I had the chance to sneak out to the family ranch yesterday afternoon for an evening hunt. We arrived at 1530 & had this buck dressed & loaded by 1630, not bad for a days work
All in all, i'm pretty proud of this one, eastern Wyo bucks aren't known for their size in fact, this feller is the biggest i've seen on the place in several years. I took him out of a group of about 60 head, which is also the largest group i've seen in several years. Our numbers are finally coming back up, it is a great sign for those of us in my area.
I sure wish I could spin you a big yarn about a great stock & long shot but alas, it really didn't go down that way. We only made it 1/3 mile into one of our pastures in the trusty beast (2000 Ferd Excursion) when we eyeballed the herd feeding in one of our haygrounds, so we hit the skids & pulled out my beloved Leupold Switch Power Binoculars (10x-17x). Keep in mind, I knew that my days afield are extremely limited so in all honesty, I was hunting for meat as a first priority & horns a close second.
After spying a couple little fellers in the group I grabbed the +16# WSM & headed for the top of a rolling hill to our left (east) as the herd fed in a depression to our south. Wind was a normal 12-16mph & I really wanted to get it in a straight line for my shot which I guess-timated (SWAGGED) at 400-450, very doable.
I made it all of 50 yards from the truck when I realized I have forgotten my earpro....
& back to the beast I go, the 'goats don't seem to care anyway
I hadn't made it quite to the top when the herd started to spook (I hate it when they do that) to the east, parallel to me. By the time I reached the top of the hill, the last 3 head (& one teeny weeny buck) were walking thru a saddle back down the other side of the hill....
Ok, maybe i'm not screwed.
As I ascend the summit (all of 100 vertical feet i'm sure), I notice the hay on top wasn't cut... groovy, finding a prone location might suck... After what probably looked like a poor attempt at mimicking some sort of upland bird by bobbing my head up & down trying to get a look at the herds movement without pushing them into the next county, I decide to head about 200 yards south to the same saddle them speed goats just used; I'm pretty sure I can get a shot from there.
Note to self:
1-ton round bales make great cover.
I high tail it (as fast as you can move hunched over like you have a bad case of Scoliosis) & make it to lower side of the saddle, opposite the herd. Now I get to crawl the rest of the way, pushing my 6.5, Atlas extended ahead of me in a inch-worm scoot/push motion (No, I don't know why I'm sharing this with you). I'm now facing due east with a 10-12 mph wind coming from my left (North)... Of course that's exactly how I had it planned.
Now to you die hard, hunt like a rabid Saint Bernard types, all this fiddling around doesn't sound bad right? Well, for an office jockey like me, i'm kinda (just kinda) winded by the time I get behind the LRI single feeder, i'm a wimp I know.
My old but not broken Leica 1200 comes up & zap.... 303... Dang, this'll be easy. 2 moa dialed in...
Crank the USO to 17x & lets find us a steak dinner.... As I glass the herd, the normal routine takes place... small buck, small buck, baby buck, doe with horns... You know how is it; right?
As i'm glassing, round chambered, finger off the bang button the bucks are doing their thing, sniff this, try that & pushing the herd farther away & to the right. As they do I estimate the distance traveled & add some elevation to my turret, I range one more time @ 350 or 370, I can't remember... Ok, 3.5 moa dialed.
I finally find this feller as I spot a set of horns moving through the group, on the far side of course. My first thought is: "This dude is lost, no way he's an area 17 buck." Shortly followed by: "I don't care if I have to get back in the beast & run his a*# over, he's going home with me today."
After what amounted to an estimated 2.5 life times he finally stops thinking with the wrong head & gives me one little window... By now i'm estimating 400-ish & dialed accordingly.
BOOM!! SCREEEEEAAAACCCCHHHH!!!!!!!!! Ah chit.... I forgot to put my earpro in... nothing like the a muzzle brake on a magnum to add to an already annoying case of Tinitus....
(Meanwhile back at the ranch)
I immediately hear a (very) muffled WOP! & see the buck stumble hard, I can also see blood in the armpit area of the offside shoulder.... he's not going anywhere.
I chamber another just in case & watch as the herd does the normal Sheep stampeed in 3 or 4 different directions & form into one big glob similar to a flock of birds.
He makes it all of 20 yards in the good old heart/lung shot fassion.... I watch the death wobble begin & he tips over like a drunken Irishman on St. Patrick's Day.
Tape measures says just under 14" Not to shabby for an hours work.
Kill Pill Details:
Cartridge: 6.5 WSM
Parent Case: Norma 270 WSM
Boolit: Cutting Edge 130grn G05 MTH
Powder: VV- N570
Primer: Fed 210M
Kill Stick Details:
LongRifles Inc Build
Action: Stiller LoneStar
Barrel: Obermeyer 5R 1-8.4"
Stock: Manners MCT-T5 W/ LRI adjustable hardware
Trigger: Jewell of course
Custom Murphy Precision SS Picatinny rail
TPS Rings (came with the scope)
USO SN-3 TPAL EREK 3.2-17 IPHY