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Propeller Heads
by Ron Barnett


Several 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 environment.

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.


1. Ballistic Archery SteelForce Saber Tooth (609) 397-1990
2. BowTech BlackHawk Bow (888) 689-1289
3. Game Tracker CX Hunter 300 arrows (800) 241-4833
4. Spot-Hogg Archery BareBones Bowsight (888) 302-7768
5. Tiger Tuff SHUR SHOT Rest (864) 370-1500
6. A.L.S. Scent-Lok Camo (231) 777-7565
7. Wolverine Antelope Boots (800) 545-2425





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