November 2006

Deer season opener was November 11th. It's funny, I still look forward to opening day just as much now as 35 years ago. It's always fun and never exactly the same. Again this year, my daughter was able to go with me. Back in the fall, for her 24th birthday, I bought her a new Stevens 200 in 243. Polished the bore, mounted a 3x9 on it and surprised her all to heck. I fired a few rounds through it and got it target, gave her a box of shells (reloads of course) and sent her home with the words "practice".

I would not want her schedule, 2 kids a husband and enough animals to fill Noah's ark. That plus a job, she found little time to practice but did get out and shoot the new gun a little. So opening morning we were ready to go. She sat with me in my tower and we waited and waited and then waited some more.

In the early afternoon, just as I had dozed off, she exclaimed in a whisper that 2 deer were in front of us. They appeared out of the timber on a brisk run and retreated as quickly. I don't know if I would have killed one of them, but my gun would have been up and my eye would have been looking through the scope. OK, maybe that's where over 30 years of experience comes into play. Experience has taught me that "sightings" can last nan o-seconds and that he who hesitates hangs no deer. So I explained this briefly and we crossed our fingers that we would get a second opportunity.

The afternoon drug on for days and I was confident that my butt was going to turn to stone on the resin chair. We have a huge field of view in front of us so we both scanned the tree line with binoculars constantly. At 10 minutes after 5, I spotted a new stump. Immediately, I knew it was out of place, wasn't there before, had to be a deer. I could not find it in the scope. My daughter could not see it at all. Finally, after playing with the power and adjustable objective for what felt like 10 minutes, my 243 barked and down went deer number one. At 160 yards, the 100 grainer caught the doe with her head up facing me. Hit her right in the chest and it was lights out. My daughter finally saw the deer when the white flashed as the deer bowled over.

The next morning in the tower, both of us were cold and bored so we headed back to the trailer to warm up and eat some breakfast. Figuring my brother would be coming out of the woods soon, I told him via 2-way to stop by and eat a bite with us. He replied that he had heard something behind his tower earlier so he was not ready to leave. I told him that when I finished eating, I would wander up through that patch of timber and see if I could push anything out. I figured if I was going to walk, I would carry my little Ruger Compact in 308. I drove to the edge of the timber and parked the 4 wheeler, walked about 50 yards and all but stepped on a nice doe. She bolted out of a blow down, ran about 30 yards and stopped broadside. I didn't wait to see if she was going to run in the right direction to get my brother a shot. It never works the way you want it to. So, the DRT bullet did the job. That's "Dead Right There". 110 grain Hornady, BANG, Down done. Next !

Funny how it works sometimes.

After lunch, me and my daughter headed back to the tower. Since I already had 2 deer, I carried my Ruger Blackhawk in 45 LC and no rifle. Riding the 4-wheelers to the tower, I let my daughter lead the way. We turned up the lane headed east and a doe jumped up from 30 or 40 feet away and ran out to 30 yards or so. Stopped broadside in some brush. Off the 4-wheeler and yanking the revolver from the holster in 1 sweep I had the deer in the scope. Waiting to hear my daughters 243 crack I knew I was in trouble. The actual time that a deer will pause and present a side shot like that is anywhere from 1/2 a nanosecond to a full nanosecond. I squeezed the trigger and must have killed a tree because the doe bolted and ran un-scathed. She ran east briefly and turned south to cross our lane about 30 yards in front of my daughter who had finally gotten the 243 in her hands and was preparing to raise the gun to her shoulder. Yea, she'll learn, this is only year 2 for her. A few cuss words later, we were sitting in the tower watching the same damn tree line with binoculars again. Only 3 to 4 hours till sundown now. My butt will never be the same.

At 4:30 I got out of the tower to relieve myself and as predicted, I spotted 2 does coming toward the back of the tower from across the neighbors property. Knowing they would jump the fence and be in front of us in a matter of seconds, I literally crawled to the foot of the ladder and told my daughter to get ready. There were some communication issues but while the deer were in the brush at the fence line, I scurried up the ladder. Got my daughter ready and the shot presented itself. She took the shot and connected. The deer she hit proceeded to run across the open ground in front of the tower and fell down out in front of us about 100 yards. The second deer just stood there trying to figure out what had just happened. My daughter missed the second one. We turned to look at the first one, she was gone never to be seen again. 2 hours that night and 2 hours the next morning and we never found her. Don't know what went wrong but it was discouraging to say the least.

The second weekend, my daughter couldn't make it. So I hunted alone Saturday morning and my brother sat with me that evening. We never saw a thing. The next morning, I took my new Remington 700 in 204 Ruger and my Blackhawk. At about 6:40 AM, a yearly was standing in front of my tower at about 25 yards. She heard me slip my earmuffs on and she looked right at me. I froze, still trying to decide if I wanted this Dalmatian sized deer or not, I was thinking "not". So I just watched her. She was curious and came closer to the tower. Then turned and wandered away. When she turned her back, I put her in the scope on the Blackhawk but just really didn't want to shoot her. Next year, I'll shoot her, when she actually has enough meat on her bones to put in the freezer.




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