Hunter hunting along a marsh

Andrea Jessup


  • Date Taken: 11/02/2021
  • Time Of Day: Evening
  • Method: Crossbow
  • County: Branch County
  • Property: Private

This is my first year hunting with a crossbow, and I hadn’t been out bow hunting for roughly 25 years. Raising my 3 kids were always a priority. With our youngest of 3 being close to 15 this fall, I decided I could put some time in the woods now. An old friend had offered for me to come out to his place and sit, where he was sure I would see something and get a shot. After taking him up on the offer, my 5th time proved him to be right. From a ways away I saw a deer coming towards my stand. I saw it was very dark. And big. Then I saw his rack. His head stayed low smelling for any scent from any does that had been through previously along the run way he was passing on. As I got my crossbow ready and turned my safety off, he kept his pace of walking across in front of me about 35-40 yards away. I grunted 2 different times in hopes to maybe get him to come closer to me. It was a little windy and noisy so I don’t think he heard either of them. When I put out a 3rd grunt to him he was in the perfect shooting alley through trees and brush for me to make a shot. He stopped in his tracks, picked his head up, ears forward and alert, and looked my way as to say, “Who’s in my woods?” It was me. I found my second pin in my scope, aimed it on that sweet spot on his side, and squeezed with my trigger finger. As he made his first jump away, I saw an entry spot right where I had aimed. He then ran back sort of where he had came from. Then for about as far as 100 yards, I could barely see him through trees, he stopped, wobbled back and forth, then piled down to the ground. I was beside myself, and full of emotion. The week prior, on my first time out, I had missed a different buck in that same spot. This time I used the right pin in my sights. After 10 minutes or so of trying not to hyper ventilate, and texting 2-3 family and friends, I got down. I went to where I had shot at him and couldn’t find a start to a blood trail. So I just started walking over to the area where I had seen him go down. I found him laying there and I was in disbelief still. But now also in shock that he was so big. Dragging him out of the woods was hard. But worth every labored breath that came out of my chest. I’m so thankful for friends, family, and our neighbors that helped me out that evening to get him set to hang and cool down. He was a big boy, and definitely a once in a lifetime trophy for me. My appointment to have him scored is January 2nd 2022. Im hoping he’ll make Pope-Young, because back in 1989 when I was 10, my mother was the first woman in MI to get a Pope-Young buck. I can’t wait to see how he scores. In one of the pictures in the background you will see a rub that was his on a tree.