Redemption

As most hunters do, I had high hopes heading into bow season 2010.  We had some decent action during the first few weeks of the season, but the latter part of October and first couple weeks of November, typically prime time here in Ohio, was unusually slow.  Other than a having a great encounter with a heavy-beamed, huge-bodied 8 point in early-November, the first 2 months of the season were a bust.
Our main, one-week long gun season always begins the first Monday after Thanksgiving.  Combine a week of heavy hunting pressure with deer in the post-rut period, and the hunting during December becomes very challenging.  I began concentrating my efforts on a couple of HS Vita-Rack plots that still contained a lot of brassicas and turnips.  On December 15th, trail camera pics revealed a tall-tined 8 point hitting one of the plots only an hour after dark.  I recognized him as a 4 ½ year old buck I had passed a number of times during the late season the previous bow season.  I decided to concentrate my efforts on this deer. 
I had been using the Hoyt through the first 10 weeks of season.  Though a bowhunter at heart, I decided to hunt the remainder of the season using our TenPoint crossbow.  TenPoint, NAP Broadheads, Nikon, Hunter Safety Systems and Rocky had put together an awesome promotion for The Posse that was too good to pass up.
I figured cold weather and especially SNOW might bring this buck in before dark and on December 19th my wish was granted.  To make a long story short, the Big 8 showed up a full hour before dark and provided me with close to 20 minutes of footage before feeding into range.  Unfortunately, he moved right as I began to shoot and I ruined my opportunity. 
Though completely disappointed that I had blown the only chance I had gotten all season, I was hopeful I would get another crack at him.  I moved 2 trail cameras to another HS plot about ½ mile away, thinking he might relocate to that area.  Finally, 3 weeks later, he showed up on trail cam pics on the other plot.  We hunted the plot hard, but didn’t see him until January 23rd.  It was bitterly cold, with temps about 10 degrees as we headed to the stand that afternoon.  I wasn’t very optimistic, as there was very little wind with and it was clear as a bell, not the conditions I’ve found to be very productive during the late-season.  However, the deer moved that evening.  Right after 5 one and a half-year old bucks showed up, the Big 8 appeared, heading right for us.  At 40 yards he was on a course that would bring him within 30 yards of my stand.  But the 5 small bucks, along with 6 does and fawns that had entered the plot, were now almost straight downwind of our location, so I decided to shoot at the first chance I got.  Much to my dismay, the buck dropped at the shot and the arrow hit high.  We watched the footage several times-I couldn’t believe I had gotten a second chance at this deer and now may have just blown it again!  When in doubt, back out, so we decided to look for him the next day.  Fortunately, the Crossbow Spitfire MAXX had done its job and he hadn’t gone far.  As I walked up to him I was overwhelmed by emotions from all that had happened.  After a few moments, I smiled…2011 would be a new beginning.  What made it all even better was that my 2-year old daughter Aleah was there to share part of the recovery with me.
I would like to thank Ralph and Vicki and Archer’s Choice for this wonderful opportunity they have given me and TenPoint, NAP, Nikon, HSS and Rocky for putting this incredible promotion together.
Remember…keep your eye on the prize and always shoot straight from the heart!
 

Hunter: David Wozniak

Cameraman: Damian Riffle