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Friday, November 18, 2011 was the day before the opening of New York’s Southern Zone deer gun season. More importantly, it would be the first opportunity ever for me to hunt in New York State with my Excalibur Exocet crossbow.

Late in the afternoon I arrived at the home of my host, Judy Haggerty. Judy’s home is located just outside of Pike, NY in Wyoming County. The area has a solid whitetail population that is supported by surrounding agriculture. Judy’s son, Keith Geising, my long time hunting partner, would act as my guide, while Judy’s daughter, Lisa would provide the use of her 4-wheeler should I need help in recovering any deer that I might harvest. Several days before I was due to arrive; Keith phoned to tell me he had moved the ground blind I would be hunting from.  With a few hours to go before dark, I attempted unsuccessfully to fine the new location of the blind and finally returned to the house.


All fired up and ready to go at 6:00 a.m. the next morning, I had already eaten a hasty breakfast and was headed outside to wait for Keith.  At 6:30, I still had no guide.  Sunrise and legal shooting would be at 7:00 a.m.  With only a ten minute walk to the blind I was not too concerned about the time.  I finally heard the truck coming down the road from town…it passed by. 

At 7:00 a.m. I gave up waiting.  Collecting my gear, I decided that I would go out and sit near a well worn trail I’d come across the previous evening.  As I walked around the barn on my way out, I spotted two does feeding just thirty yards away.  Ducking behind the silo, I cocked the Exocet and placed an arrow on the deck.  Peering out from behind the silo, I saw the does on the move.  Nothing I tried would stop their departure, so once again, I headed for the woods.


After going only fifty yards, movement to my right caught my attention.  A deer had jumped up in a patch of Golden Rod.  As the deer raced up the hillside, I saw a white rump topped off with a set of antlers as it disappeared over the rise.  Continuing on, I arrived at the area I’d chosen to hunt.  It was then that I heard a whistle.  My guide had finally arrived. Walking up to me, Keith whispered, “Come on, not here.” I was led away to the ground blind, which was covered in snow and appeared about ready to collapse. Entering the blind and getting set up, I wished Keith good luck as he headed for his treestand with the Ruger Super Redhawk, .44 handgun that he would be hunting with.


Shots started to ring out all around the area as I got comfortable in my chair. Time slowly passed.  The shooting started to die down and things had gotten really quiet when movement at 35 yards caught my eye.  A 4-point buck was crossing a small brook in front of the blind.  Standing broadside, he scanned the surrounding woods.  The buck’s chest was protected by a patch of brush and not wanting to risk deflection, I lowered the Exocet.  The buck continued on its way. Back to scanning the surrounding woods, I reflected on a questions Keith had asked me the night before.  “What kind of deer do you want to shoot tomorrow?” My reply was, “The first to offer a clear shot! “Really?” was all he said.

First and foremost, I am a meat hunter and I had promised myself that on my very first New York crossbow hunt, I would fill the freezer with the first deer to offer me a clean and clear shot.

Things had gotten really quiet with little or no shooting. Sudden movement to my right side drew my attention back to the here and now.  A deer had walked off the ridge next to the blind and was headed for the overgrown apple trees directly in the front of the blind. As the deer poked around in the fallen leaves looking for any apples that may have fallen, it remained protected by trees, not giving me a clear shot. Searching for sweet morsels, slowly moving along, it finally stepped into an opening.

Just twenty yards away, I shouldered the Exocet, but then the deer suddenly changed directions and walked directly towards me.  At fifteen yards it turned broadside.  I released the safety and slowly squeezed the trigger.  The bow barked and I watched the arrow fly through the center of the deer’s chest.

After twenty minutes, I exited the blind and found dark hair in the snow where the deer had been standing. Within just a few steps I located my arrow covered in frothy red blood.I took up the blood trail and found the animal, which had gone no further than 50 yards before going down. Although it wasn’t the biggest deer I have ever taken with a crossbow, it was the very first in my home state of New York.

With her 4-wheeler, Lisa made short work of recovering the deer and moving it back to the house.  Not only did I consider my hunt to be an absolute success, but the time spent in the company of close friends made for a most enjoyable trip.  Later in the week, I harvested a fine 8-point buck, but that’s another story.

My crossbow is a vintage 1998 Excalibur Exocet.  The arrows were 20” Easton XX75 Camo Hunter with 5” Gateway feathers and tipped with 125 grain, 3-bladed Rocket Hematic broadheads.

Posted in: Lettitorials


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