A quick overnight run to join Jon Rhynard up at Clarksville for some doetag shooting. I drove up in the early morning hours, leaving in the dark and watching the sun come up on the road. Beautiful Texas fall morning. I had both big cams with me and should have stopped and shot a big oak that had just the faintest hint of sunlight in the very top branches. It's one of those images exposed only in my head that will haunt me now.
In the stand by 7:45. No later than 7:50 some two does and two yearling fawns crossed the end of the field. I was ready to shoot but just not in the mood after the drive up.
A few minutes later they circled and came back into the field just below the tower.
They were very close- headshot distance with the .284 Rigby Ruger #1, (7X57) but I still hesitated. Finally ran the gun out and found the biggest doe. We were there to shoot, not sit, and if I was going to shoot a doe I wanted to do it early, not later in the afternoon. One of my handloaded 130gr slugs went in the back of her head on the slightly left side so I could get the right jawbone for the State.
She went down on the spot and only kicked once. Hopefully I snatched her out of life without a ripple of concern. Her adult friend hated to leave her and hung around for 20 minutes. I had another tag but just sat.
Went and got the jeep and loaded her up in the tray. Strapped her on with an old piece of rock climbing webbing and one carabiner that has dragged deer out of various bottoms for 30 years. We are all getting worn: me, the rifle, the bag, the gear.
Free range, traditionally harvested with recycled materials, home-processed venison. Died with a mouthful of Alan's feedlot cover. It's a grisly business.
Her jaw on the right and Jon's couple-year's-older doe on the left. Look at the wear that exposes the dentine and how ground down the bottom tooth on the left jawbone appears.
Three WWII vet knives I used to butcher and skin. The blade on the left was a PAL-36 ground down to make a dagger. Middle is a rehandle job with some aircraft windshield plexiglass. Right knife is made from scratch, and the scratch probably came out of wrecked aircraft. Zeros!
Hunted that evening at another stand and watched nine doe/yearlings. One little pre-legal six point buck walked in from the other side of the field and got the group very alert. Just couldn't bring myself to shoot. Here are four of them at a scrape across the field.
While up there I had several fine conversations with Jon, consulted with the neighbors a couple times, hung up a print in the kitchen that I had brought, set up my 5X7 and shot 4 sheets of film on a big black cedar shadow crossing some sassafras trees, drove over to Scatter Creek to look over that plot of land. We stayed busy for just an overnight stay.
Barn gates, Boxelder, Texas, 2012.