A little throwback story to a PA State Game Lands double from October, 2016. This was quite an interesting hunt as a my buddy Josh and I were hunting together but about 200 yards apart. He was muzzle loader hunting and I was mainly archery hunting. I did take my inline muzzle loader with me as an insurance policy if I had a doe out of range, or missed with my bow. In Pennsylvania you can take both a muzzle loader and bow during the early muzzle loader season given you have both tags, and are wearing the required amount of orange. I set up in a nice cherry tree that was surrounded by some big oaks that were dropping acorns. I was about 15 yards from a deer trail that traversed the side of the mountain.
Josh had a camera set up on the trail I set up on and had decent deer movements in the evenings. Per the norm Josh fell asleep in the early season warmth of the sun. When he woke up he ended up spooking five or six deer right to me. I didn’t know he had spooked them so all I saw was a bunch of deer running in. I thought there may have been a buck chasing them or something but it was pretty early in the season for that. I was holding my bow and did not have enough time to switch weapons. I stood up and had my release ready as all the deer ran right to the oak trees I was set up over. I could hear them crunching down on the acorns and my heart beat increased in anticipation as they inched closer. The doe I picked was the matriarch of the group. I drew my bow but she moved right behind a small beech tree. She caught me moving in my orange and did a few head bobs trying to get me to move while she was behind the beech tree. I stayed still until she cleared the beech tree at about 8-12 yards. I released my arrow and watched it go through her chest.
At the shot I heard the unmistakable thwack/woosh sound of a deer hit in the chest with an arrow. I watched her run about 60 yards and hit into a ditch that she couldn’t clear. She did a front flip and landed right on an access trail. She was down in less than 5 seconds. I didn’t realize how close I was set up to the trail, but it worked in my favor. Before the hunt Josh had told me he had pictures of a nice 8 point coming through at 4:15 to 4:30 most evenings and I had about an hour to wait. With one deer down I was hoping to possibly double up. There is no cell service where we were hunting so I had to wait until Josh and I met to let him know the good news.
As I waited for the buck, I noticed a decent grey squirrel eating the acorns below me. I need one grey squirrel a year for tying flies so as soon as the clock hit 4:30 and I felt confident that the buck wasn’t going to show, the squirrel became a target. I shot the squirrel out of a tree at 10 yards. My rage broad head did a number on him but did not ruin any of the meat.
When my hunting partner and I met at the trail he asked:
"Well how did you do?"
"I got two," I replied with a smirk.
"TWO WHAT??" he exclaimed.
We had a great laugh when he found out what the second animal was and he told me I was nuts for shooting an expensive arrow at a squirrel. He was pumped for me and I thanked him for the assist when he told me he spooked the deer.
I took the deer home to my garage and got a few photos with my kiddos before hanging her up for butchering. The kids were very excited and enjoyed checking her out. My twins were really excited to feel the squirrel's fur.
The next morning my son and I had deer heart and "squirrel wings" for breakfast. As you can see he was all in. What a great hunt and fun memory. I’ll be posting more of these throwback hunts in the future. It will be awesome to look back at someday and relive all of these memories. I love watching my kids grow up in the outdoors, and my favorite part of harvesting and animal is bringing it home to show them, and see their reactions.