Nothing left but a mass of acorns and mast. Not a drop of blood or a twist of flesh. A black vulture was overhead as I dragged him out and the rain erased the rest. I took an acorn as a token. Scrapes hadn't been worked but had fresh footprints in them.
When a big deer, especially a large buck with a territory he is defining and defending, disappears then the whole herd has to adjust. The little bucks will still slink around nervously, the does watch the four corners of the compass and his rivals will wonder where he is. Things will shift and some other buck will pick up any slack. I imagine most of the area does are bred by now. He wasn't the only big buck in the area but he had to be reckoned with. Big 10 and the buck I was hunting are here somewhere close.
He was on cam. 24 files running up to 8:52am. I shot him a minute or two before nine. I'm not quite ready to hang up my aplenflage and go play vintage rifle with Alan's does in Clarksville but the buck hunting is over.
Typical human psyche: Hunt 'em. Kill 'em. Then mourn them.
Across the creek: a coyote, the bent-horn buck, (who will be better next year) and a 1 1/2 year old three-pointer. Rolled up my camo and went across barefoot to keep from having wet feet. Barefoot boy with cheek of tan. November in Texas. Gorgeous woods. Carried the AR in case I chanced across a coyote. The rushing creek was saying something but I couldn't quite make out the words.
Just occurred to me that I shot this deer left handed. The branch I was sitting on only allows for left hand shots to his position. I practice a bit both ways but hadn't thought about it before. I do notice: THIS would be a left-handed shot. THAT would be a right handed shot. The rifle is in my lap while hunting bucks. Does: more relaxed. You don't get a lot of reaching time when a buck shows.
Update: In comments in the debate about the best tactical training I always say: Hunt deer. Kill something. Then talk to me about SOB vs inside-the-pants. Jim Cirillo, the NYPD stakeout and shootout specialist said he picked his guys on three criteria: Shoot competition. Reload ammo. Hunt big game.
Update: Here's the link to Amazon and Cirillo's first book. I'd never shoot another human being but if you are of the defensive mindset it's good to know how from someone who did it a LOT. Cirillo probably shot more people in face-to-face gunfights than anyone else in American history.
Update III: Still shaking my head over how anyone ever survives being shot. I've killed 10 deer the last two years and been in on the shooting of another 10. All single shot kills. Shoot above the diaphram no matter what the caliber or jacket and it's over.
Gluing the jaw together. Added glue along the front teeth to hold them.
On the wall drying. Jaw and teeth glued in. Took about 24 hours of simmering in the pasta pot. Worked with knife, toothpicks and toothbrush to get all the little pieces out. It makes a more scientific mount than a head with skin.
These guys are probably getting rich off of public sector photos, but more power to them. I'm having fun just perusing their files. If you don't like trains or WWII, the th Civil War or Aviation, or how about a Bardot photo when she was 18? Hard to beat. I'm Christmas shopping.
He was full in the Rut. Big mature eight point with bark in his horns and pee stains down the back of both legs. Stanky. Looking for love. King of the hill.
Now he's dead and in Deerhalla. Vultures are digesting his guts and Mexicans at the processor are cutting his parts into parts. I'm boiling his head and the Kid went over and washed the last bloodstains off the neighbors driveway where we skinned him out. Surviving lice and ticks are trying to figure out what the heck happened in a plastic sack in the bottom of a dumpster.
On the kitchen counter: a twisted jacket from a Sierra Gameking.
Sons of Bitches. In fact, DOUBLE sons or double bitches, whichever is worse.
Doe and a yearling fawn came through...together, so I figured the rut is winding down, as it should be. I was watching from the tree and things were very quiet after the pair came through at 7:30. (I'd have missed them if I hadn't been looking at the spot where they came out. Funny how that works sometimes.) Was just about to unbranch my butt at 9:00 when I looked across and saw an enormous buck at the far scrape standing on his back feet sniffing the licking branch.
There isn't much time with big bucks. You have to get on the gun RFN. I got on the gun and watched him dig out an old scrape. He wasn't Big Ten. He wasn't the buck I passed on. I could tell he was big but he didn't look like the huge buck on last nights post. He got antsy on his feet like he was leaving. Decision time.
