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by Paul Wells

My road to recovery, since my fall, has been a long and painful one. And, I am still not 100%. But throughout my recovery, I have set a series of GOALS to strive for. And yesterday I achieved one of my most difficult.

About a week ago, I climbed back into one of my treestands, to check it out, with the aid of my new full body harness! I have to admit that I was shaking a little. Considering that the last time I was in a treestand, I fell twenty-five feet, changing my life dramatically.

But my confidence level for sitting and waiting for a deer was not there.......After getting my EAB Doe from the ground, I contemplated returning to my treestands, for several reasons. Mostly because it was one of my goals and secondly, I just couldn’t get this buck’s image out of my mind. I had several photos of him around my stand at dusk and dawn as well as shots taken in complete darkness. Spurred on by the photos, I made the decision to make my first treestand hunt in the afternoon, rather than trying to ascending for the first time in the pre-dawn darkness.

I asked the Mrs. to drive me down with the quad because my one leg is still not up to long walks. After a stern lecture from her on being careful, I climbed into my stand. It was a good feeling sitting up there again as I was overcome by a feeling of accomplishment and knowing that I can do it again.

The wait lasted just forty-five minutes before I heard steps in the leaves behind me. Turning my head slightly to the left, I saw "horns" and realized it was the trailcam buck. He approached my stand slowly, stopping behind some brush for nearly 10 minutes, which tome felt more like an hour. Readying the bow, I waited for the whitetail to step into the open.  When it did, it looked right up at me. I froze and prayed that the animal would not hear my heart pounding in my chest or see me shaking.

Although I have harvested many larger deer, this one was special. The buck looked way and then took the fatal step forward. As I squeezed the trigger on my Vision Crossbow, I remember silently thanking Someone above for giving me a second chance at the sport I love. The arrow literally drove the deer to the ground, passing through both lungs and breaking the off shoulder.

The doomed animal ran and stumbled for about sixty yards and dropped within my sight. It was truly an emotional moment for me. And a tearful one.

When the Mrs. came to help me recover him, we paused for a moment over the handsome animal and I realized then that I had taken another big step in my recovery. Unfortunately, during the brute’s last few steps it decided to try to run through an oak tree breaking off one of its tines, but it was fixable.

Yes, this harvest will always be a special one to me. A step in my recovery and a clean, quick harvest on a deer that pretty much everyone would say was a shooter. Oh......... And yes, I used a crossbow and I am damn proud of it!

The oak tree with scars from the head on. The oak was still standing, but the buck was down. The antlers were broken and cracked, but still repairable
This close up reveals that the core of the antler was still soft Author, Paul Wells with his Therapy Buck.
Posted in: Member Stories


Karl A
Tuesday, January 19, 2010 5:18 PM
Nice buck Paul! Keep up the therapy sessions. You will never be fully recovered and will have to keep therapising for the rest of your life. Heck I therapised today at Cabelas. Bought another ground blind, looked at new bows, talked to the guy in the archery department, went to the bargain cave. See it never ends! Therapy, therapy, therapy!! It's only JANUARY. iT'S GOING TO TAKE A LOT MORE THERAPIZING TO MAKE IT TILL SEPTEMBER. Oh wait, Turkey season is just arouind the corner!
Mike Kane
# Mike Kane
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 2:09 PM
Nice buck, and nice story, Paul. You have a definite talent for writing. I hope that your recovery continues to progress nicely.

Mike Kane
Mike Macik
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 7:01 PM

I'm very familiar with this story as I was one of the people you called before you headed out before the hunt. As my President, I need to keep you safe and sound for the future of crossbows in NJ.

For everyone reading Pauls article, please be safe when in a tree!!!!

Glad your with me my friend :0)

Mike Macik
Hunt with what you want and do it well...
Wednesday, January 20, 2010 10:50 PM
As a personal friend.your recovery was amazing.You are an inspiration to all.i wish you many more great hunting season's in your future.
Friday, February 26, 2010 10:48 PM
Great deer,greater story good luck on your healing and stay safe!
Saturday, July 10, 2010 10:07 AM
Paul, nice buck and I am glad to hear you are back hunting again. I suffered a similiar fall last spring on an Idaho Black Bear. I did not fall completely to the ground, but I when I caught myself in mid-freefall I destroyed my left shoulder, and have basically ended my traditional/compound bowhunting career of 20+ years.

I was able to get back into the Pa deer woods last fall with a xbow, and despite much ribbing by my traditional buddies, I was just happy to be able to sit in the woods and hunt again, even if it was from a ground blind. My goal this season will be to climb back into a stand and try to put that dreadful morning behind.

Thanks for sharing your story, and best of luck to you in the future.

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