Hank Parker is a professional bass fisherman who brings his hard-hitting “bubba bait” tactics to the field when he bowhunts. He also has taken a serious liking to faster bows after he switched to a PSE X-Force bow several years ago.
In 2011, I shot a mule deer at 101 yards. I never would have been able to make that shot with any bow besides my PSE Omen. We went to South Dakota to hunt whitetails, but hemorrhagic disease (bluetongue) had decimated the whitetail population. There were dead deer everywhere, so we had no place to hunt.
“You drew a tag, so you can hunt whitetails or mule deer,” a man met us and said. “I have a place where you can hunt mule deer.” When we arrived at the new place, we found some of the most open country I’d ever seen in my life. I couldn’t see one stinking tree, just big canyons and wide open plains. I spotted a nice mule deer and chased him for five days. I got within 80 yards of him twice. I’d get down in a valley and come up over the top of a hill to try and get a shot. The lack of foliage wasn’t the only problem we had–the wind was constantly switching in the valleys and along the hills when we tried to make out stalks. I went up and down hills until I was tired of seeing hills.
“You be ready to photograph,” I told my cameraman, on the last day of the hunt. “Because if I get a shot that’s less than 100 yards, I’ll take it.” Finally, we gave up on the last day. We couldn’t find the deer. We were leaving the property in our vehicle when we met the landowner in his vehicle.
“That big buck you’ve been chasing is bedded-down on the other end of the property,” he said after stopping us.
“How did he get up there?” I asked the landlord. “That’s two miles away. We left him right here yesterday evening.”
“I don’t know how he got to the other end of the property,” he replied. “But he’s bedded down there with five other bucks.”
We went to the place where the landowner had seen the buck, climbed mountains, and crawled until we finally saw the buck we were after at the bottom of a big hill. We tried to go to the left, and the wind was wrong. We tried to go to the right, but the wind was wrong there too. The only way I could get close enough to take a shot at that buck was to go straight over the top of the hill. When we topped that hill, I knew the deer would be able to see us, because they would be about 100 yards away.
“Get ready,” I whispered to my cameraman. “I’ll stand up, and we’ll walk toward those bucks. When that big buck stands up, you focus on him, and I’ll take the shot.”
I had my rangefinder in one hand, my bow in the other hand, and my release hooked to the loop on my bowstring. When the buck stood up, I punched the button on my rangefinder and saw the deer was at 100 yards. I used my 90-yard pin and aimed at the top of the deer’s back. I drew, aimed, and shot, and the buck went head over heels.
You might call that a lucky shot, but I was confident I could make it. If Hank Jr. had been taking the shot, there would be no question of making it. He and his brother Billy had gone to Arizona to hunt Coues deer, and their guide told them, “If you can’t shoot to 100 yards, you might as well not come out here.” So, they started practicing 100-yard shots every day. They both can make that shot all day long. Every day when I practice, I shoot at least one or two arrows at 90 yards. I practice at 50 yards, and then I’ll be a really good shot at 30. On this hunt last year, those 90-yard practice arrows and my PSE Omen paid off big time.
To get “Bowhunting Deer: The Secrets of the PSE Pros,” by John E. Phillips, go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.