My First Hunting Harvest Part 1

Hunting in Loudoun County, VAMy hunting habit started with a high school buddy of mine, David. He is the guy who truly introduced me to hunting. I had gone hunting for whitetails with him at his family cabin in West Virginia with rifles in the past, but, being a city boy, I could not get the rifle up fast enough to shoot. It always seemed like those deer were running by me and in a hurry to get somewhere other than my freezer!

I may not have been the hotshot gunslinger I had imagined myself as but I was super impressed with the cabin I’d stayed in nonetheless. It reminded me of the prefab cabins in PA which I know are popular amongst those looking to outfit their hunting camps and even their own backyards with additional living space.

A few years went by and while I did not harvest a deer, I did learn several things and my respect for whitetail deer was greatly increased.

The summer of ’90 rolls around and I am over at David’s house watching him shoot his bow, I thought that was the slickest thing since Duck Hunt on Nintendo! He had an old bow made by Bear that let me shoot. Even though it was a compound bow, it had wooden limbs and the draw on the bow was just a bit too long for me, say by 3+ inches. But, within a few days I had no problem pulling back the 50 pounds across its wheels. David is a very simple, efficient and effective person which he carries these traits over to hunting. Meaning, during this the time a friend of his, Kenny owned a hunting & fishing shop in town. So, they would share a Styrofoam block in their backyard and took turns purchasing them as they were worn out. They would use leaves as target to shoot at, held on by toothpicks on the block.

Now after shooting almost every-other-day for several weeks, I held an 18″ group at 20 yards! Even at that time, I knew that this was not effective nor would have been ethical for me to hit the woods with that lack of accuracy. As the kill zone is only 8-10″ on most eastern whitetails.

So, after shooting one evening, Kenny offered to fit me with a bow. He took all my measurements and asked me my budget. A week later, Kenny called me to come in and shoot the bow! After a few shots it was dialed in. And for me, I mean “dialed in!” I was able to hit a tennis ball (real one) at 20 yards!!!

As I got more comfortable with the new bow setup, I moved back 5 yards at a time. After the fourth week of shooting I was shooting at 40 yards. Kenny, David and others thought that I was nuts for wanting to shoot that far, but, thought it was cool that I could group at 4-6″ at that distance. My thinking was, if I could hit my target consistently at 40 yards, 20 yards would be a whole lot easier.

The next items to purchase for opening day were broadheads, calls and camouflage! Shopping for hunting gear is probably equaled only to women shopping for shoes. I went to Kenny’s store and he let me shoot every broadhead that he sold. I did this to find a broadhead that would paper-tune correctly and group well out to 30 yards. I ended up purchasing the Thunderhead 125 from NAP. David gave me some old grunt tube to use. I then went and purchased a very nice set of insulated coveralls, for easy on and off in the Treebark camouflage pattern. This would come to be both a pro and a con on my first day of hunting.

So, I could not wait for opening day of archery season. In my county we could take either a buck or a doe I did not have to be picky!

I was planning on hunting with David on one of his properties (which I had never scouted). He said that he had a treestand already picked out for me.

Part 2 can be found here!

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