DERICK CARLISLE, 21 – OHIO
As September hit I was ready to hit the woods just to be out there. Between trade school and work it was hard to find time to get out and scout. I had very little expectations for the season as I would only have one day a week to hunt, which are Sundays. Every few weeks I would go out and check my trail cameras with low hopes, lucky to have a few deer moving through where I hunt. Being in a one deer county and limited time to hunt, I just wanted to get something to fill the freezer, since last season I wasn’t so lucky.
Being in school to become a Lineman, I figured saddle hunting was going to be just like climbing a pole in school. And it sure was. It was just like trading in my Klein pliers and screwdriver for a bow and arrows.
Every free minute I had in September it was either climbing trees with my saddle, shooting my brand new bow, or both. I was dialed in and ready to go. That was until the day before deer season opened up.
I go out to shoot my bow the morning of the 24th. As I set up my target, I start to look over my bow. I grabbed my bow by the limbs and I felt something sharp poking me. I look under the limbs and staring back at me is a splinter. I could not believe it. The sickness I felt in my stomach was overwhelming.
I got back from work that night and grabbed the old trusty steed. My old Mathews Creed. I Had just enough time before dark to throw a sight on and get it sighted in at 20 and 30 yards. I go into work on Saturday, still in disbelief. As the day went along I realized it couldn’t get much worse. So I get home, get all my gear prepped and hit the hay.
As I wake up Sunday morning I didn’t realize how cold it was for opening weekend. Temperatures in the high 40’s was the last thing I was ready for. As I started hiking, I realized I was slightly underdressed. I didn’t care, it was opening weekend and my first time getting to hunt out of my saddle.
When it got to my spot I grabbed the card from my camera, started putting up my sticks and got up in the tree. As I scrolled through the pictures from the SD card on my phone, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary… until the last few pictures. A giant 10 point buck! The biggest deer I had seen on camera since November of 2020. I sat there and thought to myself, “That’s a deer I’ll never see again.”
Sitting there waiting for sunrise, the woods started to come alive. Squirrels running around everywhere and the birds starting to chirp. About an hour after light I hear some twigs snap to my left. As I turned to see what it was, I was caught by surprise. It was a deer. I see a big body and antlers. I see it walk towards my other spot I had picked out on the far side of the property. I soon got a notification from my cell cam. It was that same giant 10 point from the trail cam picture from the previous night. My stomach drops and I think to myself again, “Now I’ll really never see him again.”
I go home with no intent to go back out for the evening. I make some coffee and plan on going to my local archery shop to get my repayment limbs orders. Before I left, my friend told me I should go sit in the evening just to get out into the woods and get more comfortable in the saddle. I couldn’t argue with him. So I get my gear back out and put it in my truck and head back to the woods.
I got up in the tree around 4:30 PM and rested my eyes a little. Time seems to be flying by, next thing I know I check my phone and it’s 6:30. I put my phone back into my pocket, look up and to my left I see a large body of a deer walking towards me about 25 yards away. I lean towards the right side of the tree, grab my bow and draw back. I looked down the peep sight and the deer had stopped right there where I was aiming. Out of the corner of my eye I see big antlers to go along with his big body. I take the shot. I see the arrow hit the body and he takes off running. I had roughly 10 second between the time I saw him and when I took the shot. It wasn’t until I found him that I realized it was that giant 10 point buck I had seen that morning.