OK, got my first archery deer Saturday morning, so I'm pretty pumped. He weighed 123 pounds after field dressing - do you add 15% or 20% to guess hoof weight? In any event, for this wooded area in eastern OK, he's medium to medium-large. If you go by the rule "long enough to hang a ring on", then he's an 8 pointer. If you go by "at least 1 inch", then he's a 6 pointer. I wouldn't have taken one that small, but for it being my first archery deer. Very close shot - about 7 yards. He walked to within 2 or 3 yards of me before turning away to walk in front of me, luckily. I was just sitting in a chair - no stand or blind. About 10:05 am. Lessons learned by this hunt:
-Far and away the most important: Wait, wait, WAIT at least one hour, even with a good hit, before beginning to track! I almost lost this deer for following too early. When I got up after only 5 minutes just to walk slowly the 7 yards to see if it was a good hit, I bumped him from a spot not 40 yards away (I realized later by the large pool of blood). But then I waited 20 minutes since I knew it was a good hit. Too early. I'm used to rifle, when they expire pretty quickly, in 15 or 20 minutes. So, I bumped him again, and he ran off snorting - I could not believe he was still alive, as much blood as there was on the ground. But found the spot where he had been laying the second time, some 75 yards from where I hit him. He ran a loooong ways this time and turned and I lost the trail, and then by happenstance spotted him later in the day when walking back up to try to pick up the trail again with a friend. Point is, with archery, I'm gonna wait at least 1 hour minimum from now on. I could EASILY have never found him by the way he turned, ran down the hill, and crossed a creek before expiring on the far creek bank. Is it true deer run to water when wounded?
-Doe bleat cans WORK (sometimes). He definitely came into the sound of a bleat can, with 3 or 4 minutes from the second time I had hit it that morning, in that location.
-You don't need no steen-kin blinds or stands!
-And, what I already knew...if you're drawing and he looks at you, freeze up...had to freeze twice before shooting. Easier said then done when drawing a compound. Very hard to stop halfway before the "break" of the cams when the deer looks at you, and not move or shake, esp. when he's less than 10 yards away.
-Always have a second arrow out of the quiver and ready to go. And when you hit a deer in the spine, he falls over. When I hit him, he immediately toppled over, and I saw 4 legs up in the air; he rolls completely over, then lays there a few seconds. I'm trying to get a second arrow out and shoot again, and this gives him a chance to get up and trot off. The arrow somehow fell back out of his body altogether and stayed at the point where I hit him, with the entire broadhead stuck in the under-right-side of the spinal column (I discovered later when butchering). He was going down a little hill, and so my arrow went in and through a lung, but with this upward trajectory, it went through the right inner tenderloin and stuck.
Anyway, exciting hunt and meat in the freezer. This was my 3rd year to archery hunt, and had been skunked until now with the bent wood & pointy sticks.