The opening weekend of archery season here in Florida’s Zone C has come and gone, with reports of great times coming in from all over. There are lots of grinning Bowhunters with full coolers out there now. I didn’t hunt; instead, I guided a disabled veteran of the First War in Iraq. But he made a beautiful shot on a big, mature doe. It was fantastic, except that’s when the work began.
You see, it’s all fun and games until the shot is fired. There was a rough time following the blood trail. Not that it was very long, but by the time we took up the trail to recovery, the sin had completed setting in, leaving us in total darkness. Tip #1: Carry a quality light.
The very old doe ran downhill towards a lake, making a series of turns while going through very dense vegetation. It was a series of drops of blood circling outward until the next drop was found and a new line of travel was discovered. Tip #2: If you think you’ve lost the trail, somehow mark the last blood sign and begin an ever-widening spiral until the new direction is established
Since the old girl ran quite a way downhill, towards the water, we had an extra hard job getting her back up the hill. If any of you have ever had the privilege to drag a deer out of the forest, you can appreciate this. It seemed that for every yard of distance covered, she gained ten pounds. If you ever want to know just how out of shape you are, drag a fat, old doe uphill and back to the truck! Tip #3: Exercise during the off-season.
Skinning wasn’t a chore, but it took a bit longer than it should have. I hadn’t re-sharpened my knives after cleaning some hogs a while back, and trying to clean a deer with a dull knife is not an enjoyable task. Tip #4: Buy a quality knife sharpener and use it every time those knives come out.
It’s just the beginning of the season; it seems it was a quick reminder to get myself back in the swing. But none of this first putting was bad; quite the contrary. My client, a disabled veteran, Jason Kilgore, of Plant City, Florida, and I had a wonderful time. He made a great shot, and he’s headed home with a full cooler and a great memory.
I hope you all enjoyed your time in the field, and if you’d like to share your successes with us, reach out to me at [email protected]. God Bless, and good hunting!