The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Real Rage

The recovered Rage...


I guess it is true that we learn something new every day. I bought a TenPoint Titan Xtreme crossbow a couple years ago, but as luck had it I did not have the opportunity to fire it at anything but targets until Monday this week.

Although I am a bit of a traditionalist, at Neverland the expected ranges from our tree stands are a bit longer than I am comfortable to shot with my compound bow, so the investment on the crossbow. Also, it is always nice to play with a new or different toy.

The other "innovation" that I accepted along the crossbow was the use of mechanical broadheads, in my particular case Rage's X Blade 125 grains. As my compound bow is set to 56 pounds draw weight I felt that fixed-blade broadheads would guarantee me better penetration, but the crossbow has power to spare.

Anyhow, I hunted both morning and evening of Michigan's bow season opening day from the tree stand that overlooks the feeder at an overgrown clearing at Neverland, north of the bridge over the Mann Creek and west of the powerline. And apart from a close encounter, almost of the third degree, with a Cooper's Hawk that attempted to land either on my tree or my crossbow, but then decided it was safer to pick the next tree to the left, and watching cotton-tail rabbits, squirrels and blue jays stealing the corn intended only for the precious and scarce whitetails I had only a beautiful and quiet day at the woods.

After that the weather turned sour, overclouded or raining and windy most of the week. Maybe a very northern side effect of hurricane Matthew playing havoc in the more southern latitudes. Last Saturday I spent the morning bird hunting with Del, when we shot a couple limits of woodcock but saw no grouse, and in the afternoon I had a terrible earache that made driving home a terrible chore and would not allow me to hunt.

Sunday after mass I felt good enough to hunt again, and went back to the same tree stand, and had another quiet, pleasant and beautiful evening in the woods, with only the same cotton-tail, squirrels and blue jays entertaining me when I would stop re-reading Jim Fergus "A Hunter's Road". Driving home Sunday night I called my wife that is visiting our daughter and grandson in Houston and she mentioned that there was a weather alert for a potential frost on Monday morning. And that comment energized me, as a cold blast put the deer on the move.

On Monday morning I was comfortably seating at my tree stand a solid hour before first light, and had finally discovered a good way of balancing the crossbow on the rail so I had my hands free, to read, use the rangefinder, text to my wife, or whatever.

With sunup the frost started to appear in the more open areas, and my hopes were renewed. About an hour or so later I noticed a slight movement behind the trees to the left of the feeder and felt the all too common adrenalin rush better known as buckfever.

The grey shadow stood still for several minutes and finally a small doe came from behind the tree and moved behind the feeder. I positioned the crossbow on the rails, turned the green light on the dots and chose the proper dot for a 35 yards shot. When the doe cleared the feeder I pressed the trigger and was brutally surprised.

I heard the arrow hitting the doe almost as I pressed the trigger, and she went down immediately. By the picture below you can see that the spine must have been hit, but nonetheless the effect was nothing but definitive.

I will let Neverland rest before going back for the big buck that haunts my dreams, and that I am sure that I will meet one day.

...and the end game.

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