I always find hunting early season archery here in Tennessee oddly conflicting. It is warm, ticks are still climbing all over, and worst of all I always get poison Ivy. These facts never stop me from hunting so I was off to meet my pal and fellow Heiskell Boy Wild Bill for a early season hunt. Now first you should know that Billy is as much cowboy as he is country boy and at 6'1 220 lbs he is also pretty big boy as well. I have known him since I was five years old and like most my life long friends he is an outstanding outdoorsman and an accomplished hunter. Recently he has practiced so much with is compound bow that he is a sure thing inside 50 yards. Unlike Billy I am a gun man and take most my deer with a muzzleloader. But I have found a cure for my lack of practice...........a crossbow. I sight it in like a rifle and take it hunting. Some people have the miss conception that you can shoot a crossbow farther than a compound bow but this is just not true. my crossbow range is forty yards, whereas I have witnessed Billy shoot a deer target at 60 yards with his bow. While he would never attempt that shot in the woods it is proof that the crossbow does not have an advantage when it come to distance. I met Billy at his house and after some entertaining banter among his in laws we shipped out to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. It is only a little over 2 hours away but its remoteness makes it feel forever away from the sprawl of towns like Knoxville. After Checking in at Bandy Creek, paying for a back country camping permit, and listening to a speech from a ranger about food storage because of the booming bear population. We pitched camp over near Station Camp and headed about a mile down the gravel drive to an area my boss had suggested we should hunt. It was exactly as he had described, with the the tale tale signs of of old homestead. There was what used to be an orchard now overgrown, and scrubby areas that had been clear in the past. After a few hours of scouting Billy and I met back at camp and devised a plan. I was going to guard the old homestead in a ground blind while he hangs in his climbing stand further out on a oak covered point. We built a fire and settled in for the night I had told Billy that he should shoot any deer he sees that I would take it home if he didn't want it (this is standard practice for me). Billy is usually a trophy hunter and tends to pass a lot of table fare waiting on the big wall hangers, whereas I am a meat hunter.
We awoke in the morning to mild temperatures and a silence that can only be found in the woods. After a gear check we moved to our respected deer stands for the wait. The first day I saw nothing but Billy had them scampering all around him just out of range or moving to swift for him to feel comfortable letting an arrow fly. That night a camp I decided that I was to stick it out in the same spot. The sign was just to good to move. Billy decided to move to a different tree but stay in the same area. after a belly full of potato soup we again went to sleep with dreams of tenderloins dancing in our heads. The next morning was colder than the day before and I could just somehow feel we would have opportunity this day.
|Tree I slayed by shooting under a doe.|
|Buck Billy shot that now resides in my freezer.|