angle for my arrow. It never happened!! She managed to weave around every open spot, keeping a branch or bush between me and her as she made her way out bow range.
Archery is a game of inches & angles and I got to experience them both – it’s what makes this sport so frustratingly fun!
With crops coming out across the state, now is a great time to get out there and see it for yourself.