2010 Deer Season

Opening morning was pretty amazing at least at my stand. I used a couple of new gadgets, Tink's "Miss November" (inflateable doe decoy) and a set of rattling antlers.

I took a slight detour in route to my stand opening morning and placed Miss November about 50 yards out in front of my stand in a mowed shooting lane. Not much of the CRP my stand overlooks got mowed this summer because heavy rains and erosion took out a culvert that allowed access with the tractor. I was able to mow a couple of strips with my Swisher pull behind but it was kind of like taking a weed eater to an alf alfa field. The result was poor visibility but that's the breaks.

So with the decoy in place and the sunrise coming swiftly me and a buddy scrambled to the stand. At about 6:40 I rattled the antlers briefly and within minutes a buck came trotting from the switch grass to the south of my stand. We only got glimpses of him as he seemed to have a pre-determined destination across our line of sight. He was at least a nice basket 6 pointer but I never got the chance to spot a brow tine so we let him skate on through.

I rattled again probably 30 minutes later and got no response. After waiting a bit, I tried it again and within minutes an obviously larger buck responded by following the same path out of the switch grass that the first buck had taken. This time however the cross hairs were already on him and pressure was on the trigger when he spotted Miss November. He paused just in time to catch the 90 grain Nosler from my Remington 700 243 in the shoulder. My buddy was watching with the binoculars and I saw through my scope that the buck never took a step. You gotta love DRT bullets! (dead right there).

As it turns out the buck was a 9 point with a broken brow tine but probably one of the biggest bodied bucks I've taken. We guessed him at 200 field dressed.

Later back at the same stand we had a yearling appear 30 or 40 feet out in front of us. I had decided that I would do my best not to shoot yearlings this season but me and my buddy had not discussed it. So as he prepares to take her I kind of signaled that she was awful small so he waited. She played in front of us for a few minutes and the finally disappeared into the taller grass. We talked briefly about my reasoning and arrived at the conclusion that my buddy was OK with a smaller deer. When she re-appeared as we knew she would, she was out about 100 yards (which seemed more sporting to me anyway). However, my buddy failed to connect with his 25-06. So now I was feeling bad about not discussing this earlier and costing him a deer.

I had shot 2 yearlings last year both of which turned out to be button bucks. The meat of course is delicious but I'd rather have some additional antlers to shoot at in the coming years.

The second day of season me and the buddy traveled to his property and hunted. He spotted a doe late in the afternoon but she was moving 80 mph and he never got a shot. The 3rd morning we were back at my stand and saw nothing. The weather seemed conducive to what should have been a good afternoon hunt. My buddy had to head for home so I decided to stay and sit with my brother in his stand. He was still looking for the "big buck" so when the nice basket 8 waltzed out in front of us at 200 yards all we could do was watch and take pictures. It was fun though. The buck came out into full view and beat up a sapling, then wandered closer and finally out of sight behind us.

That was the only deer we spotted. I loaded up and headed for home after dark.

The second weekend I doubled with my Ruger Compact in 260 on a pair of does. It was a failed attempt to push deer towards my brother in his stand. They showed up in a brush patch but didn't seem inclined to head the right direction so I shot them. A 3rd doe doubled back and was taken by a friends son sitting at the north end of the property.

Thanksgiving weekend we had guests in from out of town and I had a guest flu bug so I didn't do any hunting.

The final weekend started out exciting and ended the same way. I took off work early Friday and hunted that afternoon. Shortly after I got in the stand I spotted a nice buck meandering through a draw. As it turns out he had a buddy with him as well as 2 does. The second buck kind of trotted out into full view and spotted me about the same time I spotted him. The look on his face was like "Oh Crap". Never saw him again. Of course all of this transpired in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes but it sure got my blood pumping.

Saturday the only way the weather could have been worse would have been if there was precipitation mixed in with the 100 mph wind. Tried pushing deer but that only yielded a glimpse of 3 deer butts.

Saturday afternoon, back watching the same draw as Friday afternoon, I sat down at 2PM and spotted 4 does heading west towards a fence line. They vanished into thin air.

A little before 4PM I spotted a doe then another and then a 3rd doe. All in close proximity of each other but I did not believe them to be the same batch from earlier. I grabbed my Ruger Compact 6.8mm SPC and picked out the clearest shot I had but before I could pull the trigger she stepped behind some brush.

We've all seen the videos of the Elk at 300 yards or the Antelope on the prairie or the buck below the treestand, yea, the ones where you see the bulk of the animal. This wasn't like that at all. In fact, for the next 5 or 10 minutes I burned holes through the lenses of my binoculars.

I finally spotted an ear of one deer and then the white horizontal line of an underbelly and part of a leg on another deer. Then they started to move again. They were out around 150 to 175 yards.

One doe stepped partially into view and I squeezed the trigger. A second doe stepped even less into view and I squeezed the trigger. She jumped, moved into better view and presented a back end shot waiting for me to pull the trigger so I obliged. Another deer trots around in the brush for a few seconds and then heads for my tower at a pretty good pace. I whistled in an attempt to stop her but when that didn't work I decided to squeeze the trigger, unfortunately, she decided to make a 90 degree turn at the same time. It wasn't pretty but it was affective.

When my heart rate started to come back down I realized just how fricken cold I was. At 2:30 my wind meter/thermometer showed wind gusting beyond 21mph and wind chill around 12. So I spent a few minutes regaining composure, trying to warm up and gathering brass from the stand floor. Then headed out to see exactly what had transpired.

As it turns out, the first shot anchored a big doe. The second shot, I'm not sure what happened. The 3rd shot that should have been a Texas heart shot went high and broke the neck instead. The 4th shot broke back knees but a slug from the 357 ended that.

I looked up and down the draw for a 4th deer but found nothing to indicate there was a 4th deer. So with light fading fast I grabbed a knife and went to work. I was about a half mile from the truck and I figured the time spent retrieving the truck would be better spent dragging the deer. So I ran the ATV winch cable under the ATV and over the hitch plate. Stacked up 3 deer heads and hooked the cable. I felt like a walking ice cube by the time I got to the truck and got the deer loaded but the worst was over. I ran the ATV onto the trailer, latched it down and headed for my brothers house at the farm.

Not a real good picture but it's hard to get good pictures when you are shivering.

I have to say I was very impressed with the performance of the 6.8 cartridge. The deer in the foreground was hit at the bottom edge of her spine and the bullet lodged in the big bone in her right shoulder. The smaller deer in the background was hit square in the neck from behind. I was shooting Hornady 100gr SP bullets.