OUTDOORS - It is a little early

I am checking the sights on the TenPoint Crossbow. The Phantom is a few years old and as it has been since I first sighted it in, it is ready after just a few confidence shots. The confidence is for me.

After the good rain we had the morning of the 10th, it was almost pleasant shooting that afternoon. I shot using a combination of field points and new broadhead I am looking at. It shot the same as the field points. My first shot. Taken at 20 yards, was with the broadhead practice point. It hit exactly where the Phantom is sighted in, 1-inch high at 20- yards. That is where it is supposed to be. The rest of the shots were just for me.

That is one of the great things about a crossbow. You do not have to practice for weeks or months. By shooting off a solid rest on my patio, I can be sure the sights are on. I only use two of the three dots. That takes me out to 40 yards and that is as far as I am going to shoot. It is a big change from the days when I evaluated bows and shot as many as 100 arrows a day.

Last year, I killed four deer with a crossbow and missed one. The miss, at 15-yards, was completely my fault. The sun was dead into the scope sight and I just blew the shot. The first shot of the season last year was a complete confidence builder. It was a 32-yard, downhill shot at a fat doe and it was dead on, she went less than 75-yards. It had been a while since I had been healthy enough to hunt hard and it really built my confidence. I had only been in the stand 35-minutes opening morning of bow season. I cannot tell you how good it felt tobe back.

Three days after the doe kill; I staggered out one hot afternoon and just about sundown, deer surrounded me. Heck, I was even dressed in shorts. I managed to kill two within 30-seconds. I believe there is something about the clicking sound of the Acu Draw on the TenPoint that attracts deer.

Twice I have been able to draw the Phantom, nock an arrow and get a second shot. You should not be able to do that with a crossbow. That is what I have been told. I can with my TenPoint. But you talk about hot after getting them to the truck!

Later in the year, on a cool morning, a fat young doe made the mistake of walking by me at 22-yards and stopping in an opening to browse. When the arrow went through her, it hit a tree on the far side and she ran right at me and fell dead right under the tree. That is cooperation.

I am a little excited about this year. I have two new stand locations I am anxious to try out. One might afford some shots in that 40-yard range. It is in an area that on several occasions, I have watched deer pass through a little farther out that I would like.

However, it is the right tree to have the ladder on so I just deal with it. I have confidence in the TenPoint even past 40-yards.

The other is a sleeper. I found it one morning while doing a little scouting for turkey hunting. Three big trails come together in a chest-high rose bush and briar tangle.

It has the markings of a buck travel corridor and I will wait for just the right morning to hunt it. The stand is in a miserable tree and only eight feet off the ground.

Again, it is the right tree. It will be interesting to see what walks by. There sure were a lot of big tracks in the trails back in March.

It has been a while since I have killed a big buck. Im not much of a trophy hunter anymore. I might work at it a little more this year. The TenPoint is ready and so am I. However, in July, I did see a huge doe. She will be high on my trophy list. Come on September 22. And please, maybe be kinda cool. A record low to offset Julys record highs would nice.

JOHN L. SLOAN / bowriter1944john@aol.com