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The blind side.

Having been whacked by the wonders of medical oncology, I've found myself restricted to ground blinds for five or so seasons now. It is not necessarily my idea; it's as much a matter of family harmony as anything. My wife Sue fully understands my need (obsession?) to bowhunt, and being more than a tad concerned with my physical problems, dictates I will no longer climb trees. Further, she has completely put the fear of God in my sons and hunting partners about that rule, and they, perhaps fearing her wrath, have signed on to her edict. It leaves me no place to land but the ground.

All in all, this is not too bad of a sentence. I can still go bowhunting, though not alone (another one of Sue's rules), and I have become enamored with my hideaway ground blinds. They are remarkably comfortable, easy to hide, rainproof, pretty much windproof and--here's the most important part--they do an excellent job of controlling your scent. I admit to being something of a skeptic when they first arrived on the scene years ago, but since then they have been vastly improved in every aspect. The bottom line is, they are a perfect hunting tool. Sitting on my seat that rotates silently as a wisp of ground fog, I can shoot easily in any direction, and standing to stretch my legs is a cinch in my 72-inch tall blind. Of course, if you happen to be six-foot-three or taller, you might have to bend a bit.

Over the last three seasons, I have shot three bucks and four does, two antelope and a jackrabbit, all while plunked on my skinny butt. In the dregs of winter, when it is brutally cold, the wind blowing 15 mph and snot frozen to my face, I simply light up my scentless heater, pour a cup of coffee and maintain my vigil in cozy confidence. Cool, huh?

Being a tidy person, I have a carpet on the floor to make my blind neat, warmer and quiet. I also use a ground-mounted bow holder to keep my rig close at hand, nocked and ready, should something shootable stroll by. Thus sitting in total comfort, the world is my oyster so to say--except when I screw up.

Shooting from the ground eliminates the biggest bug-a-boo associated with twanging away from any treestand height in excess of six feet; figuring how low to hold to compensate for the downward angle. In my biased opinion, this is the leading cause of missed shots, bad hits and superficial wounds. The higher one sits, the greater the chance for all the above. Simply put, the steeper the angle, the smaller the kill zone. I love bigger kill zones and broadside shots.

Still, things can often go wrong. Why just the other day, I had an encounter with a pretty nice buck; not a booker but a darn good one. It was fairly late in the morning, about 9:15, when I saw him coming up the open lane between thick woods on either side. The rut had been kicking in for the past week; not hot but better than luke warm. This 'ol boy was definitely cruising and coming right to me. My legs started to tremble as I picked up my bow. I was gonna shoot this guy, nothing to it.

At 25 yards, he stopped on a dime, staring into the woods on my right. A quick glance revealed three big torn turkeys pecking along contentedly. Man, I was irked, having been hoping for a turkey all season. Now you show up, I thought.

Ignoring the three birds, I returned my attention to the buck. He was watching the birds as if he'd never seen one before. I silently drew my bow, picked my spot in the lung area and released. Have you ever seen one of those super-fast films of bucks dropping out of the kill zone? Well, I've got one firmly stuck in my mind. I can show you if you like, in high-definition Technicolor. Just take a peek in my head; it's there!

It never dawned on me he'd duck, but he did. The buck (and turkeys) all ran away, of course.

Sitting there thinking about it and shaking my head, I got to thinking about the plus side of the situation. After all, I was out there. So, I blew a chance, but there would be more days and more chances. The most important thing was my wife was not home worrying. Everything was fine.
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Title Annotation:TRAIL'S END
Author:Dougherty, Jim
Publication:Petersen's Bowhunting
Date:Feb 1, 2013
Words:758
Previous Article:Useful tools.
Next Article:Spring bowhunting from A to Z.

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