Well, We were supposed to be hunting monster whitetails this winter in Oklahoma but because of the extreme drought they had this year, the buck we wanted to hunt decided to drop his left antler a few days before I arrived. We hunted whitetails for a few days but did not see any mature deer with their head gear still on their head so we decided to change course.
About 10 years ago, my wife bought me a TC 15" Encore barrel in 270 Win. I used the barrel to take several whitetail and mule deer does over the years but have never used it for anything other then that.
I decided before this trip to set the 270 up just in case i could use it on this trip. Well it worked out great. The load I used was with the 140 gr Accubond loaded to roughly 2650 fps. It shoots pretty good. At 250 yards, it will easily pring 3" groups if I do my part.
I had also purchased a Bog-Pod handgun shooting tripod to help with shooting this handgun in the field and proved very useful. I was able to shoot this handgun out to 400 yards with very good results, easily enough for taking big game at that range.
Anyway, once we decided we would be waiting until next year for chasing big whitetails, we contacted a nearby exotic ranch that had some very large Fallow deer on the property. I have been working on my Fallow deer grand slam for several years. Fallow deer come in three standard color phase, Chocolate(brown), White and Spotted. The spotted come in two drastically different shades. One is a very light Fawn color. The other is a deeper Red very similiar to Axis deer but not quite that dark.
I have both the fawn and red spotted Fallows on the wall so I wanted to get a big White and Chocolate if possible. When we got the the ranch, the owner said he had a very large buck in each color but that he had only seen the Chocolate on game cams and he had been there for 7 years......
We headed out to try to find them and in the process, the ranch owner took us and showed us several of the Norweigen subspecies of Fallow deer. These tend to have much smaller antler frames, narrow palms, sort brow tines and very small palm tines. He showed us a dozen mature bucks and then said, there is a reason I showed you these Norweigen Fallow bucks. He said he had a mature chocolate Norweigen Fallow that was HUGE for the subspieces. Now the Hungarian Fallow have the largest antlers by far. MUCH larger then the largest Norweigen subspecies but he said this particular buck was an exceptional buck for a norweigen Fallow. He said he had alot of points coming off the back of his palms and they hooked aggressively upward and he was extremely heavy.
We spent most of the day looking for these fallow and finally we spotted a small white spot tucked in deep in the thick oak brush. It took several minutes to figure out what it was but it turned out to be the big white Hungarian Fallow that we were hunting and he was with a younger spotted fallow.
We had to set up on him and finally he decided to move out into the food plot to eat. At around 125 yards, and with the buck quartering strongly toward us, I put the 140 gr Accubond on the point of his right shoulder. He ran 50 yards back into the brush and piled up.
He is a very handsome Fallow, huge body, great frame with dark antlers. By far my biggest fallow to date and the snow white coat is beautiful.
On the right side he has a huge back scratcher point. If he had more palm points he would have scored REALLY high in the SCI record book overall but as is he scored very well for the handgun class.
We got him packed up and took him back to the ranch and headed out to see if we could find the monster Chocolate Fallow which was also a hungarian subspecies. After a couple hours of looking we spotted another small group of bucks in the thick timber and set up on them to see if we could figure out what they were. We quickly saw that one was a good but young chocolate hungarian. Then another chocolate came into a clearing. From the front view it looked like he had points coming out from everywhere and seemed extremely massive. Then he turned his head and we could see the very heavy back points that curled aggressively up at each end. It was the big Norweigen.
It was clear that this buck did not have antlers anywhere near as large as the frame on the Hungarians but he looked so massive and with all the points I instantly decided I wanted to shoot him. We were roughly 200 yards from the timberline and the bucks moved through an opening and we let out a yip to stop them. I put the 140 gr Accubond through both shoulders and the fallow bucked wildly into the timber.
We tracked him down after only 30 yards as I had broken both shoulders and he passed quickly. He had a very compact frame but very heavy, much larger brow tines then the big white fallow and very dramatic back times. He is also very heavy. Weight wise, his rack is heavier then the big white fallow, just much more compact. I was very happy with this Norweigen Chocolate and he will make a fine addition to the trophy room to complete my Fallow Grand slam.
