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To Heck with Island Hunting

Brent McCurdyBy Brent McCurdy

It was the 3rd of November 2007, the first day of a nine-day bowhunt at Mud Creek in Alabama. Some guys had told us about the deer on those small islands, which are only reachable by boat. My brother, friend Paul and I decided to check it out.

The first morning, there was very little action until my brother radioed and said a deer had just crossed the water was heading toward me. I stood up and got my bow ready. Sure enough, a full-grown doe was headed to my tree. When it was behind some thick cover, I started my draw. To my surprise, the deer spotted me and took off.

I was starting to think this island hunting was not all it was cracked up to be. Other hunters were all around me, and deer weren’t moving.

We decided to ditch the boat and hunt on the mainland that afternoon. I dropped my brother off at a spot by a creek and kept walking, only to come up on yet other hunters. We kept walking until we came to a field and a road.

We ended up having to hike about a mile back toward my truck. Once there, I showed Paul where we had seen some small bucks on the way.

We decided to hunt that spot, which was behind a soybean field. I’d found a pretty good tree for stand hunting about 60 yards behind the field. It was around 3 p.m. so I needed to get settled in pretty quick.

Not long in that stand, I spotted four does making their way across the back of the field, about 75 yards. At 4:30, a doe came up behind me. I was 30 feet up a tree so it didn’t catch my scent. The deer kept coming: One doe, two, three — I couldn’t believe the number of deer that were coming down the trail 60 yards behind me. Soon, there were 10 does, and all I could do is watch.

Then I noticed another deer coming out of the thick stuff, but this one had antlers. Other bucks followed, and soon I was looking at five shooters!

I grunted, thinking they might turn my way, but they didn’t pay me any attention. I grabbed my rangefinder and ranged a tree on the trail: the reading was 51 yards.

The first buck walked by my shooting lane before I could even think about drawing. He stopped and scratched his back with his antlers. A non-typical buck, it looked a brushpile on top of his head.

My heart was pounding, but it was too late to shoot at that buck, so I thought maybe the biggest would be the last one out of five. I drew my Mathews LX bow and aimed at the only lane I had, waiting for him to step into it.

I put my lowest pin on the top of his back, tripped the release and heard a thud. I was sick, thinking I had hit a tree.

A few minutes later, I heard a deer snort and then a crash, but I still wasn’t convinced I’d hit the buck.

At dark, I got down from my stand and began looking for blood. I was surprised to find good sign right away.

I called my brother at camp, and he brought four guys to help in the search. It took about 45 minutes to find the buck, a 9 point and my biggest deer with a bow. 

--Brent McCurdy

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