At First Draw - The Hard Work Pays Off

 Every good whitetail deer hunt involves overcoming challenges and an enduring pursuit of that big buck. And Andrew from AtFirstDraw’s late 2021 buck is no different. From the buck catching wind of him at 33 yards, to closing a gap of over 75 yards in chest high brush to make the finishing shot, this story had us on the edge of our seats.

Andrew from AtFirstDraw says 90% of his hunting is on public land. He had just got back from a 12 day hunt in Shawnee National Forest in early October of 2021. He had been full draw twice on big deer but could get them to step into the right spot.  When he's not on public land he can be found hunting private land in southwest Ohio. 

He said he tries to spend every available weekend scouting. The year prior he had hunted the same plot of land and had shot a buck there. 2021 was the third year hunting this specific plot of land. In the span of those 3 years a pattern became visible of when the does were coming into heat in that area. He made note of the date range and got a read on when the deer would be moving. That day 4 bucks had come through the area chasing does. 

Both the buck from the prior year and the buck from the fall of 2021 were shot in the middle of the day. Cold Saturday morning. (The year prior it had been snowing and when he got back in the stand had shot that buck) That day last fall he went back to the stand around noon after warming up. Got back into the stand. The rain stopped. Started crackling the antlers. The rattling antlers had come off a family friends but from pervious season. Not long after (within 15 minutes) a deer comes straight at him. He was quartering two at 33 yards. 

He’s learned that if you hunt the perfect wind you won’t see deer. But if you flirt with the edge of the wind you can see some the best deer. But sometimes this technique comes back to bite you. 

At 33 yards this buck caught wind of him. So he took the shot. He collected him self then went over and surveyed the area and sees that the arrow had a clean pass through. Later we’ll come to find out that the arrow punched one of the two lungs.

He calls in a small group to help track the deer and at first everything is going to plan. Theres a great blood trail to follow. Until it reaches a river.

After finding a point of reference on the other side of the river. They go around and they find blood. The group’s excitement returns. The blood trail actual passed near where his truck was parked. The blood trail is still steady. At this point the deer has gone around 300 yards. Then the deer proceeded into a large field of chest high grass. 

They follow the blood about 50 yards into the field and then about 100 yards ahead a buck stands up. With the binoculars Andrew could see he had blown out the buck’s front shoulder and it had lost a lot of blood. 

Where the deer is standing the winds were blowing the right direction. So he decided to stalk the dear and try to close the gap. The deer beds down as Andrew gets to 50 yards out. He continued moving forward. Andrew makes it to 17 yards. He can see the rack moving in the high grass. He slowly gets into position, draws back, and puts another shot in the deer. Which proceeded to run another 75 yards and enters the wood line on the other side of the field.

Andrew is confident the hunt is soon to end. Two shots, two clean pass throughs. The group waits till the next morning to follow because the light is running out. 

The next morning, after a light snow, Andrew and group return and they pop into the wood line and walk the area. But struggle to nail down the direction the deer headed. After 2 hours the group finds a bloody bed. But they fail to establish a direction from bed in which the deer moved next.

Five days later family friends had a good feeling about which direction the deer had gone and headed back out for one last attempt at finding it. And with the help of a drone they spotted what looked like the dead deer. Andrew was back out on public land on the hunt for the next deer. He got the text, dropped everything and rushed back to the field where they found the deer.

Even though from the first rib back the buck had been ravaged by coyotes, the rack was still in great shape.

Although finding the buck was more difficult than Andrew anticipated, he wouldn’t change how the story played out. He did his best to make it happen and he says he’s grateful for community around him that helped track it down.

 AtFirstDraw is Brindy and Andrew which are both relatively new to hunting but not the outdoors. Their account is a great resource for folks new and old when it comes to hunting in the midwest. You can find them on Instagram @AtFirstDraw


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