So I shot him. Down in his tracks, kicked a couple of times and that was it. 130 Sierra Gameking out of the Ruger #1 7X57. 130 yards or so offhand and offbranch. Had the scope dialed back to about 6X. Some buck I had never seen, never cam-ed. I probably have him from last year.
Up close he looked bigger. I did a quick field dress and started dragging. Tough stuff but kept doing the next little thing and the next little thing and slowly things got done. Hard to get photos by yourself. Hard to field dress on the ground. Hard to get back to the road. Hard to get in the 4-runner. Nobody around to help.
Drove him around a bit to show off but the right folks weren't available to really get some jealousy going. (Called Joe to brag and he was in Nachitoches.) Hung him up across the street at Mary Burtons and weighed him. 160, field dressed. Dayum. That's big. Must have gone a bit over 200 on the hoof. Probably a 4 1/2 year old. Have to have Alan take a look at the jaw teeth. The Kid came over and helped and we found the jacket from the Gameking under the skin on the far side. Just enough juice.
Meat at the processor for Major Terrell. (OK, he appreciated him) 4 1/2 hours from trigger break to butcher. Hide rolled up and tossed in the dumpster. Head boiling down to bone on the stove.
The big one is still out there, but it's a one buck county. I don't take a buck every year so he's safe from me for a couple of years. Glad I have the deercams so I can still play even if I don't score.
Update: Dad would be happy.
Update II: Nothing like having your own Kid around. He got the cooler out of the back yard. He hauled the rifles in. He climbed the trellis to hand the scales. He videoed. He took the scales down and cleaned the cooler. Swapped knives as they went dull. Did everything. Everyone ought to have a neighborhood Kid.
Not camera shy. Most of the big ones are. I haven't seen Big Ten except with my own eyes this year, not on camera at all. He's in the area along with another big buck I have been hunting.
This is the 8-point I passed on.
Instead of being a lazy bum I should have been checking my deercam. Still fighting and the major scrapes are being worked while all the smaller ones are abandoned. Notice the blood on his left photo side antler.
I know this deer from a few years back. He's slightly bigger than the biggest I have ever shot.
There is so much blood on the back two tines on the 17th that I wonder if there is another dead buck somewhere close. Looks like a deep puncture with both tines.
I'm hunting with a 1943 Remington 1903A3 and some Lake City 1969 FMJ 30-06. I just put this rifle in an old military C stock that I stripped and refinished. Notice that wide and tall front sight blade. Anyone or thing shot with such a fine vintage weapon should have no complaints.
Mesmerizing drive up north to Clarksville in Red River County. RRC is the least populated county in Texas east of a Dallas-San Antonio line. Feels it, too. Long deserted highways. Gorgeous country. Decaying small towns. A closed Walmart. Folks off the unabomber/bigfoot family tree riding 4-trackers down the side of the road. The radio band has nothing but rock oldies: I shot the Sheriff.
Sat in one of Alan's new blinds Saturday afternoon and chatted with him and his son over the radio. I could see deer's ears over the crown of the hill and they eventually made their way over and down to the feeder where I applied a Lake City FMJ. Second deer with this rifle. I bought and keep it just for Springfield matches. Got yellow National Match tape on the trigger guard.
First deer of the season, a nice big doe. Sure is fun to carry a big horse of an old rifle. This morning I watched two nubbin bucks graze and eat feeder corn for an hour and a half. When they left I went to the house and cut up the doe to transport her home in a cooler. There is something a little celebratory about skinning out and cutting up the first deer of the year. Some of the best things you have to do for yourself. You remember that all things pass. You notice that a lot of dirty work is just work. Having dad's sharp knife is a delight. Old rifles are deadly. Shoot well and be grateful.
National Ammo Day continues into it's third week. Folks lined up in a double line- about 40 strong, getting into the gun show at Tyler around 10:00 this morning. Folks coming out confirm- it's just a few vendors, not worth the 7 buck entry fee. Gun Show organizers threw this one together to capitalize on the Obamapalooza. I came home.
