Whitetail Venatic ProStaff member Zac Carsten leads this episode from early season 2019 in Michigan.
He is attempting to self-film, archery hunt early season whitetail deer from a brush in ground blind. Simple right? Zac is constantly trying to challenge himself as a content creator and a hunter. The pursuit is what fuels him and learning valuable lessons about his target and himself on each hunt one way he measures “success”.
Today he is hunting a mature doe. His pre-season scouting has shown that he may be able to brush in a ground blind off of a funnel near a bedding area giving him the best opportunity to get a shot in this evenings hunt.
Using any wind to your advantage and setting up in a natural low point or shadowed area is critical when ground hunting with a bow. Finding and brushing-in spot where you can stay covered and yet self-film his target can be challenging. An ideal ground hunting situation would allow the sun to set at your back, wind at your face… which is what we find in this episode. Brushing in, using pine branches gives him enough cover to break up his outline, while also allowing him to film thru the brush. Pine needles glow with the sun behind them, giving him additional cover.
As deer begin to move, it is important to allow them to get comfortable in their surroundings. Whitetail deer will move slowly, and as they stay an in area for some time they will get comfortable and let down their guard as time passes. Studying deers’ mannerisms such as; tails down or wagging, ears moving, and in this episode, you can see the relaxed way they are browsing on acorns under a nearby oak tree.
Deer are also much more comfortable in groups. If there are multiple deer together they will often be more relaxed as they take turns scanning with eyes, ears, and nose the surrounding area. As the deer calm, Zac makes his move as he slowly tries to ensure his camera is in position, and he is ready to draw his bow and take a shot. One doe begins to get suspicious, and often the times this will lead to the hunt ending quicker than the hunter hopes.
Pinning him down, she snorts, alerting the nearby deer of danger. Zac uses this frantic moment as an opportunity to draw his bow. He comes to full draw. Some deer have scattered, and one doe remains in frame. He steadies and takes his shot. The shot goes low, missing his target.
Breaking down what happened Zac realizes as the deer scattered he did not adjust his sight. He was set to shoot at 35 yards and the doe he shot at was nearly 60 yards.
In the heat of the moment, with adrenaline pumping, deer scattering and split-second decisions made, it is important and difficult to remember all details and checklists a bow hunter and self-film hunter have to remember. Well, A Swing and a Miss… until next time.