Choose Your Shot
by Jeb Bledsoe as told to Jeff Barganier
Valley, Alabama native and bow hunter Jeb Bledsoe took a twelve point buck on a lease he has in Georgia. In his words: We had been getting pictures of this deer for about three months, and had been watching him since he was in velvet. He lives in the same basic area. We hung a couple of stands looking for him. It just so happens that we found where, along the edge of an old un-mowed sage field, there along a creek, someone in years past had planted some saw-tooth oaks that drop big acorns early. The field butts right up to a really big swamp. It was a prime habitat. You could see a long way. If you’re a deer hunter, it just looked like good deer hunting. It was about seventy-two degrees with northwest wind at about ten miles per hour.
We had been getting a bunch of pictures in this field. We were able to hunt that particular stand on opening day, and saw some deer but that was still in early September. It was not until yesterday (October 7, 2013) that we got a northwest wind for that stand. I started seeing bucks by five o’clock eastern time and killed this deer about twenty ‘til eight. It was a pretty spectacular hunt. I wasn’t expecting to see this deer. We really only had three pictures of him in the daylight hours in the last two months. There were a couple of other bucks in the field, and he came out there and was pushing those bucks around. He came out under me and made a little charge at those bucks and got them kind of spooked. Then he stopped and was quartering there at twenty-four to twenty-five yards—it was kind of like the perfect bow shot, you know.
I shot him. He ran out about thirty-five yards and stopped, facing away from me, just standing there, and I could see he was bleeding. The other two deer settled down and went back to feeding. So, when he turned a quarter to walk away, I shot him again. He went about twenty-five, thirty yards and just fell over. I waited about thirty minutes, eased down and went out there with my headlamp to check on him. He had gotten up and moved. So, we gave him about forty-five minutes, eased back up the trail. We walked right up on him and jumped him. We could tell he was injured so we backed out and waited about an hour and fifteen minutes, and walked back in. He was stone dead about fifty yards from where we had jumped him.
Jeb sells textile equipment for a living but maintains a schedule that allows him to bow hunt as often as possible. He also loves to fish in the Gulf. He’s married and has a daughter who killed her first deer at age seven and first buck at the age of eight. He shoots a Hoyt Carbon Element bow and Gold Tip arrows with Spitfire Broadhead tips. He’s been bow hunting since he was fifteen and offers this advice: Choose your shot! It is better to let him walk away than to injure and loose him.
Jeff S. Barganier is an Alabama attorney, avid outdoorsman and freelance writer. He travels far and wide for great stories about interesting people. Contact him about your story at email@example.com.