Hit Or Miss? Time Will Tell

Erika Cochran | December 5, 2018

I would like to start this post off with a little background information that I do hope to fully write about later on. This is my first year bowhunting and the first year that I am hunting alone. How I began bowhunting, let alone the reason I have my bow, deserves an article by itself, so for now, I am not going to get into too much detail. Do know that I owe thanks to Daryl Kirby and Brad Gill for their guidance through this hunting season and I hope future hunting seasons.

Now back to my arrow flying through the air.

My adrenaline was flowing through my body, and I had the utmost confidence that I killed my first bow buck. One of the very first phone calls was to Brad Gill, as he does not live too far from where I hunt. He has not only been one of my co-workers but also a mentor for me. We went through many questions of, “Where did you hit him?” “Did you see where he went?” “Do you see the arrow anywhere?” “Are you for sure you hit him?”

After the many questions were answered and me not seeing anything in the general area, Brad came to where I was. I, then, was able to explain everything in person step-by-step of what happened and informed him the arrow should be easier to find as it had a lighted nock on it. During our search and discussion, I was feeling discouraged that I did not kill a deer. As I was having these thoughts, I heard Brad say, “I found it.” I looked up, and he had found the arrow. However, it was not found anywhere near the trajectory of where it should have been found. He confirmed that the arrow did not have any blood or hair on it, and that it was a clean miss.

We left not long after that, and I felt discouraged. I reran in my head everything I did, and I knew I did everything correctly.

The next time I went and sat in the blind, I went to open the windows back up and saw what happened. I hit the blind. Clear as day, I could see where the broadhead penetrated through. I wasn’t thinking that the window was in the way of the broadhead, due to what I saw through the sight. I had a light-bulb moment go off after that and learned lessons to always open your window to have enough heighth clearance for your arrow to not hit and to always be mindful of what is in front of your arrow.

After a few weeks passed of not being in the woods due to life, I knew that I would need to purchase another blind. As an early birthday present, I bought myself the AmeriStep Sanctuary blind. As I was putting this blind up by myself, I almost gave up, due to it towering over me and it being difficult to move. But when I stepped inside, it felt like heaven. The amount of room I now had to stretch out in and not have to hold my bow the whole time I sat. I even had the crazy thought of moving a recliner into it for next season. It was so big!

My new blind was set up just in time to leave it sitting there and not hunt until my lucky weekend, opening weekend of rifle season. Now you see, I killed my first deer two years ago on opening day, and last year I killed my second buck on opening day, as well. So, I was pumped about going this year.

Opening morning, I stepped in the blind and got comfy. I was going to sit all day if I had to—but I didn’t have to. Around 7:43 that morning, I was able to let my arrow fly again, and I knew this time I didn’t hit any windows, and the arrow most certainly hit the deer. I was texting Brad beforehand talking about the different bucks and does I was watching, but they just weren’t up to par. I immediately called him, and if you didn’t know, Brad is a cheer dad, so this morning he was at one of his daughter’s cheerleading competitions and couldn’t come right away.

Brad said if I could wait, he’d be available around 2 that afternoon.

What do you mean wait?

I wasn’t going to wait. Who would want to wait?

So, I texted Daryl. Thankfully he was awake, and it didn’t take long for him to get to the property. We started to go through the step-by-step process of where I hit the deer, what did the deer did when the arrow came in contact with him, and where exactly was the deer when I shot him.

This would be my first time tracking a deer, so I had the right person with me to show me and explain to me the do’s and dont’s of tracking a deer. After the Q&A session, he instructed me to look for any drops of blood on the ground in the area that I saw the buck run from. Soon, we found one drop, and then another. As we were finding these drops, he instructed me to look for another drop before moving forward, as we didn’t want to step in the wrong spot or get ahead of ourselves. These droplets led us right inside the treeline, where we soon found my arrow.

After a good hour and half of following drops of blood on leaves and fallen-over trees, he decided that we should back out and wait until Brad could come with his sweet tracking dog, Lilly. The good thing about having Daryl as a teacher through things was that he taught me to stay to the left or right of the blood and not to walk directly on it, as we wouldn’t want our steps to interfere with the blood trail.

We left the property, and as the day wore on, I became more and more impatient, just itching for Brad to get into town. The phone call finally came… “I’m back. You ready to go?” I met Brad at the property and let him do his thing with Lilly. Seeing Lilly in action is something unreal. Knowing a dog can smell the blood and where the deer went is amazing. Sadly, after what seemed like hours, no deer was recovered. I had to come to terms that even though I did hit the deer, he was nowhere to be found.

This event resulted in me not hunting for a few weeks and making excuses of why I wasn’t going. Those excuses….  “I’m too busy.”

“I have a lot going on and just don’t have time.”

“I am going to wait until I know Obsession is showing back up.”

These excuses covered up the fact of why I wasn’t going to the woods. I was just too upset about not recovering the deer. I injured a buck, clear as day, and I just wasn’t in the mood to hunt.

I thought… I will just wait until I see Obsession on camera again. But one day at work, that all changed.

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  1. headpig on December 6, 2018 at 8:27 am

    great blog keep it up

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