For the few of us that remained at camp, we was hopin' to be over our shootin' ineptitude from the weekend when we hit the woods on Monday.
Well, it just wasn't to be.
Joe's buddy Jake grunted in a helluva nice eight- or nine-point around mid-mornin', only to watch his arrow hit high. This was the first deer he'd ever shot at with his bow, and I reckon he got the shakes a bit. From what he described to me, I was hopin' that he caught either the main artery or the top of the lungs, so we decided to give it a few hours, then take up the trail.
A few hours later, we headed towards Jake's tree and got on the trail. After over a frustratin' hour of inconsistent blood leadin' into some of the nastiest shit God put upon this earth, the trail ended abruptly. Meanwhile, Matt was in the next field over, keepin' watch, and had seen what he thought was a decent-sized deer run up the treeline along the edge of the shit we were in. We fanned out and searched for over another hour more, but we came up empty-handed. We were all pretty upset, Jake especially. I'm guessin' he only caught just the top of one lung, which may or may not be fatal. Only time will tell, and hopefully the animal doesn't suffer longer than necessary, regardless of the outcome.
There's not much more of a helpless feelin' a hunter can have than makin' a bad shot on an animal. There's such a responsibility to make a clean, quick harvest, and there's a lot of anger, sadness and regret that shows up when we fail that responsibility. But, if you hunt long enough, I reckon it's bound to happen. That fact doesn't make it suck any less.