As I sit here in Virginia reminiscing about my bowhunts for elk, grouse, muleys, whitetails and Greenland muskox in 2014, I'm thinking about how one of the many things I appreciate about hunting is the opportunity to experience new places. I ended my 2014 season in early December in Kansas amid grasslands and river bottoms that couldn't be more different from my patch of hardwoods back East. I've worked in trips there for the past three out of five seasons—partly because Kansas ranks in the top 10 for big whitetails, partly because of the diverse terrain that I admit on my first time out had me second-guessing whether sitting in a blind in the middle of the prairie was a good plan. Where were the other trees? Where were the stands? Where were the deer?But the deer came, at times out of nowhere it seemed, navigating the dips in the sandhills. Like anyplace else, you narrow down the food sources, make an educated guess at the bedding areas and position yourself somewhere in between the two. You never know what you'll see—or in my case this season, how many times you'll see it amid terrain so open you may get multiple glimpses of the same good buck. Each time your heart skips a beat only to have your hopes plummet when he once again stays out of range.
I saw this 12-pointer nine times before I dropped him last month, waiting patiently in my HECS suit, clutching my Mathews Chill SDX and anticipating the opportunity to fire off one of my new Easton Deep Six Injexions. The buck finally made a mistake on Dec. 5 when he came out of the sandhills to hit the crop circle, passing by at 20 yards. I drew my bow twice trying to get the right shot, giving thanks for the fact that it only takes a second for hunting luck to change.
With the first week of the new year leading us into the 2015 ATA Show, Jan. 8-10, I'm already wondering about all the new products I'll see and what new bowhunting adventures are in store!