This past weekend was fantastic! My brother, nephew and I attended our cousin’s annual Hunter’s Retreat for the opening of rifle season here in Virginia. There is nothing better than spending time with family and friends.
Everyone arrived on Friday evening and unloaded their gear. Then on Saturday morning, the group generally has breakfast at 6:00am and gets in the woods shortly after. My nephew and I decided we would have breakfast early so we could be set up before dawn. Got set up on a powerline around 6:15am and got out the Kestrel and PDAs. Entered all the atmospheric conditions, then just as we had enough light, we started ranging landmarks. Ranged 400 as the long shot, then 337…ooh-ooh! There’s a deer standing next to that bush. Ooh-ooh! there’s two of them. One walked off while the other moved further into the middle of the powerline and stood broadside at 337. My nephew checked his PDA, dialed the scope on his laser-accurate 270, I made a zero wind call. 'send it'. Upon impact, deer hit the ground, got up and ran a short distance then tumbled down the hill. Nephew smiled the biggest grin! I slapped him on the back, shook his hand and told him how proud I was of him!
It was now 6:35am and because we could see the deer dead on the ground, we stayed put as there was plenty of time for more deer to walk by. Also, thought that having a dead deer out there would be a perfect decoy. After some time, we resolved to go put our hands on my nephew’s deer at 9:00. At 8:55 "here comes another one". The 'decoy' worked great. Deer walked circles around the 'decoy' and gave me a quartering-away shot at 280yards. Deer ran short distance and rolled down the hill.
It wasn’t long after taking the second deer my brother (“the photographer” – love it!) comes on the walkie-talkie to say that he’s close-by and will be over soon. It was great to have him there to see the smile on his son’s face and to take some great pics.
Can lightning strike twice?
On Monday (no hunting on Sundays in Virginia) Nephew and I got set up in the same place on the powerline at 6:15. No action at first light. Resolved that we would get up and go at 9:00. At 8:55, I woke my nephew up to tell him 'ooh-ooh, here comes one'. Ranged the deer at 300. Although it was a small one, he determined he would shoot. While he checked his PDA and dialed his scope, I continued to range and monitor wind. I told him to wait for a minute because the deer looked back. It got about half way across the powerline and it was shoot or don't shoot time. Deer stopped broadside at 290, zero wind, 'send it'. Same result as before. Several minutes later, another deer comes from the same place. Ranged it at 300 (300+ was my benchmark to shoot). Deer stopped broadside in the middle of the powerline, 300 yards, zero wind, 'send it'. Deer made it a short distance into the woodline. Heard it go crashing down although we did not see it go down. Nephew was astute enough to remember the spot where the deer went into the woods and we got on the blood trail (ever tried blood trailing a deer with a 13.5lbs long-range rig?) After short blood trail, I found the deer dead under a big log. I mention that I found the deer because this was the first time I’ve ever blood trailed with my nephew and he didn’t see the deer first! And I’ve hunted with him since he was nine!
For some of the particulars, nephew’s rifle is 270win shooting 130grain Hornady SST at 3060fps.
Good post and nice review of the retreat. Those are some good pictures of how the retreat is a positive experience. I was in that spot Friday morning. However, with no pressure moving the deer with only 2 of us out there I didn't see any deer. Luck and patience are key to sit in this spot. I am sure someone from our family will get lucky over there again. I did a count and in the last 3 years 10+ deer have been taken from that powerline area.