New member to longrangehunting.com, but have been a lurker for years and have continually grown more and more interested in long range hunting and shooting.
I'm from central Ohio and have bowhunted for years, but just in the last few have had more interest in rifle hunting, I guess I'm just getting burnt out on bowhunting... Most people seem to be the other way around, but in Ohio it's either muzzy, gun, or bow.
All that aside, a buddy and I both traveled to Nebraska last fall to hunt the Pine Ridge region in Northwest Nebraska. This was a first for both of us, and would result in my buddy tagging his first ever deer, a young 8 point whitetail.
I was fortunate enough on the 2nd day of rifle to be cresting a ridgeline when I caught this guy on the move two ridges over on the tail of a doe. I dropped down and got my shooting sticks set up and got my 30-06 readied for the shot. Seconds passed, which felt like minutes. The route they were taking led me to believe they would pop over the ridge directly in front of me... Well after what felt like minutes the doe rolled over and right behind here was the buck. They were moving down the ridge into a ravine that allowed only a small window of time for me to get the shot off. This certainly wasn't a long range shot, only 140 yards, but my buddy was smart enough to be ranging him as they were moving calling out yardages. I knew at that range I needed zero adjustments so I settled in on him and squeezed the trigger.
The buck immediately hunched up and instantly vanished behind the pines. I quickly grabbed my gear and ran around the rim of the ridge to cut him off if he popped up. I got to where I expected to see him come up and nothing. Complete silence.
We slowly worked our way down into the ravine where we'd last seen him, nothing. I'm beginning to wonder if I blew it, so I walked over the the other ridgeline where he'd crested and began to look for tracks (there was a light dusting of snow) I quickyl picked up his tracks and found the place where I had shot at him, still nothing. We worked our way about 20 yards down further and I saw a speck of blood the size of a pin point. I reached down and smeared it in between my fingers to check. Sure enough it was the real thing!
Ok, so now I know I made a hit, I looked up in front of me in a drainage and there he was. We had walked right past him on the way down, but the grass laid in such a way that it was nearly impossible to see him.
I was pumped! Certainly no monster mule deer, but my first and off of public land on a hunt that I had researched for nearly a year.
We proceeded to take pictures, enjoy the time, and begin the quartering process. It took me awhile to get cut up, but I was being very careful not to waste anything and I skinned him down to his ears to eliminate as much weight as possible and still have everything for a mount.
We packed him out the short hike back to the truck, around two miles.
Being my first hunt out "west" this was certainly exciting.
Just wanted to say hi and share my success with everyone. We are planning a return trip this year to hold us over until we can get all the planning together for a hunt out in Wyoming next year.
There were definetly a lot of whitetails, even clear up where we were. The river bottoms are where they're at. If I had to guess I would say it was around 50/50 whitetail and mule deer where we were at.
If you're ever interested in a hunt out there just let me know. I have a lot of information and details on certain areas in the Pine Ridge. Nebraska is a guarantee "draw" on the tags. They have it split up in regional permits and you can also buy a statewide permit. The regionals are approx $200 something and the statewide are $500 something. Not worth paying for a statewide, there's more land than you'd ever hunt in the regional areas.
Looking forward to going back this year, it's a nice change of pace from Ohio hunting.