Back from Montana and thought Iíd share some pictures and my mule deer hunting experience.
We were greeted by warm weather (60ís and 70ís) and a warning by the rancher/land owner, ďDonít be surprised if some of you donít fill your tags. I havenít seen many deer this year!Ē We were told of the grasshopper infestation the previous year, where the hoppers had eaten all of the hay fields throughout the summer months. So much so that our rancher had to import 100% of his hay for his cattle that winter and to make matters worse the winter came early and last longer than normal. On a positive note this spring had brought rain, rain and more rain. His hay fields had prospered this year and he had more than enough food for the cattle to cover the coming winter months.
To make a long story short we had 4 days to fill 5 tags. Days 1 and 2 were bad with no shots fired. We saw a few doe and a couple 2x2ís and 3x3ís but most were little guys, just a season or two old. Day three rolled around and I made the comment at breakfast that I was taking the first antlered buck that met my distance requirements. I had my heart set on a four to six hundred yard shot after more than fourteen hundred rounds fired in practice from three hundred yards out to one thousand in the past year gearing up for this hunt.
As the sun began its rise we were greeted by a nice cold morning, 30 degrees. It was all ready apparent that the deer were out enjoying the cool morning air as we could see them out in the fields for the first time. I quickly spotted two doe taking a drink from a watering hole and stopped to take a look. Coming out from a draw was an antlered buck investigating the two drinking doe. A quick check with the range finder yielded 818 yards. I told my partner I was going to close a few hundred yards and set up on the next hill for the shot while he went to check out the next location we had seen some activity at. I closed the distance and popped up on the next rise to find my quarry actively pursuing the two doe and coming directly toward me. My rangefinder showed him to be 400 and closing at a pretty fast walk. Quickly, I dialed in my 375 zero and got behind the rifle only to find that I could not locate himÖ I brief look though the binoís revealed the buck had closed to 300 and still closing fast. I redialed to 275 yards and got back behind the rifle. With the buck located now I just had to wait for him to stop or turn broad side. His attention was still 100% on chasing the two doe towards me. After some time past he finally stopped to check his six and turn quartering towards me, in that moment I figured him to be 250-225 so I held 3/10ís of a mil low on his shoulder and pressed the trigger to the rear. Following proper form and posture from all those practice sessions over the past year I was rewarded with a direct hit that I was able to view through the rifles recoil impulse. After a few side steps the buck was down at 237 yards.
Equipment; Remington 700 with a Rock Creek 21Ē barrel chambered in 308 set into a manners T4 stock, NF 3.5-15 mlr/milrad, Lapua Scenar 155 grain bullet propelled by 8208 in new lapua brass and Winchester primers.
A fatal combination.
I found my Eberlstock Minni Me pack great to pack all my gear, rifle water and the dayís food into. Without it, my time on foot hiking the many miles I racked up would not have been as enjoyable.
Big Hornís in the distance.
This was a awesome view in person as the setting sun was bringing out the color in the distant rock layers but it seems my camera didnt capture that.