By Joe Franklin
Tommy Kirkland Photography
-- It was a warm day back in 1992, and I had always heard everyone talk about how fun and exciting bowhunting could really be. I wanted to try it, but at that time I was a newlywed who was broke as dirt. I had to do something though, because the thrill of the hunt not only ran through my veins, but the growling of my gut depended on it.
I couldn't afford to buy a new bow, so I had to buy an old one from a pawn shop. I spent $35 for the bow and arrows and decided I was going to give it a try. Finally, the season arrived, and I was ready to go, used bow and all.
I simply could not wait to get in the woods on opening day and take my first deer with my pawn shop bow. As I was sitting in my stand, a doe walked directly toward me about 15 yards away, and I pulled back on the string. With my heart racing and pulse pounding, I got ready to shoot. I wanted so badly to earn the bragging rights that I had gotten the deer with a bow before my brother did because we are always in competition to prove who the best hunter is.
As the doe turned broadside, I released the shot, and to my dismay, I saw the arrow fly underneath her. The doe jumped and ran off. I had missed! But even though I did not take her, I was very excited at the thrill of the hunt with the bow I had brought. Later that morning, I met up with my brother and told him all about it, and we both decided where we would go that afternoon to try our luck again.
When I entered the woods, I headed down an old ATV trail and was looking at deer tracks and acorns. Also, I was using this time to do some pre-scouting for rifle season. As I began to walk, I heard a rustle in the woods. The sound startled me because I thought it might have been a snake. I jumped back, and to my surprise, it was an armadillo. At that time, I thought this was a great opportunity to take another shot with my bow because I had always heard you have to practice to get better. Plus, I've heard that armadillos destroy turkey nests.
I thought I would help out not only m self but the turkeys. So, I took the practice arrow off and stood about 10 feet away from the armadillo. I came to full draw and rested the pin behind the armadillo's shoulder. Then I let it fly. Little did I know that when I struck that target I was in for a big surprise!
That armadillo turned facing me with a piece of my arrow sticking out through both sides and charged at me. Standing on its hind legs, he charged me, his front legs and claws scratching at me. He was making the worst hissing sound you ever heard.
Here I was, the mighty warrior, on my first day of bow season with a pawn shop bow and arrows and all I could do was break and run. That was the end of my bow season.
The moral of this story is to never underestimate the power of a small creature that we call a half-shell.
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