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Bowhunting Alberta Whitetails with Tim Herald, Buck Down

September 1, 2010 by  
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Here is Tim Herald’s hunting report from his early season bowhunt for velvet bucks up in Alberta, Canada.  Looks like he was able to close the deal on a nice deer despite some tough conditions.

Northern Alberta: Day 3 was terrible. It rained all day, and we only saw a couple of deer. On day 4 the weather broke about mid day and the skies began to clear and temps stayed in the 50’s. That evening we saw 5 bucks and 2 does. The messed up deer came back in with two 2.5 year olds, and seeing him with those two young bucks gave us some perspective, and I think he may well be a 4.5 year old.

On the morning of day 5, we slipped through the bush an hour before daylight and climbed into the Double Bull Dark Horse ground blind. Legal shooting was 6:20AM, and about 6:35, I looked up and there was a nice buck standing at 30 yards to our right. We had the blind setup to see deer approaching from the left, so this was a surprise. He stared at us hard for 3-4 minutes, and it took forever just to pick up my bow. I then saw another deer coming from the right, and I could tell it was the tall 9 pointer from the trail cam photos. I saw no other deer. I was going to wait on the 9 pointer, but both deer were very nervous, staring, bobbing their heads, and I expected them to bolt at any time. We had had a number of deer get into bow range and then spook off seemingly for no reason, so I knew this was a tough situation.

The first deer got straight in front of the blind, broadside, and the other buck still hadn’t moved enough to even be on camera at all. I decided to shoot the 10 pointer in front of me instead of waiting and chancing both of them running off. When I drew the Quest Primal and settled the pin behind his shoulder, everything was perfect. Upon the release, my knock blew up, and the deer took off, but he was hit hard. He ran about 100 yards and stopped. I thought he was going to tip over, but the 9 pointer ran by, and he took off too. From somewhere way to the right, the big 10 pointer with split brows that we had on trail cam, came dashing out as well. If I had known he was there, I would definitely have waited! He was hard horned, and was somewhere in the mid 150’s to 160 range.

We looked back at our footage, and we could see that though I was on an even plane with the buck, my arrow entered him at a 45 degree downward angle. It hit low and forward, breaking the front leg and about 11″ of the arrow and my G5 T3 broadhead was in his chest. We saw the patch of brush he went in, so we decided to give him a few hours. That we did, and when we went back, he got up and ran to another patch of brush. We again backed out. He was running, but he would only bound about 3 times and then stop.

We went back later, and as soon as I got out of the truck, I knew things were bad. There were about 25 ravens circling around the bush. I knew he was dead there and expected a mess. We walked over, and it wasn’t the ravens that had done the damage. Coyotes had found him before we had, and they had eaten a big part of him. We were able to take some decent photos, but I hate when a bowhunt goes bad like this. It is part of real world hunting, but a bad part. I told you I would report the good and bad this fall, and this is definitely the bad.

Though not the biggest buck around, he was a nice velvet 10-point, and I am happy to have him, I just wish things had gone differently with the shot and recovery. I actually have  2 1/2 weeks off, and then I head to WY to hunt elk with my bow. I am going to try to sneak out at home in KY for a couple early hunts in between and am taking my wife on a short vacation for her birthday. With my fall travel schedule, she definitely deserves a vacation! I will be checking back in soon.

Hunt Hard…Tim H.

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