When Bowhunting Changed My Life!

Robert Hoague

Looking back to my mid teen years, two events were pivotal to my life choices. First, at age 14 I joined and became active in the archery club Orlando Bowman; and secondly, four men from the Archery Club took me and my high school buddies Tommy Denson and Hugh Carroll bowhunting for whitetail deer at Ocala National Forest. Those men sure opened my eyes to something that became my life long heartfelt passion.

They freely gave their advice and I hung on every word. I knew nothing about deer or bowhunting. And to me, they knew it all.

As the years passed I met lots of bowhunters who also offered plenty of advice and information. And I began noticing some things that happened in the deer woods were different than what I’d heard about. And, noticing that, I started using what I saw and learned, more often than what I’d been told.

Don’t misunderstand, nobody had tried to mislead me. I want you to know that every single person was being helpful and I totally appreciated it. That said, one common theme stretched through their deer and bowhunting info. They were weekend hunters who occasionally hunted for a few days of their vacation time. Basically, their information came from their own totally random experiences of hunting and seeing deer.

In the mid 80’s I figured I had put things together pretty good and was a knowledgeable deer hunter (that hunted exclusively with my bow and arrow). Then, in 1987 I made a casual decision that turned out to be even more pivotal for what I knew about deer and deer hunting with a bow. I bowhunted the same area in Texas that I’d been hunting for 10 years … but this time for 3 months; all of October, November and December!

I learned plenty those 3 months, but the one thing that struck me most was that much of the information many hunters had shared with me, to help me out, was kind of like “old hunters tales.” Many things were either incorrect or else incomplete snapshots of a particular deer activity.

Now to sum this up, after hunting deer every day for 3 months, I was reading out of a very different book of deer and bowhunting knowledge. And what I’m gonna talk about here, since it’s December, is my personal discovery of the 2nd rut and what it taught me about deer and hunting with my bow and arrows.

NEXT: What Is The 2nd Rut?



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