Welcome to fall, y’all! It’s the most wonderful time of the year. If you are anything like me, Saturday mornings are spent in a tree with critters scurrying around below while your afternoons are spent yelling at the patio television watching your alma mater struggle on the gridiron. (GO CYCLONES!) I reckon many of you have spent the last few months setting up new stands, cutting shooting lanes, filling feeders, or planting food plots. You’ve also been religiously checking your SIM cards from your cameras or having the photos sent directly to your cellular phone (what a luxury that is!). You’ve somewhat been able to pattern your deer and hopefully have one or two that gets your blood pumping and keeping you awake at night. (Don’t worry, the patterns will all be changing soon, new bucks will emerge and your “shooter” may never have been seen.)
Deer archery season opened October 1 and runs through January 15, 2022. While you might still fight the gnats and mosquitos (and heat), I prefer archery for two reasons: 1) it’s entirely more difficult to kill a deer than it is with a firearm, and 2) there isn’t a hunter with a rifle every half mile. I have a lease near Wakita and a lease southwest of town (plus my own little twenty acres in which I live) that have plenty of deer and I have yet to see another bow hunter which suits me just fine.
While I still prefer a compound bow, many archers have now switched to a crossbow. Previously only designated for hunters with a disability, crossbows provide the ability to reach out to a further distance than your compound, recurve, or longbow. Modern crossbows can even be fitted with a scope so essentially the hunt is similar to hunting with a firearm.
If you are like me, sitting in a tree stand for hours upon end watching and listening to the wildlife (whether you get a shot or not) is the perfect serenity after a stressful workweek. While I certainly enjoy taking a buck, I enjoy being alone letting my mind be at ease. The occasional “buck fever” is a feeling that’s hard to explain, but once you see that shooter buck everything else fades away.
If I had a piece any advice to give to someone new to the sport it would be this: PRACTICE. Bowhunting takes a great amount of skill, patience, and precision. Practice shooting from your stand. Practice at various distances and in various directions. I’d imagine most of you (like me) hate wounding an animal and not being able to recover it. Spend the time to make sure your equipment is ready and sighted in, and with a little luck and good fortune perhaps you’ll be able to have a new wall decoration.
As always, check your local regulations to ensure compliance, and respect the land the good Lord has given us. GOOD LUCK!