257 Allen Mag puts some more meat in the freezer.....
Went out with my dad this afternoon to try to fill a couple of mule deer doe tags we each had one of.
I worked this morning but Dad and my brother went out and had spotted a herd of 12 mule deer does on one of our hunting areas. They were looking for bucks so they let the does bed down and headed home.
Well, Dad and I headed back up and found the herd right where they had been earlier. We set up on the rim of the valley overlooking the bedded herd that was in the bottom of an old dry oxbow of the creek in the valley below.
A quick range through the Swarovski RF gave away the range to the herd, 840 yards. Unfortunately the wind was not allowing a shot at this range so we just set and watched them for about an hour. Then the herd got up and started feeding around the oxbow and finally dropped out of sight behind a bend in the creek bottom. We grabbed the rifles and bailed off the rim and down to an old irrigation canal that ran about half way down the canyon wall.
This got us significantly closer to where we felt the does would reappear but more importantly got us out of the swirling winds that were up on the rims, so I thought anyway.
We felt pretty sure that the does would follow a fence line that was 310 yards from our position so I asked dad if he wanted to take the first shot and then I could see what was left over after that. He had his 7mm Rem Mag which I put together for him and I was packing my 257 AM. I was really in a back up role and when I am I want something that offers at least 600 yard reach. This is why I was not carrying my 6.5mm AX today.
We set on the lip of the old canal all set up perfectly to ambush the herd when they came up off the creek bottom like we had watched them do hundreds of times before. Only problem, this time they did not come. A full hour passed and nothing moved.
Then finally I caught movement farther across the valley floor in some tall grass, another smaller group of four mule deer does. One doe with twins and another lone mature doe. I ranged them at 610 yards. The wind was still churning a bit and I asked dad if he wanted to shoot one. As he is not overly into long range hunting as far as taking the shot goes, he deferred to me and told me to take one if I wanted.
I said lets see if the wind dies down a bit and where they move to. After about 20 minutes the quad of does worked closer to us until I ranged them and they were at 560 yards. Just a couple weeks ago I took my pronghorn at 545 yards with the same rifle so I decided this would be easy pickin's!!
The wind had calmed dramatically at this point so I set the rifle up and looked up the drop hold. -1.3 mils was on the chart.
I watched the old white faced doe until she finally turned perfectly broadside to our position and then told dad to cover his ears as he was slightly ahead of me and about 10 feet to my right and the bark of the big 25 is a bit pissy at this location!!!
I settled in for the shot and started to apply pressure to the 2 lb trigger. Just when it was to late to pull back on the trigger I felt a sudden rush of air blown directly in my face when the big 25 barked. I knew what the result was going to be instantly and really before I finished my though the big 156 gr ULD had caught the up draft and landed just inched above the back of the doe, slamming into the steep bank directly behind her.
Well, this spooked her much more then the rifle blast did and she whirled around and stared at where the bullet impacted.
I racked the bolt and lined up for a second shot hoping the wind would stay calm as it was currently. The big doe finally turned and was quartering toward our position. I took the same exact hold and this time the trigger broke in calm air!
The big doe was down before the WHACK drifted back to our position.
I told dad to get ready as the herd under the hill should show itself with all this shooting!!! We waited and waited and nothing showed itself except the two fawns from the quad that I shot the lone doe out of. The other mature doe disappeared into the creek bottom. The fawns ran directly to us, within 50 yards of our position and then returned to the creek bottom to their mother.
We set there for 15 minutes and then decided to go down and see if the herd was actually under the lip or if they had slipped away unseen.
We got to within 100 yards of the lip over the creek and finally spotted the herd still in the creek bottom, in fact half the herd was bedded down!
We crawled up to a position where dad could get set up for a shot and we started looking for a big doe to take. Finally a very nice doe walked out onto a small grass flat and I ranged her at 309 yards. Dad lined his 7mm Rem Mag up on here and she dropped as soon as the 140 gr Ballistic Silvertip landed in her chest. Gave a couple kicks and then was still.
We walked down and dressed out Dads doe and then walked over and checked on my doe. My shot had landed about three inches farther to the left then I wanted and a bit higher then I wanted but it took out the tops of both lungs and about 6" of spine before exiting.
The rifle was shooting a bit high which was I am sure due to the angle of the shot and the high shooting temps as it was 70 degrees compared to 40 degrees when I developed the loads. Still, the updraft was the reason for the first shot miss and I should probably have waited longer for the winds to calm more before the shot but it all worked out very well in the end.
We walked back to the truck and drove down as close as we could and then got the game cart out and packed the does back to the truck. Both were very large mule deer does, great eating for sure and both were dry does, something we try to focus on if possible.
All in all it was a great hunt with my dad, I did miss my first shot but round number two was on the money. Always nice to head home with a truck full of tasty venision!!!
Sorry but I left the camera at home this trip but we all have seen mule deer does!!!
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