This view really shows off the big front and back tines on this Norweigen Fallow.
The next day we hunted on Shawns high fence hunting area where he had some very large exotic sheep and I am always up for adding to my collection of exotic sheep. Shawn said he had several very large Rambouillet sheep on the ranch. I had never seen these before and he said they were a very large bodied, wool sheep that grew very heavy horns compared to the other exotic sheep. He said they often top the scales at over 200 lbs and are very tough animals to put down at times compared to other sheep. This turned out to be very true.
We headed out and after a couple hours we found a heard of sheep with some very impressive rams. There were three Rambouillet rams in the herd and they towered over the other exotic sheep. Their body size really made their horns seem much smaller then they really were we would find out.
I set up on the biggest one I could tell. He had a small break on the left horn but not much was gone and he was by far the biggest of the three. We got into position at 215 yards as they fed in a food plot. It took nearly 30 minutes for the ram I wanted to clear the rest of the herd. This is when I made a mistake. My excuss is that I have spent the last 10 years building these hyper performance wildcat rifles and as such, at 200 yards, you simply do not have to even worry about the wind as long as its under 25 mph. Well, this is not the case with a 270 Encore with the 140 gr AB loaded to 2650 fps!!!
The wind was around 12 mph coming from our right to left. The ram was standing broadside with his head to the left. I put the crosshairs solidly on the shoulder of the ram and let the 270 bark. The ram jumped a bit and ran into the herd and they all started running up a hill toward the timber. I could not tell where I had hit the ram but Shawn said he thought it hit in front of the shoulder but that we may still be alright. The herd balled up on the hillside and we waited expecting the ram to fall..... He never did but he did turn one time and we could clearly see blood on the forward part of his left shoulder. The wind had carried me about 5" to far to the left from where I wanted to me. My fault for not holding right.
After around 20 minutes the ram still showed no sign of the hit and the herd started to move up the hill again toward the timber. We had to relocate to another position and this got my nerves and breath going much to hard for a handgun shot. I got a second shot at 285 yards and simply missed, pure and simple.
Then at 300 yards he gave me another opportunity and this shot was good height wise but I hit him back in the liver area. This one did noticable damage however as he quickly dropped out of the herd as they ran up the hill to the timber.
I finally realized that the wind was causing the problems with my shot placement and pulled my head out of my rear and set up for another shot. Shawn ranged him at 325 yards and I looked at my drop. 4" low at 300 yards so I held on the top of the rams back, then as he was moving with the wind, I held on the top of the rams rear, just above his pelvis. The ram never stopped walking so I told Shawn to watch and I let a shot go. The ram dropped in dramatic fashion as if a 500 lb weight had hit him between the shoulders. We watched him and blood started pouring out of his nose so it was obviously a solid shoulder hit, exactly what I had wanted to do on the first shot but messed it up. Amazing what can happen when you actually pay attention to the wind!!!
He never got to his feet again. When we got to him, I was amazed at the size of his horns. He was nearly 37" in length and very heavy. My largest ram to date by a little bit. Since he is a wool sheep I am just going to do a european style skull pedestal wall mount which will REALLY show off his horns in a big way. Will look very nice on the wall.
I shot from the treeline just to the left of my shoulder in the picture above.
All in all it was not the trip I was planning on but it turned out to be alot of fun. Next year we are going down earlier to hunt whitetails to hopefully miss any issues with dropping antlers!!! Got three very good trophies to add to the trophy room walls on this trip so it turned out pretty darn good and its always a great time in Oklahoma.
It was also alot of fun to get out in the field with a handgun again. It has been many years since I did it last and it was alot of fun!!! Not overly long range but this is not exactly a long range rig anyway. I do the long range stuff every day in the shop so it was nice to just go hunting for a change!!! Maybe next time I will take my 480 Ruger SRH and get back to my true handgun passion, big bore revolver hunting!!!