Deer Season 2007
With the usual anticipation, deer season finally arrived with tempetures well above normal. It made for comfortable hunting but forced immediate deer processing taking us out of the field briefly.
My daughter Jessica got to hunt with me again this year which is always fun. In front of the 2006 season I had given her a new Stevens 200 in 243. She squeezed some practice sessions into her busy schedule over the summer and seemed very confident in her ability with the gun.
Opening morning me and Jessica sat in my "tower" at my brothers farm. We had been in the stand maybe 1 hour when a doe ran out into view at 160 yards. The doe stopped and put it's tail in the air and just stood there giving us only a butt shot. Not a great option but definitely one that works.
I wanted my daughter to have first chance because I had more time available to me than she did so we both shouldered our rifles and I was whispering "take her". When her gun did not roar soon enough to suit me, I said "if you don't do it, I'm going to". She replied that she could not get a shot. No time for debate or trying to understand why not. The doe suddenly turned her head to the right which gave me all the opportunity I needed to attempt a clean head shot. My Ruger 243 cracked, the doe did a 180 and dropped.
A second doe bound into view instantly. Again my daughter swung her rifle into to position. The deer was quartering and looking our direction at about 80 yards. Again, I am encouraging "take the shot" and luckily the only movement the doe made was to turn broadside presenting a perfect opportunity. Jessica's 243 cracked and the bullet connected perfectly. The doe ran about 30 yards further into our view and went down.
As we soon discovered, the first doe (a nice yearling) was actually "standing" for the second "doe" which turned out to be a nice buck that had broken off both antlers at the base. One antler had been broken recently as the base was still pretty white but the other base was dark as it had been broken at an earlier time. He must have been a fighter. Of course both of us were elated. This all transpired in well under 60 seconds.
I know that I am not an expert at deer hunting but this is my 37th season. If I have learned nothing else, I have learned that when the deer is in the scope, you don't hesitate. I'm not complaining about my daughters slow response time I just saying that from experience, you better take your shot quickly, not rushed but as quickly as possible.
The doe I shot was 1 leap from the woods and being invisible. The deer my daughter shot could have turned 90 degrees made 1 leap and been gone. That's the way it works and that's the way it happens, not always but often enough to be a hard lesson learned.
I was proud as a peacock of my daughters shooting ability. 1 shot and a good clean kill. Her confidence in her gun and her ability to get the job done were perfect. Confidence is EVERYTHING.
We got the deer back to camp, got them hung up and started cutting. About lunch time my wife arrived with my daughters 6 year old girl, Lilly. Lilly had told the world she was going to deer hunt with us this year and had driven her mom crazy with it. Initially the plans were to bring her into the equation the second weekend but the warm weather was the perfect opportunity to get her in there now. So after lunch and packing my quartered yearly in ice, my wife headed for home with it.
We all dressed for the afternoon/evening hunt and headed for my tower. My "tower" is nothing more than a 4x8 shed on 5 foot stilts. 3 resin patio chairs and old carpet for noise reduction. We sat Lilly between me and my daughter and settled in for what could be a long 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
I was amazed at how quiet my granddaughter was. Surprised is another word I could use. She listens well but she's a kid and we all know that "kids" can be anxious and noisy. Anyway, we had fun. She used binoculars and "helped us" watch for deer. I took some pictures which I will add here soon but she was cute in her camo and orange.
Lilly is a shooter. Last year I got her a Cricket 22 rifle for Christmas, the stainless laminate of course. Unfortunately, I have not made the time to go out with her but her Dad and Mom have. I hear that she is a good shot and enjoys it. And even better, I hear that she completely understands that the guns are never to be touched without permission.
So we sat there watching for deer and munching a snack now and then. Snuck in a half time stretch by standing in the tower for a few minutes and then back to watching hard.
