By Jared Moffett
-- My name is Jared Moffett, and I am a 20 year old Chemical Engineering student at Mississippi State University. I bought my bow in 8th grade with money I earned working at a Farmer’s Market in my hometown of Slidell, La. I hunted with it from the time I bought it, but had very little luck. Two years after I got my bow, I had a close encounter with two does, and that encounter hooked me on bowhunting for life. It took me a few years to accumulate stands of various sorts, and I had several encounters with deer but I was never able to close the deal.
This year I had an intense desire to get my first bow trophy, and I set my goal to take any grown, legal whitetail. I had several stands set up on our property in Meridian, Miss., but there was very little sign around them at the time. My Papa and I did some scouting looking for any hint of deer movement after my morning hunt on Oct. 4. We found an area off a road where a series of oak trees were dumping acorns, and we found a pine tree for me to climb with my Summit climber. I returned around 3 that afternoon and climbed the tree to a height of about 20 feet.
By 5, I saw a deer moving about 40 yards off to my right in some very thick brush and I slowly prepared myself for a shot. At one point I looked to my left, and I saw a doe stick her head out of some brush about 35 yards away from me. Her movement prompted the other deer to move toward her. When I realized the deer were going to walk into the clearing in front of me, I sat back down.
At this point, the largest doe stepped out into the back of the bulldozer clearing and was followed closely by her spot covered fawn. The first 10 yards of the dozer clearing was obscured with brush, not allowing a shot, but the largest doe ended up stepping into my shooting lane at 14 yards and proceeded to eat, tempting me to shoot her, but because of the young fawn I did not.
The lone doe walked to the back of the lane but never gave me a shot opportunity. Eventually, the fawn became antsy and ran back to where it came from, and the other two does followed it. They went into the woods and then walked into the road at about 20 yards. I stood up and drew on the lone doe, but my shot was blocked by several limbs, allowing her to escape unscathed. I sat back down and was feeling really bummed out. I could have easily shot the big doe and was beating myself up about my decision to not shoot.
About 50 minutes later, I heard what sounded like a deer, and I saw a doe step out where the large doe and fawn had originally come from. She walked to the back of the clearing and I readied my bow. She walked out and started eating acorns at about 18 yards, but was blocked by brush. She made her way to my shooting lane and when her head went behind an oak I drew, but she quickly turned around and started eating in a spot obscured by limbs.
I let my bow back down slowly and patiently waited for her. After about 45 seconds, she picked her head, flicked her tail, and started to move. When her head went behind the tree I drew back and she then stepped out into my shooting lane. I put the pin right behind her shoulder and squeezed the release. The arrow smacked hard and she kicked up her back legs and ran right back where she had come from. I heard her crash quickly.
Then, I simply fell apart and called my dad to tell him what I had done. He told me to calm down so I wouldn’t fall out of my stand. I then called my Papa and he said he would come help me track the deer. After several minutes I climbed down, made my way back to my truck, and called several other family members and friends to let them know my amazing news. When my Papa got there, we removed my stand and found my arrow, which had passed completely through the doe. We followed the trail right to the sixty-five pound doe which had only made it about 50 yards.
Regardless of her lack of antlers or massive body size, I had reached my goal and was ecstatic over what I deem a true trophy. Now I am more passionate about bowhunting than ever, and I have updated my goal to taking a mature whitetail buck with my bow. My passion has rubbed off on both my younger brother and uncle, who are starting to shoot archery. I am hopeful now that one day they will be able to experience the same joy I had Oct. 4, 2008.