Going to Clarksville to shoot does. Packing my Ruger #1 7X57 but also my newly C-stocked 1903A3. That's the ticket. A box of Lake City 30-06 ammo from 1969 and an obsolete 65 year old bolt gun! (Hell, I was THERE!)
Killed a doe with this dinosaur last year, but nothing like re-runs. New front blade, new stock, new attitude. That's hope and change, right there!
Sitting at the computer in my underwear with a cat and a glass of some industrial grade cabernet when I heard gunfire a block or two over. Lots of gunfire. A mag. Return fire. Has a funny reverberating echo to it, like a shoot-out inside a Ryder Truck. I wouldn't bother the police- mostly Mexican Nationals over that way and I celebrate diversity but the downstairs renter called 911. Three cars on the way. Update later.
Folks are getting in touch about how to get ammo- a cheap lifetime supply of ammo, because of the Obamacles and his lightworkers. I haven't a clue. Buy it, I guess. There is a gunshow tomorrow in town, organized by some folks who have been trying to get a circuit started. I guess they figured Obama was their big chance.
Regretting not buying Rock River lowers at the National Matches. By the time we got there the cheap blems were gone.
Actually, this is yet another example of why you need an accurate zero on your rifle. The other testicle was shot off at the Somme by a lackadasical marksman.
Of course, it's possible that Hitler was the lesser of two evils and the much worse future German leader was killed dead as Cooter Brown in WWI. Instead of leading the Reich into genocidal, Jew-hating, world conquering mania they would have been Mozart-loving cannibals. EAT the French. EAT the Jews. EAT the Russians. EAT the English. Who knows?
In either case, know your zeros and be able to read a little wind. Have a good rifle or two on hand. Buy plenty of ammo.
They ought to keep at least one redneck on the International Space Station at all times to keep stuff like this working. Any industrial-grade redneck could grease and loosen a joint without losing his shop tools into low Earth orbit.
Today. November 19th. Buy at LEAST 100 rounds and be part of the national buy-cott. You can't have too much ammo.
Kim Du toit thought this up and put the National Ammo Day on HIS birthday. Good for him and good for us. I've met and shot with Kim. He's the real deal. This is the 7th anniversary.
You're going to need ammo in the future, and I doubt it's going to get cheaper. AIMSurplus is good. They've got some Swiss 7.5, they say. I've ordered and been happy from Ammoman though some folks have had problems. Samco is good, and like AIM, they have firearms as well. Midway has everything. Plus.
500 rounds of .22 is the basic load. You'll always need .45 or 9mm. Maybe I'll order some Swiss GP11 from Cheaper than Dirt or someone. Maybe Academy for some .38 special or 9mm for me. I've GOT ammo and I MAKE ammo, but you really can't have too much dang ammo!
Big gunshow here this weekend but I am going to hit a retail outlet early.
Update: It's here. Start buying! And MENTION it's National Ammo Day. Ask them if they have a sale or a special.
Update II: I loaded up the local geezer and went to Academy Sporting Goods. Four boxes of 9mm, two boxes of .38 Special and two boxes of .40 cal for a friend. I asked the counter guy if he had heard of National Ammo Day and he said no, but they had been enjoying the Obamapalooza. They had 9mm for nine bucks a box, limit ten...with people lined up to buy all they could. Ammo and guns flying out the door.
I'm going to load 50 rounds of 270 for Dr. Sneed and then look for ammo at the gun show this weekend. Still sniffing around for Swiss 7.5. Cheaper than Dirt had some for 29.00 a 60-round pack...turned out to be a misprint. 40 bucks.
A buck fawn and the bent horn buck across the creek.
Sick of hunting. Hard to believe but there it is. Miserable with branch-butt, skulking around in the half-light. Sore feet from foot-walking around the watershed in soft rubber boots. Sitting like a snag in the biting wind. Rattling. Taking a day off.
Dead rabbit in the front wall of the brush blind. WTF?
Sneed watches a prancing doe, a micro-buck and a distressed fawn parading around the pasture. I'm across the way in the big pine watching the woods and miss it. They cross behind me around an oak still holding its leaves.
Opossum, probably female eating...something. Taste-y along the woodline. Just munching and munching while appearing deshabille from life. Ears tattered, hair tufted. She switches sides and shows bloody scratches and bites around her eye on the left. Unlike Rachel I'm a possum fan. Why hasn't she found the rabbit? What nearly got her?
