On the Scoreboard

As of December 1, 2009, the scoreboard for the year read DEER=2, DANIELLE=0. I had already missed 2 deer with my bow and here it was December 1, the second day of Ohio’s first gun season. I was confident I wouldn’t miss with the trusty Thompson Center.

It was a bit chilly as we headed out for the afternoon hunt, but I was all bundled up in my C4 suit. We hadn’t been set up long before the first deer arrived at the plot we were hunting. I had already decided I would take a doe and now was my chance, as two mature does and two fawns had entered the plot directly in front of us. I waited a few minutes for them to settle in and start feeding. The bigger of the two does was about 55 yards out feeding perfectly broadside, so I decided to take her. I stayed calm as I pulled up the TC muzzleloader, settled the crosshairs of the Nikon scope on her shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger...BOOM!!!

There was a huge puff of smoke but I could still make out all four deer running away. Had I missed?? I looked back at my husband David who was filming me. I knew the look—I had missed!! I couldn’t believe it, I really missed? At the shot, the doe I had shot at ran straight at us, then turned and joined the other deer as they scattered into the woods. Her tail was up and she appeared to be fine. Just to be sure we reviewed the footage while still in the tree and we both agreed I had missed low. I couldn’t believe I had missed, but eventually loaded the TC for the rest of the afternoon’s hunt.

Legal shooting time during gun season in Ohio ends at sunset, so at 5:01 p.m. we packed up our gear and climbed down. On the way out, we looked for any sign of a hit, but there was none, so we headed home.

Soon I was taking care of our daughter, Aleah, and cooking dinner. David was reviewing the footage from the afternoon’s hunt when suddenly he exclaimed, “Danielle, guess what, you DID hit that deer!!” As we watched the footage in slow motion I could see I had actually hit the doe. While reviewing the footage in the tree we had seen dirt “kick up” behind her so we thought I had missed low. The hit was a little low but she was definitely hit hard. My losing streak was over!

As it was already 7:30 p.m. and was supposed to drop below freezing that night, we decided to go back and find her first thing the next morning before I had to go into work. We ended up finding her about 125 yards from where I had shot her. Unfortunately, coyotes had found her before we did and virtually destroyed her. I was happy about finding her but disappointed in losing the meat.

Hunter: Danielle Wozniak

Cameraman: David Wozniak