The Womack Journal: Third time’s the charm

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.

Bow kill #260, Jan. 24, 2005

This was a late January three day hunt with my friend Murray Landry. The area that we will be hunting has rugged hills, deep gullies with a lot of finger ridges that drop down in to a couple of major drainages.

I’m pretty familiar with the area, but it’s been a number of years since I last hunted here. We walked for two and a half hours checking things out. After taking a break, we went separate ways with plans to meet after dark for the walk back to our vehicles.

Considering the scouting that I had done, I decided to set up at the head of a deep ravine. It was too rugged for a deer to cross. There was a wide bench on the East side of it and a big major ridge on the West side. It was easy to see from all the tracks, rubs and scrapes that the deer were using the area to walk around the end of the ravine. I climbed a tree about 25 yards north of the drop off with the wind switching from the south to the southwest. I figured it was a perfect set up and all I needed was some deer movement.

Prime time

The prime moon position time was 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., and right on time, at 3:50, I saw a spike buck slipping through on the West ridge. He hadn’t been out of sight for a minute when I noticed a doe coming towards me on the wide bench on the East side. She walked straight to me, and was only a couple of steps from my tree. She didn’t know I was there until she was about 20 yards down wind. Her whole personality changed, and away she went.

The doe hadn’t been gone but a couple of minutes when I saw the buck coming. I spotted him in the same direction the doe had come from. He was probably 175 yards away and was really taking his time. I stood up and got ready the first time his head went behind a tree. It didn’t take me long to realize that he was trailing behind the doe. I think it was more for security than a rut thing. He was just going so slow. He would browse some then just stand like a statue, looking everything over.

It took him 45 minutes to get within 20 yards. By now I had noticed another smaller rack buck was following him. Something else for me to have to worry about. The woods were very open and the other buck was just the right distance to easily spot the movement required for a shot.

Now he’s 18 yards, but not quite broadside. I’m trying to watch him, and the other buck at the same time. When he turned, offering me a broadside shot, I glanced at the other buck as I drew my Acadian Woods recurve to anchor, and released the arrow.

Three chances

I couldn’t believe that I had just missed an easy shot at a nice buck. He really didn’t know what happened. He moved off and away from where he had been, but he didn’t go anywhere. I have a receiver for my quiver mounted on the platform of my stand. It was a long ways to bend down and pull another arrow out without him or the other buck seeing me. Somehow I managed to get another arrow on the string, but the buck was shielded by some branches and vines. When he stepped in a small opening, I took another shot that was 32 yards. It looked a lot better than the first one, but he was quartering away and managed to turn away before the arrow got to him.

This time he circled in a direction that put him close to being downwind. I had about given up on him when he stopped in a natural lane. Really, it looked like a narrow pipeline with the buck on one end and me on the other. I managed to bend down, get another arrow, and nock it while trying to keep an eye on him. Just when I got my arrow nocked, he turned his head looking away. It was almost dream like. Purely instinctive, I took the shot, and watched the arrow arch and drop, just behind his shoulder in the center of his rib cage. A perfect double lung pass through.

Buck down

He never knew what hit him. He just moved the way he was looking and stopped on the west ridge that I had seen the spike on. He stood there awhile then started walking to the south. He almost fell, but managed to stay on his feet, then laid down….. but not for long. I couldn’t believe it when he got back up, and started moving down the ridge……. how was he still on his feet? I could see the hole my broadhead had made, and knew it was a perfect shot. He stopped, laid back down for about 5 minutes then got up again. This time he only went about 5 yards, and then he was finally down and dead.

I climbed down from my stand, stepped off the shot at 35 yards and picked up all my arrows. Then I walked to him for pictures and show & tell video. My shot had been at 5 p.m. and he had traveled about 80 yards after the hit.

I waited until dark to call Murray with the news and directions to find me. I was almost finished field quartering him when Murray got to me. He generously offered to help pack him out, so we each had a hindquarter, shoulder and back strap.

I guess the bottom line is that I was extremely lucky to have gotten three shots at a mature whitetail, not to mention how awesome the third shot turned out. Also, it was special having Murray there to share the experience. I really appreciated his help with the packout through some challenging terrain.

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