Re: Off to Colorado for a Fallow deer and sheep hunt...
Just got back this morning from Colorado and had a great time. Here is an account of the hunt I e-mailed to a friend. Figured it would save on typing to cut an paste. No pics yet but will get them developed soon.
"Just got back in this morning from the hunt in Colorado. Was a good time, crazy but good time.
Got down there to the ranch Tuesday morning and the owner came into the lodge to meet us and the first thing he said was,"So you can shoot long range and want a Fallow deer, well I have just the buck for you!"
I got a little excited and nervous. He continued to say that the Fallows were dropping their antlers as we were speaking so he wanted us to go after this particular buck ASAP. He called him the "Phantom Fallow" and as soon
as the other guys in the lodge heard him say the name they all gathered around the table.
This buck had been on the ranch for 5 years and had been a shooter for the past two seasons. He was the herd buck and the largest Fallow on the ranch. Over the past two seasons, there had been 8 rifle hunters and 11 bow hunters
come up to hunt this fallow and while many had seen the buck, never had there been a shot taken at the buck with rifle or bow.
Guys would see a glimpse of the buck early in the hunt and then he would just disappear for the rest of the week, never once allowing a shot to be taken.
All the guides comfirmed this. They said they would see the buck out in the meadow feeding and any attempt to stalk the buck would result in him hitting the thick brush never to be seen again for the rest of the hunt.
The funny thing is this thing is totally white!!! You would think it would stick out like a sore thumb but he would just dissappear, thats where he got the name "Phantom Fallow".
I heard this and got flat out pumped. Alan, the owner of Little Creek Ranch asked how far I could shoot with my rifle. I said you get him within 1000 yards of my 270 Allen
Mag and I will put him on the ground if conditions were right.
He just set there looking at me along with all the other guides and then finally replied, you know you wound him you still pay for him and I said I understand 100%.
I said, would you like to see the rifle and him and all the guides fell all over themselves outside to the truck. They were all impressed even though it was based on a Savage receiver.
Alan asked me how far away 1000 yards was so I looked over his one large pasture up on the rock rims that boarder his property and said up on those rims is around 1000 yards.
He basically said I was full of it to say I could hit a target that far away. It was dead calm so I said, "I guess I better put my money where my mouth is so I grabbed the rifle and the ammo and the range finder and headed
over to damn on a small watering pond and got the rifle set up. I found a round rock about 3 feet long by two feet tall and pointed it out to Alan and his guides. Took a range which was 1006 yards. Looked it up on the drop chart
and at an even 1000 yards it said to use the very bottom of the reticle where the thin stadia went into the thick portion of the cross hair. On the Weaver Tactical this is a squared off flat surface so it make a very clear holding point.
I told them to imagine the rock was a deer with the head on the left and that I was going to aim for the left third of the rock as if to take a shoulder shot on a deer at that range. I will admit I was a bit curious to see how the rifle would perform at the 7300 ft elevation compared to 3000 at home.
With just the bipod and supporting the rear of the rifle with my off hand I let one of your big 169.5 go and very shortly after I saw dust fly about 3" low and 5" to the right of where I was holding. I wished it had been an animal!!!
There was not a word so I turned around and everyone was just standing there. I asked if they had seen the hit and they all said yes and that was about it. They were a bit impressed, well probably more supprised to be honest.
I then grabbed dad and told him to take a shot at the rock. He was scared to death as he does not do alot of long range shooting. I told him where to hold and to just aim dead center on the rock. Sure enough he landed that 169.5 Wildcat absolutely dead center at 1006 yards!!! He hit it better then I did!
They then began to talk that this fallow may finally get killed!
Alan set us up with his senior guide, Richard and told us to get out there and kill that buck before his horns dropped.
As we were getting dressed for the hunt, Richard came flying
into our cabin saying that the big buck was out in the meadow. I grabbed the rifle and ran out with him but by the time we got out to the meadow he was gone. I personally though the guy was up in the night as there were
three younger bucks there but none had any palming at all on the top end of their racks like the older bucks get.
He was the guide though and knows a hell of alot more then I on the subject so after watching the area for a bit he decided we should hike around the top of the mountain and try to get above the buck and glass down in the brush to see if we could find him for a shot.
