I picked up my good buddy Randy Levingston, who was equally as excited as I was. We ran down the river on a cool, slightly foggy ride to the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area.
We set up in our ladder stands well before daylight, clicked on the Thermacells and waited for first light.
I prefer to stand most of the time on my ladder platform, so right as it was getting light enough to see, I attempted to stand up but found that the chain on my ladder had loosened to the point of the stand wobbling quite a bit.
Of all times to have a malfunction! I resigned myself to get it fixed quickly before a deer showed up.
As I stepped down the first two ladder rungs, I glanced behind me and there was doe standing at full alert only 30 yards away.
I froze, and the stare-down began. The doe was entirely motionless for several loooong minutes. My bow was a few feet away, hanging on a branch.
I felt that if I reached for it, she was gone. I had to wait for her to make a move. On and on it went, moment by agonizing moment.
The only thing in my favor was the wind blowing from the west, crossways between us. When she finally moved, she sniffed the air several times.
Next she put her head down to begin feeding, I quickly grabbed my bow. Her head popped up again before I could pivot to get a shot.
The stare-down started again. Not scenting me seemed to relax her and she began to feed, moving slowly toward my stand.
She was quartering toward me at 20 yards and dipped her head to feed. I quickly drew back, picked a spot and let an arrow fly.
Upon impact, she turned and bolted back from where she came and disappeared. Within a couple of seconds she came flying out of that area and streaked into the myrtles.
I was very confident that she was down after seeing how she reacted to the shot. I waited for over an hour before getting down to find my arrow.
Surprisingly, there was only the slightest amount of blood on two of the fletchings. I could find not one drop of blood anywhere on the trail she escaped on.
But luckily for me, I did see where she ran into the myrtles that was very close to Randy's stand location. I radioed him the events, and he said he also heard where she ran into the myrtles.
Within two minutes he radioed back that he had found my doe only yards inside the myrtles. She had gone down about 80 yards from the shot.
Upon inspection, the arrow entered the left side of her neck and exited the right middle, slicing through one lung.
I have hunted deer for 30 years, and there have only been a few times when I was fortunate enough to harvest a deer on opening day.
I felt blessed by this thrilling hunt with my very good buddy, and it is a great start to the 2012/2013 deer season.