Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Textbook Perfect Hunt

Sometimes the stars align and everything goes exactly as planned. This happened on my last deer hunt.

I was again invited on an early black powder hunt with my friend, Buck, near Martinsville, VA. We spent the first day without seeing a single deer, which is very unusual on the land we were on. So, Buck recommended we try another plot of land. Since he is the expert in the area, I gladly agreed and we moved our stands.

The land he recommended was as close to perfect as you can get. It consists of about 40 acres of poplars and pines surrounding a small field. The field is on the top of a hill. This property is adjacent to several hundred acres of woodland that is managed by a hunt club. The hunt club land closest to the land we could hunt on looked to be used as the deer's sanctuary. There are no roads, trails, or stands that we could find.

Deer come off the hunt club land to feed in the field. We found a few obvious routs that the deer were using to access the field and set up our stands there.


My stand was in a textbook perfect spot. It was halfway down a ridge in a nice open area. The hunt club land was to my left (my strong shooting side) and there were heavy log jams behind me and to my front. I was expecting the deer to come off the hunt club land and be funneled by the log jams directly to me. To my right I had a clear view of a thick bottom with a creek. The entire bottom was in range, so if something decided to work its way around me, I still had it. I had a good shooting lane on all sides, so if a deer came within 70 yards, I had a good chance.

The only downside was that it was raining. Not a heavy rain, just a light drizzle. Just enough to get your powder wet.

 At about 7:30 three does came busting down the ridge, angling away from me. I tried to stop them with a call, but there was no slowing them. They stopped in the bottom about 90 yards away, but I was unable to get a clear shot. It dawned on me that they were probably being chased by a buck.

The moment that thought ran through my head a deer came over the ridge at a steady pace. It was headed directly for me.

I stopped it with a loud NA-AA-AA and placed a 50 caliber, 300 grain bullet one inch behind its left shoulder. A perfect broadside, double lung shot at 18 yards.

 It ran down and then back up and away. I saw it try to jump over a log jam and fall backwards.

It was surprisingly difficult to find. There was a very clear blood trail, but the rain was washing it away. I found where I saw the deer fall, but no deer. This is where the blood trail ended.

After about 20 minutes of circling I found it at the bottom of the ridge. After it died it had rolled all the way down.

As I found it
It was not until I began the short drag to the creek for field dressing it that I noticed it was a buck! A small buck, but a buck nonetheless!

Most experienced hunters would not be excited by such a small animal, but this one was special. I have hunted for years, spend countless hours in the woods and have never killed a buck. Plenty of does, but never a buck. Finally, my first buck!

It may only have 1 1/2 points, but those little antlers are going on the wall!

Oh, and to make it even more perfect, the buck rolled down the hill to within 30 yards of the truck. No long drags this time!

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