By Monty Haskett
-- After retiring from the military in 2004, I was starting a new career and had very little time to hunt. My fiancé, Jennifer, thought it would be a good idea for me to hunt with a bow since much of my time in the military was spent with guns. So we looked around and found an old compound bow, already set up, at a pawn shop. I purchased the bow and had it restrung and new cables put on it at an archery shop. And practiced A LOT!
I’d transferred to the eastern part of Washington and had no idea where to hunt. This part of the state is very open, which makes it very challenging for a bowhunter. At the beginning of the year, I researched and found some areas to scout and eventually hunt. One in particular was very close to my home and appealing due to the high cost of fuel.
At 4:30 a.m. on opening day, friend Brady and I parked near where we wanted to hunt. This area was a shotgun- and archery-only area public hunting area. We got set up and heard several shots ring out at first shooting light. Who would have known that it was also opening day of dove season! We scouted for a couple of hours. We had been seeing 10 to 15 deer about this time every morning, but not today. It was time for a new plan.
A week later, Jennifer and I headed for the hills and decided to do some spot-and-stalk hunting. The plan was, I would walk the ridge lines, and she would radio me whenever she saw deer.
We made a few stalks early that morning, but the plan was foiled because as I would be on a stalk, she would tell me what she was seeing. Deer hear exceptionally well, especially when you are talking about how many there are at less than 40 yards! We decided to ditch the radios.
At approximately 5 p.m., a nice 4x4 whitetail came up an old logging road. I put a short stalk on him and was able to get within 25 yards. He was just over the crest of a small hill and across a dried-up creek bed. I drew on him and crested over the hill and he bolted. My heart sank because I knew he was gone.
Instead, he stopped at 40 yards, broadside. Still at full draw, I put the 40-yard pin on him and let loose. The arrow flew perfectly and struck just behind the left shoulder, passing through both lungs. The buck jumped and ran about 30 feet, and then lay down behind a sagebrush.
It was by far the biggest deer I’d ever shot, and that I was able to do it with my fiancé and an old, retired compound bow was the best thing I could have ever imagined.
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