drag of a lifetime

by nathan

it was the first week of archery season in central pennsylvania in 2009. me and a good hunting buddy had been scouting a large mt side that fall and i had a spot i wanted to hunt but had to wait for a day that i had time to get there seeing as how work didnt leave time for the long walk up the mt. by luck the first friday it rained all morning and i got to go home from work early knowing exactly where i planned on going. i always had great luck on rainy days seeing big bucks so i was feeling hopeful. my buddy and i got together and headed out for a walk in the late morning which ended in him getting a buck so we got it cleaned up in time to head for the evening sit. i made sure to get some scent from that bucks tarsel gland on my clothes for a good cover scent. my buddy had a spot he wanted to try about a mile out the mt so we parted ways and i made my way up the mt taking my time to get to my spot to make sure i didnt spook any deer. i had a huge downed tree 15 yds from a good trail that i made my spot at. i never use a tree stand in archery or rifle hunting which is unheard of for most archery hunters these days and i had recently convinced my buddy to try the same so he was on the ground as well that evening. i got to my downed tree about 4 pm and scratched the leaves away for a spot to quietly sit. i knocked an easton 2117 aluminum arrow on my old bear HUNTER bow and settled in setting up on my knees so i would be able to draw if the opportunity arrived. i was there about ten minutes when my phone buzzed in my pocket and i pulled it out to read a text message. i happened to look up from my phone to see a deer staring down at me from the edge of a bench about 50 yds away. my immediate thoughts were oh no im busted! then i realized it had antlers and after a few moments of staredown he headed straight down my way. when he turned his head i could clearly see 4 points on the top of the rack so i knew he was a 10 pt if he was evenly racked. i was figuring on him turning onto the trail i was hunting at 15 yds for a broadside shot so i grabbed my bow and got ready. to my surprise he passed that and kept on right at me. i drew back and just as he was about to pass the end of my log AT 6 YDS i released the string watching the arrow disappear right behind his shoulder blade. as excited as i was i held composure and made sure to watch him to see where he went and what he did. he ran down to the creekbed and stopped for a moment and laid down. i immediately thought that was it and he was done right there. then after 5 or 10 minutes to my dismay he stood back up and went another 10 yds and laid down again. at this point i knocked another arrow and even though he was out of my range i thought about taking a shot but didnt. after a few more times of him getting up and laying down he made it to the other side of the creekbed and laid down in a small indentation in the ground. by now it was getting toward dark and dark clouds were rolling in so i decided i had to act. i got up and got in line with trees so he couldnt see me and slowly made my way toward him. i made it to the creekbed directly acrooss from him and saw he was facing away so i stepped out and drew and put another arrow into him. he never got up and i quickly went over to him and took a few pictures and had my own celebration. then as i gutted him it started to rain and knowing i had a long drag ahead i texted my buddy to meet me at a pick up location. i had to drag him 3/4 of a mile straight down the creek in pouring down rain and even though it was the worst drag of my life it was also the best. my buddy met me a few hundred yds from the truck and helped drag the rest of the way. ive shot many other deer with various weapons but that is one hunt i will never forget.

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