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Why You Should Carry Your Bow on a Pack

This photo made me think of a situation that I faced a few seasons ago that's a good reminder to keep your bow close by at all times.

I was hunting the hardwood ridges of Otsego County, New York about 5 seasons ago on a good crisp day during the pre-rut when I encountered one of the biggest bucks I've ever seen on stand. It was one of those perfectly crisp days in early November where the weather was really cooperating with that weeks hunting schedule. Though the weather was looking good, movement wasn't quite for what I had hoped for and after coming off a couple of days with slow deer movement, I was hardly optimistic on what I'd see this afternoon.

After getting to the area where I wanted to hang my climber that afternoon, I struggled to find a good tree that would breakup my outline 20 feet up. The area was on the corner of a ridge where there was good afternoon sun and plenty of thickets, the bedding spot of a lifetime. Quite honestly about 20 minutes went by before I found a good tree to setup in that would put me 30 yards from the edge of the thickets.

I'm a firm believer of keeping important items like your bow or gun always within an arms reach and here's why. As I'm climbing the massive oak with my Summit Viper I spotted movement coming my direction from the thicket patch, 60 yards and closing. I knew it was a deer, but I couldn't yet tell what I was about to face off with. With my feet strapped into my climber and the oak being the only thing between myself and the deer coming my way, I stood there 15 feet of the ground trying to figure out my next move. At 45 yards, it was clear as day that the rack standing there looking my direction was a tight rack 10 pointer that misunderstood my climbers sound against the treebark as two bucks sparing.

At this point, I'm practically dead in the water, caught with my weapon on my Badlands Superday Pack and with no release on my wrist. Insert sad face here. After the buck stood there for what seemed like 10 minutes, I managed to get my bag off of my back, remove my bow, take out my release and nok and arrow on my string. Only problem was that at this point, the buck was hesitant to come any further and ended up walking off stage right down the ridge beside me. What an encounter with a truly magnificent buck, that would have made for one heck of a story back at camp.

It's situations like these that make me a believer attaching my bow to my pack and not pulling it up on a rope(though I did that for years). Keep it close by, accessible and ready at a moments notice, because you never know when you'll find yourself in a jam like the one that I found myself in that November afternoon.

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