After successfully scoring a nice eating doe
in this swampy/woodsy area during bow season; I was up a tree with my Krieghoff Drilling after Bambi’s uncle!
The rifle barrel was ready to rock with the long and sexy 9.3x74R locked and loaded. I use my own reloads a Nosler 250 gr BT over 59 grains of RL-15 with a standard WLR in a Norma case. The Leupold 1.5 to 5 in EAW swing mounts is just perfect for our eastern tight woods hunting. Riding shotgun were 2 unexciting yet effective 12 bore Remington green flavored rifled slugs. The Drilling will run these slugs “minute of deer” from both tubes to 40ish yards and the 9.3 will shoot way better than any distance I can steadily hold. (those who know me personally will attest to the fact steady for me is a rare occurrence) I’m mostly OK to maybe 75 to 80 yards without a rest and up to 232 paces (my absolute longest deer shot ever) with a very solid rest.
It was good weather for deer...A tad overcast, 40 degrees with a 10 mph wind from the North West. I was hanging out about 80 yards inside the edge of dense woods just west of a 4-acre pond surrounded by hard woods and thick undergrowth. The topography was sloping down to the pond
and several deer trails crossed to my front left and immediate right. Although my boots were only 16 feet off the leafy floor
, I was confident my scent would not be an issue (Thank You! “Natures Essence”).
Just at dawn to my left…I scope out a doe walking the edge of the woods. She casually strolls by disappearing into some thick cover 100 yards to my 10. About 15 minutes go by and she has 3 friends heading towards the same cover this crew is just inside the woods and closer to my stand. However, these ladies are moving at a brisk walking pace and 2 of them keep looking over their shoulders back at the woods edge. The 3 are obviously concerned about something but none of the afterburners are lit up. They disappear and I relax. Next thing you know...I catch a bit of movement to my left. Holy Crap!!! There’s a Slammer Buck heading in at 10 o’clock about 80 yards to my left, and he has no clue I’m hanging out! Bet he’s looking to party with those furry females...and he’s walking at an angle getting closer to me. Bambi’s uncle keeps coming and now he’s maybe 60 yards out…still walking with his noose ever so slightly in the air!
This is the part where my adrenaline kicks in and magnifies my “normal” tremor by an exponential factor. Luckily one of the benefits of my Krieghoff is muzzle heaviness…kind of acts a vibration damper. The scope was set at a tad over 3x which is good for minimizing the cross-hair flailing about as it would with higher magnification. I am doing deep breathing exercises and screaming in my head to calm down…pick a spot, you got time...breathe...breathe...cross-hair on shoulder swing...breathe...squeeze...follow through...squeeze...BANG!...SMACK!
The drama unfolded in all of 3 seconds, but it seemed way longer. After the rifle shot, I instinctively switched gears finding the rear trigger to follow with a slug if need be. Cross-hairs were seeking the buck that had lunged forward obviously in some distress tail down. The big boy hit the dirt abruptly with his rear legs pushing him behind a large tree about 15 yards from where I heard the bullet smack his torso. I figured all the stars lined up and I hit him good…but you never know. Now he was 75 yards out behind a large tree draped heavily with vines. Spinning the Leupold up to 5x, I could still see a fraction of one horn as it moved up then down and then out of sight.
Then nothing…the woods went silent…there was nothing moving. I held the Krieghoff on point waiting for any sign of movement ready to unleash large lead if need be. I was nervous because this was what I perceived to be out of slug range. After about a minute with my eyes on the prize I slowly reloaded a fresh 9.3 cartridge…still no movement. I keep the rifle on my shoulder another minute just in case…still nothing. I found myself staring at that tree shaking for the next 10 minutes.
Now comes time to get down and circle around to have a look-n-see. I know he’s there as I would have seen any exit.…he’s either DOA or gonna bolt. I quietly lower the gun and climb down watching that tree with every move. Circling out 20 yards to the south east with the gun on my shoulder and the scope on low mag. I slowly make my way towards where I saw him move last. As I close the gap, I’m at the ready…If he bolts the only escape options would be an uphill run. I know he’s hit, and I would have about 20+ yards to square things up.
Thankfully no flaming hoop jump shooting was required…I found him DOA exactly where that last horn movement was observed. The bullet entered the just behind the front leg traversed the chest cavity directly through his heart and exited through the offside front shoulder which was broken upon exit. It was a solid 1 shot DOA and I am grateful for that.
He was a big boy and I’ve been having some challenging neck/back spine issues (old guy stuff) lately. I am extremely thankful for my neighbor Ted who not only let me hunt his property but was kind enough to provide appropriate ground transportation. Nothing runs like a Deere!Addendum 12/05/20
...Just added a big fat doe to the pile!
3 came in about 4pm during a steady snow. I used this neat little walk around carbine that I built up. A single shot Thompson Center Contender with a 16” barrel in 357 Maximum. I reloaded some 180gr Hornady XTP bullets over 20 grains of H-110. The lead departs the muzzle at 1800fps and apparently it works great inside the woods where shots are of a nominal distance. The Zeiss 2.5 to 8 helps out too. The doe pack came in to 30 yards. I picked the big one and put the cross-hairs on her chest. I found her at 32 yards.