Hawks screaming overhead. They are hunting, but why all the screaming?
I get back to the bluff cam and it blinks a message: Hibernating. Hibernating? What the hell? Are we bears now? There's no hibernating! No photos.
Scrapes unworked since the rain. Why?
Three raccoons in the top of a 100+ foot pine. I'm just looking up for hawk nests when I spot them. No way up. No way down. They are curled up sleeping as the treetop rocks in the wind. They must be better climbers than I think. Three of them. Woods full of hollow logs, slanty trees. If you slip at 70 feet...
Speaking of climbers we see a tail-less squirrel crossing the street in town. Looks like a rabbit. Throws the whole gestalt. Very strange looking.
Across the creek to pull the card for the first time since the big Monday rain. The trail is twiggy and submerged in leaves. Deertracks chewed up the creek crossing. I count. Four going one way and one coming back.
Deer track in town on the art museum site property. In town. WAY in town. Fresh.
No deer as the wind and the light fade Saturday night but close off the bluff behind me in the trees a deer catches my scent and snorts. And snorts and snorts. And snorts. Won't give it up. Directly downwind. Sounds close enough to shoot at the sound. I put a pump of doe pee in the wind and slip off into the gloaming.
This is what the environmentalist nuts get to enjoy. Get the apes back IN the trees. It's nice up there.
Of course, I'm armed.
Crossed the deep grass pasture as the moon set this morning. I jumped a deer when I got to the tree but they couldn't quite figure me in the dark. And disappearing up the tree is playing one level higher than they go.
But. At the bottom of the tree I left a gallon milk jug full of corn for the cam. (ethanol cam?) If they noticed it, it wouldn't be that big a deal...right?
At dawn a very strikingly marked doe, trailed by her fawn came out of the woods and FREAKED out over the jug. She stamped and bobbed her head at the jug from one side of the tree, then went around and tried to bluff it into moving from the other. An hour later the doe with two fawns came skirting around the pasture and did the same thing.
No bucks, and the does had their fawns with them. Very handsome animals just a few feet away below me. I pulled the camera card and saw that I had run a few deer off the cam as I came through the brush. I'm quiet, but I don't have anything on deer who make about as much noise as fog. Did get a couple grunts out of one of the does as she checked the scrape.
Little three and four point 1 1/2 olds on the cam. Nothing big. Does to close to photograph from the tree. I didn't want to blink. Try again in the morning.
This morning at the end of the hunt I took the bag of screw-in steps and cut the tags off. The tags are WARNING tags in several languages, and require shears, flame, oxidants or oily rags to remove.
Warning. Death. Dismemberment. Severe injury. Do not use for climbing. Do not eat. Do not use as support. Remove from healthy trees after use. Beware. Falling hazard. Adult supervision. Puncture hazard. Poison. For use by one person only.
People, people, people.
I used them this afternoon to get up a big 60 year pine. This is a Wild pine. Unclimbed. Scaly loose bark. Lightning struck 40 years ago and grew around the dead part. Poison Ivy to carefully clip, peel and drop. Tremendous view of the other end of the pasture I've been hunting. I could see down into the tall grass. Noticed that there were some probably left-hand shots. Found a nice branch and parked myself watching one way and listening another. After an hour I was getting branch butt and stood up to stretch.
Years ago, I shot a big buck near here and lost him. I'd never lost a deer at that time. He didn't go to waste. Coyotes and vultures have to eat too, but I was upset. Big buck. Long shot. Match ammo and an X-ring zero. 345 yards with a light mirage from the left. I read the wind and distance and broke a perfect shot on the trigger and cross hairs dropping the bullet over the crown of the field. I KNEW I hit that deer.
But I never found him until the NEXT year when I walked up a leg bone under this unclimbed pine. More scuffling around found the vertebrae, the other legs and shoulders. No head. No horns. Turned out someone else had picked it up. I made a pile of bones and offered up the appropriate prayer.
