Eric Shepley of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, killed a great buck in November of 2018. Here’s his story:
I hunted with archery tackle for years before I finally called myself a bowhunter. I just felt like I needed to connect on a shot before claiming the title. When you’re an aspiring bowhunter, you get your fill of near misses. A safety harness gets hung on a stand one year, an arrow clips a tree branch the next; it doesn’t take much to miss an opportunity. When everything does come together, though, it’s the near misses that make success taste so sweet.
Thanks to four seasons’ worth of near misses, my hopes weren’t particularly high in the fall of 2018, and I’m still not entirely sure why I decided to go hunting that particular afternoon. The fence gap stand I planned to sit had produced some great encounters the last few seasons, but I had yet to close the deal. I went anyway, determined to put in my time. Having finished a rattling sequence, I’d just turned from watching the empty timber to take another look at the empty tall grass prairie when I spotted movement. Two bucks were coming my way, and they looked to be in a hurry.
As if on autopilot, I stood, clipped in my release, and drew back. I grunted to stop the pair of bucks, and before I knew it the orange glow of my lighted nock was tracing toward the trailing buck, quartered away at just twenty yards. My arrow found it’s mark, and the buck leapt into the tall grass and was arcing away from me when he went out of sight. I made a few phone calls and sat down to shake.
My friend Luke showed up twenty minutes later and together we examined my arrow with the intensity of crime scene investigators. Thanks to Luke’s flashlight, the blood trail glowed florescent as we picked our way through the wildflowers and it wasn’t long before I spotted tines in the tall grass.
I approached the downed buck in disbelief. Kneeling beside him, I wrapped my hands around the bases of his antlers. I looked up at my friend, smiled, and then whispered to myself, “I am a bowhunter.”
Do you have a story to share? Type up the details of your hunt, and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a picture or two. I’ll make sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed and publish on this website the story of your hunt for all the world to see. All I ask is that you then share a link to your story with your family and friends and maybe interact with those who might have questions or comments. Because stories are meant to be shared. And hunts are meant to be celebrated.