There is nothing quite as challenging as archery hunting whitetail deer. It is guaranteed to get your heart pumping unlike any other challenging thing you will ever try. When you have to wait for that big buck to get into close range while trying not to spook him while drawing your bow back it can really get the adrenaline going.
Archery Hunting Whitetail Deer Challenging
It takes a lot of practice to get good enough with a bow to consistently hit a target in or near the bullseye at different ranges from different angles. But to be able to make a well placed shot on a live wild animal it takes practice and honed hunting skills. Hunting skills that can only be learned from trial and error.
I got my first bow when I was just a young boy. Then I practiced every day after school. I’m not sure how many arrows I’ve lost over the years. I would imagine a huge buck standing broadside at 30 yards. Slowly I would raise my Bear whitetail compound bow. My release back in those days was a leather three finger release. The archery equipment back then wasn’t like it is today. Shot after shot I would practice. Sometimes until dark. The fun part was getting the arrows out of the styrofoam target.
It was fall in northeast Georgia and the white oak acorns were dropping like crazy on our deer hunting lease in Walton county. I set up in a beautiful hardwood draw on the edge of a clear cut in my portable deer stand on a cold frosty sunny morning.
It was about 7:30 am when I saw him coming. I remember it like it was yesterday. He was meandering through the hardwoods coming towards me feeding on white oak acorns like they were going out of style. The adrenaline really got going, and was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. He was on me before I could get ready. Now I couldn’t move. He was right there. Almost like he was watching my every move without making it obvious. I remember my hearing my heart pump and my legs trembling because I couldn’t move. Heck, he was so close I was afraid he would hear me breathe.
First Shot at a Nice Buck with a Bow
Finally he went behind a big oak and I was able to draw my bow on him. He was about seven yards from the base of the tree I was in. I was about 15 feet up the tree. I’m surprised I didn’t hyper ventilate I was so worked up. I placed my ten yard pen on his lung area and let the arrow fly. It was like that arrow was in slow motion and I watched it fly right over him as he ducked the sound of my bow being shot. I should have aimed low he was less than ten yards and it was a bad shot. My first shot at a mature whitetail with a bow didn’t go as planned.
Him and the spike that was with him ran about sixty yards out into the clearcut and stopped and stood there looking back at me. Both started blowing like crazy at me for a while and then ran off. I remember the sick feeling I had. I had come so close to getting a nice buck archery hunting whitetail deer but missed.
Learning from our Bow Hunting Experiences
It is experiences like that, we learn from to become better hunters. Through the years I have learned so much from all the hunts I have been on. It’s all part of our learning process.
Fast forward to 2014 in Northeast Kansas. It is early November and I live on a beautiful farm in some of the best whitetail hunting in the country. I have been feeding the whitetails minerals and feed all spring. We have a couple of hit list bucks but the biggest buck I have on camera is a buck we called Stickers. I have been feeding him and watching him grow for several years and now he was mature. We placed my stand early in the summer and left it alone.
Whitetail Rut is on During Bow Season
Now it was early November and the rut was kicking in. A cold front was moving in and the wind and conditions were perfect. I waited to hunt this stand until I knew the rut was kicking in and the wind was perfect. I got to the stand before daylight. As I approached the stand I heard deer start blowing at me a run off. I just knew I had blown it. You can read the full story here of archery hunting whitetail deer “Stickers“. Long story short I grunted him in and made a perfect shot and was able to get my biggest buck ever. It was another extremely exciting challenging hunt.
Something I had learned from that hunt in Walton county in my teens helped me get my biggest buck ever. Stickers was extremely close and I aimed a little low because I knew at close range elevated in a tree I would hit a little high. Years of practice and experience had taught me this. Now it paid off.
Self Filmed Bow Harvest
Another memorable story I have archery hunting whitetail deer was a hunt I was actually behind the camera on in. I was having shoulder surgery very soon but was able to pull my bow back so I went hunting. Not knowing when my surgery was I decided to not hold out for a bigger buck and filmed myself taking an eleven point buck. My first self filmed bow kill.
Then Horn Donkey showed up behind my house and I was out of tags. It was game on! So I filmed Troy getting a shot at this once in a lifetime world class deer. It was probably the most exciting hunt I have ever experienced. I filmed my buddy Troy getting a shot at a free range world class whitetail. You can read the full story of a potential Kansas state record typical with a bow the legendary (even if just in our own minds) “Horn Donkey“.
There were so many good bow hunts in Kansas the six years we lived there were amazing. Here’s a short video of us bow hunting in Kansas and other fun times.
I have learned so much from being in the woods archery hunting whitetail deer over the past 40 or so years. The challenge of trying to get a huge mature buck within bow range. To get drawn back and make a good clean shot and kill is something I will always love. Even after having 4 shoulder surgeries. Possibly needing another I am still trying to figure out a way to not have to give that up. It is something that I love and always will.