by Ron Barnett
does and four yearlings were milling around under me when I first
saw her. An old, wise, roman-nosed does was peeking out of the
thicket, checking out the action under my stand. She was every bit
as cautious as my biggest buck had been. When she stepped clear of
the thicket, I could see she was a little pot-bellied, just as he
had been. She was old and sharp!
I often listen with
amusement as some of my fellow bow hunters refer despairingly to
whitetail does as slicks, slick-heads or propeller heads. Some even
call them air-heads or dummies. They are enamored with the old boys
with the bony protrusions on the top of their skull. Don't get me
wrong, I often get hung up on the big boys too, but I really enjoy
matching wits with old does.
An older dry doe that
has spent her life taking care of her fawns over the years is
probably one of the sharpest critters in the woods, once she know
she is the target. Thy are wary and wise in the ways of the wild.
They are not hard to spot. They wear the scars of their victories
and losses just like the bucks do. They are often roman-nosed and
pot-bellied just like the older bucks. They are through with raising
fawns, but still control the family group and watch over the others
in the group. They still have to maintain their pecking order and
dominance over the others. They are challenged all the time.
Old does are very
adept at picking out and recognizing a threat that requires evasion.
They are masters at evasion, when necessary. Many times, I have
watched as old does in a bar ditch simply lay down flat and stretch
out their neck to let a car go by on a country road without being
detected. I have watched one old gal slip into a thicket and stretch
out while two hunters walked by on each side of the small thicket.
Once, I watched one ease into the edge of a pond and lay with her
head in a small bush as a guy walked up to the edge of the dam and
surveyed the area. I could have shot that one, but decided to let
her pass on some genes.
Garth Brooks has a
large acreage about eight miles from my house. Shortly after his
purchase, the land was fenced using a high-fence system. It was a
pretty funny right at first watching the deer that were accustomed
to moving across his property trying to figure out the fence. There
were several "speed bumps" in the cyclone fencing where the deer had
tried to run through it. It didn't take too long for some of the
older does to find the swing gates installed across the low spots.
They soon resumed their travels in and out of his property with no
problems. They are very adept at handling change in their
Luckily for me, my
entire family enjoys venison. I have the job of filling several
freezers each season and does eat just fine. I filled all my tags in
Oklahoma and Kansas for the past couple of years and have enjoyed
every second of it. Not only is the time in the woods enjoyable and
desirable, but entertaining as well. Some of the sounds made by
relaxed deer will often surprise you. The antics may have you
rolling around the danger of falling from your stand. Watching a
couple of does square off and start knocking the fire out of each
other while standing up on their hind legs is hilarious. They go
after each other like a pair of heavyweights. If you spend enough
time watching, you will soon see that whitetail deer are not quite
the gentle, lovable creatures that bunny-huggers seem to idolize.
They are often vicious with one another.
Hunting does is also
an excellent opportunity to try out your new equipment and find tune
it for your "opportunity of a lifetime" at one of them horny old
devils. If your gear doesn't work well on a 135 pound doe, it surely
will not work on a 200 pound buck.
My gear for this
particular trip was a pretty good set-up. I was shooting a new
BowTech BlackHawk set up with a Tiger Tuff Shur Shot rest and a
Spot-Hogg BareBones sight. My arrows were Game Tracker Hunter 300
carbons propelling 100 grain Ballistic Archery Steelforce SaberTooth
broadheads. This is a combination that has worked well for me on
several different hunts and I expect it to continue for many more. A
good Scent Lok suit and a pair of Wolverine Antelope boots will
always top off a good hunt.
Oh yeah, back to the
old doe at the beginning. She was a dandy. As she finally worked her
way in toward my stand, I could see she was much bigger than the
other does around. She would come in a few yards and stop and survey
the area for danger. She repeated this several times until she
stopped broadside at 18 yards and looked back down toward the creek
behind her. I saw another, smaller doe easing into the opening and
mimicking the old girls moves.
I raised my
bow and placed my pin behind her shoulder and watched my fletching
disappear in just the right place. It just doesn't get any better! I
got a real surprise when I crawled down later and walked along the
blood trail to my doe. She was a real trophy, an honest to goodness
200 pound plus doe. I had one heck of a time getting her to my truck
and loaded, but it was all worth it.
I truly love
bowhunting and will as long as I can handle it. I look at it as my
commune time in the woods with nature and have grown to enjoy all my
hunts whether game is taken or not. They are all enjoyable and have
memories. For me, any animal taken with a bow is a trophy.
|3. Game Tracker
||CX Hunter 300
|5. Tiger Tuff
||SHUR SHOT Rest