The hike took about an hour to get to the top of the hill which was about 9000 ft which is very high for what I was used to. We glassed for another hour but saw no sign of the big buck. Finally we decided to walk down through the brush and still hunt to see if we could get a glimpse of this buck. We walked all over that damn hill and only saw some Fallow does and younger bucks, not "Phantom".
IT was a bit after 1:00 and we had been hunting since 8:00 so we headed back to the ranch for lunch.
At lunch I asked Richard if we could give the buck a break for awhile and go check out some rams for Dad and brother as I did not want my Fallow to take up the entire hunt plus I was sure if the big buck was in the area he would stay pinned down for awhile before moving again as we walked all over his area.
Richard agreed so after lunch I unpacked the 257 Allen Mag for dad and my brother grabbed his 280 AI and we headed out to another area of the ranch on quads.
We would drive for a ways and then glass the brush for sign of rams or goats. We spotted several but nothing worth shooting the first day.
Finally we spotter the backs of two Corsican Rams about 200 yards into the oak brush milling around. We could not see any horns so we decides to go up to see if we could get a better look. We hiked to within a couple hundred
yards of the rams and set up to watch them to see just what they had to offer. Finally the ram in front came into a small clearing. He was a nice ram, probably 25" curl. Nothing huge but a nice 3/4 curl. The ram in the
rear simply would not show his head until after about 30 minutes something got his attention and he lifted his head up high to check things out.
He was not overly long in curl but he was VERY heavy for a corsican and around 27" in length. He also laid out very wide which made him look very impressive. My brother and dad decided that my brother should go after him so Richard
and he set off into the oak brush after the ram and dad and I set back and watched.
The big ram instantly dove into the brush and the hunt was one. He simply would not leave the thick brush. After 1 1/2 hour of chasing this ram in the brush he finally came out onto a small trail and Korey was able to knock him down.
While he was not overly long in the curl he was very heavy and should still easily make the SCI record book of exotics. We took a bunch of pics and packed the ram back down to the quads to haul back to the ranch.
Richard was driving one quad with my brother with him and I was driving the other with dad on with me. We got to the bottom of the meadow coming off the higher brush country and I looked over across the valley to where the Fallow
deer were and noticed a white spot half way up the hill right in the middle of that thick brush we had just walked through. I stopped the quad and glassed the spot and sure as enough those wide palms were shining in the early afternoon sun. Almost fell off the quad. We ran up to Richard and then we all stopped to check him out a bit better with the spotting scopes.
He was wide and had very good front points, two on each beam and then had very wide, around 7" deep palms on both tops. One palm was noticably longer then the other side but both were very noticable. This was not a high
scoring buck because he did not have alot of points off his palms but was a very mature buck with good character in his horns.
I ranged him and got 840 yards from where we were. Only problem, the 270 was back at the ranch, all we had was that loose bored 257 Allen Mag which was good to 500 yards but because of the faulty bore diameter, I did not trust it for much more which is why it was on the ram hunt with my Dad for under 500 yard shots!! I was not comfortable taking that kind of shot on a animal with that rifle. We
decided to take out chances and try to get back to the ranch for the 270 Allen Mag and then try to get a shot and hope he would still be there.
As we drove along a windy irrigation cannel road I kept an eye on the ram thinking he could disappear any time and called up to my brother to stop.
There was a nice flat off to one side of the road so I grabbed the 257 from Dad and set up. Richard kept asking, "are you going to shoot him??!!!"
The wind was stronger then I liked but was basically at out backs, only slightly from my right to left. I ranged the buck and got 490 yards from our point. When I saw this I was very confident with the 257 as I had just
tuned the rifle at 450 yards the day before we had left for the hunt.
I leveled the rifle and looked up the range. If said to use the first dot down for a 520 yard range so I concentrated on that dot.
The buck then turned directly toward us and began walking down the steep face of the mountain down to the thick brush. I told my brother to stay on him with the glass because if he showed me any shoulder at all and stopped, I
was going to take the shot.
The buck got to within a couple feet of the brush line and finally took one step to the left so I could just see the point of his shoulder and the big 257 barked. Almost instantly the buck dropped. I had allowed about 5" for the wind and should not have as I hit about that
far back from where I wanted. The bullet also landed a bit high and took out his spine. The 156 gr landed high in the left shoulder, took out about 6" of spine and then came to rest under the hide just in front of the
Richard went nuts, literally!!!
