1st Kill of the Season!


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g_gunter
December 19, 2004, 04:15 PM
Hi all,

Just got back Friday from the farm in Natchez, Ms. I had a good day on
thursday since I bagged a 7 point buck at approx. 4:30pm (not much
daylight left). Hit him just behind the shoulder at 150 yards with my trusty Marlin 336SC 30-30 w/ Winchester 150 gr. Power Point bullet. I'd like to say that he dropped on the spot but, instead, he ran out about 100 yards then cut into the woods and came back around to die about 40 yards from where I shot him. I didn't get any photos...I forgot my camera. The interesting thing to me (a newbie) is the story behind it.

I went to my stand at 2:30pm and just before I could place my foot on the ladder I heard and saw that same buck running and snorting back off into the deep woods. He was kickin' it up around the same area I saw him earlier in the morning (I've found that deer are creatures of habit). I was a little irritated but went back up in the stand and sat there and wouldn't you know 4 of my father-in-law's horses showed up around my stand doing whatever it is that horses do. I was really getting irritated since, in my mind, horses should be in the pasture where the grass is plentiful. Not in the woods where there is nothing but dead leaves on the ground. They stuck around foraging for about 1 hour. Well, after a total of about 1.5 hours on the stand thinking the horses may have messed my evening hunt I decided to finish out my final hour of daylight sitting at the end of the trailer/home keeping an eye on all potential lanes of deer traffic waiting for something to come out in one of the open areas. BTW, I had walked off the distances to all the major landmarks in those lanes earlier that day just to help me estimate distance when and if I had to "lob" a round from my 30-30.

Anyway, I decided to go the bathroom real quick. Oh...I forgot...as I was walking up the steps of the porch my right boot caught the edge of the step and I fell face first, landed on my elbow and knee, all the while holding my rifle up in front of me so as not to damage my scope (saftey was on). I wasn't sure but it appeared that the only thing that touched the ground was me and the butt of my rifle...whew!!! Okay, I went to the bathroom and as I was opening the front door to go back outside I slowly and carefully peeked around the door facing to the far right to see if anything had come out to cross one of the openings approx. 150 yards away. Well, would you believe that there he was...that buck was standing near my 150 yd. landmark I had just walked off a couple of hours earlier. I quickly cocked the hammer and removed the safety and lower the rifle down on my left hand which was acting as a rest as it was holding on to the door facing. As soon as I scoped the buck I confirmed that he had a rack. He immediately stopped and picked his head up and looked at me as I had just finished identifying him and put the crosshairs on his shoulder. At that instant I pulled the trigger. Man, you'd thought I'd poked him with a cattle prod because he immediately picked his front legs up as if he were jumping a fence and then in Road Runner fashion shot out like a cannon. I mean, I tried to follow him with the scope but couldn't. He was gone. I watched him run about 100 yards along a stretch of woods to his right and then lost him.

I then walked out to where I thought I shot him in order to spot any blood. You see, in the back of my mind I could only think of when I fell down and bumped the butt of my rifle on the porch and couldn't be sure that the scope held zero. So now I'm looking around unable to find blood, I'm walking up and down the edge of the woods where I saw him run still unable to find blood. I then went to the point where I figured he entered the woods and looked but found no blood. I looked in all the thickets in the area where I thought he entered the woods but no luck. Now, I'm getting really aggravated because now I'm thinking I may have missed him due to a problem with my scope from the fall.

So, I went back to the trailer and quickly picked out a spot on my 100 yd. marker tree and fired a shot at a specific point and nailed it perfectly. My scope was still dead on so now I KNEW I had hit that buck. So now I went back to the place where I estimated I shot him. Almost immediately about 30 degrees ahead and to my left I saw a patch of white laying down against a tree. I'm thinking "no way could this be the deer that just finished running all the way down to the other end of the woods?" But sure enough, he ended up doing a "boomerang" on me and came all the way back to within 40 yards of where I shot him. There was very little blood on the ground around him because due to the low light I had not realized that he was quartering slightly toward me and was on a small hill. So the the bullet entered just behind the shoulder blade, angled slightly up and back and exited close to mid body about 3 inches below the spine. Therefore, most of the blood ended up draining in his chest cavity.

Whew!!! Thank goodness I went back and rechecked. As a relative newbie at deer hunting I learned a big lesson that day. Don't underestimate deer when shot. They do the craziest things when they are reacting to that bullet. Also, I learned to make sure you keep your eyes on that animal in relation to all the landmarks in the area before you begin tracking it.

Now I have to go and get at least one more deer since my wife set a 2 deer minimum quota on me for this season. She said I got one last season (only my second season hunting) and got nothing my first season so I must be ready to get two this season. I guess I can handle that.

