(VERY) Late season crossbow hunt success (...in the name of history)

Six-GunSix-Gun Senior MemberPosts: 7,226 Senior Member
I got taken as an alternate for the base's controlled archery deer hunt. It's designed to cull the overly populous deer herd that ravages one of the base golf courses. Normally, a draw is required to get this opportunity for just one week, but one of the guys who got drawn hurt his back and couldn't hunt. He gave up his slot and I filled it. You are required to shoot one antlerless deer first and then can shoot a buck.

The cool, historically significant part? This particular spot isn't on the golf course itself, rather it's on the adjacent, based-owned portion of the Huffman Prairie: the place where the Wright Brothers performed over 150 flights to test and perfect the world's first practical airplane.


Wikipedia has a good description of the shared boundary area I was on tonight:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huffman_Prairie
The National Park Service currently operates this historic site where visitors may see the place where the Wrights developed the world’s first practical airplane as well as replicas of their 1905 hangar and launching catapult. While the historic flying field is mowed short, simulating the grazed pasture used by the Wrights and allowing its use for re-enactment flights, an adjacent area of tall-grass prairie is maintained unmowed, managed instead using late-season controlled burns.[3] A nature trail winds among the prairie's tall grasses, diverse wildflowers, and occasional shrubs.[4] The Huffman Prairie area is located within the Air Force Base, with a separate entrance and fencing between it and an adjacent runway and other modern base facilities.

So yeah, this is where I was hunting:

1904WrightFlyer.jpg


A little background: Ohio's archery season starts in late September and ends in just over 2 weeks on February 1st.

It has been a TOUGH year hunting here during this, my first season out this way. It's been difficult on base and even tougher on the state-owned public lands. To put it in perspective, I killed a mule deer, an antelope and a whitetail deer in 3 other states this year in just 5 hunting days *total*. I have been trying since the season opener here to get a deer and am just now finally punching a tag. To be fair, I let quite a few deer walk in the early season and had one I shot and never recovered due to a rain storm rolling in shortly after the hit, but it's still been inordinately hard to get it done.

Because the base is deemed private land by the Ohio game laws, baiting is allowed. Though I saw deer every single time I came out on this controlled hunt, what is now very tall grass in need of a burn made for no clear shot opportunities. I had never hunted over bait before, but promised myself long ago that I would do whatever was legal to take a deer if I got into the final weeks of the season with no luck. Starting on Monday, I started laying ~70 yard long string of apple slices along the 15-yard wide mowed section of an otherwise high-grass maze of tall grass and deer beds. I honestly felt a little bit guilty doing this, but crunch time was upon me and it was now or never. Ironically enough, the deer cleaned up all of the apples I laid over the prior two nights, but not while I was out there.

Tonight, I sat on the ground, right on the edge of the mowed path with nothing but camo on and my crossbow in hand. I decided to hang up the vertical bow for this spot because it's just too exposed to draw and I really wanted to finally punch a tag with my crossbow. Well before sunset, I heard a deer walking behind me pretty close. I slowly turned my head and saw it inside of 20 yards behind me. The way it was walking was sure to put it in my scent line, but these deer smell people fairly regularly due to their proximity to this national park area and I prayed that it wouldn't spook. When it got into my scent line, I never heard it flee. Instead, about 20 minutes later, it appeared about 50 yards away on the clearcut edge, but on the same side of the grass line that I was sitting in. This would make for a tough shot if it didn't get in the center of the clearcut due to the brush on my left negating a clear shooting lane. Worse, it was headed directly for me. At this point, I had just enough cover to hastily get the crossbow up without being seen.

Thankfully, the deer noticed my outline just outside of 20 yards. This made it a little tense; tail flicking and nose licking ensued, but it also did what I needed and slowly moved away from the grassline. I only had a rough idea of the range (somewhere between the 20 -30 yard spots I pre-ranged) since I couldn't take another laser reading at this point. I held just a little high with my 20 yard scope bubble. It was quartering toward me when the bolt released and I heard a nice, solid thump on impact. Into the tall grass it went and I sat for about 20 minutes before starting to look for sign. I found the bolt in the ground about 8 yards past the impact point and it was totally covered in good, bright blood and hair. Below is a pic of where it was found, turned on its point for perspective of clearcut edge grass I was hiding in:

Ohiodeerhunt-15Jan2015-HuffmanPrairie_zpsd2841884.jpg

The blood trail started out great - clear as day on a small patch of snow and growing larger into the grass - but went south quickly. After about 60 yards, I was down to sparse pin drops and I couldn't find anymore. Now it was completely dark. Instead of trampling the evidence and making things worse, I called an officemate from work and he came out to help. I found a few more drops when we went back into the grass and we leapfrogged as he and I found more, marking with flagging tape along the way. After about an hour of this and occasional splashes of more blood, our work was rewarded. The deer, a buttonbuck by chance, was down about 120 yards from the initial hit.

