It was a cold crisp fall afternoon, it was also late bow hunting season and I was up at our hunting shack with my father and two of his closest friends. We had just made the final preparations to hike to are respective stands, after wishing each other good luck we were off. Little did I realize that this day would prove to bring me closer to death than any other day of my life. Being that my stand is the closest to camp it was only a short walk for me, while the other hunters would travel several miles to reach their destinations. Time passed quickly just sitting there the only noise I could hear was the cawing of a crow or the occasional creaking of a tree. Finally it came time for me to return home.
Upon returning home I was greeted by John one of my dad?s friends who informed me that he had ?arrowed? a very nice ten point buck. The rest of our hunting party arrived shortly after and the decision was made to track and hopefully retrieve John?s deer. We gathered the necessary gear for the job: rope, knives, flashlights, and a lantern. We left the camp in two groups, the first group consisted of my dad, John, and my dad?s other friend Bill, this group would travel in our jeep. I was the sole member of the second and I would be traveling on our dirt bike.
Upon reaching the site my dad gave each of us a task, John would mark each drop of blood that was found to prevent us from ruining the trail, Bill?s job was to track our location on our GPS, my dad?s job was to follow the deer?s tracks and look for blood; because I have read so many articles on tracking deer and have a knack for feeling which way a deer would go (and add to that the fact I am the only one in camp that is athletic) I would go on ahead of the group and try to run the deer down if the trail went bad. I could feel the air getting colder and the sky darker. The drops of blood began getting smaller and smaller until they were barley visible against the dark autumn leaves. Now it was my turn to lead the way, John said when he shot the deer was angling toward him and he was sure he had hit the deer in it?s front shoulder. Knowing these facts I was able to predict the deer would do two things: first it would take a path that provided easy walking because of its wounded leg and second it might head for the closest water source because it was probably gut shot and the cold water eases the pain. The entire area nearby John?s stand is a mushy and uneven swamp so I immediately ran toward the closest high ground which was near a rutted old logging road, after walking only a short distance down I came upon a matted down pile of weeds with a pool of blood on both sides. This indicated that the deer was hurt badly enough to have to lie down and the arrow had gone clean through the deer. All the noise I made running down the trail must have pushed the deer to start moving again, now the deer also knows its being followed so it will try to do two things lose what ever is following it or try to get down wind of its hunter to see or smell who or what its adversary is, because these are know facts there are two counter measures I have. By leaving my clothes outside the human scent is replaced by the scent of the outdoors while not totally preventing detection by a deer?s keen nose it makes it harder. To keep the deer from losing me in the woods I walked quietly and listened for the crunching of leaves or the dull cracking of a twig. I became so preoccupied with tracking the dear I hadn?t noticed how frigid the air had become. The dim light of my flashlight was the only illumination now