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Well the muzzle loading drama continues…..

I’ve described before how I’ve been snake bit during muzzle loading seasons ever since I started with black powder hunting more than 20 years ago. Most of the blame fell on bad rifle choices, going for cheap instead of getting a good rifle. That all changed last year with the purchase of a Remington Genesis and the discovery of Dead Center bullets made by Precision Rifle (www.prbullet.com/). I can’t blame the rifle any more. It shoots 1 ½” groups at 100 yards with the Dead Center bullet and the suggested charge of Hodgdon’s Triple 7. I would recommend them, but I don’t want the rest of you trying them. If you do, you’ll never shoot anything else in your muzzle loader, and you’ll buy them all up so I can’t find my bullets anymore.

As I said, last year the jinx was broken when I took a 9-point buck on the 3rd day of the season. I’ve been a meat hunter all my life, and this guy was the largest buck I’ve ever taken.

Now the 2009 season. We have 3 different blinds and 3 locations. Three of us hunt together, and we rotate blinds each day. My first blind looks over 240 acres that we can hunt and a great deal of land that belongs to others. A corn feeder is set up about 105 yards from the blind. Before shooting light opening day, I could see two deer, one much larger than the other, eating at the feeder. Even with the binoculars gathering light, I couldn’t make out antlers. They might have been there, they might not. I checked the time on the cell phone, and sunrise was 50 minutes away, making it 20 minutes before legal shooting. Those deer were NOT going to stay there that long. And, they didn’t. They moved off in the darkness.

About an hour later, a mature doe appeared about 300 yards away. She closed to 200 or so and stopped at a fence. Instead of crossing the fence and coming to the feeder, she turned south and disappeared into a wooded area. Then about another half hour passed and on the far side of that wooded area, every bit of 500 yards from me, I saw a doe flash her white tail and run south down a draw. Then another one. Then two more.

More time passed, probably 45 minutes. A coyote walked out of the draw due north of me. He came from the wooded area, and it must have been him who spooked the 4 does. At 160 yards, the Remington Genesis spoke, and that coyote will spook deer no more. Nothing else happened the rest of the morning or during the evening hunt. When I returned to camp, my partners had both brought in healthy, mature does. I didn’t bother to bring in the coyote.

Second day, I drew at my favorite blind. It overlooks a sudan field totaling 180 acres, and there’s another 80 to the north belonging to another farmer who has told us we can hunt there, also. The morning bordered on cold, and the wind was vicious. Nothing came to play. Heck, I’m sorry that I did.

Back there for the evening, I watched a badger waddle around for about 5 minutes. About an hour before sunset, a doe appeared north of me. The north window had been closed because of the wind, and in the binoculars, I could tell that she was looking straight at the blind. She stopped. I watched her; she watched me. This went on and on. I’d never seen a deer stand so still for so long. Finally, she looked away, and I put down the binocs and raised the window. I grabbed the binocs again, and she’s looking at me again. Then she started to walk toward the woods, not toward the feeder 100 yards straight to my west. Afraid I was going to lose her, I blew off using the sandbag which was on another window and took the shot unrested – and missed her big time. I watched her turn and run for more than 300 yards back in the direction she’d come.

Great! I can kill a coyote at 160 yards and miss a doe at 80. I’m just thrilled.

Third day; third blind. Basically, this is an 80 acre patch with a railroad line running through it, twin tracks because it’s a very, very long siding. This basically follows the old Santa Fe Trail, and it’s my least favorite of the 3 locations we’ve leased. Both of my pards had hunted this, and they’d told me there was a little doe that came to feed every morning. Both passed on it, and if it’s as described, I will, too.

At this blind, the feeder is 120 yards away due east. I arrived an hour before shooting light. Now, I’ve got to tell you, with the miss the night before, I felt the pressure. I was not the most relaxed hunter in the woods. I watched for the “little doe” the guys mentioned, and I hoped that SOMETHING would show up before sunrise puts the rays of Ol’ Sol right into my eyes.

