Memory of first buck is never forgotten

With my heart pumping so hard It was almost the only thing I could hear, I drew back and settled in on my pin. I had rattled lightly and he had come to investigate. This was finally the moment I had been waiting for.

You see, it had only been a few months since I had purchased my bow from local pro Larry Wise and he taught me form and then I was off to the races, so to speak.

Born of a generation that had no shortage of outdoor television, I’d only dreamed of the feeling that came along with a late October/early November rut, and tagging a trophy buck.

He stepped from behind the small tree he was behind and I left my arrow fly. It’s funny how in moments like this everything seems to move in slow motion. The arrow zipped through him, that much I saw, but was it the shot I had intended? It was already getting dark so I climbed down from the tree, and instead of tricking him right away, I walked down the hill from my hunting spot just behind my house and enlisted my father’s help.

A solid red striped arrow in hand and a freshly lit Coleman lantern, we started to follow a trail of fresh blood that got thicker and wider as went pressed on. Then, with a twinkle in my eye, “There he is,” I heard my dad say.

After about 100 yards zig-zagging our way through the woods laid a small “basket racked” six point. He may as well have been a twelve point, because in that moment, it didn’t matter. My first buck was there, and I had killed him with my new bow. That was more than 15 years ago, and is as freshly imprinted in the back of my mind as the day it happened.

A hunt where it all came together is a constant reminder of the passion that fuels me each time I take the “stick slinger” to the woods. I write this piece not to share my success, and the first of its kind, but to encourage archers of every kind.

Whether you may be new to the sport and hoping to give it a try, been at it for a while with no success, or even a seasoned hunter who’s hung up the bow for a while, it is my hope this brief story will aid you into stepping back into the woods and joining the brother/sisterhood of bow hunting.

Hunt hard, Hunt safe, and shoot straight friends.


John Knouse writes about the outdoors for The Sentinel.