Ohiodeerhunt-15Jan2015-LuiswithDeer_zps8c6d8934.jpg

The penetration from the crossbow bolt, tipped with a 125 gr. Slick Trick Magnum broadhead, was amazing. I hit the deer quartering behind it's right shoulder and it exited with complete pass-through just in front of the left ham. That's well over 24" of deer! The entrance hole was spectacular. It's hard to believe so little blood was on the ground for so much of the trail.

Ohiodeerhunt-15Jan2015-Crossbowhole_zps32752591.jpg

It's been a long, difficult road to this deer, but I'm glad it's down: it was my very first crossbow kill, I did it on a very historical site, and I checked the box for (technically) taking an antlerless deer. I have 2 more days left in my controlled hunting week to try and get a genuine, antlered buck or another antlerless deer. Even if that doesn't happen, at least my first deer season here isn't the total bust it was shaping up to be.
Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.

Replies

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,564 Senior Member
    Excellent! Way to endure.

    That's a serious hole. Was it a mechanical?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Thanks!

    I was definitely impressed by the size of that hole and equally distressed over the fact that somehow, this deer decided not to bleed much out of it. I don't know how it's possible.

    The Slick Trick Magnum is actually a very small profile fixed blade broadhead - short, stubby 1-1/8" blades. Somehow, some way, it leaves a much larger diameter hole than its cutting surface suggests it should. It's the same exact broadhead I use with my vertical bow and is designed to give the reliability of a fixed blade design without the planning/skewing problems you get with larger profile broadheads. This lets you shoot it accurately out of a fast vertical bow or 165+ lb. draw crossbow like my Parker Tornado F4 without accuracy problems. On the crossbow, this puppy clocks at (chrony measured) 340 fps and still groups very well out to 60 yards.

    51xWUWwimhL._SY355_.jpg

    The more I use it, the less I desire to change out to a mechanical like I used to on a higher draw weight bow.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,945 Senior Member
    Thwacktacular!!:cool2: But given the location, aren't you supposed to strafe them from a biplane?

    Lack of blood trail. . .Forum-wise, we've collectively seen a few of these where a good blood trail peters out. I've got two theories on this:

    1. You start out with a full "water balloon". Poke a hole in it and you've got pressure pushing fluid out, but you soon get to the point where there's not much pressure, and the critter stops "bleeding out" but continues "bleeding in".

    2. Bullets and arrows enter and exit through muscle tissue, which might try to clamp down on blood flow through swelling/bruising. No such mechanism in the innards, and we're back to "bleeding in".

    I'm very surprised he got that far - that's a HARD hit deer!
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,533 Senior Member
    Congratulations!
    First deer in a new area, taken at a historical location, is just awesome
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,267 Senior Member
    Looking good! Mary's sister has her own private deer herd in the small patch of woods behind her house and you could sit on her back deck and arrow one, but the neighbors would get a bit upset if you blood-trail it across their back yards! They do a job on her ornamental shrubs every year, right in the middle of town!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,903 Senior Member
    Should be great on the table.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Thanks, guys!

    The base wildlife manager got back to me after I email-reported the kill to him last night. He said that since this is the first year that they have offered this area for the controled hunt and the prior week's guys were unsuccessful, I am the first person ever to shoot a deer out there! They're having my bust made as I type this :tooth:
    Teach wrote: »
    Looking good! Mary's sister has her own private deer herd in the small patch of woods behind her house and you could sit on her back deck and arrow one, but the neighbors would get a bit upset if you blood-trail it across their back yards! They do a job on her ornamental shrubs every year, right in the middle of town!
    Jerry

    She showed me some great pics of those deer back there when I was at her house. She has quite a brave little bunch moving around back there!
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Bigslug wrote: »
    Thwacktacular!!:cool2: But given the location, aren't you supposed to strafe them from a biplane?

    Lack of blood trail. . .Forum-wise, we've collectively seen a few of these where a good blood trail peters out. I've got two theories on this:

    1. You start out with a full "water balloon". Poke a hole in it and you've got pressure pushing fluid out, but you soon get to the point where there's not much pressure, and the critter stops "bleeding out" but continues "bleeding in".

    2. Bullets and arrows enter and exit through muscle tissue, which might try to clamp down on blood flow through swelling/bruising. No such mechanism in the innards, and we're back to "bleeding in".

    I'm very surprised he got that far - that's a HARD hit deer!

    I absolutely believe in your first theory on this. Unless the hole is low enough or a true heart shot, you always seem to get that initial surge of blood with arrows and it often slows significantly in short order. Then, when you open the deer up, the internal blood pool is amazing.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,670 Senior Member
    Good Job Luis :worthy:

    I have found Muzzy Mx4s leave similar holes :up:
    They look similar too, just add Muzzy's replaceable tips
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,461 Senior Member
    My theory on blood trails.

