On the 4th day of our Wisconsin gun deer season Andy and I were hunting for whitetails.
At about 3 PM Andy called me to say he'd just shot a nice buck with his 7mm-08 rifle. He was down the road about 1 mile from my location.
I said "Way to go, I'll come over and help you recover it and we'll put in on my Hitch-Haul".
He said, "Thanks for the offer but why don't you continue hunting and I'll see you at the end of your hunting day." "Ok, said I."
I was hunting a small valley that measures about 900 yards in length and 350 from side to side. I was at my 7:00 position on the valley. I have hunted this valley for about 5 years. Those first years I used my Kirby Allen XP-100 in 6.5WSM and took a few nice bucks. The law requiring shotguns or handguns had changed a couple weeks before the season opened. So this would be my first year shooting a shoulder mounted rifle. My 6.5x284, by Long Range Rifles, LLC
You'll laugh out loud at the setup I was using for the first time this year.
The land is owned by my high school buddy, Jack, who is my hunting buddy and is the guy who accompanied me to Africa on 2 of my 3 photo trips
. In recent years Jack had a room addition built onto his house with a large deck which overlooks the valley. The deck is slightly above the ground and gives the best view and shooting angle for long range shots.
So I was plopped down in a deck chair with my rifle resting on a heavy table that was about as solid as a shooting bench. I even had a butt cushion to sit on. This position enabled me to have all my optics ready to go including my G7 rangefinder
. This is always important for ranging deer who are on the move during the rut.
About 40 minutes after Andy's phone call I saw a nice buck appear just on the edge of the harvested corn field I was set up on at my 9:00 position. I quickly got him in my spotting scope and decided he was a shooter, looked like a 10 point. I watched him move to my 12:00 position in the middle of the field about 340 yards out. He stopped there and one last look with my spotter told me to take him.
At my shot to his lungs he produced that scissors kick we all like to see. He ran off to the right and was out of sight beyond a hill before he'd gone 50 yards. I gazed off further to my right expecting him to show again as he started up the hill -- if he hadn't dropped forever out of sight.
In some seconds I saw a deer appear near the edge of the woods and had just enough time to grab a partial look with my Swarovski 10x42 binos. Apparently it was him and he had made it to the edge of the brush. I assumed he'd drop just about there and I relaxed -- in my very comfortable deck chair.
Then I calmly walked over to my vehicle and put away some of my gear before taking my rifle with me out into the field to track my deer - now surely dead just inside the woods at the right side. I moved down the left side of the field up against the hill before entering the harvested corn field.
I waked to the spot at my 12:00 where I thought he had stood as I took the shot. No blood that I could see -- but then I am partially color blind and rarely see blood. I followed some tracks, who knows whose, over to about where I saw a deer enter the woods. Still nothing. Hmm, did I have a poor shot, hit it but not well enough?
I slowly walked a hundred yards or so through the woods, deciding finally to wait for Andy's eyes to arrive just before dark. As I got back to Jack's deck Andy was there.
Seeing me walking back from the right side of the valley he said "Isn't it a little early for you to have quit for the day?"
"Maybe, except I just shot a nice buck."
Together we went back down to the field and started looking. Still no blood as we headed to the woods. After 10 minutes of search in the very poor light we decided to come back in the morning. By now I am resigned to a bad shot and maybe never finding the deer.
We started leaving the field in my car and as I made a big turn to the right to get back out of the field I suddenly stopped the car. The headlights were illuminating antlers and shoulder of a buck. "Isn't that a buck", I said.
The buck had button-hooked out of sight when I was up on the deck and when I saw a deer enter the woods I assumed that was it and had no good reason to see it over there. He had run less than 100 yards, double lunged.
After gutting and loading mine we went to load his. Very nice 10 point, his best ever whitetail. I was very happy for him. He hunted hard this fall and deserved it.
I don't know if you can see it in these pictures but my 12 point buck has double G-3 tines.
All in all it was quite an afternoon for the Backus Boys!