Editor’s Note: Brent Lafreniere lives in Williamstown, Vermont, and has been a Vermont resident his entire life. He’s been a Mossy Oak Pro Staffer for 6 years, has hunted deer for 25 years and hunts primarily public lands. “I’m a real fan of Mossy Oak Bottomland, but in the newer patterns I like Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity because I can use it not only for deer season but also for turkey season.” Because of winter deer kill and loss of habitat, the area where Lafreniere hunts is a really-difficult place to see or take deer. However, while hunting for 21 seasons in Vermont, Lafreniere has taken 19 deer. Because he’s such an avid hunter, he also travels to other states where deer season is open when Vermont’s season is closed, and where he can see and take more deer.
I started shooting a bow when I was very young and began hunting with a bow when I was 13. I’d gotten my hunting license when I was 12, so the first deer season when I was actually able to hunt with a bow was when I was 13. I took my first doe with a bow when I was 14 in 1998, and my first buck with a bow in 2001 when I was 17. I never will forget that first doe. I was hunting in a tree stand by myself with my dad about 500-600 yards away from me, hunting the edge of a field. I was hunting close to an apple tree. Three does came in from a hay field and fed under the apple tree. But a fourth doe came in from a different direction. I waited on a good shot and released the arrow. But I missed. The doe didn’t know what had happened and looked all around. Once she looked away from me, I nocked another arrow, drew the bow, took the shot and made a good hit in the kill zone. I was so excited I dropped the walkie-talkie that I used to stay in contact with my dad. I started yelling as loudly as I could to my dad to let him know I’d shot a deer. The shot was only 18 yards, and the doe only ran about 50 to 75 yards from the spot where she’d taken the arrow. When Dad arrived at my tree stand, he was excited and happy for me. We followed the blood trail, found the doe and drug her out to our vehicle.
I took my first buck – a 1 pointer - with my bow in 2002. He had a spike on one side of his rack and what should have been another spike on his other rack that had broken off. My dad had to work on the day I went hunting, so I climbed into one of his stands. I’d been sitting awhile before I saw this buck come in toward my stand. I prepared to take a shot at him but then I spotted a 4-pointer, a few yards behind the 1-pointer. I let the 1-pointer pass my stand. When I finally released the arrow on the 4-pointer, the arrow traveled underneath the belly of the buck. I apparently misjudged the distance I was from that buck. However, as soon as the arrow hit the ground, the 4-pointer and another deer I’d never seen broke, ran and got out of my sight in an instant. Because the 1-pointer hadn’t seen what happened, he came back to investigate the noise he’d heard. I nocked another arrow, and when the buck was broadside at 25 yards, I took the shot with my PSE Sidewinder bow, and my Thunderhead Broadhead made a perfect hit in the kill zone. The deer only went about 60 yards before he piled-up. After I found him, I had to drag him out. I had to go about 1/2-mile to reach my vehicle. I never will forget how worn-out and tired I was once I got my first buck back to the truck. The buck only weighed 124 pounds, but by the time I got him to the truck I’d have sworn he weighed 400 pounds.