My last day deer


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HOOfan_1
January 10, 2013, 08:32 PM
Hunter and fishermen have to tell stories, so here is mine

I've been big game hunting for about 24 years, but this was my most successful. I got my first turkey, and my 5th deer (not exactly a prolific hunter, even if I have been hunting for a while). I will say I am 5 for 5 on deer. Every deer I have shot at, has ended up in my freezer. This is also the first time I have shot deer in back to back seasons.

The farm on which I hunt is state land, and allows hunting by permit, and limits to 15 hunters on the land at a time. Most of the deer hunters there, run dogs through the woods and drive their trucks around those woods to catch deer which the dogs have flushed out. Learning from my father, we have always preferred to find a stand, and sit on it for several hours. We also find the afternoon, a calmer and more productive time.

I had flushed some does in the woods for which I had no shot, and while I was sitting on a hill overlooking a flood plain, I had a truck driving down a farm road flush a doe out of a thicket about 150 yards away, she nearly ran me over getting into the woods, but again no safe shot.

This year my dad and I have been hunting a tract of woods called "The Big Woods", it is about 350-500 acres of uninterrupted woods, and we are usually in there by ourselves. (at least during firearms season). There are some seldom used roads, and in some cases overgrown and blocked by trees through those woods. I have sketched them to the best of my knowledge below.

http://i49.tinypic.com/2zolsmb.jpg

I have walked those roads a few times, and I flushed the does on that road.

On the very last day of deer season in Virginia Saturday 1/5/13. My dad and I parked at the entrance to the road shown at the bottom left on the above picture. He dropped off about 400 yards into the woods, and having walked the roads before, I knew of a good spot in the woods, which was fairly open, and presented a natural ramp for deer coming out of the ravines in the woods. You can see the river to the upper left of that photo, it actually makes a bend around that farm, so think of it as basically parallel to the top of the woods. There is also a creek in those woods, about 75 yards from the edge of the North of that map, which basically curves around. That circular portion of the road at the top is about 60 yards from the creek, and about 150 feet or so higher, and it is a pretty steep slope, with some gullies going down.

So I decided to walk up to about the top right most portion of the road on that map. It is a little over a mile through there, we parked and set off at about 1:30PM, I walked very slowly, not still hunting slow, but slow enough not to make much noise. About a quarter of the way in, I saw a small flock of turkey, they were pretty big, it was no longer turkey season though. There was an odd amount of squirrel activity for the middle of the day as well. It took me a little over an hour to actually get to my stand, as I took the longest way around.

I sat on my stand for about 30-45 minutes, and watched the squirrels. At one point I thought I heard the wind in the trees, which I thought was odd, since it was not a windy day at all. Eventually I realized it was something big running through the woods. Off to my right about 100 yards away, I saw large shapes running along a ridge perpendicular to the road. All I could see were flashes of them through the trees. I could not even tell the were deer, although I knew for a fact they were. I of course thought to myself, if only I had set up 50 yards further down the road. Perhaps 45 seconds later, I heard the leaves crunching again and coming in my direction. I dialed my scope from 6x down to 3x (Remington 700 BDL .30-06 3-9x32mm scope 150gr. Sierra Gameking over 52 gr. IMR4064) , and then I saw a group of deer running off the hill and down onto the road on which I was sitting (the road is completely under trees, and blocked off any every direction by fallen trees). The first deer came running straight down the road at me. I put my scope on him, and saw he had a HUGE rack. Then he got to within 30 yards of me, saw me and veered off the road, up the hill and into thick trees. I saw there were at least 4 or 5 other deer following him. Of that group of 5 or 6 at least 4, if not all of them were bucks. The other deer crossed over the road further away from me. One of them stopped on the side of a slope, I got my scope on him, and he moved. The last one in line, stopped on the slope about 60-70 yards from me. I got my scope on him, saw he was a buck (does were legal anyway) I put my reticule over his heart/lungs region. I was shooting completely off hand, I had no rest. As I was pulling the trigger, he started to move again, plus I may have actually jerked a tiny bit. I found out later, I missed by about 3 inches low of the spot I was aiming.

As I lowered by gun to cycle another round, I saw him stumble. I knew then that I had hit him. He ran off up the hill. I waited and about 30 seconds later, after I knew that all the other deer were long gone, I heard thrashing up the hill. I waited about 5 minutes. I knew that I should wait another 20 minutes at least. Yet, I knew at the top of the hill was a very thick grove of pines, ~30 acres of pines. I also didn't know what kind of wound the deer would have, and I really don't have the stomach for letting something I shot suffer for too long.

