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November 21: Ernie DeSantis

It was one of those high-pressure mornings, except it wasn’t the kind Terry always talks about…

This pressure had everything to do with us hunting with a bow, 7 days deep into Michigan’s gun season.

The morning of November 21, found Jose’ and I sitting comfortably in our Big Game XLs, perched 22 feet above a big green-field. With the sound of slugs popping on the neighboring land, Jose’ and I couldn’t help but wonder if we really could defy all the odds and take a buck with the PSE EVO this late into Michigan’s highly pressured gun season. However, as we had been doing for the last 53 hunts, we patiently remained optimistic.

But waiting long was something we didn’t have to do this morning. By 7:30, the gray dawn had revealed our buck feeding on the green every bit of 200 yards out. “I can’t believe this buck is on his feet during daylight hours,” is the first thought I had when I had spotted him.

Now, Jose’, poor guy, had been, and still was, suffering from Strep Throat, which meant uncontrollable coughing spells at any given moment. Realizing he couldn’t stop it, he desperately tried to contain it. And at that precise moment, mid-hacking spell, I tapped his Scent Blocker boot, and the game was on.

As if to hear a school bell, the buck raised his head and promptly began his trek back to his bedding area, which we were conveniently located directly on the edge of. Entirely relaxed, and unaware of our presence, the buck’s gate was that of a deliberate one.

Within seconds, the buck was closing the gap at an incredible rate, and I heard the unmistakable sound of both cameras firing up, and Jose’ preparing to lay it all down.

The “pre-shot” process began to roll through my head, only to be rivaled by the sound of my heart pounding in my throat:
…“Stay calm
…Position feet to anticipate shot
…Slowly
…Dang I wish this tree wasn’t so skinny!
…Draw when his head is behind the Reconyx Oak
…Man I hope he walked in front of the Reconyx
…Focus!
…Draw
…Pull harder, it’s cold!
…At full draw now,
…Did Jose’ just say ‘On him!’
…he did!
…touch release….mind goes blank.”

And it was at that point when I truly witnessed the raw power of the 70lb EVO, which had effortlessly pushed the 2-blade Rage through its intended mark, and buried it in the dirt passing through with ease. From the moment of release I knew it was a lethal shot.

After an hour, what we felt was the prescribed amount of wait time, we began our excited, but nerve-ridden pursuit, to collect our hopefully fallen prey.

The Bow Madness 350 arrow shaft was 100% coated in crimson, and buried deep into the turf. Good sign was spattered throughout the green field and into the bedding. The trail was the easiest I have followed in 22 years of bow hunting. In moments we had spotted our highly sought after prize.

So many encounters, so many decisions, so many close calls, and so many ups and downs have all culminated to this point. A point that we don’t celebrate near often enough, but have learned to bask in its beauty.

With that came an overwhelming feeling of respect for our harvest, and incredible gratitude to God. It was His will that truly allowed this all to be possible, and for that we are so thankful.