The Womack Journal: How it all began

Editor’s Note: Warren Womack of Bluff Creek has kept a journal of every deer and turkey he killed since 1968. Going into the 2022-23 season, his lifetime count is at 387 deer and 93 turkeys. We share some of those delightful stories here as hunters prepare for another Louisiana deer season.

October, 1970

Everyone that takes up bowhunting has to go through a learning period. It was no different for myself. All my life I had been fascinated with bow & arrows. Through the years I developed a strong desire to try bowhunting deer.

There were very few deer and almost no bowhunting information available in the forms of books and magazines. Of course, there was no video or Internet back in the late 60’s. When my opportunity came to actually make my first bowhunt for deer, I was definitely guided by desire, instinct and hope.

At the time I had a flimsy little fiberglass bow, a few mismatched arrows and permission to hunt 100 acres in North Louisiana. I had a lot of experience hunting small game, but deer hunting, especially with a bow, seemed an impossible challenge.

I was able to locate an area where two deer trails crossed and using a few boards I built a small platform supported by a couple of trees. That very same evening found me there hoping a deer would come through. You can not imagine my surprise when a doe came walking in and gave me a shot at 12 yards.

I think I was more shocked than the deer was at the impact of that arrow. I was in awe as she went crashing off. I still remember the arrow hitting dead center of the shoulder as well as the lack of penetration.

I followed a slight blood trail a few yards in the last few minutes of daylight. That’s when I realized that I didn’t have a flash light. A 30 mile round trip solved that problem but even returning with a light, I wasn’t ever able to find my deer. I did, some 2 weeks later, recover my arrow about 200 yards from where I had taken the shot.

Even though I didn’t find my first deer I shot with a bow, I did find a burning desire to learn everything I could about what it takes to put deer under me for good shot opportunity. Yes, I had the fever and had it bad. From that day on I had lost all desire to hunt small game, all I was interested in was deer hunting.

My next shot opportunity came the next season while I was on an evening hunt, set up on a ladder stand. The stand was located on a transition line between open woods and a cocklebur flat. I set my ladder stand on one of the many trails that connected the two different areas.

I guess I got lucky because a doe did get within range, or what I thought at the time was good enough for me. It was a 33-yard shot and the hit left a lot to be desired.

There was a good blood trail at first, then it became spotty. I looked for about two and a half hours before giving her up for lost. It had been a hard learned lesson.

The next weekend, while scouting, I walked up on her and my arrow was still with the carcass. I was disappointed for not finding her and considered it lesson No. 2 of my education.

The hunt that finally produced for me was also a lesson. While walking out from an evening hunt, at last light, I was able to take a 25 yard shot at a yearling. In the low light I couldn’t tell where the arrow had hit. I worked the blood trail with the help of my hunting partners. We managed to follow the blood for 350 yards before giving up at 11:00 p.m.

The next morning we picked up where we had left off and took the trail another 70 yards. It was getting late so I thanked all of my help and when they left for the camp, I continued to search alone.

While I was running search bearings a deer jumped up. As she ran off, I took a 20 yard shot. The arrow hit behind the last rib on the left side and came out through the right shoulder. I watched the little deer run about 55 yards then stumble and collapse.

After waiting 15 minutes, I went to her. She turned out to be the same one I had been looking for. I found a flesh wound where the first arrow had gone  in the right hindquarter and came out the flank on the same side.

A small yearling, but the beginning of a lifetime of bowhunting deer. Certainly a happy moment for me.