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First kill!

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Trent, Dec 11, 2013.

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  1. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    OK this deer hunting stuff sounds fun but holy CRAP it's a lot of work.

    I went out to my spot this morning. IMMEDIATELY saw what appeared to be a fairly big doe after I got in to position. Then another. Then they got in to my lane.

    I shouldered my crossbow, estimated the difference, breathed... relaxed, pulled the trigger. It seemed to take a year for my arrow to get to the deer.

    Then everything happened SOOO FAST.

    I know I nailed him, but I also saw that I hit a little low.

    My deer ran across the field, up in to the hills, and fell back down in to some brush. I figured "hell yeah!", nice clean kill. I put the bow down, reach for my belt, and realized I'd forgot my knife. So I mark the location good, can see the deer laying there about 80 yards off.

    I get back with my knife, get to the spot, and find nothing but a blood pile.

    Sonofa..

    We had a fairly fresh snowfall so the blood trail is easy to follow. PRODIGIOUS blood trail, splatter, signs of coughing. I figure as fast as this deer is bleeding out this shouldn't be a long chase.

    I couldn't have been more wrong.


    Every 50 yards or so I'd find where it coughed, or laid down for a minute. I caught sight of it a half dozen times. Always about 80 yards off, or so. It was watching me. I had to leave my bow behind when I crossed property lines so I had no choice but to wait it out (it never let me get a clean shot anyway).

    I tracked him through the hills. Through the fields. Through the forest. Signs of coughing. Heavy blood flow. Blood sign everywhere. wasn't hard to follow, although I almost lost the trail quite a few times where there wasn't any snow. Had to back track about a half dozen times and find the trail again. A few times I had to search a while until I found it.

    After over an hour and a half of hiking, I get to the edge of a corn field and BOOM. Jumps up and bounds off, like nothing ever happened. Fast as can be.

    I figure he's not mortally wounded. Decide to come home, sad, and depressed.

    I'm sitting here 15 minutes and figure... no. He's lost too much blood. There's no way in HELL he's going to survive.

    So I got my boots back on and went out again. Hiked from my house a mile or so back to where I left off at, picked up where I left off, and found him 30 yards away in grass at the edge of the field. Thought he was dead. NOPE! Off he goes again.

    One tough sonofa...

    At this point I'm determined just to run him down. So off in to the hills we go... I run after him. He bounds ahead, then lays down. Each time I have to run less.. and less.. I'm closing on him. I finally wore him down to the point I could get close to him.

    I reach for my knife. Left it at home...

    I had to finish him off with my bare hands. I tried to grab him - he jumped up and I about peed myself. So I broke off a big sturdy 3" wide stick, that's about 3 foot long.

    I get close to him again.

    Hit him three times with the big stick, in the head. Broke the damn stick. He's dazed but still alive.

    So I figure I'd break his neck. It looks easy enough in the movies, right?

    No. Spun his head around 360 degrees and no snap.

    So I sat on him, and choked the buck to death with my bare hands.

    I tell you something. It was primal. I'll remember that moment until my dying day.

    As if I wasn't tired enough... Then the REAL work began. I'm a LONG way from home, on foot, in steep hills, with no knife, no rope, no NOTHING. So I grabbed his rear feet and drug him.

    Rest. Drag. Rest. Drag. Rest. Drag.

    I had to haul him over a half mile to the edge of a clearing. Barbed wire fence stopped me, couldn't get him over it. Walk a half mile back to my home. Get my garden cart. Walk back with my 16 year old boy. Junior helps me get him over the barbed wire fence.

    I can barely stand at this point. And I haven't even started butchering him yet. (Was a young buck, I actually thought it was a doe until I'd killed it and found his ding dong between his legs... little nubs for antlers. Weighed about 150-160 lbs.)

    So I find that butchering an animal of that size, alone, is not easy. I'd never done it before. I managed to cut off all the meat. Didn't break any guts open on anything (didn't bother to gut it. Took the back strips off, quartered it, cut all the meat off the legs.)

    Hauled the carcass out back a quarter mile behind my place, for the 'yotes to eat.

    Wash the meat.. wash the meat more.. wash the meat some more...

    Then I cut off a couple small steaks and I ate something I killed with my bare hands.

    Now... I rest while the meat firms up a little in the deep freeze so I can finish making steaks.

