John's Journal...

Big Game Bowhunters Recall Their Toughest Shots

Day 5: Ronnie Strickland and Mark Drury’s Exciting Bow Shots

Editor’s Note: Making a shot on a big-game animal at crunch time makes up both a hunter’s dreams and nightmares. Here are some dreams that came true. Can you remember the toughest shot you’ve ever made with a bow? Did you have confidence you could make the shot? Did you get lucky? Let’s look at some of the toughest shots made by some of America’s greatest archers.

Ronnie Strickland of West Point, Mississippi – Senior Vice President, Mossy Oak

Click for Larger ViewWhile hunting on Ungava Bay in Quebec, Canada, with Jack Hume, I tried to take a caribou with my bow. For 3 days, we’d hunted and failed to see any caribou. When you hunt caribou, you are either in them or not. On those 3 days, we weren’t in caribou. As the weather changed on the fourth day, the caribou started moving into the area. I then saw a herd swimming in Buster Lake straight ahead. Since I never had killed a caribou, I decided any caribou would satisfy my need. Although I didn’t see any trophy caribou in this herd, I still wanted to take one. As the caribou swam toward me, I squatted on the clean bank with no surrounding vegetation. When the caribou came-out of the water, they didn’t stop to shake like dogs do. At one time, I had caribou within 7 yards of me.

Click for Larger ViewThen when one of the caribou finally shook himself, all the water landed on my body. The caribou walked by without ever seeing or smelling me. When the last animal passed me, I stood to make the shot. I saw one lone caribou standing by an evergreen that resembled a Christmas tree. With the tree at exactly 40 yards, I drew the bow and held it at full draw until I felt relaxed and comfortable. Then I released the arrow. The arrow flew true, and the caribou only took about 30 steps before he fell over.

Mark Drury of St. Peters, Missouri – Creator of MAD Calls and Drury Outdoor Videos

Click for Larger ViewIn 1992 while hunting in Illinois, I spotted a buck that eventually passed within 30 yards of my treestand. I only had an 8-inch lane to shoot from my tree stand to where I thought the buck would come through the small opening. I also only had 20 seconds from the time I spotted the buck to see the opening, decide where I would shoot, make the draw and release the arrow.

Click for Lrger ViewJust as the buck came into the lane, I bleated at him. The buck stopped perfectly broadside to me, offering that one window of opportunity I needed to take the shot. The arrow hit halfway between the top and bottom of the deer behind the front shoulder, making this the greatest shot I’ve ever made.

The deer ran 30-yards before he piled-up. The buck scored 144-gross points on the Boone & Crockett, the biggest buck I’d ever taken with my bow. This shot was so difficult and memorable, because everything had to work just right. I had to pull the bow back quickly enough, the buck had to stop in the right spot, and I had to shoot through a narrow lane accurately and place the arrow where I wanted it to go.

For more information about deer hunting, get the new Kindle eBooks by John E. Phillips, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” “PhD Whitetails” and “Jim Crumley’s Secrets of Bowhunting Deer.” Go to HYPERLINK "", type in the names of these books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Check back each day this week for more about "Big Game Bowhunters Recall Their Toughest Shots"

Day 1: Jim Crumley and Chris Kirby’s Toughest Bow Shots
Day 2: Jerry Peterson and Ronnie Groom’s Hardest Bow Shots
Day 3: Toxey Haas and the Late Dick Kirby – Their Most-Difficult Bow Shots
Day 4: Brad Harris and Randy Ulmer’s Toughest Bow Shots
Day 5: Ronnie Strickland and Mark Drury’s Exciting Bow Shots

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Entry 679, Day 5