So I'm standing on this branch doing a little pine yoga to get the blood flowing and notice the branch I am sitting on has crushed pine needles and a little white piece of trash. That's odd. I pick up the white trash and its a squirrel-chiseled deer vertebrae. Gotta be from that deer.
Thirty feet up a big pine in the evening light. It's a process, this hunting thing.
Later, two does walked under me. I'm quite taken with the view.
What would dad think of this wealth of deer at the back door to his lakehouse? This is the same afternoon at the cam less than 100 yards from where I had him in my crosshairs. Nice healthy buck. I just already have a few bigger. If both of us live through the year and he drops a tine next season we'll see.
This morning I jumped a buck and a doe at 6:00am when I came around the corner into the pasture. The buck jumped into the woods. The doe just stood and snorted. She didn't leave. I hunched over and walked around her in the gloaming, pausing only to fish out my Tinks #69 and mist a cloud of doe pee her way.
Walked into Brady's coffee after the morning hunt still wearing my Swiss alpenflage jumpsuit and looking for a package. (Alpenflage is the most expressionistic color and pattern scheme I have ever seen. It's a perfect match for Northeast Texas Fall.) I walked around a crowd at the door until one of them looked at me and said "Not speaking?"
"You can SEE me???!!!" I exclaimed?
Sneed drove over and we rattled up an abandoned road across the creekbottom for the evening hunt. The Doctor hadn't ever seen a good representation of rattling horns. Nothing showed but he said he could close his eyes and see the two bucks going at it.
Friday I passed on a large 8-point I rattled up at 8:30 am. First he stood in a slot I had cut through the thicket, then as he came around the end I got the rifle up and he stepped into my crosshairs 40 yards out. Wide open sideways shot. He was big and I had my finger on the trigger with 44 grains of Varget and a Sierra 130 Gameking under it, but I let him go. He looked about 17 inches inside with eight nice tines, very pretty symetrical rack. He never made me. Three years ago I would have shot him dog nuts dead in his tracks. He looked very wide and square as he cantered away. Alan's doetags saved his life.
Friday lunch I walked up a deserted road closed by a couple of huge pine trunks looking for fresh sign. I was quiet, but moving. I paused for one step to look ahead and realized there were six deer crossing the road right where I stood. A fawn was in the lead- she didn't know what to make of me (Alpenflage!) and nobody else believed her. They got a little cross but nobody flagged or snorted- they just worked around to the right. My observation is that deer in groups tend to watch each other more than they watch out around them. Both does were snapping at the fawns. They are weaning.
This morning Sneed and I were out of the lakehouse at first light and set up in a chilly 45 degree dawn. After the sun came up, we saw the biggest buck I have ever seen at the lake walk the fence line. There wasn't a shot except a couple of quick ones and I was spotting and rattling while the Doctor ran the rifle. Quite the deer though. Bigger than Big Ten. Couple of fawns were bopping around looking lost. I think their mom had finally dumped them for romance.
At lunch, we shot our rifles 500 yards at the 31 West range. We had targets, spotters, walky-talkies and a plan. One of us stayed at the target and marked and the other shot. Sneed has some great rifles- Remington 800s and a custom job. After him I shot some little light Sierra 110 Matchkings and then my hunting load out of my little Ruger #1 with its 16 inch barrel. If you've never done this with spotters, a good spotting scope and some help at the target, its a trip. I've shot a lot of 500 and 600 yard shooting but that's unusual. Funny, with my AR I wouldn't expect to be out of the 10 ring at 500 yards...ever, but with a scoped deer rifle you hardly expect to be on the paper. I could see a big muzzle flash as the powder burned in front of my short Ruger. I didn't see any flash at all with Sneed's 24 inch Rem 700. Most deer rifles don't get shot 100 rounds a decade. I doubt either of us would take a shot over 200 yards, but we've got experience at it if we needed to.
When we came out the pistol folks had left and locked the gate leaving us behind it without a key or combination. It would be a good time to throw a fit: far from home, schedule disrupted, they knew we were back there, et, et. Instead we just kept chiseling away at the problem until we found a phone number for someone who helped from the other end. Sneed has life figured out. He's grateful, and says so, for things done for him and without complaint when life throws a curve. Good guy.
If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans.
