I climbed into the deer stand at 5 am on day two of my deer hunt. The temperature was thirty five degrees, and there was a bit of weather moving in. Morning snow flurries were forecasted to subside, but rain would persist throughout the day. Given the colder, nastier weather I had determined that the deer would be active, and hopefully moving within gunshot range. Sunrise was at 7:17 am, and I used my Styrka S7 binoculars to survey the terrain in the lowlight conditions. Unfortunately, there was nothing happening around my particular position. As with the prior day, I witnessed three bucks and four does move along the western fence separating the Cage Ranch from their neighbors. One buck was obviously a shooter, but never drifted over the boundary line. Frustrated with the inability to locate my quarry, I made a decision to leave the stand and walk the Shipping Trap pasture. It was 9 am and the rain was increasing steadily. Using the Cottonwoods as cover, I walked east towards a more dense formation of trees. Every twenty steps or so, I would glass a few hundred yards ahead, searching for signs of life. As I reached the far northeastern end of the land, I glanced south and I saw a face staring at me. Raising my binoculars, I realized that the buck was young, and unworthy of my pursuit. Arriving at my truck at 10:30 am, I developed a strategy for the rest of the day. Earlier in the week, my friend Dave had witnessed deer moving about the Pump Pasture. To that point, I made my way a few miles west, and I entered the field.
The wind had shifted in my favor, blowing at 10mph from the west. The dry creek abutting the Pump Pasture is not a part of the Ranch. There is a fence that defines the property line, and I would glass the area from a vantage point high above the eastern edge of the land. I did not witness any movement, so I made my way down to the actual barrier. Years before, I stalked and eventually killed my first pronghorn in this field. I remembered where the earth changed its formation, and I felt deer would likely bed down just over a ridge a half a mile to the southwest. As I made my way west down the fence line, I noticed an abundance of fresh deer scat. My heart started to beat more rapidly, and my pace quickened. When the ridge became visible, I changed directions and I walked straight south. My Tikka T3 Lite 30-06 had a Barnes VOR-TX 168 grain round chambered, and I was prepared to engage. I took a moment to look behind me, and I saw a doe gazing at me just inches from the fence. She remained motionless while I ranged her at 150 yards. My gut told me that she didn’t flee because this deer was a part of a larger group still hiding in the long grass. Another doe jumped up, followed by yet another doe. I started to quietly repeat the phrase “where is the buck”? Seconds later, a buck jumped up to my left, and he started to run straight west, then he jogged to the north. He stood at 130 yards and stared back at me. I put the crosshairs on his right shoulder, and scrutinized at his rack through my Bushnell Elite scope. It was obvious that this was not the deer that I was searching for, but he was a shooter. The buck bolted north still offering me an ethical shot so I took it. The round hit him just behind his right shoulder, and he staggered, ultimately hitting the ground just yards away from the impact site. As soon as he had fallen over, a massive buck with a doe emerged from the grass just 80 yards from my position. They ran straight west then stopped to look back. He was a brute, and absolutely what I had wanted. I smiled at him realizing he got lucky on this day.
Once I arrived at the downed deer, I took a moment to reflect on the hunt. There was a unique level of satisfaction as this was the first time I had hunted big game on my own. I came up with a logical plan, and it had ended up working out perfectly.
|SoundGear||Electronic hearing protection is a must for all hunters. This is the brand.|
|Styrka S7 Binoculars||Results are in; these premium optics must be considered. They’re that good.|
|onXmaps||Critical for all hunters and anglers that hunt both public and private land.|
|Tikka T3 Lite||Six for six with this rifle. Price is right and the gun is very accurate.|
|Barnes VOR-TX Ammunition||168 grain round is devastating and results in a quick death.|
|Under Armour Hunt Apparel||Clothing is weatherproof, breathable and warm.|
|Under Armour Speed Freak Boots||Light, comfortable and worth the price.|
|Leupold Rangefinder||Expensive but accurate. Easy to acquire target.|
|Bushnell Elite Scope||Has and continues to work great. Even in bad weather.|
|Knives of Alaska||Great knife set. Had the deer cleaned inside of 30 minutes.|