A mature doe appeared to the south east. She headed for the feeder, but I needed to take a shot before she got there because of the sun. Watching her, I picked up the sandbag and moved it to the south side of the window – and drop the darn thing on the plywood floor. Thump! Now she’s 200 yards away, so the noise didn’t spook her, but I looked down to retrieve the sandbag, and when I looked back up, she was gone. She’d dropped behind a terrace, and I couldn’t see. Crap!

Not long after that, the “little doe” showed up from the brush surrounding an old dry pond. It looked like a full-sized deer head attached to a poodle’s body. I think it’s a space alien who screwed up his disguise. Most likely, it was a fawn, and the high grass hid most of its legs making it look so weird. It didn’t come to the feeder, though. It stood a few yards away from it, looking north, then turned back into the brush and disappeared. So, I looked north to see what pushed it away, and saw a mature doe headed toward the feeder.

Resting the rifle on the sandbag, I put the crosshairs on her, but she was already leaving the feeder. She couldn’t have taken two bites, and she walked back north. Must be a low-starch diet. I followed her, locked in, lead just a little, and squeezed off the shot. She disappeared. I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t see her running; I didn’t see her on the ground; she was just gone. I missed again???!!! What the –

Okay. Settle down. Is the rifle dirty? I’d fired a couple of shots, but I’m using Triple-7. I ran an alcohol patch down the bore just in case, and it came back with very little fouling. I leaned the rifle against the blind wall and tried to regulate my breathing. I just didn’t know what the heck was happening to me. The heart was thumping like crazy, and the anxiety had me almost shaking. I felt pretty disgusted with me. I just didn’t understand how I could have missed that shot.

Then all of a sudden, a doe came from the north. It’s her. I haven’t shot her! I haven’t even scared her! She walked across, closing on the blind at an angle. And I wasn’t even loaded! I grabbed the TC speed loader, dumped the powder, and started the bullet. All the time, this doe ambled across the pasture. Now the ramrod, shoved it in all the way. Thank God for the TC 209 loader. I never would have pressed the primer home with just my shaking hands.

She’d passed the blind now. I rested the rifle on the sandbag again, determined not to blow the shot this time. Okay, I tell myself, breathe. Breathe again. Now hold it, keep the crosshairs on chest and squeeze. This time, I saw the impact. Heck, I should have, she was only 30 yards from the blind. She staggered, ran for about 30 yards, staggered again, did a 180 degree turn, took two steps, did another 180 and dropped.

Whew! At last! And, I could see that one, right there outside the blind window. Now, I could hunt horns. Of course, in this part of Oklahoma, I could take another doe, and I plan to later in the season.

Okay. I have to do diligence and go to that spot near the feeder where I’d fired first. I walked down toward where the doe had been when I fired. And there she was! Right where she’d been when I squeezed off the shot. She’d dropped like the proverbial sack of potatoes and ankle-high grass had hidden her. I didn’t blow the shot after all. I had two does down in about 3 minutes.

I walked the ¼ mile to my truck and drove to the second doe, the one near the blind. Getting out, I walk over and --- Antlers? Antlers? A fork-horn with 6 inches of asymmetrical antlers! I’d been so sure that I’d missed, so rattled trying to load quickly, and I’d concentrated so hard on keeping those crosshairs on the chest that I hadn’t even noticed the 6-inches of gnarled antlers on his head. Well, I took Mr. Ugly Antlers out of the gene pool. He was 2 ½ years old, and should have had better headgear if he was going to grow into a good buck. But that takes care of hunting antlers the rest of the season.

I can get one more doe this season, but I’d better remember to put the binocs on its head before I shoot!
 

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Parson,

good for you! Its a good thing you went and checked on the doe you thought disappeared! Two in a few minutes is great.

kfjdrfirii
 

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Wow, I love stories like this, makes me feel like I was there!! Very cool!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, guys. I love it when my little tales amuse others.
 
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