    Will post pics when I find my phone cable.
     
  2. Yarddog

    Yarddog Member

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    Your lucky that deer did'nt tear you a new one,,Not going to break a deers neck for sure ; ) PS Congrats on your (First Kill)
    Y/D
     
  3. gspn

    gspn Member

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    Are...you...kidding me?!?! :what:

    If you're kidding me, then that was a GREAT story!

    If you're being serious then that is among the craziest things I've ever read about on a deer hunt.

    1 - work on your shot placement
    2 - always give the animal 20 minutes before trying to track it
    3 - if you see signs that you're bumping it then give it a few hours to bleed out
    4 - in your case I'd suggest double and triple checking that you have your knife
    5 - I always tell people that the work STARTS the moment you pull the
    trigger...up til that point it's all fun and games

    Congrats on your first deer...I'm certain nobody has worked that hard for one since 1500 BC.

    On a more serious note, I applaud you for not quitting. Too many "hunters" quit looking for a deer the moment it becomes an inconvenience for them. I respect and admire your tenacity and will to see things through. Good job. You're half crazy...but I like you.
     
  4. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Here it is.

    Cisel5Th.png
     
  5. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    The crossbow bolt blew a hole clear through the bottom of both lungs, and took out the upper leg joint on the other leg. I can't believe how far this deer managed to run before the end.

    When I got back I paced it out. The deer was larger than I thought, I was shooting downhill, and it paced out at 60 yards. I had held as if it was 40 yards. That put the bolt a little lower than I wanted it to go.

    Crossbow I used was a ghost 400 with spitfire mechanical broadheads.

    Wasn't as clean of a kill as I'd hoped for my first time, not by a long shot.

    But, I recovered the animal and ended any suffering I caused with my bare hands.

    So I hope that counts for something, on my karma. :)
     
  6. BP Hunter

    BP Hunter Member

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    Great story! You should sell it to one of the outdoor magazines.

    The deer I shot in the neck, also didn't die immediately. But it didn't fight either. I had to step on his mouth to suffocate it. It wasn't fun but it eventually choked.
     
  7. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    No, I'm not kidding you. I wish I were, as it's been a VERY long day.

    You offered some great advice, and I'll take it to heart!

    My shot placement was low, because I made a ranging error. I need to practice that more. The actual shot was good, arrow dead center (across) of where I wanted it, but low - the arrow hit about 8" lower than I wanted it to hit.

    I didn't realize I'd made a ranging error until I was tracking it and SAW how big the dang thing was. I thought it was a smallish doe, I had a combo tag so I wanted some nice tender meat. I didn't know I'd just shot a decent size, young buck. The antlers were 3mm long, and obscured by fur.
     
  8. lpsharp88

    lpsharp88 Member

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    Man, I wish my first deer kill story was as epic as that. Gladly (luckily too), I didn't have to track him, or choke him to death haha. I applaud your effort
     
  9. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    One thing I regret, when I came back home, I didn't grab my wolfhound to help.

    My dog would have ended that chase, and fast.

    When we play catch in the house he can bump his nose on my 8' ceiling with his feet still on the floor.

    Y4QQF7xh.jpg
     
  10. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    (It's also sad, that my first deer killed, was smaller than my dog. That buck weighed about 160-170? Maybe? My dog is almost 200.)
     
  11. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I'm still struggling to comprehend how a double-lung shot could have taken that long. The right side had a fist-sized exit wound in it. When I closed to kill it, I could HEAR it's breathing and see the steam on exhales, through that big hole.

    These are incredibly tough animals.

    Next time I hunt, I'm going to bring my laser rangefinder with me so there is NO doubt on range. I didn't think I'd need it since I was shooting < 50 yards. I was wrong. It's hard to tell how big a deer really is since they're all different sizes, and without knowing how big it really is, it's damn hard to range it accurately.

    I feel like crap because it wasn't a clean kill.

    But.. I have big hunks of meat chilling in the fridge, they should be stiffened up enough to cut in to steaks now.

    I'm hungry. And I'm going to go eat part of this thing I killed.
     
  12. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    Good on you and good lessons for all.

    I am very curious as the quality of the meat. Keep us posted!
     
