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By Patrick McGinley

I first saw the Excalibur Exocet crossbow in the 1998 Cabela’s Fall Archery catalog.  Thinking back over the bows I have owned,, most were recurves just like the Exocet, from one of those  green fiverglass kid’s bows at age ten to the Ben Pearson Javelina 66” target bow I shot in high school archery club to the Bear Black Panther Hunter that I used to hunt everything from squirrels to deer.  I just had to have an Exocet, and as easy as a phone call to Cabela’, my new toy was on its way.

Having had the crossbow for the better part of a year, I needed to find somewhere and something to hunt.  The answer came in the form of an ad in the back of an archery magazine “Where to Hunt” section.  Forest of Antlers, located in Minocqua, Wisconsin offers hunts for whitetail deer using the crossbow.  I was met at the Rhinelander, WI airport a guide named Bob.  He told me the lodge was brand spanking new.  The handsome building was handicap-accessible and the ground bathrooms were designed with the disabled hunter in mind.  The food was top shelf and never ending.  A large sitting room offered  TV, books, magazines, a stereo system and a video library.

After unpacking and lunch, I headed  to the target range.  The Exocet suffered no ill effects from the airline baggage handlers.  My guide, Buck Longawitz, and I headed out for an afternoon stand on the edge of a food plot.  We saw a doe and a small 8-point buck by day’s end.

The next morning before sunrise, we headed out for a treestand bordering a swamp.  Sitting in the stand we watched a very  red sunrise that would be the last of the sunshine.  Rain began falling shortly thereafter.  We sat in the rain the entire morning.  Just before the agreed upon time for lunch, buck whispered that two bucks were coming our way.  One, a nine-pointer looked really good.  The other buck was a small ten-pointer.  The passed by out of range, and it was time for lunch and an opportunity to dry out.  During lunch, Buck described the 9-point buck as having character.  Everyone watched the video and agreed it was a nice buck.

As we climbed into the same stand for the afternoon hunt, I decided that if the nine-pointer offered a host, I would take it.  Rain continued to fall all afternoon.  We saw several small bucks, but nothing to get excited about.  About 40 minutes before sunset, Buck, who was sitting above me, whispered that there was a buck coming towards us from the swamp to our left.  Turning, I saw it was the nine-pointer from that morning.   The buck fed along.  It would stop, eat a leaf or a twig, walk some more, and then pick up an acorn.  The whitetail fed by us our or range.

In a hushed voice, Buck said, “Be patient.  It will come back.”

The buck stopped at a scrape, beat a small tree into submission and then, to my surprise, headed back in our direction.  At twenty five yards, the unsuspecting whitetail offered me a broadside shot, but two does fed into the area right behind him.  I had to wait. 

The does fed along and passed by my shooting lane.  I raised my new toy to my shoulder and looked up at Buck who gave me the thumbs-up sign.  At the shot, the buck turned and ran uphill and out of sight.  As we sat there, the rain stopped.  The clouds parted just as the sun started to set.  On the ground again, Buck congratulated me on a good shot and a great deer.

The buck had a live weight of 265 pounds and scored 147-3/8 inches.  And that, ACF members, is the story behind my first animal entered in the HBM Big Game Register.

For more information about Forest Antlers go to their website at www.ForestofAntlers.com

Patrick McGinley
Posted in: Member Stories


Tuesday, August 10, 2010 3:02 PM
I would like more detail about the equipment he used including the broad head type, and optics used. Location of the kill shot would also be interesting.

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