We had a great ground set up to bow hunt rutting whitetails. Kaleb was up to bat with 2 tags in his pocket hoping to end his quest to shoot his first deer. Early in the evening a doe came into the decoys. The sun angle was right in our hide, so it ended up not being as good as earlier predicted. However, Kaleb made a great shot on the doe. I was confident it was lethal and it would be a short recovery so we nocked another arrow hoping for a chance at a buck.
With lots of rutting activity earlier in the day, we rattled multiple times each producing an encounter. With the grass so tall we could only hear them running in our directions. Finally, towards the end of the evening a small buck works his way into our shooting hole, but never offered a shot.
We took up the trail of the doe Kaleb arrowed. It was slow going with very little blood. We looked for several hours that evening. A cool front was moving in and the wind picked up to about 20 mph paired with dropping temps it essentially froze Kaleb out and we abandoned the recovery until the next day.
More of the same the next day. Very little blood turned into a grid searching mission in the vast expanse of towering CRP. The temps warmed up in midday after the cool front blew past us spelling a grim outcome if we were able to stubble into Kaleb's doe. Late in the day we were able to find her and I immediately knew she had died the night before...but there was nothing to salvage as far as the meet was concerned.
As we discussed the hunt, we could see he made perfect shot. The arrow penetration had better than initially thought. There was no exit wound. He was pulling almost 40#'s. I made an agreement with him that if he could pull 35+ pounds before bow season and shot good out to 20 yards I would get him deer tags.
It was unfortunate for him that she did not bleed like some of the animals I have shot, otherwise the recovery would have been totally different. Distance, lack of a blood trail, and thick CRP made for a lemon of an outcome. BUT, his request to save the tail turned into a great opportunity to learn how to tie bucktail jigs. When early spring after ice out rolled around, it would be time to fill the freezer with the help of the hair from his doe to make amends with the bow hunting gods. At that we did. We have used up all the hair from her tail and we've caught a ton of fish making lemonade out of lemons.