  13. plodder

    plodder Member

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    Congrats on a budding deer slaying career! One thing I learned after one of my first kills is that a 140 lb. deer turns into about 220 lb. by the time you drag it a 1/2 mile or more through a swamp. In my advanced years I have learned that I don't need any venison that I would have to drag more than about 1 mile, so I have limited my hunting territory:D
     
  14. gspn

    gspn Member

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    Range estimation is a skill acquired through practice. If I could make two suggestions they would be the following:

    1 - As soon as you get in your stand use your rangefinder and range several easily identifiable landmarks in different directions. This will allow you to very quickly determine how far away a deer is whether it's dead ahead or to your left/right.

    If your limit it 50 yards then find out exactly where that is. A dead tree might be 50 yards to your left, a log on the ground might be 50 to your right...range them ahead of time so you don't have to think or do anything when a deer shows up. If your target is beyond your effective range then wait.

    2 - The way I got really good at range estimation was through back-yard practice. Before I had kids I bow hunted a lot. Starting in June or July my brother in law and I would go out back and shoot every other night or so. We'd shoot dozens of arrows a night from all different angles and ranges. Eventually we'd have the shooter turn his back, then the other guy would move the 3D target to an unknown distance. When the shooter turned back around he had four or five seconds to draw and send the shot.

    You will be surprised how good you can get when you practice like this. We would routinely stack three arrows touching each other. In fact that's how I started fletching my own arrows...it was too costly and time consuming to bring arrows to someone else to do it because we were shooting so tight we were tearing fletchings off and breaking arrow nocks.


    Don't beat yourself up too bad about the lack of a clean kill. You did your best, and it sounds like you are sincerely committed to making sure it gets better from here. You recovered a deer that many hunters would not have...focus on that and enjoy your venison.
     
  15. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Meat is very tender. I cut a few steaks off of the big chunk I cut off the ass end tonight (not even sure what different parts are called), and cooked them up. My boys had seconds, I had thirds.

    My oldest daughter tried a bite and spit it back out.

    My younger daughters were fascinated by the butchering and asked a lot of questions, but didn't eat any.

    Oh, my wife won't talk to me or even LOOK at me now.

    "You killed Bambi", she says.

    Damn that tasted good.

    And, I'm NEVER leaving the house without my knife again. Ever. That thing is going to be a permanent fixture on my belt.
     
  16. gspn

    gspn Member

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    There are lots of good butchering books out there for cheap. There's really not much to it, but you have to do a few before you get good at it.

    The rear leg is basically four big muscle groups. Each can be separate mostly by pushing your fingers in along the seams that you can see that separate them. After that you really just need to lightly hit the ends with a knife to cut the tendons and those big ol' roasts just lift right off. Pretty easy to debone as well...just takes some practice.

    Remember to remove the "silver skin" which is the silver colored membrane on the outside of the meat...it is very tough and you don't want to serve it to anyone.
     
  17. Liberty1776

    Liberty1776 Member

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    forget about all that...HOLY CRAP ON A CRUTCH - that's a big dog!!!!
     
  18. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Member

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    If you want to know how to butcher a deer and know what all the cuts are watch the 4 part video here http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-aD43mDtk70. It sounds like you cooked up the top round or bottom round. Hopefully you got the tenderloin out and didn't leave it on the carcass for the yotes.

    If you're going to eat them (like a real hunter should) its supposed to help keep the meat tender if you get a DRT (dead right there) shot. Supposedly the running releases lactic acid into their muscles, just like in humans (that's what the supplement Creatine is designed to stop) and the lactic acid toughens the meat. Glad you didn't give up. No sense feeding the yotes more than you gotta.
     
  19. CApighunter

    CApighunter Member

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    Buddy of mine had to finish one with a knife once. Said it was his worst experience of his whole hunting career.
     
  20. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    I took all the meat off all four legs, two long thick pieces along either side of the back bone, and two decent sized pieces off of the neck. I also though there was another big piece of meat on the neck but that turned out to be the windpipe, so I left it.

    I also cut down along the ribs and took two decent sized pieces of meat out there as well; discarding the damaged section that my arrow ruined. The meat between the ribs was so thin it wasn't worth dressing it further.

    I could have boiled the leg bones and got another 4 or 5 pounds off of it, but my wife was literally in tears... so I called it done.

    (She's still crying, 12 hours later... I'm not going to get any for a loooong time I fear.)
     
