One good thing about going to school in central Florida is that the deer season opens much sooner than back in the panhandle. This year, archery season opened in mid-August. I did a bit of scouting and found that Lochloosa WMA was only about a 30 minute drive from my house and didn’t require a quota (since I missed the drawing this year).
On a Thursday evening I drove out to the WMA and scouted/hunted. I found very little deer sign and spooked a bunch of turkeys while driving down one of the roads. I was without a tree stand since I had left it back in Pensacola so I was forced to hunt from the ground.
I finally found an area that had a few scrapes so I sat beneath an old oak and waited until dark. The area that I was in an oak hammock and the dry leaves made walking anything but quiet. Therefore, I wasn’t particularly surprised when I heard something moving my direction about 80 yards through the woods. I readied myself and out popped a turkey at about 40 yards. Then another…and another…and another. I waited until the last one was out moving through the clearing and drew back on my bow. I released the arrow and…well…flat out missed. I shot a few inches low and since I was already on the ground, the arrow dug into the ground short of its target. The turkeys all flushed and I counted 7 total.
I then heard more leaf crunching and almost immediately, a button-buck stepped out at about 30 yards. Even if I had wanted to shoot it, I couldn’t since I had no arrow nocked. The buck stared at me for close to a minute as I tried to make myself resemble a lumpy tree and he finally spooked.
A few days later I found myself back in the same area. To my dismay, I walked in on another hunter near where I had shot at the turkeys. I decided to walk (forever) down a different road and finally found myself in a cypress swamp. It was getting late in the afternoon so I decided to sit under a tree and wait until dusk. My watch read 4:00 and I told myself I’d wait until 6:45 before I left. I made it to about 6:00. I had decided that if I sat there another minute I would be nothing more than a shriveled husk of a hunter due to blood loss from mosquitoes. Besides, I hadn’t seen anything the whole time I was sitting there. I nocked my arrow, grabbed my things, stood up, and saw a doe at 20 yards.
I immediately ducked back down and drew out an arrow. I waited for a clear shot and the doe began to move off. I knew that if I didn’t follow, I’d never have a shot. I decided to start stalking her and soon found a small opening that offered about a 40 yard shot. I let the arrow go and watched it go right where it belonged. However, upon hitting the deer, it sounded like my arrow hit a tree.
She tore up a hill, crashed through head high palmettos, and then did something I wasn’t expecting. She blew at me and then ran further.
I got up and started looking for my arrow. When I finally found it, I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. The arrow had indeed hit the deer. There was blood and hair covering the broadhead. But just the broadhead. No other part of the arrow had any sign of passing through the deer. I searched for the deer for over an hour and well into night fall with no sign. Not a drop of blood could be found.
After talking to my dad, we came to conclusion: my arrow had bounced off the deer. I had personally never heard of such a thing and was so upset at the time that I didn’t even want to think about it. After getting home and calming down, I did some research and found that it is possible to hit a deer with an arrow and have it bounce off. I read an article of a hunter in Texas that shot a buck and the arrow hit squarely in the shoulder blade, causing the arrow to ricochet off. The only thing that I can imagine is that this is what happened to that doe. It’s rather hard to believe, but I honestly can’t make this stuff up.
I’ll just be sure to sharpen my broadheads before I shoot at any more Kevlar toting Lochloosa deer.