Everyone knows the regular advantages of filming hunts. Whether you do it to fulfill a dream of being like Ted Nugent or Jim Burnworth and shooting that buck of a lifetime on film, or you are a person who wants to show their hunting buddies how you did that night in the stand, here is yet another good reason to film a hunt. On the morning of November 22nd filming was the only thing that saved me from losing the biggest deer of my life.

              After bow hunting for eight years I had shot respectable deer, but never the deer that Kansas was truly known for.  I had had encounters, but never the shot opportunity at a true Kansas monarch .The night before the hunt I recruited a buddy of mine to run my Sony Handycam for the hunt the next morning. Having seen several bucks in the previous week, our expectations were high with it known that you never know what you will see in Kansas. We arrived at our stand tucked back in a few cedars and could hear deer moving around us before it was bright enough for them to be visible.  As the sun emerged over the horizon, the deer movement slowed. We stayed in our stand until 9:30 a.m. and decided to return that evening and see if our luck would improve.

                We started down the trail that led to the truck and heard a noise that sounded like deer running. With it being the early stages of the rut, we didn’t think twice about kneeling down and seeing if something came out of the thick brush. Almost immediately we saw a doe moving in the way that every deer hunter would know that a buck was in pursuit of her. Our judgment was correct as a big white racked buck came trotting from the brush. The doe had crossed the path in front of us behind a large oak tree. After ranging the tree at 51 yards, I was confident at that range knowing I had practiced at that distance. As the buck went behind the tree, I brought my Diamond bow to full draw and settled for the shot. The buck cleared the tree and with a low grunting sound the buck stopped perfectly broadside. I settled my fifty yard pin behind the shoulder and touched off my release.

                 As the arrow flew toward the buck, he began to bolt. It appeared as if the fletching had gone right over his back and missed the mature buck. We watched as the buck ran through the woods and saw his tail disappear behind a large oak tree.  We walked to where the buck was standing and looked for any sign of blood or the arrow, but could find no trace of either. Being very unhappy with myself we went home and watched the footage to try to find where the arrow hit, so we could find it on the way into our evening hunt. After watching it several times, we found the spot where the fletching had looked as if it had flipped up giving us something to go off of.

                That evening an event came up that would not allow me to hunt. Still wondering what went wrong on the shot I had practiced hundreds of time during the summer and fall, I went again to review the footage. Going frame by frame I followed the arrow and realized that I had not missed at all and that the arrow had hit the buck just back from its vitals! What we thought was the fletching going over his back was actually when the arrow impacted the deer and made the fletching flip upwards!  Amazed at what I was seeing, I told my father to get dressed and immediately called my friend to help me try to track my buck.

                 With flashlights in hand and head lamps on, we headed to the spot where on the footage we last saw the buck’s tail flip.  We spread out to cover more area and moved our way through the hardwoods. Getting within about fifty yards of where we had last seen his tail, I heard my father yell, “Look! There he is!” We raced to where his flashlight beam had settled and found my buck. He was a mature nine point that grossed 144 inches and netted 139 inches. It was the biggest buck for me to date and the first buck that was for sure going to hang on the wall of my house.

                 Without the use of my small Sony Handycam finding that deer would have never happened. So whether you are using an inexpensive Sony Handycam DCR HC53E like I was or a Sony FX7 like television shows use, it is well worth the time and money to get your hunt captured on film. Reviewing your shot placement is critical in deciding whether or not to let the deer lie over night or if it is ok to go after it in an hour. With this technology on your side you will be able to find your deer more efficiently and be able to relive those memories for a lifetime.