  21. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Member

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  22. OptimusPrime

    OptimusPrime Member

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    Think of all the money you'll save in the future, with never having to buy more bolts or bullets or anything. Just go catch deer with your hands, Rambo.
     
  23. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Silver skin. I think that's the clearish-membrane around the meat? It started collecting a LOT of blood as I washed it, chilled it in the deep freeze, and cut it, I removed ALL of it. It also was collecting some loose hairs.

    Hair. Good grief hair is hard to clean off.

    I learned today "you can't wash the meat enough."

    I did OK I guess. When I was later cutting up the meat in to steaks I focused on the "short grained meat" for steaks. "Long grained meat" was diced up and put in a bag that I'll grind up later. I got a gallon and a half of diced meat for grinding, about a gallon of "strips", a half gallon of "diced roast", 4 decent sized roasts, a bag of "back strap steak" (the two long pieces I took off the back).

    The mid-leg muscles were put in to bags - figure I'll use those for stew, or whatever. I took my time cleaning it with a sharp knife, and didn't leave much of any meat on the bone. The rear legs I carefully cut from the inside along the abdominal cavity, separated the hip joint, and took the whole of the rear meat with the leg. Later I separated the muscle groups out. The four larger pieces I kept intact for roast.

    I was mindful of temperature, and was cleaning it within an hour of death. The first thing I did was skinned it. It was a pain in the neck as I was doing it in my garage, on a tarp on the floor. Next time I'm going to hang the thing by the neck. It got REALLY slippery and I ruined a pair of jeans, doing it on the concrete slab.

    I'd read that meat can spoil quickly so I tried to get it cold as fast as possible. After removing the skin I quartered it up, took the back pieces and neck pieces and laid them aside. Then started working on separating the leg meat from the bones. I took my time, and didn't leave much of anything on it.

    If I'd fully dressed it and boiled the bones I could have got a few more pounds out of it, but the time it'd take wasn't worth it. Besides, once I'd knicked the abdominal cavity and the intestines poured out, it smelled bad. I wasn't interested in digging further. I know the heart is edible, and liver, but I'm not starving. If I were hunting for survival I would have got every bit of meat off of it. With one more unfilled tag, I figured good enough was good enough.

    It took an hour and a half to clean and about 30 more minutes to wrap the carcass and haul it to the edge of my property for the coyotes.

    My mother's boyfriend told me he can do it in 10 minutes, from the time he hangs it. I believe him, he's killed a hell of a lot more deer than I have (6-8 a year for the last 40 years... he lives in the middle of nowhere and survives on the meat). :)

    There are SO many things I would do differently. We have these little blue sleds that roll up. About 4 foot long and 2 foot across, with two big handles cut on the front. They roll up in to a compact 2.5" bundle. Next time I go tracking, I'm taking one of those, and a 10' section of rope.

    And a knife. I'm never leaving home again with out a knife on me!
     
  24. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    I love to archery hunt, but haven't the last few years because of time constraints for practice and I refuse to go out and shoot a deer in the butt. Having said that, may I offer a couple suggestions?

    Wait fifteen minutes after any archery hit. Mark the location and sit there. Eat a sandwich or smoke a cigarette.

    Study range estimation. Have a few known range objects around you and practice knowing what X range looks like.

    Practice shooting at your max limit. For example, I max out around 40 yards with a compound. I shoot at 50 in the back yard.

    Build a simple platform so you can practice shooting at elevation. As you've seen, it makes a big difference in arrow impact.

    Always try to get one step closer. Bragging rights for "I shot him at X yards" is for varmints and pests. A good range for hunting is one step before you get made by your quarry.
     
  25. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

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    Great suggestions and advice guys.

    This hunt is fresh in my memory (I'm currently cramping up in my back and legs from this ordeal, as I type this).

    The lessons I learned today and tomorrow will affect and influence EVERY hunt from this day to the end of my days.

    So don't be shy, please, give criticism and advise. Whatever part of hunting, doesn't matter - shot to harvest. I'm all ears, and I now realize I have a *lot* to learn.

    I read, and read, and read on deer hunting before doing it. But one day in the field gave me more insight in to it than 100 days reading on forums.

    That being said, now anything I read will really hit home, because I've been there and done it wrong.

    Please strike while the iron is hot. :)
     
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