Well after a full season of practicing we entered the Utah 05 archery season very optimistic. Her sights were low... any buck with a bow was the goal. Pre-season scouting showed a huge abundance of bucks overall... more than I've seen in a good many years actually, and a high percentage of mature deer.
Opening day morning, I got her within range of two different bucks that she made 2 clean misses on. I chalked it up to nerves as she can drill a target pretty darn accurately out to 40 yards.
Opening day evening. I got her within 30 yards of a nice wide 2pt that had eyeguards (you eastern guys would call it a 6pt). She shot under it... I couldnt believe it and asked what pin she used... she blushed and said the 20 pin
The buck didnt really know what had happened, ran out to 60 yards and stood there for a good 15 min... then he wandered right back up to us stopping broadside at 40 yards! She let fly shooting just over him. We actually got within 30 yards of him one more time while he was sparring with a smaller buck but she couldnt get her release clipped on in time and it ran off.
2nd day morning. I got her within range of several bucks but she couldnt get a shot off in time.
2nd day evening I found her a pretty big 4x3 mature mule deer. We got within 40 yards of it and she shot just over it. It had been paired with a 2pt that we then got within range of and she shot just under it.
At this point, knowing how well she can drill a target I began to suspect perhaps the 4blade muzzy broadheads were throwing off the arrows even though we had tested them.
Monday evening we visited my days haystack and shot into the 1ton bales of hay. At 30 yards she shot some of her tightest groups yet... actually shaving vanes off previous arrows! The muzzys were flying true so we both assumed it was her chokeing somehow.
We went back out Wed evening, sleeping over and hunting the following morning. Wed evening she got off a shot at a 2pt... when I talked to her after she said "AH! I realized what i have been doing wrong!". She realized that she had been forgetting to look through the peep! She was holding the string in at the knockpoint on her jaw but spaced off looking through the peep which accounted for the high / low shots.
ROFL!!! Buck fever!!!
Wed morning we saw another 10 bucks or so but not able to get off a shot before we had to leave so I could make it to work.
Friday evening I put her in a spot where alot of deer cross in front of. After a few does passed her a big 18-19" wide and very tall 3x3 inched its way down past her... she ranged it at 17 yards. She waited until it put its head down to feed before she drew but it still noticed her mid-draw and busted out of there. We tried to get in front of several other bucks but nothing let us get within range. Probably saw 10 more bucks that evening.
This morning (Sat) I planted her in the same place as the night before and wouldnt you believe it... the same wide 3pt was coming up past her the other way. He was very wary of this spot from the night before and eventually saw something he didnt like before he was in range and ran down around her about 100 yards taking another 10 or so does with him. I pulled her from that spot and we moved around to another spot where I saw a spike... the spike spooked off but along came the 4x3 she missed opening day evening. We shaddowed him for 15 min and got within range a couple times but he wouldnt sit still long enough for a shot. We didnt want to spook him to bad so we backed off and went looking for more deer.
I spotted 2 more 2pts about a mile away and we moved down to get in front of them. They moved along until they joined up with a doe that was waiting for her fawn to jump a fence. They were happy to sit there with the doe.. and the doe wasnt leaving without her fawn so we were able to get within 40 yards and she let fly and nailed the 2nd 2pt that was perfectly broadside, looking back away from us to the fawn! It wasnt a perfect hit but it was darn good enough... the buck went on a death run and ran a good 200 yards then collapsed (visible the entire time).
Wow... what a crazy hunt. Tons of deer... tons of chances for her, while she would have loved to have shot one of the big ones we saw, she was happy as can be she had the chance for them (several lol), and very happy with the one she ended up with.
I think shes mostly happy to be going back to rifle hunting next year
Now I can return to normal sleep patterns for a few weeks anyway!
PS: we forgot the camera so no postable pictures! We had video camera though so I'll have to pull pictures from it later.