I was already reloaded and watching the buck. He could still use his front legs and was laying in a pile of big rocks swinging his head back and forth and I did not want him to beat his rack up so I lined up again. This time I
know exactly the hold and drilled the 156 directly though the crook of his neck dropping the bucks front end without a twitch.
I looked back and Richard was simply speechless. He finally said, I was impressed with the first shot but that second shot was amazing. You hit him right at the base of the neck, and I said thats where I was aiming. Then he
went crazy again and wanted to haul ass over to the buck and see him up close.
It took about 30 minutes to get across the canyon on the quads but finally we got up to the pure white buck and I was very happy with what we found. We took a bunch of pics, did not have my digital but got alot of regular pics which I will get developed ASAP so send up to you.
I was very happy. It was not Extreme range but it was long range and the legend of the buck made it 10x better.
It is clear though that the 156 gr pills are pretty thin jacketed for deer size game but we knew this already. The bullet performed well on this buck which weighted around 140
lbs but had lost its core. I am sure the 150 and 160 gr FB Wildcat Bullets with their thicker jackets will be a pefect match for the 257 AM on heavy deer.
We packed him up and headed back to the ranch with the big Corsican and the Phantom.
A front moved in as we were caping the animals so we decided to eat dinner and just relax until Wednesday morning for dad to go on a sheep hunt.
It was quite a night listening to the guides talk about all the hunts they had been on for that buck and made things even more special.
The next morning we packed up and headed out for Dads ram. We took the 270 Allen with us as we already had tested the 257. Dad wanted a closer range shot so I figured this would be a good test for the 169.5 gr bullet for high
Richard took us to another area with sheep in it which was nothing but solid thick oak brush. We hiked into the area and finally made out way to a small opening where there was a watering pond. As we reached the opening of the trail Richard signaled us to stop as there was a group of rams walking into the opening.
Dad got up to the front of the group and I was beside him. We could only see the rams walk by one at a time so it was difficult to judge them. There were seven total with one of the Corsican and one Painted Desert being the largest best I figured with the short glance.
Just then they winded us and began to trot back to the brush where they had come from. Dad asked which one he should shoot and I told him which two I though were the biggest. The Corsican was probably the largest but he was
in the middle of the group and the painted desert was coming up the rear.
Dad had to take an off hand shot and I grunted at the ram to try to get him to stop but he never did. Dad let the big 270 go as the ram trotted by and
it simply folded up at the shot.
It was not a long shot, 50 yards at most but in very tight cover with a moving animal and a rifle designed for long range shooting not a brush rifle. He hammered him absolutely perfect. Hit the onside shoulder and
exited just behind the offside shoulder. The exit wound was a very nice 1" diameter so the bullet held together very well even at the +3200 fps impact velocity.
The ram was not huge, but Dad was flat out pumped. It had all happened so fast and it was an exciting hunt in very
tight cover. The results were also picture perfect!
We packed the ram back to the quads and my brother decided he wanted to head back to the area where he shot his ram the day before and see if we could find a certain Catalina billy we had glassed the day before. He was a big billy with very long horns.
We drove out and got up on a high spot to glass and found the billy with another catalina running up for the brush line. We jumped on the quads and drove up another 1/2 mile or so to get ahead of them and those damn goats
almost beat us to the brush line. Luckily some coyotes started howling which got the goats attention and they stopped right at the brush.
The big billy was looking directly back at us at a range of 260 yards. Korey lined up the 280 AI and let one go and hit slightly to the right of center but broke the left shoulder and took out the left lung. The big goat
did not want to give up. At the shot he stumbled out into the meadow and then turned and headed for the brush line. Korey give him another hit and this one punched both shoulders and the goat dropped to the shot.
We drove down and again took pics and BSed about the hunt and then headed back to the ranch.
Before we got the ram and goat taken care of a snow storm moved in and dropped three inches of snow. We deceided we better get packed up and head out as the road can be closed at any time down there.
It was a great hunt and alot of fun. No 40" rams but great hunts, challanging hunts, the smaller horn size was fine for the challange of the hunt.
Everything performed above expectation so it was a huge sucess and a ton of fun.
I will get some pics here soon and post them ASAP.
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