My hunting party of 5 arrived in Montana on Sunday and was greeted by temperatures in the mid 50’s with a little rain over night. Monday kicked off our hunting, scouting around several sections of property and only seeing two bucks. One pencil thin racked 4x4 and a little heavier 3x3. It was clear to us the rut had not really started yet as every buck was solo. Our land owner paid us a visit and gave us his best wishes but advised he had not seen many deer this year. This being the second year he had told us that, we believed him and reexamined our idea of what a shootable buck would be. :(
Monday night it got down to the low 30’s and Tuesday morning appeared to be nearly a repeat of the day before. We saw one medium beamed and 4x4 but he was located right in the middle of the bull (cow) pin. So no one was going to get a crack at him. However there were many does with him, apparently the cold had got them switched on.
As lunch time approached and we neared the cabin, climbing to the top of a little draw I happened to glance to my left as I cleared a tree line and I saw a buck laying down in the hay/sage looking right at me about 150-200 yards away. A view through my trusty bino’s confirmed he had some width to him and his beams were heavier than any buck I had seen so far so I decided this was the one for me. I got my rifle out of my pack but due to the sage bushes I was unable to get into my preferred prone position, choosing to drop to a kneeling position instead. Mr. Mule deer still refused to show me how many points he carried atop his head. I charged my rifle, verified I had the scope on ten power, turret on zero and waited thinking to myself “this scope’s reticle is calibrated at 10x and at this distance I need to hold between a quarter and a half mil high from my 100 yard zero, but I tend to shoot about that high when I am not in prone.”
Right about that time Mr. Buck decided he had seen enough of me, he got his front feet under him and his back legs followed. I could see at least one side of his rack had four points and he had a larger body then any deer I had seen yet. Switching my focus to the crosshair I planted my reticle right along his spine centering just behind his right shoulder blade as he was slightly angling away from me. I dropped the firing pin on a Lapua case loaded with Varget and a Berger 168 grain VLD. As the two fellow hunters put it, “He stood up on his front legs, picked his rear end up with his back legs and immediately fell back down and rolled to his side, game over!”
Seemed longer than that to me but I was lost in my own little bubble I guess. :/ As luck would have it I forgot to take pictures and by the time I remembered I was a little too involved, so the pictures I took are from the day after. I also broke the ice for everyone else. All five of us were tagged out by the next afternoon, one day early on our 4 day hunt, all of us bagging nice sized deer to bring home. Mine being the smallest
As viewed from an adjacent hilltop over looking the area I shot from. I was near the pine tree line in the middle of the frame on the left and the buck was near the trees just befor it falls back into another draw.
Pic of my gear on a nice rock (nice place for a den), Remington Tactical in a B&C light tactical stock scoped with a MK4 3.5-10x40 M2
All of ours, a couple hogs in there.
Entry on his right side.
Exit on his left, bullet was located just under the last layer of meat, about ¼” from the skin.
168 Berger VLD cut across the bottom of the spine