    "Deer are different."

    Thats it.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    knitepoet wrote: »
    Good Job Luis :worthy:

    I have found Muzzy Mx4s leave similar holes :up:
    They look similar too, just add Muzzy's replaceable tips

    The Muzzys are another great option and arguably a better value at about $5 less per 3-pack. The thing I really like about he Slick Tricks is that the ferulle design is simple and tough, and blade replacement is extremely fast. The 4 cutting edges are actually just two razor flats - one locked through the other in the ferulle - held in place by the ring collar when the head is screwed in. The big trade-off with the Slick Trick ferulle is that if the tip does get bent, the entire thing is toast. That has yet to happen on game for me, but it could.
    My theory on blood trails.

    "Deer are different."

    Thats it.

    No, no, no - see, that idea doesn't allow me to don my tinfoil hat.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,461 Senior Member
    Six-Gun wrote: »

    No, no, no - see, that idea doesn't allow me to justify more gear.
    FIFY

    Sorry, the enable breaker was popped. I did a reset. You need a new bow.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    FIFY

    Sorry, the enable breaker was popped. I did a reset. You need a new bow.

    Noted and I will start shopping immediately, much to the chagrin of the Mrs. Come to think of it, every time I shoot a deer, I should probably just trade for a new bow. It's good luck!
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • WORLD TWORLD T Member Posts: 262 Member
    Six-Gun wrote: »
    Thanks!

    I was definitely impressed by the size of that hole and equally distressed over the fact that somehow, this deer decided not to bleed much out of it. I don't know how its possible.

    The Slick Trick Magnum is actually a very small profile fixed blade broadhead - short, stubby 1-1/8" blades. Somehow, some way, it leaves a much larger diameter hole than its cutting surface suggests it should. It's the same exact broadhead I use with my vertical bow and is designed to give the reliability of a fixed blade design without the planning/skewing problems you get with larger profile broadheads. This lets you shoot it accurately out of a fast vertical bow or 160 lb. draw crossbow like my Parker Tornado F4 without accuracy problems. On the crossbow, this puppy clocks at (chrony measured) 340 fps and still groups very well out to 60 yards.

    51xWUWwimhL._SY355_.jpg

    The more I use it, the less I desire to change out to a mechanical like I used to on a higher draw weight bow.

    I use Slick Trick's on my arrows. I shot two hogs during deer season with my compound bow using these broadheads. They went completely thru both hogs. I like em!!!!
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Truett - Ironically, the last kill I made before this deer was my own thumb. I went to remove the arrow as it got dark and grabbed a little too far up. The edge on these things is absurd.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,500 Senior Member
    Nice work! For some reason, it's been a tough year, here. Most of the guys I know who usually do very well, haven't. Myself included.
  • twatwa Senior Member Posts: 2,231 Senior Member
    Congrats, NICE DEER. - I bought a crossbow this year and tried to harvest one with it this year with no success. NEXT YEAR!
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Thanks again, guys. It was a rewarding hunt given the circumstances. Finally taking a deer with the crossbow just made it that much better.

    As for the hunting conditions in Ohio, I have to say that I'm pretty flabbergasted. I saw what I thought were very good deer numbers during the pre-season. However, talking with many of the locals, they are saying that numbers are down. Regardless, I didn't think it would take this long to kill a deer, especially one that I honestly would've let pass in the early season to go for a bigger doe. I know how it works once most gun seasons kick in, but I was not at all prepared for how incredibly busy the archery opener and early season were. It was even more of an ugly wake up call to see how sustained the pressure was throughout the squirrel/rabbit/other small game seasons.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • bellcatbellcat Senior Member Posts: 1,441 Senior Member
    Nice job! Good read
    "Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 10,727 Senior Member
    jbohio wrote: »
    Nice work! For some reason, it's been a tough year, here. Most of the guys I know who usually do very well, haven't. Myself included.

    Any deer on the new home place? Food Plot if you have any deer.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • timctimc Senior Member Posts: 6,583 Senior Member
    Good hunting and tracking!
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,226 Senior Member
    Much appreciated. I went back out last night, but some kind of large-scale timed running event involving a lot of people around the field seemed to kill the deer movement. The good news is that I'm a first-alternate for a different spot on the other side of the prairie (the mowed half near a large tree finger). Lots of deer moving around there and I can actually set up a treestand. Hopefully, that spot will open up.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,685 Senior Member
    Congratulations Luis! That was a wonderful narrative of your hunt and track. I have an old 150lb recurve crossbow, but it has not been blooded, probably because I spend more time burning charcoal, LOL........Robin :worthy:
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
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