Nov 25: Bodock Hill Farm – While we were going to go up to Sand Creek for an evening hunt, we were tired from the Thanksgiving day of travel, visiting and food so decided to stay on the farm. I sat in the Pecan Grove with my muzzle loader and Pat sat in the blind that looks down on the north side of the levee.
We were in our respective spots by 3:30 on a beautiful evening with the temps in the 60’s. I heard one shot at 4 pm and expected more to pick up after that but it remained quiet for another hour. I had the front of the pond, the field to the right of the pond and the western side of the field / lawn as my area of coverage. I half expected deer to come in from the north as that is where the wind was coming in from. As often happens, out of nowhere a deer was standing in the path between the two tall grass fields leading up to the vegetable gardens. Where it stood there were tree branches hanging down, but in such a way that I had a nice clear shot if the deer didn’t move. It was a mid-sized doe. She looked over her shoulder, back at the other deer that normally travel together with her but didn’t move. I quickly decided that I should take her.
I was in the turkey chair that sits on the ground and was using a new bi-pod to help steady the my muzzle loader (a “primitive” weapon using modern materials that only takes one shot and then needs to be reloaded like the rifles used in the 17th and 18th centuries). However, I had the bi-pod not fully opened for the best stability as I had a large area to cover and had decided that would hinder trying to set up for shots so it was more of a mono pod. I had to twist to the right to take the shot and when I took the shot the gun made a slight leftward motion that I should have accounted for but didn’t. As muzzle loaders make a lot of smoke, I didn’t see if I had hit the deer but was sure I had. When the smoke cleared there was no deer on the ground.
Now the hard part comes as the best course of action is to sit still for at least 20 minutes before checking to see what happened. I had shot at 5 pm, which was sunset. Pat was still hunting on the other side of the pond and still had a chance to take a deer as there were 30 more minutes of hunting.
At 5:20 I could hear Pat coming in behind me so I knew it was okay to go check for the deer. I paced off the distance as I was curious to know how far the shot was and counted it as 75 yards. Immediately I saw blood and then 4 feet further back more blood. Those were the entrance and exit wounds. Even though I was pretty sure she hadn’t bounded forward, I checked that first. Then I went to the exit wound area and looked behind it and found more blood. I still had a feeling that it went up the hill to get over to the ditch on the other side of the vegetable garden. Meanwhile, Pat had joined me by this time and was looking beyond the exit would area and found more blood indicating that the deer had headed back the way it came. It was getting dark and the flashlights were put to work. About that time Dan came back from work and joined us.
We marked the trail as we found it and slowly moved forward towards the pond. As this was the first deer we were finding on our own I tried not to rush it. It clearly went down into where the pond normally is but due to the drought isn’t this year. When I found a spot down there and was starting to head across the way where it seemed to be headed, Pat called out from where she was standing. She had circled the pond and was checking the bank in front of the levee. She said she saw something and wanted me to check it out.
It was the doe. She had been trying to get up the bank to get over the levee when she collapsed. My shot was about 4 to 6 inches where I had been aiming. That slight recoil to the left had caused this action. We tracked her 110 yards without help.
With a lot of Dan’s help, we got the doe onto the levee, loaded onto Olive (my utility golf cart) and then into the Explorer to go get processed.
It was a great effort on the part of Team Ellis in tracking on our own!