Nothing says love like a bloody arrow and a big gut pile.
Skylee Moore wasn’t a hunter, but her boyfriend, Peter Gravens, sure seemed excited when he talked about it. And because it would be another way for the couple to spend time together and get outdoors, the 19-year-old decided to give it a try. It didn’t hurt that Peter’s family owns the 7,000-acre Raber’s Red Hill Farm near Cambridge, Ohio.
While the significance of having such a special property was likely lost on the rookie hunter, Skylee took Peter’s instructions seriously and practiced often with her Wildcat crossbow.
“Our first trip to the farm was on a Friday morning, and I managed to shoot a nice buck,” Skylee said. “But after several hours and more than 500 yards of tracking, we lost the blood. We finally gave up the chase. Peter went back the next morning and searched for several more hours, but to no avail.”
After looking for Skylee’s buck, Peter decided to finish the day with an evening hunt. He sat beside a power line right-of-way and saw 23 deer, deciding it would be a good place to bring Skylee.
“We didn’t get out on Sunday, but Monday evening we went to the power line and cleaned out a place where we could stand just inside the woods and still have a clear view along the power line and a large overgrown bean field,” Skylee said.
Not long after they settled in, Skylee spied movement on the far side of the power line.
“I told Peter I saw a buck, and he very nonchalantly asked me where it was,” she said. “When I pointed toward the buck, he admonished me for the movement, but we both got a good chuckle out of it.”
By the time Peter picked out the antlers, the buck was already within 10 yards. Skylee began to reach for her bow, but her mentor once again put the clamps on any movement.
“Peter told me to hold still, but the buck kept a wary eye on us as it walked away.”
Peter was shielded from the buck’s view by the large tree the pair were using as their stand site, so he began to raise his bow in anticipation of a shot. That’s when he saw another buck coming along the same trail.
“He told me to get my bow up and ready, so I did,” Skylee said. “When the buck came into the open, I aimed for the shoulder while Peter made a noise to stop it. Then I squeezed the trigger!”
The bolt disappeared into the buck’s chest just behind the shoulder, and that was about all either of the hunters saw before the deer ran out sight across the field.
“It was starting to get dark, so we began trailing the blood pretty soon after the shot,” Skylee said. “We went out into the field with Peter about 15 feet in front of me. With the tall weeds, it was pretty hard to follow the trail. Then we hit the road and realized blood was coming out of both sides. After crossing the road, the buck went into the woods.”
About 60 yards into the woods, Peter heard a noise.
“We stopped, and he told me to turn off my light, so I did,” Skylee said. “My heart was pounding as we crept along, and then the buck jumped up. It ran about 15 yards and then fell back down.”
Not taking any chances, Peter advised his new hunter it would be best if they backed out and gave the deer some time. They quietly snuck back to the truck, but neither could wait more than an hour.
The pair returned to the woods and eased back to where they had last seen the buck. It had gone only another 15 feet before it expired.
“We dragged it out near the road where we could take some pictures before we field-dressed it and got it loaded to travel back to the house,” Skylee said.
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This article was published in the July 2016 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Subscribe today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.