Kids Outdoor Outpost – December 2021

Joe Schuster | December 1, 2021

Hunt In, Hunt Out

The realization that there are more deer hunting seasons behind me than in front of me certainly causes pause. Lately I have been reflecting on the way I hunted when I first started, my knowledge of the environment that I was hunting, the strategies I devised and the overall understanding of my quarry. It really differs from the manner that I hunt now. Which brings a question to mind: Do you hunt as you walk to and from your deer stand?

Jared Schuster with a great bow buck from Forsyth County.

In the beginning stages of my hunting, I absolutely took no pains in trudging to my stand. The quickest, easiest way for me to get in and out usually wasn’t the smartest nor was it the quietest.

A noisy metal climbing stand bouncing around on my back, snapping branches along the way. I used the same trail regardless of wind direction. Just get in and get out. Thankfully I’d like to think I do a much better job of it now.

Fast forward to my sons Jared and Jackson. In November, they took advantage of some of Jackson’s downtime away from Fort Benning to plan a hunt in Forsyth County. I went out with them in the morning, saw nothing and passed on the afternoon. They left much earlier than usual for the afternoon hunt, parked the truck, strapped on their climbing stands and backpacks, grabbed their bows and made their way into the woods. As they eased in, they both saw the sun hitting a set of beams off to the right in a stand of green privet. 

As Jackson slowly nocked an arrow, the deer eyed the movement and choose not to run but to seemingly ease his head lower to the ground. It was a tactic probably borne from his longevity in these suburban woods amongst humans. 

Jackson didn’t really have a clear shot. Jared wears a nifty binocular harness that also has a compartment for his range finder. He painstakingly raised his binoculars and saw that it was a pretty good-sized buck, a shooter for sure. Then he ranged the distance at 34 yards. He nocked an arrow, dialed his sight in, drew, set his anchor point and then released the arrow. A loud “thwack” and the deer bolted. Jared assumed it hit a tree or branch, but Jackson saw that the arrow had hit its mark. 

At that point, they were able to slide their stands and packs off their backs and walked over to the shot and found an arrow with bright red blood on the shaft. It was a good pass-through hit. 

They took some time laughing in amazement on what just happened virtually minutes after they had quietly closed the truck doors and tailgate. The tracking wasn’t too hard on the bright, sunny afternoon. It was a really good hit. Nonetheless, the buck traveled about 300 yards before his final resting place. 

Ten points with two kickers, this one will be hanging in his wall. We dined on grilled  “Tomahawk Backstraps” a week later that were incredible. Seared on the grill and then finalized in a Dutch oven with butter, garlic and rosemary. Hoo wee, they were good! 

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