Longrange deer hunting is not easy

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Buffalobob, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001
    The last day of rifle deer season was Saturday. It was either sex and the only day in western Maryland that you could shoot a doe. It snowed Thursday night about 6-8 inches and Friday cleared off and was sunny. The top layer of snow melted a little and when the sun went down and the cold froze the water into the snow making the mountain roads slicker’n possum grease. About 5:00 O’clock Saturday morning I left the blacktop and hit the dirt roads and went to 4 wheel drive. Made it about a mile to the first switchback and there were two trucks slid off into the ditch I stopped and checked to see if they were all right and being as they were, I eased the truck back down the hill a little to a level spot and got a easy running go at the switch back. Sailed right on through and got to the top of the mountain and everything went fine except that there were trucks parked everywhere. I had never seen so many people trying to hunt this area. When I got to my ridge where I could get set up for my 700 to 1100yd shot there were trucks parked in all of the spots, so I said to H with my plans for a long range deer and just decided to go to my regular hunting area. Started dropping off the mountain and road was fine, just not used much since all the cowards were up on the top, but I kept driving and came to the uphill for the one ridge I had to cross and noticed that only maybe two trucks had ventured up it. That was a bothersome thought being as the road surface slopes to off the cliff. Dropped the automatic into low and started up with the Tacoma bouncing on the washboard and little gullies. I was about a third of the way up when I noticed that there was a set of tire tracks where somebody had backed down the hill. Fools born every day. Then it occurred to me that maybe the last pickup had gotten sideways and jammed the road so I too would need to back down. Oh why didn’t I stay up on top of the mountain with all of the smart people. Half way up it was starting to look like I was going to see the cliff from the bottom side because the truck was bouncing too much, getting sideways and loosing traction. I eased back on the throttle just a shade and it settled in enough to get through the worst of it and on to the top of the ridge. There was a pickup at the top and two guys getting their gear ready so I stopped and made a few jokes with them about the ride up the hill. The older guy said they had come up the other side and it was pretty bad too. He believed I “might could probably make it down if I went real slow but the slough was real slick so I had better go slow”. That was encouraging to say the least. After a teeth gritting ride down the hill it was easy sailing on to where I normally bowhunt. Got parked and got all my stuff repacked for the new area which requires different gear. Had two guns with me but I took the #1 in 7mm Wby loaded with 160 ABs

    Started out through the snow and after a quarter mile went up a little ways on a finger and saw three does on the opposing hill. I didn’t want to shoot a doe and I particularly did not want to shoot at moving does at 200 yds and wind up spending the day tracking some gut shot doe, so I went back down and headed on to my site which is a scrub brush field sandwiched between the Potomac River and a long ridge line. There is about 200 yds by 600 yds of visible hillside. Walked along the river and deer started leaving the field and climbing up the ridge line. There were deer going everywhere on the hillsides and I just couldn’t glass them all. One really big deer was haulin butt for the top but I never got its head in the clear to be sure what it was. Everything I could get the glasses on was a doe. Does at 250 yds, does at 350 yds and does out to about 500 yds. Just does everywhere.

    Got where I wanted to be and got everything set up and watched. Couple of yearlings on the hill at 275yds and they stayed there all day. Does came and does went but no bucks. Plenty of geese in the River. Their turn will come again soon.

    After I ate my lunch I took my usual afternoon siesta. The sun was out and bright and I was feeling nice and warm. So about 2:00 a bunch of racket wakes me up and I sit up. There are five does about 40yds away in the field with me. They run off up the hill side and over the top. The afternoon wears on with a few more does here and there and the two yearlings. I know there are two buck here and I know exactly where they live and have had very close encounters with each of them during bowhunting season. One is a nice sized six point and the other is a scrawny little forked horn, but neither one of them is traveling the hillside today.

    Finally, the sun sets and the light gets so I cannot see the hillside clearly with the Redfield 6X18, so I pack it all up and start the mile long walk back to the truck. I get maybe 300 yds down the trail when I see three deer on the hillside about 70 yds away. On 6 power, the scope clearly shows two of them are does but I can’t get a clear view of the other, but it doesn’t matter anyway being as they spook and run off. I trudge on through the snow for another 100 yds and see a deer cross the trail in front of me. It is getting even darker and I am in the woods so the scope will just barely resolve anything. But I watch the spot the deer crossed and sure enough two more does come across one at a time and then nothing. So I trudge along in the snow and see a deer standing in the trail about 50 yds in front of me. I put the gun up and finally see it is a doe. It moves off and another takes it place and I can see it too is also a doe. A third deer comes into view and the second leaves. I am having trouble seeing this deer’s head being as it is positioned so it head is in front of a dark background instead of white snow. Suddenly, another deer comes into view and mounts the deer in my scope and starts humping away. I can’t see horns nor nothing but I put the cross hairs on the deer on top and think to myself “I HOPE THERE AREN’T ANY LESBAIN DEER” and try to pull the trigger. Because I had on thick gloves and the trigger is light I don’t get any pressure on the trigger and the bottom deer runs off leaving the top deer standing there. I rework my finger and get the crosshairs back on it just as the deer starts off so I give the barrel a little swing and this time the glove gets pressure on the trigger and the Ruger #1 roars to life. The deer just flips itself over backwards and twitches twice and is done.

