Sunday, January 10, 2010

Packing For Success

"Aim high and let it fly" my guide growled from underneath his binoculars. "He's broadside at 104 yards and that's as close as he's gonna get."

I packed my things the week before in Atlanta feeling satisfied that my archery skills at 70 yards would stand me in good stead on a New Mexico spot-and-stalk mule deer hunt.

I was wrong.

The muffled twang of a carbon-shafted arrow leaving my bow at 327 feet per second was followed shortly after by the wholly unwelcome sound of $10-apiece-broadhead meeting loose shale, and a giant mule deer buck of epic, dream-wrecking, proportions bounded off unscathed.

"Right on line, but 6 inches low" my guide grunted, frustrated, pushing his hat back above his forehead; partially exposing a wind-tanned face to the southwestern sun.

We sat quitly for a second then he grinned and said "You can't miss 'em if you don't shoot" before trudging off to retrieve my arrow; leaving me to contemplate his comment and the rapidly-disappearing figure of the deer already a half-mile across the canyon below.

He crunched back up the slope carrying my ruined arrow, then we climbed back on our ATV's and wound our way slowly back up the mountain.

The topic around the bunkhouse that night was misses (all around), and a newfound appreciation for wind drift and distance, but my favorite comment by far came from my guide who, just before turning in, glanced down at my duffel bag and archery kit and said "Junior, I don't think you've brought enough arrows, but you're sure stocked up on wet wipes."

I'll take that as a compliment.

No comments: