January 6th, 2009 11:51 AM
Deer hunting tale (Long)
Another deer season has come and gone. While, once again, I did not manage to kill a trophy monster buck, I did manage to reach a couple of personal milestones of sorts.
I have discussed previously on this board that I have a Marlin 30-30 that my Dad bought me as my 1st deer rifle in 1984 when I was 14 yrs old. During my teen years I mostly dedicated myself to bird hunting and never really got into deer hunting much and was unsuccessful when I did go out, so the gun was never used for it's intended purpose, or any other. It languished in the gun safe for 24 yrs until this year. I had deer hunted after being grown, but used either a shotgun, a .308, muzzle loader, or a bow. I took my first deer with a Remington 1100, hogs with the muzzleloader and bow, and my first deer with the bow last year. Alas, the 30-30 sat unused and neglected. (Sacrilege, I know, and I have since repented. )
I started reloading this year and my first set of rifle dies was for the 30-30, because I was short on ammo in that caliber and had come into possession of plenty of free once-fired brass. I took the 30-30 out to the range to make sure it was sighted in and to test my hand-loads. The rifle was not even close to hitting paper, but that's another story. I eventually got it sighted in using the factory open sights, after two range trips (ran out of ammo on the first trip about the time I finally hit paper). While doing this, I realized that I had forgotten what a pleasure the 30-30 is to shoot. The recoil did not knock any of my fillings loose and the noise required only one set of ear-plugs. It was a nice change from shooting all of those "big medicine rifles" for the past several years.
It occurred to me that I need not beat myself up behind a high-powered bolt rifle with a telescopic sight in order to kill deer. For goodness sake, if I killed deer with a bow and arrow, why would I need anything more than this wonderfully pleasant shooting 30-30 for my deer hunting forays this year? Therefore, I decided I would have two firsts in my life this year. My first deer with the 30-30 and my first deer with my own hand-loaded ammo.
For the sake of brevity, let me say that the Law School I attend does not hold deer season in the same regard as I, because they scheduled final exams during the rifle deer season this year. During which, I threw caution to the wind and took one morning off from studying to attempt to meet my true goal in life, which is not to become a lawyer, but to be a successful deer hunter. The whole lawyer gig is intended to fund the latter.
I was in the stand and right after sun-up a smallish doe came in and hung out with me for about 10 minutes, getting as close as 10 yds at times. I decided - foolishly I might add – to let her go and hope something better came along. Of course nothing ever did, and I never had time to get back out during the regular rifle season. However, my hopes were not completely dashed. The late antlerless only season was coming in January, and I would have a four day chance to harvest a deer with the 30-30 then.
Alas, my well laid plans were interrupted by family visiting for the Holidays until January 4th, the last day of the season. I decided to go out after church and give it one last shot. I received some 150 grain Remington Core-lokt bullets for Christmas and decided to use them. I loaded 5 of them over 34.5 grains of Reloader 15 and hoped that would do the job.
So, off I went on Sunday, after church, with a total of about 5 hours remaining in the rifle season, and attempted to reach my goal. Little did I know that 5 hours would be more than enough time.
On the way to the stand I jumped a doe and she ran from the field I was crossing and into the timber. Judging from where I first saw her, I think she was lying down taking a nap under the stand that I was heading toward.
As an aside, this is typical whitetail deer behavior in my experience. Deer tend to hang out and/or party under my stands when I am not in them. I can't begin to count the times I have sat for hours in the cold and not seen a deer, only to go home that night and come back the next day to see what looks to be evidence of a small herd of 12-15 deer having a large celebration under my deer stand overnight while I was away. Of course, they sleep in all day the next day to get over the all night partying, so I don't see them the next morning; as I once again sit and freeze, pondering the quantity of hooves that it must have taken to make all of the tracks I am staring down at. Wondering how they managed to do so much damage to the ground without knocking my stand down on top of themselves.
Anyway, back to the story. I had only been out of the truck for 5 minutes, I jumped a doe and she ran into the timber. A whistle stopped her and she stood broadside between two trees at about 85 yds. Meanwhile, I stood in the middle of an open field with an unloaded rifle. (safety first you know) She couldn't see my movement then, because her head was behind a tree, but her body offered a nice broadside shot. I knelt down, grabbed a round from the buttstock shell holder, opened the action, chambered one round, aimed like the Paris Island boys taught me to do, squeezed to trigger and saw the tell-tale kick. She ran about 35 yds and fell over. A total of no more than 15 minutes had elapsed between getting out of the truck, to recovering the deer.
The rifle and the ammo did the job nicely. The bullet passed through, pierced the right lung, shredded the top of the heart, vaporized the left lung and made a nice 1" or better exit wound that took out two ribs. I will definitely continue to use this load and rifle combo for deer hunting in the future. Even though it was not a trophy deer by anyone's standards, it was quite a nice feeling to harvest a deer with the old rifle and to see ammo that I had personally loaded perform so well.
When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.
January 6th, 2009 12:51 PM
Congratulations on your deer and thanks for a great, well written story.
Isn't' it the truth. One of my favorite sports in my youth was duck hunting. It never ceased to amaze me how the only flock of ducks in the county knew exactly when I had stepped outside the blind to get rid of the Thermos of coffee I'd been drinking all morning and pick that exact moment to buzz my decoys.
As an aside, this is typical whitetail deer behavior in my experience. Deer tend to hang out and/or party under my stands when I am not in them. I can't begin to count the times I have sat for hours in the cold and not seen a deer, only to go home that night and come back the next day to see what looks to be evidence of a small herd of 12-15 deer having a large celebration under my deer stand overnight while I was away. Of course, they sleep in all day the next day to get over the all night partying, so I don't see them the next morning; as I once again sit and freeze, pondering the quantity of hooves that it must have taken to make all of the tracks I am staring down at.
One thing I picked up on in your story that I'll make a suggestion on even though given your hunting and shooting experience, is probably redundant:
When sighting in a new rifle or rifle/scope combination, I shoot from a bench rest. Because of the solid rest, I assume that one of my first two shots should have hit paper. If they don't, I immediately pull the target into 25 yards. For most rifles, your 25 yard point of impact will be darn close to 100 yard point of impact. Once you get on the bull at 25 yards, you'll definitely be on paper at 100 and save yourself a bunch of ammo. You probably already know this, but thought I'd throw it out just in case.
I eventually got it sighted in using the factory open sights, after two range trips (ran out of ammo on the first trip about the time I finally hit paper)
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January 6th, 2009 12:56 PM
What, No pics??? You know we need proof...
"Without fear there can be no Courage!"
January 6th, 2009 01:10 PM
Hoss, you're right. I only had 7 rounds with me to test and started at 100 thinking the sights should be fine. After 3 misses I moved back to 50 and was still not on paper. The tapped on the rear sight, got on paper, then hit it too far, back off paper, then back on at the edge and was out of ammo. You're right though, I should have moved to 25 instead of 50 yds. Maybe someone reading this will not make the same mistake in the furture.
Here is a pic of my padowan learner with the deer. The Marlin is on the tailgate. I have a pic of me but it won't uplod for some reason. Must be too ugly.
When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.
January 6th, 2009 01:12 PM
Great story! I got my first deer with a Marlin 30-30, only difference was I jumped the deer while leaving the woods. Definitely one of my favorite rifles to shoot.
"I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything!" Bart Simpson
January 6th, 2009 01:45 PM
Great story. Thanks for sharing and congrats!
January 6th, 2009 01:53 PM
Great read...Thanks for sharing with us!!
January 6th, 2009 02:30 PM
Great story. Congratulations on the clean kill and ethical harvest.
"Government is not the solution to our problem; government IS the problem". - Ronald Reagan 1981
January 6th, 2009 04:16 PM
Got my first deer with a .444 Marlin. Pow...Splat! Nuff said.
It is surely true that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Nor can you make them grateful for your efforts.
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