By: Hunter McCool
The air is getting crisp and the days are getting shorter, this makes the wait for bow season for the unfortunate souls south of Highway 84 that much harder. Our season starts October the 15th, so we have to watch our friends in the North begin their crusade from the sidelines for two more weeks. To help ease this pain I thought it best to take a trip down memory lane and look back on the hunt that started it all.
The summer that I turned 13 (I think) I helped my uncle install ductwork, an experience that ensured me I would never have a career in heat and air. After a couple of days in sweltering Mississippi summer heat, compounded by an insulated attic, I was given a check for about 350 dollars. I sat there looking at the check as if the possibilities were limitless. After a few days of deciding what I would spend it on, I had settled on a bow so my parents and I made the trip to Bass Pro Shops.
There it was. The Parker Side-Kick, a youth model bow that maxed out in the neighborhood of 45 pounds, was the most beautiful piece of equipment I had ever seen. So for the next few months, I would shoot almost every single day honing my skills out to about 20 yards, all the while trying to envision what it would be like to let an arrow loose on a whitetail. A foreign concept at the time.
Fast forward a few months, and my Dad and I are gathering chestnuts from our yard and relocating them to a big white oak in the center of the property. In that white oak was Lone Wolf lock on the stand and old school screw-in steps. I practiced climbing that tree and pulling my bow up at least 10 times and the rule was always to wait till dark and dad would come and make sure I climbed down safely. After all, I was a young man and time would prove that I am quite an accident prone.
Around 3:30 on opening weekend, I sat at the kitchen table with my bow. There was a certain energy about that day. We all knew it was coming and the nerves grew with every turn of the broad heads as they went onto the arrows. I still remember the heads, Muzzy Phantoms MX-4, I also remember purchasing them because they had the coolest packaging. I made the almost half-mile walk with my dad to that oak tree, climbed up, sat my bow in my lap, and began the wait. It wasn’t 45 minutes later a doe stepped out 10 yards away and began to indulge in the chestnuts I had picked. I can remember being in disbelief that this was about to happen. I don’t remember anything again until I was at full draw with my pin buried right in the pocket behind the shoulder. I squeezed the trigger on my cobra wrist strap release and I watched my green fletchings disappear into the deer. I knew immediately I had hit the money shot. Everything I had been told to do I completely disregarded. I didn’t wait to listen for the deer to fall like I was told and I especially didn’t wait for my dad to make sure I climbed down safely. I flew down the side of the tree, left my bow on the ground, grabbed my bloody arrow, and sprinted home to show my dad.
He was probably just as excited as I was and we went to retrieve the deer who was dead probably 30 yards from the tree. Cause of death upon further review was an arrow shot by a kid right into the pump house, a picture perfect shot. There aren’t to many firsts that the outdoor world can produce, in my opinion, that come close to your first bow kill. That moment would effectively cause me to put the rifle up for good and almost every year since then I set out chasing the same exact feeling only now I’ve increased my range.
Good luck to everyone this deer season, I hope your freezers are filled. Happy hunting and trust the float.