Tales from the Timber: Thanks Dad
EDITOR’S NOTE: Here in the words of Metamora bowhunter Dan Raube is the story of his hunt for a 12-point, 180 2/8-inch Tazewell County buck last Oct. 7.
This hunting story started 38 years ago when my father took me on my first gun deer hunting trip in the North Woods of Wisconsin. The memories are so vivid it was like it happened 5 minutes ago. I know other hunters feel the same way ... you can fall in love with it with all your heart.
Fast forward 38 years of deer hunts with my dad. My wife tells me I need a hobby. I guess she’s sick of looking at me. So I decided to take a different angle at deer hunting and I pick up a used bow the summer of 2008 and begin practicing. I got some good sound advice from some friends and they got me pointed in the right direction. To make a long story short, the 2008 season ends with no deer, two misses, a very humbled deer hunter, and a renewed appreciation for gun powder.
My good friend Scott E. would have none of it. He picked me up and dusted me off and fixed me up with a real nice slightly used bow and ordered me back to the basement for more practice. God bless good friends. I also have the privilege to hunt on a previous boss’s property. I do a couple minor chores with him over the year and I’m granted in return this awesome opportunity to hunt.
So I leave work about 2:30 one early October day. I’m in my tree by 3:00 with plenty of daylight left. About 45 minutes before closing, I see antlers, no deer, just antlers off my right shoulder about 100 yards. My adrenaline hits red-line. My hands are shaking and my knees are jumping. I say to myself, man you’re going to screw this up if you don’t calm down. So I put my chin to my chest and close my eyes, all but a slight squint.
Seemed like a good thing to do at the time? I remained that way, got myself calmed down and was able to remain motionless. I could see out of the corner of my eye through the squint that he was getting closer, but was taking his sweet time. He was just out for a cruise and snacking on acorns. I swear he sucked on them for a while before actually chewing them. One acorn at a time, one step at a time, but he kept getting closer ever so slowly and I knew the wind was in my favor.
Finally he passed right in front of me at about 20 yards, but it’s a wide open clearing. I felt I needed to wait a tick longer for him to get slightly past me before drawing so I wouldn’t be busted. Finally the time was right. I drew back and I ran through a quick mental checklist I memorized for myself, all looked well, then let it fly. I heard the “whack” other hunters told me I would hear. The deer bounded 3 times and then stopped. He reached back on the exit wound side and then staggered. He took about 6 more slow steps and then it was like all 4 tires went flat at once.= It was over quick.
I’ve seen on hunting shows how other hunters are elated when they know they’ve succeeded. Initially, I was not. I was quite choked up and not going anywhere for a while. I lost my dad, my lifelong hunting buddy, about a year ago to the day.
I realized at that moment he would not be able to see my first bow kill. Then after a while of feeling sorry for myself and for whatever reason, the thought came over me that just maybe he saw the whole thing. Maybe he had a hand in it. Maybe that’s why I had a nice buck standing only 18 yards away broadside so even I could shoot him.
That’s what I’m going with…………now let the celebration begin!