Saturday morning (the 16th) I headed out with my Uncle Juan to finally get in a good deer hunt. Who would ever believe a 23yr old, gun lovin’ Texan could have made it to 23 without ever killing a single deer? Trust me, it wasn’t a lack of trying that kept me from filling my freezer with my own venison – more like a lack of ever being in one place long enough combined with a serious lack of free time during season. Granted, the few times I ever did make it out to an area to hunt, I’d usually leave without seeing so much as a jack rabbit. All of that changed out on this lease, out between Junction and Rock Springs, TX.
Looking at my gun collection makes it fairly obvious that I’m a pistol nut, I don’t have much in the way of rifles – an old Russian Mosin-Nagant M44 that hasn’t been fired in around 4 years, an old Remington pump action .22LR (my first gun), and an old Winchester 1894 in .30-30. The 1894 came out with me, iron sights and all – zeroed at 100m with 150gr Winchester Powerpoints. A number of friends, both young and old, have given me hell for wanting to go out and hunt with a rifle that was designed well over 100 years ago, chambered for a round that was designed in equally ancient times. A few even said you couldn’t count on a “brush gun” in .30-30 for harvesting meat, they’re not “accurate” enough. Someone failed to pass that memo on while the 1894 was selling over 7 million copies. It might have also been a good idea to let the countless game animals of North America know they had nothing to worry about for the decades where just about every hunter on the continent was out in the field with a .30-30. Even in 2006, the memo didn’t make it to the two Texas Whitetail that dropped where they stood when a 150gr softpoint went in a .30″ hole in one side of their neck and came out a 1.5″ hole on the other.
Enough about the rifle though, on to the good stuff. We got out to the lease around lunch, loaded up the four-wheeler, and went for an afternoon hunt. On the way to the stand, we came up on around 12 deer, and 30 turkey – so I was pretty sure I’d be killing something tasty before nightfall. That feeling got better while spreading out some corn, a small doe with her youngin’ walked up to well within pistol range (30m) and just looked at us – like we were in the way. Less than an hour later, those two deer had company – two 8pt bucks, and 7 more does. I watched ‘em graze around for a while, trying to figure out which doe looked like she’d taste best in a bag of jerky. After about another half an hour the group made their way up even closer (70m), giving me more than a good enough picture to make a choice. Front sight post just in front of the shoulder, and centered in the neck, fully cock the hammer on my rifle, and squeeeeeeeeze the trigger. She dropped right where she stood, kicked a few times for maybe 5 seconds, and that was it.
I’ll inline a photo of deer #1 later
When we got the doe back to the camp, it was cleaning time. The only thing left of that doe was a spine, everything else is going to be eaten. A little while later, one of the kids on the lease with us shot his first doe too. He didn’t quite know what to think about a 9yr old and a 23yr old making their first (deer) kill on the same night. There’s a photo of him with his deer in my photo set from the hunt. After the cleaning was done, we did what men do – popped open some beer and grilled up some meat.
Early the next morning, we headed out to a different stand and waited for sunrise. Another large group of whitetail walked out, only this time there were 5 bucks 6pt and better, 3 spike bucks, and 3 doe. If I’d been able to take a buck, there was one standing out in the back just begging me to shoot him, unfortunately I was there for doe, I’ll get some horns some other time. After figuring out which deer I could shoot, they decided to hang out and stand directly in front of the deer I couldn’t shoot, which tried my patience, but in the end the nicest of the 3 does walked out on her own and got shot in the same spot as my first. This one just hit the ground, with a little flip of the ear and died.
So, after a good weekend, I’ve got two coolers full of deer. I kept the tail off the first one, and the hide off the second. I’ll have to look at getting some land of my own out in central .tx after my next deployment, so I can kill whatever I want during season and keep my freezer stocked with some good eatin’.
Several deer were “harmed” in the making of this blog, but that’s what happens on deer leases with a group of venison loving men nearing the end of their stay. Sure tastes yummy too.