Ok, so I just got back from a pretty bad week of hunting in South Texas. We have a very large low fence place we hunt that is pretty incredible. Normally our shots are not even close to long range due to the heavy density of brush and oak motts. I would say over the past 6 or 7 years I have only shot at 1 animal over 400 yards and the vast majority of the shots are 150yds or under.
Now knowing this I still decided to throw my 338 edge in my Jeep along with my trusty 240 WBY that has literally killed hundreds of animals with normal 100gr factory ammo.
So I arrive on Wed about lunch. Unfortunately the deer are not moving well or coming to our grained roads because we have had a banner acron crop so far. We alsohave Nilgai, hogs, Javelina and tons of turkey. Anyhow it has been pretty slow. So on Thursday morning I am returning to camp and just about the time I am turning on my road back to camp I look South where the road crosses and I about fell out of my jeep! Standing approximately 100 yards away in the middle of the road is a Waterbuck. WE do have exotics from time to time off a ranch south of us but, this is the first Waterbuck I have ever seen. Actually I did not really know what it was when I saw it but, I know now. These are pretty large animals so I opted to grab the Edge and see if I can get in and make a shot. Well after a very short stalk the Waterbuck stops and I take aim and squeeze the trigger. Upon impact the large animal is slammed to the ground only to re-gain footing a few seconds later. I could not get another piece of lead in him because of the heavy cover.
Well I waited a second, marked my location and went to the spot where I shot him and found no blood. SO i returned to camp to grab our tracking dog.
When I returned we found a good sized spot of blood where the animal went down. WE also found hair and blooad approximately 3 ft behind that spot and then NOTHING. Not a spec or any sign beyond this point. Now it is really, really thick brush but, the grass is also pretty tall so we should have seen some blood somewhere I would have thought. We literally searched for several hours and decided to go eat lunch and then returned again for several hours with no luck. At this point we decided to wait and see if the buzzards and Caracara's would lead us to the animal. Well several days later there was never a single bird within miles of where I had shot him. We searched long and hard around all the nearby water holes and anywhere else we could think of with no luck.
At this point I am assuming he is still alive??
Now fast forward to Sat morning. We corned a long sendero that you can literally see over 2000 yards on and it is mostly flat and wide open. We settled in at one end and waited for the deer to filter to the corn. We had a group of does at 712yards. Now we did have some trouble with the Swaro rangefinder as it acted goofy but, we did get mutliple readings of 712 in a row so we called it good. We checked the wind with the Kestrel
as well as the rest of the conditions, checked our drop chart and made the required adjustments. There was only 1mph wind so that was not a factor. I got in behind the rifle and got steady and got the cross hairs lined up on the largest doe. My Dad was spotting for me. Well just as the trigger broke my Dad's lab bumped him so he did not see the shot. I got back on target just to see the animals run and see dust. We checked for any signs of a hit and all we can figure is that I shot just over her back. Later we also checkd for buzzards and such with no luck so thankfully I am confident that I completely missed her.
Well we got to wondering if my rifle was still zeroed so we found another doe at close range to check the rifle. This doe was at 200 yards on the other end of the sendero. I dialed in 1.25 MOA and got lined up on her head. At the break of the trigger I saw her do a complete backflip and crash to the ground. Then just as my heart felt good she got up and hauled the mail like she had never been hit. WE had her spot marked perfect where she stood and my Dad walked down first and then I followed him to the spot once he got there. We could see her tracks where she was hit. We could aslo see where she went down and where she got up. Thankfully we are in sand country so it makes some of this pretty easy. WE had the tracking dog with us and he never took up a blood trail. He is a blood only dog as we train them not to just chase deer because we have too many.
So with all of that said, did I just have a terrible week? IS the 300gr SMK just not going to work in my situation (other than the miss obviously)? Do you think the bullet is just not mushrooming or so you think the bullet is not penetrating?
The Waterbuck and this last Doe are the first 2 animals I have considered lost in probably 10 years and I shoot hundreds of animals every year. Actually the long range doe is the first animal I have missed in 10 years or so but, that is to be expected at some point.
I would love to hear any opinions about shooting the SMK at game under 500 yards or so. It appears to work well at long range but, I am thinking at shorter ranges it is not going to work out?
Now I am headed to Kansas on Wed. and I am worried to death about shooting another whitetail with this bullet. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]