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Taking Memorable Buck Deer with Bows Day 1: David Hale Shoots Arrows at Deer  

Deer hunter with his trophy
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Editor’s Note: Do you remember when you took a buck with a bow that made that time an exciting hunt? This week, some well-known archers are sharing their adventures in bagging some of their most memorable bow bucks. David Hale of Cadiz, Kentucky, one of the creators of Knight and Hale Game Calls with Harold Knight, has bowhunted most of his life. Hale remembers his beginnings as a bowhunter and one of the most memorable bucks he’s ever taken with a bow.

Years ago, my partner Harold Knight worked as a barber while I farmed when we started our game-call business. Harold had gone hunting at Land Between the Lakes one afternoon and had shot a big deer. He came by my house that night and asked me to go with him the next morning to find his deer. So, I took the day off and thought I might hunt some too. We planned to go before daylight, hunt until 9:00 a.m., and then start looking for Harold’s deer.

Deer hunter with their trophy and a deer hunter bowhunting

I’d just bought my first compound bow. I’d always shot a longbow before. I decided if I had a left-handed compound bow and shot it right-handed, I’d have my head on the same side of the bow as the arrow and probably shoot better. I also had various arrows of different lengths and broadheads of various weights and sizes that friends and neighbors had given me. I planned to shoot them all since I’d gotten them for free. Back then, I didn’t know I needed to match my broadhead and arrow to my bow. At that time, I didn’t bowhunt that often. When I did, I mainly spent time with Harold, who loved to bowhunt.

Before daylight, I walked into a spot on the edge of a field where several ridges came together. I climbed up a tree. Blind luck led me to the best place I possibly could have put my stand. But by 8:30 a.m., I’d grown tired of sitting in a tree and seeing nothing. I stood up and turned around on the stand. When I prepared to climb the tree, I spotted a doe approaching me and picked up my bow.

As the doe walked into range, I heard a sound behind her like a hog would make. At that time, I had never heard a deer vocalize and grunt.  When I looked up, a tremendous-sized buck was coming toward me. As the deer moved by my stand, I drew back and shot. The buck reared up on his hind legs like a horse and ran off.

After I checked for blood and found none, I returned to my stand and sat down. Thirty minutes later, a 6-point buck passed me. Once the buck stood at 24 yards, I shot and missed. I’d brought five arrows, and now I only had three. That buck never ran off. I continued to shoot at the buck with my other three arrows and missed every shot. Finally, the buck walked away from me. I climbed down the tree and picked up one of my arrows. Moving in the direction the buck had gone, I spotted him circling me. I took my time and stalked within 25 yards of the 6-point before hiding behind a big tree to prepare for another shot. When I looked around the tree, I saw the buck and released the arrow. However, instead of hitting the buck, the broadhead centered on a tree about 10 yards before me. Finally, the deer was so aggravated that he walked into a nearby cornfield.


I’d shot six times that morning and lost all my arrows. So, I put my bow on my shoulder and met Harold, thinking I’d return to the tree stand and get Harold to help me find my arrows. When I told Harold the story of my hunt, we returned to look for my deer and arrows. Although Harold only had three arrows with him, he gave me one.

Once we failed to jump the deer I thought I might have shot, Harold agreed to go back to my stand with me and search for my arrows. I climbed into the tree once again and tried to tell Harold where I’d shot at the big buck to help him locate my arrows. Harold discovered the spot where I’d shot the big buck and said, “I see one of your arrows. It has blood all over it.” We followed the blood trail and located the big buck I’d shot. He may have scored 142 points on Boone and Crockett, but he was the biggest buck I’d ever taken with a bow. Although we located the deer, we never found the other four arrows I’d shot. However, I’ve never forgotten this first buck I took with a compound bow, and I always remembered how excited I was.

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Tomorrow: Preston Pittman’s Blacktop Bow Deer  

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