It took 8 years to get my first deer

As a young boy, my parents had a small amount of acreage in Newton County in the Racine area where I would hunt rabbits and squirrels with a .22 rifle.

At that time I knew of no one that hunted deer. And I had never seen one in that area. So deer hunting had never crossed my mind.

After getting married some years later, my wife and I lived in Kansas City, Kansas, where we both worked and raised two sons. 

The boys loved the outdoors as much as we did. When the boys were old enough, we joined a father-and-son program called Indian Guides. This is possibly what got me interested in archery.

One Christmas my wife bought me a recurve bow. Later, we both got Fred Bear recurve bows and joined an archery club. Then came the want to deer hunt.

Not knowing a single thing about deer hunting, I read anything I could get my hands on, and talked to anyone who would talk with me about hunting. There was so much to learn, but I was excited about getting started.

One afternoon a friend of mine called. He said while rabbit hunting he came across a deer which had been shot. Obviously the hunter had not found the animal. Well, what are friends for? So I headed that way.

In the meantime, he called the conservation department and they were sending an agent to check the deer.

It was way after dark before the agent showed up. The agent allowed him to take the deer, but it needed to be field dressed right away. Neither one of us had ever dressed a deer. I agreed to do the job with instructions from the agent.

He talked me through the process and it went very well, I think, for my first time. Well, the meat was too far gone so my friend ended up with the rack and I learned to field dress a deer.

Okay, I am ready, I think. Now to find a place to hunt. I tried several conservation areas. Some areas I did see deer, and some none at all. There were some interesting happenings, though.

Tom Boydston

One morning it was very, very windy, but I had decided to go out just the same. Finally I decided it was too windy, so I headed back to camp. The wind was in my face and I heard something and turned to have a look, and coming straight for me was a real nice six-point buck.

I froze in place not knowing if I should try to draw my bow or not. As he got within six feet of me (he couldn’t smell me because of the strong wind) he looked the other way for just  an instant, and I drew back my bow.

But as I did he turned and saw me. I released as he jumped, and the only thing I hit was a tree. I never did get that arrow out of that tree.

On one other day I thought I might try hunting again. As I had read, I was moving very slowly and into the wind. When all of a sudden, not twenty feet from me, a big buck exploded from a small patch of buck brush.

Needless to say I liked to have fallen all over myself. No shot possible. Oh, well.

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