The air is starting to get more and more brisk with every passing day here in AZ. Our “brisk” is probably comparable to warm fronts across the rest of the country, but it’s still nice. This time of year, I have 2 things on my mind. First, I can’t wait to spend another holiday season with family and friends. Second, I know that I will be chasing rutting mule deer and coues deer with my bow before I know it. Our Dec/Jan archery deer hunts are some of my favorite hunts of the year. It’s a beautiful time to be out in the desert. I don’t have to worry about stepping on a rattlesnake on my way to a bedded buck or a scorpion crawling up my pant leg as I sit and glass. During these hunts, I have seen some truly amazing sights through those binoculars. From watching bucks chase does all over the hills to squaring off with each other to tend to pecking order business, it’s a great time to say the least.
This hunt has brought me a whole lot of close calls, in the name of archery deer hunting. To this day, I still haven’t “sealed the deal” with my bow on a buck. Call it bad luck or just call it bowhunting. Countless stalks have been blown for one reason or the other. Be it that doe that I just never saw, or the wind shifting, things just haven’t quite lined up for me yet. Each year, I learn more and success feels a little bit closer than before. After all, in order to get good at something failure must occur. If it didn’t, success just wouldn’t be success at all.
Because, of my lack of bloody arrows from this hunt, I am not going to be too picky about the size of antlers. Don’t get me wrong, I love big antlers, but if a forky presents me with a good opportunity, I’m taking it. While I would love to shoot a big buck, and I will should I get the chance, a part of me would almost feel like I didn’t earn it. That might sound ridiculous to some, and maybe it is, but I’ve never killed a deer with my bow. That situation at full draw, settling my pin on a certain tuft of hair, squeezing the trigger, and watching my arrow sail into the vitals of my prize, is an unnerving one. Have you heard the saying,”Act like you’ve been there”? Well, I have never been there! I’ve never watched my arrow punch through a deer. For that reason, I’ll take what I can get, whether that’s a forked horn or a 4×4. How I see it, is the more practice I get shooting bucks, the more comfortable I’ll get doing it. So, when I do get that opportunity to come to full draw on that monster muley or coues, I can “act like I’ve been there.” Until then, I’m going to keep learning, keep having fun, and try to leave my expectations elsewhere.