It was a crisp fall weekday morning in Westchester County, New York.
I went to meet my friend, Pete, at my cousin’s gas station where he was working. Pete had introduced me to bow hunting and we were regularly hunting both in the mornings and the evenings during hunting season.
I had recently bought a Martin Warthog compound bow, sitting at right around 55lbs., that I was anxious to try out. Pete knew a spot, on the Taconic parkway, where there were a couple of tree stands owned by friends of his. He had the permission to use the stands so we went up and each took a stand separated by roughly a half mile.
I put out a film canister that contained several cotton balls soaked with Tinks #69. Tinks was a favorite of mine back then.
I noted that it was starting to get light and that the sun was coming up over my left shoulder. At about the same time a young doe decided to lay down at the base of my ladder and kept looking up at me. I was finally able to get her to move at just about the time I needed to head out in order to get to work.
I climbed down, grabbed my film canister, put the lid on it and started walking to the car. I had made it about 15 yards when I heard a thump, thump, thump behind me. It sounded like someone pounding their fists into the ground. Fortunately, I still had an arrow nocked
I turned around to see a solid buck with a nice rack. Without a whole lot of thought I lifted the bow, pulled back the string and let the arrow fly. To be honest I can’t really tell you if I aimed or just pointed the arrow in the general direction as it happened so quickly.
The buck took off like a bat out of hell. My first reaction was that I had rushed the shot and had missed. My next thought was that I had rushed the shot and wounded the deer. After several minutes of doubts and telling myself what a knucklehead I was I decided to go take a look.
I started to look for the arrow. After a couple of minutes of striking out I decided to head in the direction the buck had run off in. I walked about 50 yards and found my arrow. It was covered in blood and bubbles
At that time, I was shooting Easton XX75’s with a 125 grain Nap Razorback 5. Man I loved those broad-heads!!! I would take some emery cloth and sand down the shafts a little bit so they spun and almost whistled when you shot them. They made a nice hole as well. We referred to the area where they entered, and usually exited as the killing pentagram, Needless to say I was now tracking the blood trail which wasn’t very difficult as the buck had hemorrhaged and was leaving a stream of blood behind.
I got to the top of a ridge and looked out over the plateau in front of me. I saw Pete coming towards me. The buck was lying about halfway between us. I just jumped in the air like a kid getting a new toy on Christmas morning.
I went down to the deer and saw that I had shot it in the front left chest. The arrow had pierced the heart and nicked the lungs.
Pete and I gutted the buck and dragged it back to the car.
As we drove back to my cousin’s gas station I called in to work to let them know I would not be in that day.
The buck was a 16 inch inside spread, 8 point, typical that dressed out at 160 lbs.
My first truly big rack deer.
I am still waiting for something bigger to join him on the wall, but one thing is for sure…I’ll never forget my first.