After waiting for 5 minutes, I headed over to where I thought the deer was standing when I shot him, I saw no blood. I moved up the hill, and then I saw a white tail going away from me. I could tell that there was no way he could out run me. Still he would not let me get to within 30 yards of him before he got up and ran through the woods. When I saw him laying down, and had a good broad side shot, although I could not get a great shot, I aimed for the back of the lung area, and shot him in the diaphram area. He got up and ran some more, then laid down, and ran, and laid down. I was moving through that pine wood, much faster than I would have, had I not been chasing the deer. At one point I ran across the road which runs in the middle of the loop, and then through again into the pines. I probably ended up chasing him 500 yards before I put another shot into his heart and ended it.

Then I tried dragging him with one arm for about 200 yards, before I decided to walk my gun and reversible coat about 100 yards in front of me and go back and drag the deer to them with both arms. I was trying to drag him back to the road I had crossed while chasing him, but as is too easy in a thick pine wood, I got turned around. I called my dad up on his cell phone and tried navigating him through the woods roads, closer to my position. Eventually I saw him about 200 yards away, and he came and helped me drag it to the truck. Dragging through that thick pine wood was no fun task for sure.

In the picture below, I was sitting about where the blue star is, the red arrows indicate the path of the group of bucks, and the red star is about where I shot the buck. The red arrows beyond there are where I shot him. The road is approximated with the orange line and the creek bottom in blue line. The red X is about where I finally had to drag him from. I shot him at about 3:45. Chased him down until about 4:00 and finally got in the truck at about 4:50, which was 10 minutes before sunset.

http://i50.tinypic.com/34o6gzq.jpg

When I finally tracked him down, I saw that his antlers were odd. He had a fairly normal 4 point branch on one side, and the other was kind of deformed. 3 points, or even 5 depending on how you count (anything you can hang a ring on, in some parts) The brow tine on the deformed branch actually pointed down. There was algae growing on his antlers, and he had a big sore on the crown of his head. I actually wondered if it might be another antler growing, but it was more of a scab. Eventually I found out that there was actually a big dent in his skull under that wound. I suppose, his deformed antler couldn't stop other bucks from getting to his skull when fighting. He is the biggest deer I have shot. I shot an 8 pointer with a 17" spread when I was 15, but it only weighed 130-150 pounds. I show a 9 pointer with a 9"-10" spread, but with a really tall rack (see him in this thread http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=634238) but he was only in the 140-160 pound range. The deer I shot this year, had a large body, and after dragging him and lifting him in the truck(I was sore the next day), I would say he was in the 160-180 pound range.

So I said above, my first shot was about 3 inches lower than where I wanted it. It hit him in the right leg, just below the shoulder. You will be able to see the hole in the pictures. That completely severed that bone. It went through that and tore a big hole through the brisket area, and part of his left leg. As I was chasing him, I eventually saw he was covered in blood. I was upset with myself for the shot, my first three deer(3 doses of 12 gauge #1 buck for the first two, and a 150gr. .30-30 at 60 yards for the third) , got no further than 30 yards before dropping dead, and the one I shot last year (150gr. remington Core lockt .30-06) made it about 50-60 yards before dropping. I understand things happen like this while hunting, but I never want the animals to suffer. I usually go through a day or 2 of remorse after killing a deer.

http://i49.tinypic.com/24o3u6b.jpg

http://i48.tinypic.com/2dihdmh.jpg

http://i47.tinypic.com/4g5cub.jpg

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Fremmer
January 10, 2013, 10:12 PM
Good job, sometimes they run...

peyton
January 11, 2013, 01:00 AM
I really enjoy the photo map you made to explain the hunting area. I also shot a buck last year and hit it just below the body in the upper leg, it was kind of bending down and rose up just as I shot. I did patiently wait and then went to look for the blood trail and found it about 50 yards away in the cactus patch.

critter
January 11, 2013, 06:24 AM
Good story, congratulations. Glad you stuck to the job till it was done.

Gunnerboy
January 11, 2013, 10:34 AM
I always wonder why do you eastern folks bring your deer guts n all home? and why do you hang them by the neck and skin em backwards?

courtgreene
January 13, 2013, 12:40 PM
gunnerboy, in most states over here, if you're hunting on public land you cannot leave a gut pile. You either bury it no less than 2' under ground or you bring it home in the deer and deal with it there. If you live close it's just easier that way. You can throw it out for the buzzards in your back yard but you can't do that on public land. Toting a shovel into the woods is a pain. (I have done it though.)
As for cleaning them backward, I don't know... I hang them head down.

