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Old November 19, 2014, 09:50 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2, 2011
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 1,614
taking my first deer

Hi all!

As you can see from my location, I currently reside in sunny and warm Puerto Rico, after moving from the mecca of firearm ownership that is the state of Texas. Well I never had a chance to hunt deer (or anything else) in Texas, but I have a great buddy who runs a hunting camp up in the northern part of Michigan (proper, not the UP). In 2011 I went up to his camp and after 4 days in a blind, the most I saw was a flash of two doe on the move in thick trees. We had doe tags, but I didn't have a clean shot through all the brush.

That was my first taste of hunting. See, I always wanted to hunt as a kid, but unfortunately during my up-bringing in the deer-rich state of Ohio, my father had no interest in taking me deer hunting and more-over was a bit concerned at my interest in firearms.

Fast-forward to this past Saturday, opening day in Michigan. After I took the 1700+ mi. trip from the island over 8 hours to get to central Michigan, where my great buddy was there to greet me, we rode north to his camp and eventually opening day morning broke upon us at his cabin. Snow was on the ground and we had done a bit of baiting around some of the blinds on the property and celebrated the pre-opening-day with generous amounts of adult beverages, but I digress.

Suited up in my newly purchased coveralls, thermals, and borrowed parka and boots, I followed my fellow hunter out to my blind for the day, trekking softly through the snow in the pre-dawn hours. I settled into my blind and fiddled with a small lighter trying to get my firestarter lit and placed into the wood burner in the blind. Eventually the fire took, and the warmth began to radiate out into the blind as my blood has thinned substantially from my years in Texas and my time in Puerto Rico.

With me was the rifle I had used the previous year, a 60's or 70's Winchester Model 100 .308 with an amazing older Trijicon 3x9 single-post reticle scope. I racked the action, cambering the first round, and push the action gently forward to fully bring the gun into battery as quietly as I could. Dawn was beginning to show, although it was an overcast day and snow was gently falling.

I began my scans out the blind down the hill into my shooting lanes. There was a small clearing at the bottom of the hill before the terrain sloped back uphill, rifle leaning against the wall of the blind.

Flash! A speck of motion to the left in thick trees. I saw it, a dark body moving through the trees. No shot, but I quietly and smoothly picked up the rifle and placed it across my lap, while removing the glove from my right hand (I simply cannot shoot with gloves on my trigger finger). Would this be the only deer I would see this year, that brief glimpse through the trees again?

Then it appeared down the hill in my shooting lane, frozen in motion and starring coldly back at me! I shouldered the rifle, and with both eyes open I found the deer in the scope and then closed my left eye for full concentration. It was a buck, that much I was sure of peering at it on 3-power.

The next few moments unfolded so quickly, I could barely believe it. My right finger reached forward and pressed the safety to the left, disengaging it, while I braced my left elbow against my body as I had been taught in position shooting. I eased my right finger back to the trigger, feeling it gently as I placed the post reticle behind the bucks from shoulder, center mass.

Squeeze gently. BANG. I was instantly deaf and the adrenaline which had begun flowing reached a crescendo as I continue to peer through the scope after a quick reactionary blink. I saw the deer drop to the ground and I knew I had a hit. It kicked for perhaps 2 or 3 seconds and then all was still in the woods again.

My ears ringing from the short barreled .308 report inside the blind, I climbed out and began moving quickly but quietly down the hill in the snow towards the downed buck. The trek was farther than I thought, perhaps 80 yards, my eyes transfixed the entire time on the down buck, peering for any signs of life that would indicate life.

I reached the buck and carefully approached, wary of the fact there might still be some fight left, but no, it was all calm. Specks of red blood were contrasted by the virgin white snow in the clearing and I saw his tracks leading up to the terminal point where I took my shot. Of course, my concern was how many points the buck had. It was smallish, a 4 point with short antlers, but indeed it *was* a buck. After a few cautionary moments, I took hold of its head and looked at both sides.

My heart was racing and my breath cold and ragged both from the pure and unadulterated excitement of taking my first deer and the fact that I had FINALLY DONE IT. I knew then, I could call myself a successful hunter in my second season.

A seminal experience and one I will never forget. I thank my great buddy for everything, from the food at camp, to the great blinds on his property that he had constructed, to the fine rifles he had brought and gave me pick of.

Now I know what this is all about. I am novice but true hunter. My first buck.

Last edited by tuj; November 19, 2014 at 08:21 PM.
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Old November 19, 2014, 11:43 AM   #2
Join Date: July 8, 2012
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 1,856

Are guns outlawed in Puerto Rico? I saw a post from a hunter there who used an air rifle.
Life's short, have some fun.

Patocazador is offline  
Old November 19, 2014, 01:22 PM   #3
Join Date: March 22, 2011
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 442
Cool story...It was like I was right there with you. I love hunting in snow. It just seems magical.

Congrats on your 1st deer. You are hooked for sure now!
All generalizations are false, including this one.
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Old November 19, 2014, 08:20 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2, 2011
Location: Puerto Rico
Posts: 1,614
No, firearms are not outlawed in Puerto Rico, it's just a bit hard to get a permit. The process is very convoluted and all in Spanish, but I'm working on getting my target guns down to the island.
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Old November 19, 2014, 08:29 PM   #5
Join Date: April 13, 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 2,833

Originally Posted by Tuj
The next few moments unfolded so quickly, I could barely believe it.
I'm relatively new to hunting myself, and I vividly recall this same experience. Once the rifle came up, it was almost auto-pilot.
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Old November 19, 2014, 09:54 PM   #6
Join Date: June 10, 2006
Posts: 1,533
Well written, and well done! Thanks for sharing the experience with us...I felt like I was right there in the woods with you.
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