Hunted this afternoon and watched some young deer float around in the tall grass. Lost them often but it was a 1 1/2 year four point old buck and a little doe who kept trying to entice him into chasing her. I think the rut is starting. He just didn't know what to do. They materialized out of nowhere in the pasture just as a mangy looking possum walked by close enough to touch with a rifle barrel. Two hours of silent sitting, then sensory overload.
Today I finally felt like I am getting into hunting shape. Climbing trees, rattling horns, sitting upright, still and alert for hours, carrying a slung rifle, bag and binocs around. Nothing is sore or hurting anymore. Between rattling on the abandoned road I laid back on the leaves and looked the the fall leaves against the evening sky. What a November it is!
Sneed recalled the story of a Turkana tribesman fishing on Lake Turkana in Africa. The fellow stood on the end of a gravel spit and threw a spear on a string into a wave every time it broke over the end of the jetty. Then he would pull it back in and wait for the next wave. There were no fish visible in the wave or in the water. When asked about his fishing technique, he simply explained that God would send a fish to its fate and his dinner when God decided to.
Unbelievable view from the plastic walmart chair across the creek. Every day the leaves have changed a little. This is one of the big pluses of hunting at home. You get to see the seasons change. Plus I know all the deer from the cams. I'm the king of all I survey!
Update: Thursday (very am) morning I can hear the rain dripping. I'm sure my tree leaks.
Ruger 7X57 hanging next to the Walmart Chair across the creek.
Just gave the C stock a good wash in Murphey's Oil Soap, dried it and put on a first coat of Boiled Linseed Oil. It's standing up at the studio. I THINK I have all the pieces to put it back together in the new stock. The trick will be tightening the stock cross-bolts. The nuts have a weird slotted head.
So: replaced the skinny front sight. Trigger job smoothing up the worst trigger I ever shot in a match. Heavier C stock. That's about all I can do besides shoot better. Going to take it doe-killing in a month. I'd take it this weekend but it takes about a month to get the BLO to dry through two coats.
Carrying my little Ruger #1 presently. Great little rifle and shoots a solid offhand. I think I could easily make a 200 yard shot with it and that's about the farthest I would get a shot. Going back to the vintage pile for doe-killing. May start with the Garand and the new barrel.
Absolutely gorgeous in the woods. Sign everywhere. Six or eight big scrapes in the pasture at the corner where I hunt. Perfect position. Tracks everywhere. No deer. I ought to be seeing does running past, little bucks popping out of the woodline and weeds, lost fawns run off by rutting bucks. Nothing.
Just have to stay after it. Rain tomorrow. Will reset the tracks and sign but they are all fresh. Saw the doe with two fawns in the dark last night under a tree eating acorns in the middle of the big pasture. They ignored me parking the 4-Runner and watching them from inside 100 yards.
I THOUGHT most of it was BS, it felt like it was BS, my experience was that it was BS, and I was RIGHT. I didn't think there were enough Klan members in the whole US, (including Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd) to make a softball team, or enough skinheads to hold a car wash. There aren't. Americans elected a Black man to the office of President by a considerable margin. It's over. Racism is dead.
I'm very jazzed about this! All that Million Man stuff and Farakhan stuff and lectures about being kept down, white guilt, the history of slavery, et, et, turn out to be mere shadows and ghosts or at least not applicable any more. I'm amped! Martin King asked how long people had to suffer? Well, not past Nov 4, 2008!
Big Ten and his brother, Big Eight were the first deer I got on my cam when I put it out in 2005. I could hardly tell one from another at first, but I learned. Big Eight got shot from the road in November of 2005 but Big Ten made it though the season though he tore off an antler fighting in December. He was 2 1/2 years old.
The next year he grew a stunted palmated antler out of the ruined socket.
In 2007 he grew a bigger palmated antler on the bad side.
On the good side he was a solid typical six point. He'd be a big twelve if he had both antlers. He's got good tine length and mass. Quite a buck. He's 4 1/2 in this photo.
This year he is 5 1/2 and bigger and burlier than ever. I haven't seen him on cam but did see him in person. The ruined side is big, but goes straight up, a lot like in 2007 but as tall as the other side. On the good side he is a massive six.