About 20 minutes till 5PM, I whispered to Lilly that "it's time for the deer to come out". She replied "where are they". I replied that "it's time, but that doesn't mean they'll do it". She understood and was watching hard. With the light fading fast, my eyes felt like sand paper from watching so hard through the binoculars. Shortly after 5, I whispered to my daughter and granddaughter, "there they are" as I watched 2 does step out of the woods at over 160 yards. My daughter thought briefly that I might be teasing but soon spotted them. I whispered "take your time they are headed this way" and me and the granddaughter stuck our fingers in our ears. Again, what seemed like an eternity, I encouraged my daughter to "get it done". The deer were moving our direction but 1 sneeze or hiccup from being invisible in the cover of the timber.
Ka boom! 1 deer leapt and was out of sight. The other deer was headed for the timber but was visible a second longer. One look at my daughters face told me that she had done the job. Of course Lilly was excited but had not seen the deer. All this transpired in less than 30 seconds. With light fading fast we waited anxiously for about 15 minutes. Jessica was confident that the deer was down so we got out of the tower and walked to where the deer were last seen. We found blood right away and could easily track the direction into the timber. About 20 yards away we found the deer laying in a trail. Another nice 1 shot kill for my daughter. My granddaughter didn't care much for walking in the woods near dark but she was excited when the deer was located.
The next morning I hunted for a little while and then went back to the trailer. My daughter and granddaughter were preparing to leave. The granddaughter had gotten her first taste of deer hunting without boring her to death with hours and hours in the stand. I know she enjoyed herself and hopefully she will be able to go again next year. I intend to get out with her next summer and watch her shoot. She will only be 7 so I am not sure she'll be ready to carry a rifle next deer season but I bet she'll be ready to go again.
The remainder of Sunday was un-eventful. I stayed Sunday night and sat in my tower Monday morning for a while. My brother had stayed as well so somewhere around 10 AM I decided to ride the 4 wheeler over to his tower and check in with him. Not wanting to ride through the middle of his viewing range, I decided to stay to the south keeping a tree line between us. I figured if anything was in the timber, it might accidentally run his direction. I hadn't gone 100 yards when I spotted a doe in the timber watching me. She was a long ways from my brother and I figured there was little chance of getting her to move that far so I dropped her in her tracks with my Remington 243.
I got back on the 4 wheeler and continued up the tree line then cut straight through to my brothers tower. After climbing up and getting settled into a chair I explained what had just transpired. While we discussed it, he whispered "there's a deer". And sure enough, about 150 yards out was another yearly. He wasn't sure he wanted it but decided to go ahead and take it. The thought of having a fresh young deer in the freezer is hard to pass up.
I watched through my scope as he fired the shot. No doubt the deer was hit well but ran a few yards and disappeared from sight. We set our guns back down to wait a bit. Within 5 minutes, we had a fork horn buck in front of us and within 3 or 4 more minutes we had a huge doe in front of us. The only tags we had left were "any deer" permits. The fork horn was not a legal deer and the doe would use up the opportunity to kill a large buck should the shot present itself. So we just enjoyed the show and both deer obviously walked up to check the downed deer. Interestingly, the doe was nervous about the downed deer and left rather quickly after checking it out. The buck just kind of wandered off in the same direction.
We dumped all of the deer carcasses from the weekend out in front of my tower about 50 yards thinking the quiet period during the upcoming week might bring some coyotes into my shooting area and present me with a shot the following weekend. In retrospect, it was not a good idea. I've seen deer walk right past a gut pile but apparently they don't think much of walking past or being anywhere near a deer carcass with the head still attached. I never saw a thing from my tower the following weekend and the coyotes had not even visited.
Sunday of the second weekend a huge 13 point buck was taken by a friend. I didn't get to see the deer but I saw pictures. Lucky cuss!
The December extension of deer season opened on the 8th and was "doe only". The weather was miserable but me and a buddy went up to the farm anyway. Temps in the teens with freezing drizzle coming down on top or 3 inches of fresh snow. Visibility was nice but 15-20MPH wind kept it from being enjoyable. I pushed 1 deer out of hiding but it was moving too fast for a shot. We went over to my tower and I tried a short drive that was un-productive. I did however discover that the deer carcasses had been found and picked clean by coyotes and crows.
Rather than waiting for the roads to become an ice skating rink, we left the farm about 1PM.
Don't know if I will try it next weekend or not. With Christmas on the way, I am running out of time fast.