Marsha Raley | Mossy Oak ProStaff
The year after I took my first buck, I told my husband I wanted to learn how to shoot a bow and bowhunt for deer. So, I got a bow. All summer long, I shot that bow continuously. Then I planned to be ready to hunt during the fall. My husband spent time with me and taught me how to shoot my bow better. Just before deer season started, I was shooting a fairly tight pattern with my bow at 30-35 yards. I became most comfortable shooting at those distances.
That fall I didn’t take a deer with my bow. But the next year we were at our farm in Scott County, and I was hunting from a ground blind. I let a couple of does walk past me, because I was hoping to take a buck and thought perhaps a buck would be trailing those does. But no buck appeared. Then a little while later, a very big doe stepped out, and I kept thinking, “You need to go on. You need to go on.”
When the doe didn’t leave, I thought to myself, “Well, this is my chance. I’ll go ahead and take the shot.”
The big doe was about 35 yards from my blind. I aimed right behind her shoulder and released the arrow. As soon as the doe vanished, I texted my husband and he told me to stay where I was. In about 30 minutes, he came down to where I was hunting, and we trailed her easily. She didn’t go far at all.
My first buck with a bow I took at the same place as the doe the following year. This Scott County farm is about 125 acres. I have a tree stand set up on top of a ridge that we call the Christmas Tree Ridge, because it homes quite a few cedar trees.
I was sitting in a two-person ladder stand there during Tennessee’s late bow season one year. When I spotted this buck, I realized he was at 40 yards, which was really outside my comfort range of shooting my bow. I had ranged the buck, and I could tell he wasn’t coming any closer to me. I told myself, “You can do this.”
Due to the open place where the nice buck was standing, I felt comfortable taking the shot. I had a 40-yard pinsight, and I’d been practicing at 40 yards. So, I didn’t hesitate to take the shot. The buck was a nice 6-pointer, and when I released the arrow, the buck only ran about 40-50 yards and laid down. There was a little dip in the road, so I couldn’t see the buck when he went through that dip.
But once again, I waited for my husband to come to my stand and told James, “I believe I made a good shot, but I didn’t see him fall.”
James said, “Don’t worry about him. We’ve got good blood, and I believe we’ll find him.” And we did.