Thanksgiving Hunt - long write up
So Thanksgiving rolls around and I have a tough decision to make, either go to Jamaica with my family, or stay home in Va and have 4 whole days all to myself out at our farm to hunt. Very, very, long story short, I decided to stay and hunt.
So Tuesday I get out of school, start piling up my gear and almost (as well as almost an equal volume of homework...) Say good bye to my parents as they depart early Wednesday and I head out not long after.
I was out in the field by Wednesday afternoon and hunted till dark, saw a few does but it was a slow day due to the weather being unusually warm, hunted my usual evening spot where i can shoot potentially to 585yrds with most deer milling around in a large food plot between 300 and 385yards.
When I got home to the house there was a pile of trail camera photos as well as a message on cell phone from a good friend who put in the food plots. He had put up two trail cameras to see what deer we have running around.
So of course, I called him and we talked about where it was taken and I hunted the hilltop where this buck was spotted Thursday morning, the whole morning I only saw a few does as walking back out, they were standing almost under the porch of the house, go figure.
That afternoon I went to said friend's house for Thanksgiving and the photo was a big topic of discussion, with some more imput from far more experienced hunters than I, I decided to hunt the hill again Friday morning. Then I scouted the terrain on the other side of the thicket on the off-side of the hilltop, an area i've almost never gone and never hunted. It was a large valley that was about 250ft vertically lower than either hilltop, and a creek ran along the bottom as well as a thicket at one side and a footplot along the hilltop. It looked very promising so i decided to just stay there and see what happens. Saw some does move around but not The Buck or any others, however I did clearly see which paths the deer were taking and saw the choke points, and decided on my spot for the last and final morning of the hunt.
This evening forum member and good friend "Trebark" and his nephew came out to hunt saturday as well, they hunted the "long range" spot on the property that is from 100-585yards, however I won't go too much into detail as Trebark may be doing a write up of his own. We discussed The Buck some more and pondered some other sightings of other bucks, we believe there is a 10pt of the same size out there as well, as well as a very tall 8pt, both deer we spotted earlier in bow season, but decided that this buck must be a different one as he had been seen three times on the other end of the property.
So, finally, the last morning of the hunt I leave the house at around 5:50 (first light at 6:36) and head out, as I am running a little late and due to it finally cooling off (24F) I either had to really haul a** or take a four wheeler, as i was wearing 5 layers of clothing, i decided to drive to the midway point, then hike up the hill, along the ridge down the back, up the opposite hillside and set up on my spot half way up. Unlike most hunters here in Va, I don't always hunt from a treestand (in fact, not been in one at all this season). I set up on my little 3 legged stool with a tree just at my right and a big rootball from a fallen tree behind me.
Due to my "lightweight" rifle being at the gunsmith, I opted to take my ultra-accurate .308win F-T/R rifle (complete specs later) shooting 190gr VLDs, complimented by a monopod, as well as the normal bipod.
So I am in spot and done making noise by 6:15 and settle in. I have one hand warmer to keep my left hand warm (I'm a left handed) and another to keep my ammo warm, as CCI BR2s are known to fail in the cold.
Right away i start seeing deer and get excited, i started counting does, and before the day was over stopped counting around 35, however I bet I saw over 50, now how many of those were the same ones that left and came back I cannot say.
At 7am, I saw my first good buck with a rifle in my hands. A nice typical 8pt, with a huge body on him. Took him at 71yards with a new shot DRT. I was very happy, this was my first ever Whitetail buck, and he wasn't too shabby!
But since i saw him drop, I decided why not sit here some more and see what happens? By 7:15 does were already milling around again, one hung around the buck for quite a while, even nudging him, I think I shot her boyfriend... oops!
Then, at 8:45 I decided I would leave at 9, as I had an invite to hunt another farm that afternoon, and I wanted to quarter the 8pt without being rushed. But remember how trebark was telling me that twice he has seen shooters come out just as he was packing up at 8:55, so I decided I would wait till 9:10 to leave (I kid you not). At 9:01 or 9:02 I thought I saw a branch move off to my right at the edge of the thicket, nope, that's not a branch!! That's THE BUCK! Here he comes walking along at just over 100yards directly across the valley on the other hillside, I try steady myself and put the crosshairs on the choke point I watched countless does go through at 107yards and then 15seconds later he is walking right to left through the point so I put the crosshairs from my Sightron SIII 6-24 and my .308 barks and I watch him hit the dirt! At this point I was... not shaking, convulsing would better describe it! I got on the radio and called "Trebark" and told him I'd just shot a monster and have two bucks down not 40yards apart from each other! An 8pt and an 11pt!
While talking on the radio I saw the 11pt kicking a little bit but I've seen deer do that before, but I chambered a 150gr Interlock and adjusted my scope anyway just in case, a few seconds later he tries to get up, just manages to kick off and sort of land on all 4s on the steep incline, he is running/crashing down the hill spewing blood and falls again 20yards further, I send an Interlock and drill him through the neck again, blowing almost a 4" exit hole, he doesn't so much as twitch after that.
I pack up, call my friend who put in the foot plots and tell him I got The Buck as "Trebark" and his nephew walk over and we get the bucks out and admire them.
So I went from no bucks, to an 8pt and 11pt in a day.
I haven't scored the 8pt, but the 11pt was very typical (the 11th pt was a little unicorn kicker) so scored him right away.
He scored 153 3/8th Gross and 148 5/8th B&C Typical.
My Rifle specs are:
.308 Winchester built by Jeff Walker at Walker Custom Rifles, 1-11tw 28" Hart SS barrel, HS Precision stock, bedded, rem M700 LH completely trued and trigger pull lightened to 2.5lb.
My load specs are:
190 VLD- healthy dose of RL17 (not giving weight for safety reasons), lapua brass, CCI BR2s, 2859fps. Yes, 2859fps with a 190gr bullet from a .308. My rifle is set up for this combination. My brass is still going strong and strechting is minimal, i have fired this load through several chronos and out to 1200yards with data matching perfectly.
150gr Interlock- 47.3gr RL15, Fed brass, CCI BR2s, 2990fps.
Here are some photos of me and the deer.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it!
"Out of range" is a theoretical concept as far as I'm concerned. Send it!