    I slip the empty out of the gun and put in a fresh cartridge and walk up to the deer. As I get close I see that it at least has some antlers. It was the little scrawny forkhorn (actually had five points but they are tiny). The 160 AB at 50 yds had broken the near shoulder bone and two nearside ribs, splattered bone fragments into the chest cavity (one big fragment of bone apparently slammed into the heart from the bruise on it) and then broke two more ribs and the bottom ball joint of the far shoulder and exited.

    After an hour of work I have all my gear and the deer loaded into the truck. I washed off my hands in the little stream and cranked the truck up. This time I decide to take the long way around so I don’t have to risk going back over the ridge road. Finally arrive at the plowed dirt Oldtown road and make my turn. Big Ford diesel comes down the road with lights flashing and stops. Says a Bronco with trailer has jackknifed in the switch back and then two more trucks have slide into it. Plus there are more trucks in the ditch. He has been idling for an hour waiting for some one to clear the mess and has decided to go out the back way. It is an extra hour to go out the back way but I got no choice, so I follow him. Drive home is long but uneventful.

    It is simply amazing to me that as hard as I tried to get some sort of decent long range shot, I once again wind up shooting in the woods at 50 yds. I put this gun away twenty years ago because I do not like shooting little bitty deer with a 7mm Wby and the 6X18 scope is just terrible for this kind of low light, close range work. The little 240 Wby with a 3.5X10 is just such a great “in the woods” deer gun.

    I guess I should just count myself lucky that I killed a deer and didn’t slide my truck off the road.

    Moral of the story- Keep your pants zipped up til hunting season is over or Buffalobob will shoot you. The fork horn buck, he died with a smile on his face.

    Other moral of the story- All plans are good plans until you try to implement them. So much for long range hunting this year.

    Tip for when hunting the last day of the season- don’t wear a watch.

    Tommorrwow is Blackpowder and the sixpoint better keep his pants on or I will get him too.

    The hillside and a stick I cut for a front rest.


    In the truck


    Exit wound - full frontal nudity


    Note - This story is totally and entirely true and secondly I have many friends of many colors and many religions and many languages and I do not judge people by who they sleep with. I even get along with most people who voted for W (poor misguided souls).
  2. ss7mm

    ss7mm Writers Guild

    Jun 11, 2005

    Great story and congrats on your buck. Sounds like you had a very interesting day. At least it sounds like he got in one last fling before you shot him. Long range hunting is not always easy to accomplish especially when the critters show up at close range. But most people will still take what's presented no matter the range.

    Maybe you need to move out west where there are less people and bigger spaces. Then you can really stretch things out. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

  3. Jimm

    Jimm Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2007

    From a " misguided soul" ( to hear you tell it /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif )
    If you keep on doing the same things you will /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif " keep on doing the same things " /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    You are hunting around too many people , change that /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif A man of your means and intelligence can surely find some places that you can have a high hide to plot and plan on a longe range shot with a greater chance of success . ( did you read my response to your post on my " last minute buck / deer wahtever thread ? )

    Probably what we need to do is just go out west EVERY year to satisfy our longrange cravings . How about it ? Want to go to WYO in 06 ? I have been there beaucoup times and have always gotten my lope, and I have a good list of landowners that will charge a reasonable trespass fee. Hey , If we time the trip right we can hunt muleys as well /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif

    Glad you connected on the last day as it was good for me to do the same after waiting soooooo many days .

  4. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

    Jun 12, 2001

    I was thinking about animals that start with an "e" in a state that starts with a "c". I might could be talked into something smaller in a different state. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

    Used to go up to below the Fontanelle Reservoir in Wyoming and canoe or kayak down the Green River for three days every Fourth of July. Hunted antelope once up around Kemmerer (I think).

  5. Nomosendero

    Nomosendero Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    From yet another misguided Soul (I like guns too much I guess), I do as Jimm does, I go out to Wyoming to get those
    long Deer & Antelope shots. I don't have the same problem that you have with other hunters as I hunt family land that is posted, it is just very thickly wooded country. I now have built a stand in a cable right-of -way & I have 2
    stands overlooking a grown up field, but most of my stands
    are in mean thickets. I live in the Ozark foothills close to the edge of the Miss. Delta & I do go over there in the Spring & Summer & shoot Varmits in the big fields. Congrats
    on your hunt despite the crowd.
  6. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    Great story. Well told. Up in Butler Co. PA, where I'm from, most still don't use 4WD. Out here that's what they drive to church. Gotta love those switchbacks.

    At least you put some meat in the freezer. Am impressed with the exit wound. At that range the 270 w/130 gr Sierra would have ruined the whole front half. Especially if bone were hit. Your bullet must be way way better than that flimsy sierra.

    You gotta make up some stix. However, I neglected to mention, that unless they are three legged and steady the butt also I only use them out to maybe 300 yds. Otherwise its not much different than offhand. I'll post a pic of another of my cobbled up inventions on the rube goldberg thread. Embarassing but was good for clay birds to 350 (as far as I tested)