The morning started out like any other typical morning before a hunt. My alarm woke me at 330am and I quickly jumped out of bed excited for what the day had in store. My wife slowly rolled over and mumbled under her breath "I wish you'd jump out of bed that fast every morning". Normally I would've hit the snooze button on my alarm about 5 times before rising from my sleep, waking her every 5 minutes. I threw on my clothes and doubled checked my gear, making sure that I had packed everything I needed for the day. My water was full, my Raptorazor knives, sharpener, saw blades, and meat hooks were packed, my quiver was loaded with my Element Arrows and Tooth of the Arrow broadheads. I grabbed my pack and my bow and I was off to chase the elusive Axis Deer here on Maui.
With the moonlight leading the way we walked through the over grown brush that lined the fields of Upcountry, Maui. As we crept slowly along we could hear the Bucks screaming just over the mountain daring us to find them. This spot was an area that we frequently hunted and we had learned the habits and patterns of this herd pretty well. We knew that in the early morning they crossed over the gulch from one side to the other to graze before heading to their beds to beat the heat from the morning sun.
We quickly descended down the cliff and into the gulch only to climb out on the opposite side. As we made it to the top of the gulch we were startled by another scream that seemed only yards away. Instinctively we dropped to the ground and crawled on our stomachs to the cover provided by the Christmas Berry bushes up ahead. We waited for a few minutes so that we could catch our breath and let the excitement that filled us settle down. Slowly we began to scan the fields looking for the Bucks that were just screaming minutes before. The overgrowth provided these animals with the perfect amount of cover, making it impossible for us to find them. I reached into my pack and found my racks. I gave out a loud rattle and watched the field looking for any sign of movement. Almost instantly the grass started to shake and the sight of antlers rose above the grass.
I reached for my bow and nocked an arrow waiting for this buck to make his move. When I looked up again this buck had made his way clear across the field and now he was literally only yards in front of us. I didn't have time to use my range finder, but I knew that he was under 20 yards. I drew back my bow and waited for him to make a mistake. He took 2 steps and was now standing broadside but still behind the bushes ahead. 1 more step forward and he began to turn away. 1 more step and now he was now fully exposed with no cover to protect him. I settled my pin and slowly squeezed the trigger on my release. My arrow connected and a loud thump resonated through the air. The buck reared up on his hind legs and took off through the field. Suddenly he stopped and looked back in our direction. He turned and tried to continue his retreat, only to succumb to his injuries and fall to his knees.
As soon as we saw him fall to the ground my son turned to me and said "we did it Dad, we got him. Give me 5". My emotions quickly filled my body, realizing that my son was able to experience this hunt with me. After admiring this buck for a few minutes we knew that it was time for the work to begin. I dug into my pack for knives and meat hooks. I tied some paracord to the hooks and threw the rope over the branch above us. My Big Game Skinner zipped through the hide of this Buck with ease. Within minutes we had this guy skinned and ready to be deboned. My MANO quickly and easily cut through the meat. These blades are so sharp that I feel like a surgeon out there with my gloves on. With the sun now high in the sky we knew that we needed to get this deer processed and on ice as quickly as possible. The Big Game Skinner and MANO knives make this process quick, simple, and fun. After about 20 minutes we had this Buck processed and back in our packs and we headed back to the truck.
This hunt is by far my most favorite and memorable hunt to date. My son was there to share in this moment with me for the 1st time and we both can't wait to do it again.