seasons end


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M. Jager
January 18, 2003, 10:34 PM
Well, the last deer season ended here in Iowa today. Actually it ends tomorrow but the tags are filled so my season is over. First shotgun season really didn't treat us extremely well. My father good a call the night before from a guy wanting to look at cows. Unfortunatly it was one of those people that are high enough up that you can't really ask to come enother day. So father and sister, who elected to wait and come down with him. were delayed untill 11:00 on opening morning. Meanwhile, a buddy and I were sitting in my deerstand watching pretty little deer walk by at ranges as close as ten feet. Between daylight and 1 pm we saw over forty deer from my stand. Both of us were waiting for a crack at a big buck though and it never came around. We did see a few in the distance and one went by withing 40 yards that we couldn't see welll enough to shoot due to having to look almost directly towards the sun. Two bucks also came in from downwind then circled around. One we saw in the distance and another we could hear his horns clicking on trees and brush as he suck around us at no more than 50 yards through some heavy brush.
Later in the day we did some drives and I picked up a nine pointer. Buddy and I were posted on two fingers at the end of a draw maybe eighty yards apart. Five deer back doored us running in from across a cut soybean feild. I was watching a doe and a foehorn that were coming out of the draw when I heard a noise and turned to see deer running in from behind. They were headed to go directly between us and I knew I would have to shoot almost instantly or they would be out of my shooting window due to the angle being too close to buddy. With no time to compare headgear, I locked onto and shot the first racked deer I saw. Shot was 40-50 yards on a deer that was running but not at an all out sprint with the slug striking home through the back 1/3 of both lungs. Deer was still on his feet and I had time for a rushed follow up shot that missed. Deer continued on stopping when he reached the timber and eventually cleared buddy so I could add a finishing shot through both shoulders. It of course turned out to be unneeded but only a fool takes a chance when a deer is still on its feet. Back track to when I first shot......the tail buck, larger of the two, stopped when I shot, standing wide open in the field. Buddy over judged the range (buck fever) and shot twice over its back at a range of 60 yards.
Rest of the first season went pretty much as follows: us seeing deer but unable to shoot besause of deer which was out of range, inline with other hunters, skylined, or through the brush.
My deer was quartered and given to a family who needed it more than we did and we had plenty of meet left in the feezer from last year.
Plans were made with buddy for a late laterless hunt with him and his brother who would be back from college witth the though of evening the score with all the does we passed up the first day waiting for the "big one" Opening weekend bore a striking resemblance to first shotgun season. Due to work, buddies couldn't show untill about 11 on saturday. I sat on my stand in the morn. At first light I had a small come and bed about 30 yards from me. Problem was, with the low light and the leaf cover all I could make out was her tail. Bout the time was light enough to pick out out better the wind swirled and she wasted no time getting into some thicker brush where she hung around for about five minutes blowing to let me and the other deer know of her displeasure. Later I caught movement to see a coyote picking his way throught the trees to my right. I waited till he was withing 40 yards, tracked him through the cross hairs, touched the trigger, and nailed a small tree. :banghead: Later, I started seeing deer out in front of the stand. Finally got a clear shot at just under a hundred yard. Set the crosshairs on the top of his back, everything felt good, and missed. At this point I am really :banghead: wondering what the heck was wrong. After checking for blood on the deer to make sure I had indeed missed, I went to meet buddies and do a little driving in the afternoon. The rest of the day went pretty uneventfull, I did have 4 does walk/trot by at 40 yards but I could get a shot I was comfortable.
Got home with a little daylight left and frustrated at missing a deer, I decided to comfirm zero just to make sure. I've been fighting with my mounting system and thought I had it worked out, guess not..... a three shot group at 50 yards off sandbags measured all of 6 inchs. Well now I know why I missed my deer.
Next day one of my buddies sat in my stand, while I when about 60 yards to the next ridgeline to cover a draw the deer had been running. Finding on sootable place on the ground I picked a nice looking tree and shimmied up. It was 25 feet to the best place to sit and even that wasn't much......A fork narrow enough that I had to sit on my right thigh with my shoulder blades wedged together as much as they could go. Later when I spotted the first deer of the morning it was behind me at about 7 oclock. Thinking "no way in H*** this is going to work, I started twisting my body in ways it just wasn't meet to be trying to get a shot. I managed to get twisted around and get the gun to the other side of a limb that served to hold me in position and steady the gun all in one, the crosshairs settled rock solid on the deers chest. With my shoulderblades pushed foward, my eblows touching each other and my body, my body twisted sidways at the hips, and my back jammed against the tree- the last thought through my head before I worked the trigger was......"This is really going to hurt........" Oh did I mention, the dads slug of choice just happens to be in the 3 inch variety, Walmart didn't carry 2 3/4 barnes expanders till this year. The first thing I thought after the shot was " WOW, that deer looked like it had been hit with a wrecking ball" at 75 yards the slug entered near the back of the ribcage, made jello of the hear and lungs, then left a fist sized hole in the off shoulder. The second thing that crossed my mind after the shot was "yep, I knew it was going to hurt" To ice the cake another deer with the one I shot tried to sneak off through the brush but walked into my buddy and his muzzleloader. Two deer in five minutes isn't bad in my book.
I left for college sunday thinking I was done chasing deer with for the year. As normal with the first week back at school everything that can go wrong does. Then is snowed. I haven't got to hunt in the snow for two years, and seeing that 2 inches of powder and the ground nearly stopped me dead with that urge to spend time in the timber once more. I called a buddy and said "Hey can I go with you and your group this weekend. I filled my tag, don't care if I shoot a deer, just want to walk throught the timber so if you want a driver let me know when in were." His responce was to the extent of "Well we have four guys and two tags. Dad wants those deer dead, (farmer) we don't care who shoots them, we just want to fill the tags and be done with it, the more help the better."
Personally I'd rather have visited my favorite stand to be by myself with nature because I was in serously needing to just "get away" from everything, but you take what you can get and hunting deer is always better than watching squirrel. The first drive I walked a finger then had to wait at the end for another drive to come in from another side. Just as I gave in as was in the proccess of answering nature's call, two deer ran by at the grand range at ten feet....close enough to see individual hairs. They would have been find except that after crossing the valley they stopped to look back from the opposite hillside. These deer obviously hadn't heard of rifled barrels, sabot slugs, and scopes. With a tree to steady my aim, the 100ish yard shot was as simple as placing the crosses three inches above where I wanted to hit and letting the gun and slug to the rest. The mature doe made all of 40 yards.
Two drives later, my theory that the guy that cares the least about shooting a deer will wind up shooting all the deer. A small doe was pushed out to a blocker who emptied his gun succeeding in doing nothing more than making her switch directions. Unfortunally switching directions brought her right by me. At 80 yards broadside she stopped to look back the way she came and the tags were filled. As luck would have it, the guy who only wanted another chance to slip through the trees was the guy that shoot all the deer. My last chance to hunt was over by 11:00 but it did give me the one thing I knew I had to have........those precious few momemts when I was out of site of everyone else. Just me and the trees and the snow, momemts when all of lifes worries and problems were gone- replaced by a warm feeling of pleasure that again showed why I have no choice but to hunt. Its funny, all morning people complained about being cold, but I never felt the slightest bit chilled.
Its been another wonderfull season for me, filled with blessing far greater that putting meat on tables, and it will be a long long wait till next year...........
Sorry about the long post again, couldn't help it.
Matt

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Dave McCracken
January 19, 2003, 12:19 PM
Thanks, Matt, sounds like a glorious season. Enjoy, and remember to test zero frequently.

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