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A Soldier’s Reward

ShermanBy Jed Sherman

-- This hunting story begins in 2004, when I was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. You see, I am a Marine. And that is when I started bugging my wife with constant talk about hunting.

Finally, after 3 1/2 years and a tour in Iraq, I got my wish: I was home and shopping for a new bow. I’d researched them well while I was in Iraq, so I knew what I wanted: a Diamond Justice bow and all the accessories needed for hunting. The next morning, my father-in-law and I went to sight-in in the bow.

When it came time to hunt, there was only one problem: I was going into the woods "blind." I had only been back in the states for two days, so there was no scouting, no setting up food plots or any other preparation. Only thing I had in my favor was a mineral block I’d set on a stump in the middle of the 40-acre woods the last time I hunted the property

Around 3 p.m., I grabbed my bow and an old climber, and walked into the woods. It felt nice to be back after so long. With a temperature of 60 degrees, it was a beautiful day in the middle of Michigan. But it felt like 30 degrees after being on a tropical island for three years. 

The woods were quiet. Around 4:00, I heard some noise in the distance and focused in that direction. I stared for awhile, and then I noticed some hooves. I estimated 20 deer were in that spot, all well out of bow range.

Around dusk, a little 4-point started heading my way. At this point, I just wanted some venison, so I got into position to shoot. At 20 yards, the buck stood on his hind legs to eat some tree leaves. This gave me a chance to draw. When he dropped back to four legs, I let the arrow fly.

The buck ran about 60 yards and just stood there. I wondered if I’d hit him. Then I saw my arrow stuck in the dirt. I had missed.

Angry with myself, I sat there watching him. Then I heard a stick snap. I turned my head and saw an 8-pointer where the other deer had been. Hurrying to shoot again, I drew my bow and waited for the larger buck to offer a clear shot. Being away from hunting so long made the wait extremely difficult.

I made a pssst noise to get the buck to halt. When he stopped and looked, the arrow found its mark. The buck could go no farther than 30 yards. I’d made a perfect double-lung shot!

As I sat there waiting for dark, the 4-pointer returned and walked right under my stand. I guess I had luck on my side that day. I never thought I would see any deer, let alone take an 8-pointer.

-- Jed Sherman

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