Mossy bucks in the PNW

Skimbleshanks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
387
Location
Willamette Vally
I went out yesterday and filled my tag. So excited and so thankful.
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I left my house at about 3:45 pm. The area I was going is only 15 or 20 minutes down the highway on a friends property. A pretty typical quick evening hunt at a place I know pretty well. Pulled some big bucks off this property. And the ones that aren't as big taste just as nice so its a real blessing to have the opportunity to hunt there. 180 ish acres and I'm the only one hunting it.

I get there, park, put my sweater on, gloves, binos, rifle, etcetera. I notice that the VERY consistant afternoon wind from the west isn't blowing today and its coming from the northeast. Well ill try to make the best of it. Maybe ill circle around and come to a favorite tree from the other direction. I though. Said a quick piece to the Great Spirit an started walking up the hill. I make it to where I can either go up a ridge or drop a little and go up the bottom of a curved depression with a seasonal creek. I go into the depression with the wind in my face. I follow a property line and have to turn left at a giant mound of blackberries and old oaks. Really cant get into there very well except for an atv path that is kept clear. It goes to the right/nortn. I creep up the path crunching dry oak leaves the whole way. The wind blowing my scent into one half of the mound. Scanning with my binos every few steps I slowly make it the 100 or so yards to the end of the path and property lines force me left/west once again.

As I start going west the wind hitting the back of my right shoulder I enter into some Oak savanna. A weird open oak landscape thats grassy with pockets of brush here and there. The mound of oaks and blackberries protrudes into this savanna like a peninsula and im now walking towards its tip when I spot swift movement. A deer. A BUCK.

I saw antlers, for me that means hes a shooter. Only thing is, he saw me first. He smelt me first too as I was moving up the atv path the wind was blowing my stink right into his bedroom. I saw him at probably 50 yards moving fast diagonally and away from my left to right. He slowed for a moment at probably 75 yards as im flipping the the legs of my Atlas bipod down. He takes off again and I'm hitting the ground. Im prone and on him with my Mark 4 on 4.5 power he's easy to pick up. He stops on the ridge at close to 100 yards turns for 1 last look, I center him up just behind the shoulder crease. The cross hairs are canted. I torque the rifle, breath and squeeze. All in a moment. BOOM. light recoil from the 125 accubond going ~3250 from my 30-06 makes it easy to see the buck take the hit, even at 100 yards. I work the bolt in a flash and he runs over the ridge.

My heart pounding, flooded with emotion and adrenalin, I set about my tasks. Set a 15 minute timer. Take a picture of where he was last and mark what tree he was next to. Put a wad of toilet paper where I am If I have to start the tracking process from square 1. Aannnd Its only been 3 minutes. I struggle through the remaining 12 minutes then go to where I saw him last. I don't immediately see him but a fairly easy search revealed that he made it about 135 yards without lungs and was found very dead in the open behind a small BlackBerry tangle.

I say my thanks, take a few pictures, and call my wife telling her that, um we do need to switch cars tonight. I admire the great blacktail deer at my feet and hes everything I could want. So much meat. An even 3x3 with a weird thick spot and crook on one side. A 3x3 is something I have wanted for a while. Ive taken forkies a 4x4s but never a 3x3. The dark brown of a brush buck, with moss packed in the crevices at the basses. Its been a few years since I've brought a buck home and this one couldnt be any better.

Ill update later with pictures and my thoughs on the 125 accubond going fast at close range. Heres a teaser and not a surprise, bloodshot.
 
Last edited:

Skimbleshanks

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
387
Location
Willamette Vally
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Entry wound. 6th rib back.

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Exit wound. 7th rib back.

The bullet entered the right side of the deer. Caliber size entrance. Very rapid expansion. Lungs came out in 3 chunks. The front of both together and 2 back halfs by them selves. Could feel bone and maybe some lead fragments as I was scooping out the lung soup. Bullet passed above the heart. Bullet had slowed some but looks like it was a nice sized mushroom from the exit rib and and hole on the outside of the hide. I found lots of blood close to where he fell dead and tracked it 25 yards or so back toward where he was shot then couldnt find anything. Didn't look too hard either though. Im guessing that the wounds being midway up the body and that I didnt hit the heart meant that the chest had to fill up before good blood would start flowing out the holes.

I am pleased with the performance. I dont think a pure lung shot is the best for dropping them Right Now. The deer that have run on me were hit in the lungs. The deer that dropped were hit in the heart.
Thats not a rule but something I've noticed with my 22-250, and my 30-06 with 175 Berger's and now 125 accubonds.

I really like my Berger load but wanted to bring some excitement to an older rifle with a new load. I also remember reading that "speed kills" from P.O. Ackley when I was a kid and kinda wanted to give it a shot. Have to say, placement matters more than speed as long the speed is sufficient to make the projectile perform as desired.

Lots of the meat on the ribs and flanks was either bloodshot or tedious to recover. I haven't lost that much meat on a rib shot since I stopped using my 22-250. Hmmm.
I believe that had I hit a large leg or shoulder bone the meat loss would have been very disapointing and unacceptable to me.

I went a couple new places this season that offered shots out to close to 500 and I just dont think that the 125 is the bullet for those kinds of shots. It has been fun but once this ammo is shot up ill go back to my Bergers. They kill just as well close and far acording to this 1 observation. I lose less meat and the 175 will perform much better in the wind at longer ranges.

Anyway, thanks for reading. It was a good season, glad I got to get out as much as I did over the last couple weeks. Going to take it easy and get ready for Elk season in mid November. Hopfully I can examine what a 230 ELDX does from a 338-300WSM.
 

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