A Word From Arizona State Coordinator- Joni Marie!
HUNT UPDATE from Prois Staffer & Arizona State Coordinator, Joni Marie! If you've been following these updates you know Joni's passion and persistence is nothing short of inspirational. Read on as she shares some thoughts from the hunt that all of us hunters experience at some point!
"Last January I was at full draw, 40 yards from the buck of a lifetime. Absolute monster. I was standing at the bottom of a hill in some brush where I anticipated he and his does might come over the top. Sure enough his does started popping out and I knew he'd be last. Some were looking my direction but I had no choice but to go ahead and draw. They couldn't quite make me out so were just milling around at the top. Then he popped out of the brush. I was at full draw with my pin right on him, ready to shoot. However, all I could see was from his neck up. I would have had to shoot him right in the throat. Many will read this and think I'm insane for not shooting. I'd worked my butt off all season to stalk in within shooting range of a buck, let alone one like this that was the largest buck I'd ever seen. With a rifle, there are many that will take a neck shot, but it's different with a bow. A neck shot is not something I had ever considered with a bow, I always go for a double lung for the most quick and ethical option. I've replayed this decision over and over in my mind since then. I've second guessed myself, and have had plenty of people tell me that they would have taken the shot and a few tell me that they would not have.
Bowhunting is full of second guessing yourself. There is a whole lot of "coulda, woulda, shoulda" when you come out of the field. I'm a very conservative bowhunter. I'm always worried about hunting ethics and I pass on a lot of shots that others would take because I'm so concerned about the suffering of the animal and making the cleanest shot possible. I've taken 26 big game animals with my bow; but I certainly could have taken a lot more if I didn't set the standards and bar so high for myself and pass on lots of shots. It's a blessing and a curse I guess, but that's also my personality to have incredibly high expectations and be critical of myself. As this disease continues to make bowhunting hard and harder for me, I can't help but wonder if my conservative ethics caused me to pass on my once in a lifetime shot on a gigantic Mule Deer, spot and stalk. I'd love to hear others feedback on whether they would have taken a neck/throat shot on a gigantic buck with their bow.
The Arizona Archery Deer season ended yesterday. Sadly, I spent the last several days of it laid up on the couch which I was incredibly frustrated and disappointed about. This disease has a mind of its own and loves to ruin plans, and trust me - it takes alot to land me on the couch as I am as stubborn and determined as it gets. This season was a real struggle for me honestly, the disease made it painful. My tag is still good in August so I'll get another go at it, and the heat is much, much better for me (although my hunting partner hates hiking in 90 degrees lol). Until then I'll replay all the close calls, the decisions made in the field, and the "could have beens" in my mind like all bowhunters in the off-season do!"