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Paul Meriole’s 6-pointer

October 15, 2003

Illinois hunting and fishing

Trophy Tidbits

Scorable Points: 6

Kill Date: Oct. 15, 2003

County: Madison

Season: Bow

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the words of Alton bowhunter Paul Merioles is the story of his hunt for a Madison County buck.

On Oct. 15, 2003 I got my first buck with a bow ever. I first bought the Parker Hunter Mag, December 26, 2002 and instead of immediately going hunting I decided to practice all year. I didn’t go hunting during the 2002 season because I knew that I wasn’t ready. This would have been unfair to the deer if I had only wounded them because I did not know about shot placement.

So practice I did. I would practice in my back yard shooting until I was tired, I would practice off of my roof, and in my deer stand. I even got stuck in a tree practicing my climbing stand. After what seemed like an eternity the season finally arrived.

I went out Oct 1, then Oct 9, 10, 11 with no luck. Wednesday, October 15, 2003 I tried some new land that belonged to the Corps of Engineers and IDNR. I didn’t see anything Tuesday afternoon, plus I had left my release in the truck so I went out Wednesday again after work.

The Story: I got to the parking lot about 3:45. By the time I had all my hunting gear, and my climber it was 4:15. I walked into the site about 3/4 of a mile where I found an oak grove. I climbed up the tree to about 25 feet. Then I started rattling and calling both with the Primos bleat, estrus can, and the buck call. I aggressively rattled and called several times.

About 5:00 I stood up and looked around. About 50 yards away was a field that backed up toward to a levy and beyond that the Mississippi river. At the edge of the field I saw a small flicker. Looking closer I saw two deer. I had just stopped rattling and calling with the buck and doe call 5 minutes earlier. The bigger buck, a six pointer, was chasing around a smaller one—I think a yearling spike. Seeing the two deer I immediately I grabbed my bow and got ready to shoot.

These two deer were running and stopping, running and stopping. Teasing me about 50-55 yards away from my stand, and not even close to any decent shooting lanes. When I first saw the deer, my heart jumped into my throat, but luckily I was able to calm myself down.

I grunted softly to them, and then something spooked them towards me. The 6 pointer ran into a shooting lane at 40 yards and stood behind a tree. I waited until he took one step out and sighted in and as the buck left the shelter of the tree. All I had was a neck and shoulder shot. The buck was quartering away, looking at something that he didn’t like. I took the shot and blew through the deer so fast that I thought I missed.

It looked like it went right over his neck, but what I saw was the buck duck his neck after he was shot. I grabbed another arrow and heard the other buck blow. I thought for sure that my hunt was over and I lost an arrow, but as I looked I saw what appeared to be a buck spraying blood. The buck was standing with his head down towards me. It looked as though someone had turned on a red fire hydrant.

Literally handfuls of blood were pouring out. The buck did his death wobble and that was that. From the time of the shot till where he fell was less than 25 FEET. I am a rookie and have heard about unethical hunters stealing someone else’s kill, and as I was watching the buck I saw a man moving towards my buck. I made that climber slide down that tree.

I jumped out the last 6 feet and ran to where my buck was. This is where the rookie part of being a bow hunter comes in. I get to where the buck is and his head is down, I think good I can tag him and dress him, but he raises his head, but ten minutes later he expires. This is when I find out that what the deer were being spooked by was another hunter on the ground.

They saw him and didn’t know what it was, but were suspicious. So now I am about a mile from my truck in heavy timber and it’s now 6:15 pm and getting dark. The other hunter walks over to me and asks if he could help drag him out. This was really nice of him and it turns out that he is from Australia and it too was his first time hunting deer.

Anyway it was to dark to see to field dress him so we dragged the deer out. It takes us up to an hour to drag him out, and that’s with another friends help the last 500 yards. This buck is approximately 1 1/2 years old (one of my bow hunter friends told me) as a 6 pointer, and field dressed weight at 160 lbs. Not bad for my first deer. I hit him in the jugular with a muzzy 145 grain b.h. that left a hole that I could easily have put 2-3 fingers in at the same time.

The arrow entered his neck on the left side about a 1/4 of the way down from his spine and 4 inches from his shoulder. The arrow exited 3 inches below his mouth, and upon inspection it did indeed take out his jugular. All in all—this was my first deer, my one shot first with a bow. I was using the carbon express terminator hunters, Muzzy 145 grain b.h., and the Parker Hunter Mag. I’m hooked for life.

That night my wife and I skinned the buck, and I quartered it where it sat in my fridge for the next three days to be processed. I’m doing this so that I can get the full experience of the hunt. I could not have accomplished this major event in my life had it not been for the number of people who gave me so much helpful advice—I wouldn’t have gotten my first deer without their help. Thank you.

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