Great genetics. I hope he breeds every doe in the watershed.
In the parking lot at Office Depot. He may win but not everyone is going to love him. I especially love the peace sign in the quarter panel window. Who isn't for peace? Not me!
From where I live: the NRA-Competitive-rifle-deer-hunting-East-Texas-Working-Family-taxpayer-coffee-house culture, I have to report that I haven't heard a word, smelled a whiff or felt a chill of anything racist in the whole election. Folks don't love Obama because of his lying, his politics, or his arrogance, but not one peep about the melanin in his skin. Nobody in my crowd cares.
Not a racist to be found. On the Right at least. The left is all about it.
Voted early last week. Wonder what would happen if I wandered into my neighborhood polling place with just my Tx Drivers license and tried to vote again, just for the hell of it? McCain is going to win Texas so it doesn't matter.
Update: Polls just closed. I don't hear any gunfire.
Ran over one with the 4-Runner Saturday when I drove up to see what the neighbors had shot across the creek from the lakehouse. I took a flashlight and looked around the road- usually there are two together. Yesterday evening I ran over another one in virtually the same place at nearly the same time of day.
And the first deer seen during hunting season: a doe and fawn crossed the far sunlit end of the field at about 5:30. Nothing but mosquitoes where I was, though there were lots and many varieties. I was wearing an Alpenflage jump suit so they concentrated on my bare hands.
It's not that quiet in the country..there are layers of sound from the overhead airplanes and sizzling traffic on surrounding roads to the thrushes and squirrels. I heard three separate Horned owls, plus a couple of Barred Owls. Right at 7:00 they shot across the creek and I drove around to see who they had killed. Turned out they shot a little spike buck. Pitiful. I didn't mention the bucks I have been seeing on cam. One buck county. We are safe for a bit.
Update: Saw Big Ten this morning for only the second time with my own eyes. He's a 5 1/2 year old 12 point buck, very massive except that when he was 2 1/2 he tore his whole left antler off at the socket fighting. The left side has been ruined since. Saw him on the deercam once last year and once the year before. This year nothing. Too smart to go to the cam.
He looked good. Six points on the big side, a nice long-tined heavy-beamed typical. He was with a doe and the doe spooked. I hope he breeds every doe in the watershed. I had a clean and open shot for about six seconds. Didn't even put my rifle up. He's the oldest buck I have in my deercam files.
Ricks 10X group at 300 yards on his way to a club record 495. Nice shooting!
Today at Panola we had 16 shooters, typical for the first day of deer season. We made two relays and scored ourselves.
Big day at the range. Rick Crawford shot a 10X clean at 300 yards. That's ten shots all in the X ring in 70 seconds with a mag change. He used his match rifle. I walked down the pits to take a look at the group. Very impressive.
Rick finished with a Club Record 495. That's also his personal best. Panola has some good shooters so it's quite an achievement to hold the club record.
I shot my AR for standing: 97X5, sitting rapid: 99X3 and 300: 97X2. Medium good shooting.
At 600 I have seen shooting so badly with my rifle and it's new barrel that I decided to switch to Andrews TSRA-issued DPMS rifle. It's got an A1 buttstock, a skinny front sight and a web sling but I had a box of my standard 80 Sierra load for 600 so off I went. The first sighter was a low 7. I adjusted up and shot a 9 on the same line. Starting with the first shot for record I shot a 194X7 and never had a round go anywhere that I didn't think it should go. That's a very different experience from shooting donuts around the 10-ring and having weird off-call shots in the seven and eight ring. I never had a good string at the Service Rifle Championships at Swift shooting a 95, a 188 and a 185 which crashed my scores. The sensation was that I was breaking good shots, but they wouldn't go where I thought they were going. Today that situation was reversed. Everything went in, or went close to where I thought it would be.
I've been looking at everything from my eye prescription to the seating length of my bullets, but what I now think is happening is the Douglas 1/8 twist barrel on my rifle won't stabilize 80 grain Sierras.
Finished with a 487X16. I've had the up-close scores but been crashing at 600.
Photographer from Tyler Texas. Images in collections and museums in the region. Still using film for exhibitions. Commercial work in digital.
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