The Deer Hunt

We hunted our brains out for four days and the biggest animal we saw was a rabbit. This mountain has produced a harvest of a Mule Deer every year for decades. We visited every deer pass I knew, glassed every timber cut, hiked for miles in the bush. Every day we “still” hunted 1st light of the morning and last light of the evening, still nothing. Our last hunt we saw a couple of does. Can’t shoot them, they’ve got to have horns to be legal. We were ready to throw in the towel when I thought we’d finish the road to the top of the mountain, probably more for the view than anything. “Son, sometimes the naked eye cannot pick up everything in a clear-cut. A good pair of binoculars are an essential part of a hunters kit.” I no sooner said that when I saw them. I checked for horns, yessss, the one on the right’s a buck! Even before I saw his horns I knew which one was a buck by the way he carried himself. He was a long ways away, too far to see properly without binocs. Later we estimated 500 yards. A quick mental calculation determined that a 6″ bullet drop for that distance should do it. It’s absolutely essential to a successful hunt to know exactly where your bullet is going to land. After glass bedding and free floating the barrel, I gave my 7mm magnum a trigger job and added leopold optics. Using the same 160 grain nosler partition bullet every time gives me a consistent 2″ grouping on bullseye at 250 yards. When I squeeze the trigger, generally something dies. My Husqvarna crown grade barked authoritatively. Music to my ears! “He’s down” my son said, viewing the whole episode through my 10×45 binocs. It was a long ways through slash that wasn’t particularly pedestrian friendly. He was only a spiker, but this venison would be much more tender than a gnarly old 4 pointer. Bucky lay in a pool of blood with a pencil sized hole in his neck. A shot to be proud of at 500 yards. Truth is I was aiming at his chest, but I didn’t account for windage and of course there’s good old human error. You can hit a deer right in the heart and he can still run a hundred yards before he dies. A clean shot to the neck or head is always the best bet as he drops like a stone and you don’t have to spend hours tromping through the bush trying to find him. Squeezing the trigger is only the beginning, then the work begins. After field dressing it, the next problem was getting the deer back to my Rhino. I walked back, carefully surveying the terrain for the best attack. It took about 15 minutes but much to my amazement, my little Rhino with stock tires, made it right to the animal. The last little bit getting back onto the logging road I gave my new winch a test run. We just saved hours of back breaking work getting the animal back to the road. I’m most thankful I chose a utv over an atv when I see hunters in the snow, freezing their butts off, icicles hanging from their mustaches. I get into the enclosed cab of my Rhino, take off my jacket and turn down the heater. Life’s not fair. Back at the campsite we skinned him out then sat round the campfire and relaxed. At 65 years old, I need all the mechanical assistance and mod cons I can get to go hunting.
My fondest memories as a boy were definitely hunting with my dad. Some of very best times with my boys are when we’re out in the bush, mess’n with guns.