HOOfan_1
January 13, 2013, 08:11 PM
gunnerboy, in most states over here, if you're hunting on public land you cannot leave a gut pile. You either bury it no less than 2' under ground or you bring it home in the deer and deal with it there. If you live close it's just easier that way. You can throw it out for the buzzards in your back yard but you can't do that on public land. Toting a shovel into the woods is a pain. (I have done it though.)
As for cleaning them backward, I don't know... I hang them head down.

Plus...it is kind of hard to clean them after sunset with no light...

I ate some of him today...I don't think the meat was spoiled at all by waiting a couple of hours to clean him.

sixgunner455
January 14, 2013, 01:19 PM
How exciting! The only time I've had a hunt like that, it was when I was chasing a squirrel through the woods with a .22 that had the wrong ammo loaded in it.

HOOfan_1
March 21, 2013, 12:41 PM
Word has come down...can no longer hunt this piece of land....constantly losing my hunting spaces....:(

josiewales
March 21, 2013, 02:34 PM
Word has come down...can no longer hunt this piece of land....constantly losing my hunting spaces....
Same here in Pa. Thankfully though we have more than a million acres of State Game Lands. I'm 10 minutes away from a 2000 acre SGL where not many people hunt.

HOOfan_1
March 21, 2013, 02:41 PM
Only place I have left to hunt with a rifle is a WMA...on the weekdays it is pretty empty, During deer season on the weekends...it is packed full.

Otherwise I am limited to buck shot or black powder.

Patocazador
March 21, 2013, 02:54 PM
Nothing wrong with black powder .. just as accurate but just one shot.

jrdolall
March 21, 2013, 03:50 PM
Lots of comments. The first is the old lesson that you should ALWAYS give a deer at leat an hour before trying to locate him UNLESS he is laying where you can see him. In all likelihood this deer would have been dead where he first stopped within 30 minutes. Don't get me wrong, I am not berating you and I have done the same thing more than once in my career. 90% of the time I walk over the ridge and there he lays dead as dirt but that other 10% is a nightmare.
We have too many coyotes here to leave a deer overnight and find him in the morning but I always make myself, and others, go back to camp and talk for a bit before setting out with 3-4 people and a bunch of lights. I always want to go to the spot where he was standing and clearly mark it so I can find it in the dark but don't want to go any further. Deer tend to run until they feel safe and then either lay down or stand there looking at their backtrail trying to figure out what happened. Remember that most deer have never been shot so they have no earthly idea what is wrong with them. They feel pain or tiredness and they want to rest so they lay there and bleed to death.

I seldom field dress deer since my camp is about 1/2 mile from where I live. It is easier to dress them while hanging and we always hang from the rear legs.

Great deer. I like racks that are different and would have this guy in a Euro mount.

HOOfan_1
March 21, 2013, 03:59 PM
Nothing wrong with black powder...but this is the 21st century and I have a lot of time and money invested in technology that isn't over 200 years old.

Patocazador
March 21, 2013, 05:25 PM
Nothing wrong with black powder...but this is the 21st century and I have a lot of time and money invested in technology that isn't over 200 years old.
You forget .. bolt-action rifles and scopes are over 100 years old. Most of the "modern" bolt-action guns are based on the 1896 Mauser. Refinements may be modern but the basic tools are not.

HOOfan_1
March 21, 2013, 08:32 PM
You forget .. bolt-action rifles and scopes are over 100 years old. Most of the "modern" bolt-action guns are based on the 1896 Mauser. Refinements may be modern but the basic tools are not.

I don't have anything against Muzzle loaders...I actually want to buy an inline now.

But, I have spent a lot money and time working up loads and equipping my center fire rifle...This is a rifle left to me by my grandfather and it has meaning to me.

I don't think a 250 grain bullet with a ballistic coefficient below .2 launched at 1900 FPS is going to quite equal my .30-06 with a 150 gr. bullet with a BC of .38 launched at 2900 FPS at 250 yards.

Muzzle loaders are fine for the special season and those who want the extra challenge and novelty...but I want the option to use the modern hunting rifle which has more sentimental value to me and I have put my time and money into. More options = more better. In Virginia...there are just too many localities which are buckshot only...with a few allowing muzzle loaders....but not slugs. See the irony in that?

BCKHTR8
March 31, 2013, 10:57 PM
Love that buck. Always did like the freaky racks.

Andrew Leigh
April 1, 2013, 02:08 AM
Thanks for sharing your story, I enjoyed the read.

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