Hope I wasn't too long-winded?

g_gunter

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critter
December 19, 2004, 04:52 PM
Good post and good shooting. Congratulations! Your persistance paid off in hunting and I commend you on your persistance on finding him. Far too many do not check well enough after shooting (at) a deer.

Again, congratulations and good eating!

WhiteKnight
December 19, 2004, 05:35 PM
Congrats!

Kingcreek
December 19, 2004, 06:40 PM
It is good to know that with all the whizbang, newfangled cartridges out there, a .30-30 will still kill deer just like it has for the past >100 years. Also glad you found him. The animal's death is meaningless unless he provides nourishment for your family.
Deer often bolt and then hook or double back when dying. I take it from your description that atleast 1 lung was shot out and maybe the aorta? (I always do a thorough post-mortem.)

g_gunter
December 19, 2004, 08:37 PM
From Kingcreek:

It is good to know that with all the whizbang, newfangled cartridges out there, a .30-30 will still kill deer just like it has for the past >100 years. Also glad you found him. The animal's death is meaningless unless he provides nourishment for your family.

I'm really enjoying my 30-30. I'm very confident with this rifle out to 220 yards. Its very accurate (1.25" groups at 100 yds.), very compact & handy in the Mississippi woods, and the cartridge is plenty for what I shoot (don't need all the overkill).

Deer often bolt and then hook or double back when dying. I take it from your description that atleast 1 lung was shot out and maybe the aorta? (I always do a thorough post-mortem.)

Yes, I've heard about deer sometimes behaving that way when dying but had not had it happen to me until now. My first deer was taken at 185 yards through the heart last January (with 30.30) and he ran only 10 yards before falling.

Yes, one lung and the aorta were shot out.

Something I hadn't mentioned in my initial post was that I noticed the "patch of white" by that tree (where he died) upon my first attempt to locate him. But my mind didn't really lock onto it since I KNEW that I had seen him run over 100 yards down the edge of the woods and had no idea that he would have or could have gotten back there so quickly. So I dismissed what I saw and put it out of mind. But now I realize how fast such things can happen when a deer is pumping full of adrenaline. I'm still deconstructing the whole event as I write. Anyway, next time I'll know better.

Thanks,

g_gunter

Matt G
December 19, 2004, 11:19 PM
Field & Stream did a story a few years ago on "best examples of the style" of hunting gear. They had bows and revolvers and muzzle loaders and bolt actions and autos. They also had lever guns, and they reviewed that their copy of the 336 .30-30 reliably got one inch groups. I was shocked. I had no idea that a lever action could do so well.

My personal research has since shown me that a Winchester '94 will generally be a bit smoother, but the Marlins are typically (with the odd exception) more accurate, due to being tighter. I've a friend-- a fine shot --who took a buck with his 336 with a single well-placed shot from his scoped 336 at over 200 yards. (He had an advantage, though: his stand was along a fenceline, and he knew the range, to the yard.)

g_gunter
December 20, 2004, 04:14 PM
Hi Matt,

Yes, my 1.25" groups @ 100 yards were done last year before I had my trigger tuned. The trigger at that time was very inconsistent and "hard" (from 3.75 to 4.75 lbs. pull). Now its been smoothed out and is a consistent 2.75 lb. pull. Very nice. My bro. in law is a very good shot (better than me) and his best 3 shot group w/ my rifle (before tuned trigger) was 1.5 " @ 150 yards using the Winchester 150 gr. Power Point. He was amazed and said that he had a newfound respect for lever actions and the 30-30 in particular.

I chose to scope my rifle when I bought it...I know....I know....that's a no no to some of the purists here. Sorry, but my eyes need a little help. But I put a Nikon Prostaff 3x9x40 on it and have been very pleased with it so far. I know the characteristics and trajectory of this round fairly well by now and, as I indicated earlier, am very confident with it out to 220 yards.

I'm also very please with its penetration abilities on deer. It does not expand like the uber rifle calibers but it appears that its relatively slow speed 2200 - 2400 fps) combined with its sectional density make it a good penetrator. The entrance/exit wounds I've seen left so far have been large enough to let air in and blood out rather freely without destroying much meat. My 187 yard kill last season left only a 1" exit wound. Of course, we are talking about hunting at ranges that 95% of all deer are taken at (200 yds. and under). That's where this gun is at home and is all I need in this part of the country (except when shooting across big open fields and such). If I find myself starting to hunt across the big fields from time to time I might decide to get me a .260 Rem., 7mm-08, or something along those lines for those special occasions. But for now, I'm very happy.

All the best,

Greg

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