By: Ted Nugent
Scouting my sacred wildgrounds and shooting my Mathews every day are nearly as exciting as hunting my wildgrounds. It is this year-round nonstop scouting that teaches me much about critter activity and the always changing travel patterns to better zero in on my most advantageous ambush location.
And of course, my samurai mystical flight of the arrow addiction is not only thrilling beyond words, but essential in remaining ONE with the path of my arrow for clean kills and backstrap joys!
And so it was on this magic fall day 2019 as I carefully snuck up on my chosen treestand setup for the afternoon bowhunt, that the Great Spirit was riding along on my shoulders to assist in my predator/conservation duties.
I don’t know about you, but my predator radar glows bright orange DefCom1 fulltime the minute I make the decision to hunt, sucking in every minute detail of the energized wild world around me, even as I slowly stalk through the woods, across the creek, into the marsh edge and up the final ridge to my tree.
One does not begin the hunt upon getting settled into our stand, but rather, a full-on dedicated hunt mode mindset the minute we leave camp, the truck or home.
I thoroughly absorb every sound, smell, taste, movement, glint and pulse. I cannot tell you how many times I have arrowed an unsuspecting deer on the way into my stand for the simple reason I was cocked, locked and ultra-ready to rock, and was able to pull off the ultimate miracle of seeing the deer before the deer sensed me.
On this magical day (they’re all magical!) I climbed aboard an ancient choke cherry tree ladderstand deep in the big timber above the ag grounds that I have hunted for more than 40 years, setup my vidcam, nocked and arrow, hung my bow and finalized my Mossy Oak camo for what, my 7000th hunting day in life! (something like that)
Birds flitted about bringing much joy as usual. A black squirrel and a grey squirrel scampered about off in the distance. Crows cawed. Cranes griggled out there somewhere and geese honked far away.
Sun spears pierced my canopy and a gentle southwest breezed fluttered an occasional leaf ballet to the ground.
It is always a show better than any movie or TV. (Well, Dirty Harry, The Patriot, The Gladiator, Braveheart and Man On Fire come close)
About 200 yards out in the forest a deer flipped it tail. My Bushnell’s made out a big doe with three fawns nibbling here and there, browsing on a little bit of the everything that deer eat.
My heartrate went from happy-beat to excited beat as a second doe brought up the rear.
It took them nearly an hour to make it to the well-worn historical trail thirty yards to my south, and by now my heartrate was well into the Gonzo pulsation mode. And I liked it.
Bowhunting is crazy difficult under the best conditions, but add the maniac desire to self-video a bowkill, and the challenge meter is fully pegged by the time a shot opening appears.
But this old WhackMaster gets lucky now and then, and with the vidcam zeroed in on the trailing doe, my 50# Mathews came to fulldraw under its own power and my well trained subconscious minds-eye saw the mirage of a small square of orange tape on her crease to the pumpstation just like I have on every 3D target at the range, when before I knew it, my left hand painted the 30 yard pin on it and my right hand obeyed my subconscious to touch off my GoldTip shaft, and as if out of body, I witnessed the glowing orange Lumenok disappear right where the orange tape would have been like on all my 3D targets.
With an instantaneous mulekick, the big forest donkey blew outta there afire, traveling maybe fifty yards before caterwauling ass over tea-kettle into a blowdown tangle of limbs and scattered treetops, all four legs akimbo and done.
Lord have mercy!
I exhaled and leaned back hard against my old cherry tree and closed my eyes.
What on God’s good green earth could all those nonhunters do with all these vibrant, explosive emotions and sensations that I am feeling right now? Could they possibly have an alternative outlet for them? Do they ever feel like I am feeling right now?
The doe with the three fawns bolted a few yards and watched the old gal run her last.
My Mathews is so completely silent that they had no idea what had just taken place.
I watched them slowly meander off and fade into the shadowy timber out of sight before I gathered my stuff and headed over to my prize.
I didn’t need to follow the obvious, ample bloodtrail, but I did so for the pure ritual of it. The scary sharp DeadRinger broadhead opening her up right nice like.
I’ve lucked into some mighty impressive mature bucks in my lifetime of deerhunting, but I really don’t think I am any more excited when I grab a handful of trophy antler than I am when I lift the stunning head of a clean killed doe, not matter what the size may be.
I sat at her side a long time, continuing to take it all in the best I could.
I say the best I could because I really don’t believe we humans are fully capable of taking it all in.
Life is such a mysterious miracle that it is all we can possibly muster to pursue grasping as much as we can.
I was able to maneuver my trusty Roxor ATV for the recovery and I did struggle pulling the big girl up and into the rig.
As I slowly drove off with my gift, the setting sun was slicing up the woodlands with scattered rays of penetrating light cutting here and there into the fading world around me.
My God in heaven, I was crazy happy to be celebrating yet another soul-stirring deerseason all these 71 years later. Thankful beyond words.