VENUS -- Otto Foerster, a 31-year-old insurance salesman from Miami, took up bow hunting two years ago to try to mend a broken heart. Having just broken up with his longtime girlfriend, Foerster sought refuge in some remote woods about a 2 1/2-hour drive northwest of Miami, where his friend Graham Hooper had a small, primitive hunting camp.
The pair talked about life and relationships, toured the 70-acre lease and took target practice. Foerster used a compound bow, and Hooper — a quadriplegic — a pneumatic crossbow. Last year, Foerster scored his first buck.
“For me, it’s not about the kill,” Foerster said Wednesday as he prepared for Thursday’s dawn hunt. “It’s more about the camaraderie and fellowship with your friends. You get to know yourself out here.”
Perhaps it was Foerster’s Zen attitude, or maybe just solid preparation, but on Thursday morning he accomplished a feat rare for even a veteran archer: he shot two bucks — a “spike,” or young deer, and a four-pointer — moments apart and retrieved both animals.
Back at camp with the two deer loaded on an all-terrain vehicle, Foerster walked around in circles as if dazed.
“I need to process what just happened,” he said, shaking his head as if to clear it.
“Great job, bro!” Hooper said to him.
Sitting high in the crook of an oak tree just before sun-up, Foerster said he caught site of several deer on the move about 200 yards away. Nothing happened for a while except that a flock of turkeys wandered by. Then, at about 8 a.m., the two bucks appeared within30 yards of his blind.
“I picked out the four-pointer and waited for a broadside shot, and took it,” Foerster said.
The wounded deer charged away and disappeared, but — inexplicably — the spike ran about 20 yards and stopped.
“I thought, ‘Why not go for a two-fer?’ ” Foerster said.
He climbed carefully down from the tree, expecting the young deer to flee, but it still didn’t move. Another 30-yard shot, and he took it. The deer dropped in place.
“At this point, I’m like, ‘No way you dropped two deer,’ ” he said. “I was freaking out.”
Still looking for the first deer, he headed north to an adjoining field where he thought it had run and found it about 60 yards away.
Then he walked shakily back to camp to get the ATV.
Foerster and Hooper had planned to return to Miami at midmorning. Instead, they spent several hours processing and vacuum-bagging the bounty into venison steaks, sausage and jerky.
Hooper said they normally spend the return drive talking about everything that went wrong during the hunt. But not this time.