I went out to my farm to see if I could meet up with one of the big whitetail bucks that have been hanging around. This time I didn't take the kids and my folks were busy so I went by myself.
I got up and out to the blind extra early without setting off any alarms and I got settle in to wait. It was fairly warm with the low about 50F with a breeze. Friday afternoon the wind was a steady 30+ so I was glad it had calmed down some. The moon was nearly full and the sky was clear so it was almost like daylight at 5:00am.
A skunk walked under my blind and I saw some of the local raccoons in person instead of on the camera. I saw Mr. Big early on along with a lot of does and fawns and some smaller bucks. I didn't see the 10 pointer or the two 8 pointers, though. The Steiner 10x50s really helped. I don't know if I could have seen any of those deer without them and all the deer were within 100 yards of me.
Finally it was almost legal shooting time and I saw Mr. Big walking off to the east and he disappeared into the brush. I said goodbye figured that if I waited long enough he would come back.
He did come back, in about 5 minutes.
The rifle I was using had a fancy Nikon 3-9x scope on it that I bought on clearance as a "factory refurbished" model two or three years ago for much less than retail. I tried to line up on Mr. Big with the scope down at 3x and I could see him but I couldn't tell which end was his head, so I cranked it up to about 6x and still couldn't see well enough so I went all the way to 9x.
Now I was in business. This really was a shot that would have been difficult with a scout scope. The higher magnification helped out. I held very well and steady and had a nice surprise break on the trigger. The crosshairs were exactly where I wanted them when the shot broke and I saw the muzzle flash through the scope. I mentally called that a perfect shot.
When the rifle came down out of recoil he was gone. All the other deer were gone. I looked throught he binoculars and the only deer I saw were a mule deer doe and her two fawns. All three of them were standing around less than 50 yards from where the buck had been standing and less than 150 yards from where I just fired a rifle which is expected behavior from mule deer.
I checked my watch - 6:49am.
I decided to stand by until 6:55am and then go see what happened. Even a well hit deer will often run and the brush is heavy enough there that he could possibly have gotten out of sight while the rifle was in recoil.
I was icy calm before the shot but I got the shakes a little while waiting that 5 minutes. Sort of delayed buck fever. Usually I don't have physical reaction at all, but then I usually have a visual confirmation that my shot was as good - either a wounded deer running or hobbling away or a deer visible on the ground. This time I didn't see anything.
Finally the time was up and I headed out. Here is what I found.
It turns out it really was a perfect shot. I hit about the 3rd or 4th rib back from the front on the way in and hit the 6th or 7th rib back on exit and I got both lungs in between.
The rules for shooting deer are 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset. I fired the shot at 6:48am. Official sunrise was 7:08am. I was 10 minutes into legal shooting time.
After taking those pics I looked around and what do you know - the mule deer were still hanging around.
To the left of the deer is one of our ground blinds. We built it by screwing pressure treated 2x4s into some of those trees and hanging camo cloth over them. Being open topped they don't attract wasps as bad as an enclosed blind. When the weather turns cool in the fall the wasps swarm around any structure or anything else where they think they can find a warm place for the night.
One disadvantage to hunting alone is that there is nobody to take the pics. Here is one of my sad attempts to take a pic of me with the deer. You can see the double brow tines pretty well in this pic.
The Sneaky-Leaf stuff is from back in the unsophisticated days when I used to just sit down by a tree instead of actually making a blind. It served no purpose now but I haven't bothered to take it off the jacket. Sometimes after I've been in a blind for a while I get up and walk around and I guess the leaves might make a difference then, but I'm not sure about that. The Walker's Quad Muffs work very well. The only downside to using them is that the control knobs stick out a long way as you can see. Another downside to the Walker's is that they use N size batteries. The Peltor Tactical 6 muffs I used to use are much lower profile but the NRR is quite a bit lower. Howard Leight has some muffs with a good NRR that look like they are about as low profile as the TS6's and the price looks good, too. You should always wear hearing protection, even when hunting. For well under $100 you can preserve your hearing, so why wouldn't you do it? Spending $100 now is a lot better than buying hearing aids.
He was a load to get into the back of the pickup by myself. Always bring a come-along and you won't have any trouble.
Field dressed and with some ice still in him he showed 136 lbs on the scale. Not bad for a whitetail around here.
Here is one last shot. I prefer the pics to have a natural background, but I'll take what I can get.
The duct tape on the antler is to hold the tag on.
I am truly blessed to have a place to hunt and to live in a country where I can own the tools to hunt with and I can keep what I kill and use it to feed my family.
My season isn't over, yet. My two oldest boys haven't been out this season at all so I get to take them. Then we have does on the menu. Then there is mule deer season. Between the four of us we have 16 turkey tags and we've only used one. Then there are all those pigs - I might have to sit up some night with a pot of coffee, a rifle, and a light.
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