Deer Season 2011

Opening weekend was a strange one. With a full moon all week I really didn't expect a lot of sightings opening day so I wasn't surprised when the day ended having only seen 2 deer.

Early Saturday morning I rattled in a small buck. And in the last minutes of light, got a fleeting glimpse of a second buck that had snuck in to the clanking plastic antlers.

Sunday morning was a horse of a different color. About 7:00 a doe bolted from the woods and headed across my viewing area. With her ears laid back and moving fast enough she could have raised dust and I assumed she was being followed. Within 30 seconds her chaser emerged from the woods. He wasn't wasting anytime either but he wasn't certain where she had escaped to. Still I had to whistle to stop him.

When the Ruger Compact 243 cracked he quickly continued along his intended direction and disappeared from view in just a couple of long steps. So as I sat there and waited the usual 30 minutes or so the entire scene played out in my mind over and over. I also realized that I had physically moved the distance from my chair to down on 1 knee with the rifle resting on the front wall in a nano second. I didn't even know I could move that fast and didn't recall doing so. But I felt good about the shot so all I could do was wait.

Being from the Show-Me state, I wanted to see it to believe it and didn't want to disturb the area by riding the 150 plus yards on the ATV so I walked it quietly. When I reached the proximity where I thought he had paused from my whistle I didn't spot blood or hair or any indicators. So I glanced in his direction of travel and there he laid. He had made it about 50 feet. Instantly I went into the whole "Thank You Lord" and then the "holy crap, I did it."

He was a large bodied deer with a wide 8 points that he had been using as a battering ram. I didn't immediately find an entrance hole from the Barnes TTSX 80 grain pill I had fed him but could see by the blood coming from under him that it had in fact exited.

I decided to head back to the stand to retrieve the ATV and gear for the field dressing project. Climbing into the stand, I sat down for a minute to catch my breath and gather up my stuff. Looking back out across my viewing area another doe came charging across in front of me. She was moving at a pretty good pace but was looking over her shoulder so I didn't try to stop her I just watched and waited. Nothing was following her but within a few minutes yet another doe exited the woods with a small buck on her heels. They played the in and out of the woods darting game for a couple of minutes and the headed back the direction they had come from.

The few minutes I in intended to spend gathering stuff up turned into an hour or so because of the deer activity. When I got to the buck again I decided to drag him up hill a few feet out into the open a little more away from the brush. It was then that I realized how heavy he was and how out of shape I am. So pretty much field dressing him wear he was seemed to be the way to go. By the time I was finished wrestling with that job I was certain that I should have removed more of my cold weather clothing as it was no longer cold weather at least not inside my coveralls.

Knowing there wasn't a chance of a snowball of getting this guy onto the ATV by myself I decided to go get the truck. Oh, yea and get rid of some outerwear while I was at it because I knew this tug of war was only just beginning. When I conceded that there was no way in hell that I was even going to make it up onto the tailgate with even an antler, I retrieved the block and tackle from the toolbox. I eventually won the battle but it was hard fought.

That afternoon I sat in the same stand and waited for the wind to die and the field to come alive with deer. Somewhere right around 5:00PM a ghostly deer stepped into view out around 150 yards. Shouldering the rifle I saw nothing and switching to binoculars I got the same result. So I watched for several minutes for any sign of movement and never got another glimpse of that deer. But a yearling had crept into view to the north and was out around 100 yards. Looking at her through the rifle scope trying to decide whether to take her or not I noticed she kept looking over her shoulder. With the light fading fast I quickly scanned the area behind her with binoculars. Nothing, I don't know what she was waiting for or looking for but I couldn't find anything. I put the scope back on her with the intention of taking the shot, she was walking closer to me but as I prepared to squeeze the trigger she turned to her right and 2 steps later she was out of sight. She was right there in front of me not more than 75 yards at the most but I could not see her in the tall grassy brush. I did the only thing I could think of and that was to puff into the grunt call a couple times. When I finally spotted her again she was maybe 40 yards away looking right at me.

There was almost no light left to work with and I knew the cut off time was at hand. I leveled the Ruger Compact 260 and peered through my cheap old Simmons scope. Clear as a bell there she stood so I put the reticle on her chest and pulled the trigger. Deer number 50 was now in the history book for me. When I field dressed her I found the bullet jacket in her gut right in front of the pelvic joint. The Hornady 100 grainer had traveled the length of her body, which really wasn't that far but still interesting to me. Not a single bite of meat ruined.

I was thrilled. I had taken two deer in two shots and all the practice and confidence in equipment had paid off. While the little doe had not been an overly challenging shot it was my intention not to damage meat and that was a success. The shot taken at the buck was considerably more of a challenge in that he was out there a ways and I knew I had no time to spare pulling trigger. One more tick of the second hand and the opportunity would have been lost.

Back a "camp" my brother helped me load up gear and deer and I headed for home. I called my daughter and asked her to come help me get the deer hung in the garage. The little doe wouldn't be a problem but the buck was going to be a challenge. Next time around there will be a winch system in place. be continued