photo of a deer killed by Ryan Branchphoto of a deer killed by Ryan Branchphoto of a deer killed by Ryan Branch

Hunter: Ryan Branch

Points: 11 (4L, 7R)

County: Tift

Season: 2023-2024

Hunt Story

Smoke. My daughter Anna Kate and I got settled in the stand a little after 4 on Nov 4th. It was a beautiful cool, clear afternoon in South GA. Deer started coming to the food plot about 30 minutes later. They kept acting spooky and looking in the thicker woods at the bottom of the food plot. We watched 8 doe and yearling feed until a 3 pt crashed their party. He busted up the group and scattered deer everywhere. About 2 minutes later I noticed movement at the bottom of the food plot. Smoke was standing in the edge of the food plot looking around. He started making his way to an oak tree across from us to check 3 scrapes. After what seemed like an hour of watching him through the low limbs he turned and walked right to some scattered ear corn at 35 yards. With daylight fading by the second, I drew my bow and settled a pin. One last slow breath and I touched the release and waited for the moment of truth.... When the arrow hit he dropped immediately. Then he started kicking and trying to get back up. I scrambled to nock another arrow as he made it out of the food plot. After a painful wait, Anna Kate and I walked to the food plot to assess the damage. The arrow had blood halfway up the shaft and lay right where the deer fell. We immediately found blood but heard thrashing in the woods in front of us moments later. Having no desire to be engaged in hand to horn combat, I called Tyler Goforth to bring his dog Ryder in for some assistance. We got back to the food plot about an hour later. Four minutes after the tailgate dropped there was a single bark. He had already found Smoke! As we walked toward Ryder our lights caught a wagging tail and huge deer laying motionless under his paw! Bowhunting is a thrill every time you get to draw your bow, but this hunt was a ride that will never be topped!!
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