O.D’s 2 of 7 Rule May be Real!

The more I look at it, O.D.’s 2 of 7 rule may be true. At least, that’s what the cameras are telling me.

As you may remember, I’ve been writing about my neighbor O.D. and his crazy theories about deer hunting. One of his most notorious is the “2 of 7 Rule.” Basically put, deer will show up at your blind an average of 2 out every 7 days. It’s a bit bigger than that, but that is the nut of the whole thing.

If you think about it, there’s a lot more going on there. Assume 2 of 7 is for real. If you see a deer on Saturday morning, chances are 1 in 6 you’ll see it on Sunday. If you saw deer come by your stand 3 days in a row last week, you probably won’t see them again for a fortnight.

I have written about this before. See O.D. and the 2 of 7 Rule

I put in security cameras to watch over deer camp while I’m gone. They send me email if anyone comes on the property or even drives on the road. I pointed one camera out into the field so that I could get a view of the place much like you see in the header. There’s that big U visible with the barn at Faulty Towers to the left and the big dead tree at Fountain Square on the right and about 20 acres of pasture snaking around the top of Hootin Holler.

It dawned on me as I watch that camera that I am seeing O.D.’s 2 of 7 rule panning out. Let me summarize my findings.

I started to visualize the whole field split up into 150 yard segments. That is about as far as a normal deer hunter is going to be able to see given the terrain and the cover.

About 2 out of 7 days, the deer do not show up at all. There’s either a lot of wind or rain or snow or something going on. They stay bedded during normal hunting hours.  The camera draws a blank.

There are perhaps a dozen or so places the deer like to use as ingress and egress points coming out into the pasture. That means a guy putting his stand up back a few yards from the treeline are going to see them coming in or out of the field at those choke points. The passage of the deer is random.

There are several groups of deer. On a good day, I may see 3 groups of 3-7 or more deer showing up. On a minimal day, it may be 1-2 single doe. They may pick the same choke point. They may come out of different places. They may end up all together or spread out over the field.

Any way you cut it, those deer are hitting a given choke point about 2 out every 7 days. A hunter posting so that he can see a big 150 yard chunk of pasture is only going to see deer in front of him on 2 of 7 days.

Here is an example of a fairly normal sort of evening from just after rifle season ended.  You may want to blow this up to full screen.  A lot of the deer out in the field are nothing more than dots.

So shaman, how come you talk about this 2 of 7 thing, when you’re seeing deer 5 of 7 evenings?

Most hunters do not get a view like I have of so much land at once.  In this part of the world, a hunter is likely to see maybe 80 yards at the most inside the treeline.  If he’s posted where he can see a whole field, 150 yards is  a generous chunk of real estate.   Remember that most deer are taken by hunters inside 80 yards.  Any way you slice it up, O.D.’s  rule of thumb seems to be holding up to scrutiny.

 

 

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A New CC Pistol

Ever since I took my concealed carry class a few years ago, I’ve been trying to find a decent full-sized pistol for everyday. Originally, I was carrying my Ruger P-90 in 45 ACP. It’s a great pistol. I’ve had it close to 20 years, but it only has an 8-round capacity.

Last year, I tried a new Ruger SR9. It was an ideal pistol in 9mm. The mag hols 17 rounds– more than double the P90. I just found myself missing the action of the Ruger P-series. I finally found just the right piece, a Ruger P95DC. It’s a 9mm. It holds 15 in the mag. It doesn’t have a safety. There is an ambidextrous de-cocker.

All my P90 accessories and holsters and such fit.

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Sorry for the Outage

Sometime after 0800 ET, folks started getting a message
“403 Error — Access Forbidden”
when accessing this site. By 1100 ET, I had a ticket in with the ISP. They managed to get it fixed sometime after 0600 ET this morning.

Genesis 9:2-4 Ministries has returned to normal service. Sorry for the outage.

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On Learning to be an Expert Turkey Hunter

There was an outdoor writer many years ago that opined that turkey hunters fell into 3 categories.

1) From 1 to 20 turkeys, the hunter is trying his best to learn how to hunt turkeys
2) From 20 to 40 turkeys, the hunter is trying to tell everyone else how to hunt turkeys
3) From 40 turkeys on, the hunter has learned to shut up and keep his opinions to himself.

Look, I don’t mean to be telling y’all how to hunt turkeys, but I’ve been at it most of 40 years. The way I look at it, sometimes it helps walking through the cow pasture if someone points out the plops before you step in them.

When I first started turkey hunting, I was convinced of several things.

1) Turkeys like to roost near water. They like to flop down and go straight away to water, and from there to feed.
2) The only way to hunt turkeys in the morning was to get out, get as close to a roost as you dared and get between the turkeys and their closest source of water and call the gobs off the roost.
3) If that didn’t work, it was time to start hiking, using locator calls along the way to get gobblers to sound off, and then sit yourself down beside a big tree and call him in.
4) If that didn’t work, it was probably time to go in. When I started it wasn’t even legal to hunt turkeys past noon, so it must be bad for the turkeys somehow.

I spent the first 20 years or so having a terrible time of it. I could go back and give y’all a rundown of all the wrongheadedness, but none of what I thought in those first twenty years of hunting turned out to be true. About 15 years ago, I started to have glimmers that what I was doing was all fouled up, and started thinking for myself. That is the key. Yes, I read a lot of books and magazine articles. I rented lots of videos. They were all by well-known legends of turkey hunting. I’ve even met some legends in my time. However, the breakthrough came when I started thinking for myself.

When I got my own property, I immediately started turkey hunting the way I’d been taught. On my 200 acres, Turkey Catechisms #1 and #2 dictated that I take off every morning and go to the lowest elevation on the farm, get down into the creek bottom and sidle up to a roost.  By the time that scenario played out, it would be about 8 AM, and I would start doing the old Run & Gun thing all over the property. By 10, I’d be tuckered out and go back to the house for a cup of coffee. Wash, Rinse, Repeat. That almost invariably led to failure. In all my years of hunting turkeys, I have never seen a turkey pitch down off the roost and go grab a drink of water.  The closest to this was about 30 years ago, I was out bow hunting deer on the last weekend of bow season and witnessed a gobbler deliberately break through the ice on a small creek so he and the rest of the flock could get the flowing water underneath.

Where all this running and gunning thing got me into trouble was that the idea had been coined by turkey hunters that had vast tracts of public land to hunt. Me? I could walk out the front door and be at the farthest edge of the property in 30 minutes, taking my time as I went. There wasn’t enough property there to run, and I was probably mucking things up by using a locator call and my big loud box call way to much.

It finally dawned on me that I was invariably finding turkeys out in the pastures on top of the ridges, and it finally sunk in that the best thing to do was to stay up on the ridge top and wait for the turkeys to come to me, rather than start down in the bottoms and chase them all morning on their way to the top.

Now comes the tricky part. By this time, I had started corresponding on a lot of outdoor forums. Along about 2008, I found Turkey & Turkey Hunting’s new forum. I popped on for look-see and immediately got assaulted by the old-schoolers. What I was doing wasn’t hunting turkeys. I was ambushing them. It as a sin as great as using a pop-up blind and decoys. One fellow actually likened it unfavorably to being pro-Abortion. Blah, blah, blah.  Eventually, the old-schoolers all wandered off and infected some other forum. I ended up a pro-staffer at T&TH.

I want to give ya’ll some advice. Think for yourselves. There are enough turkeys out there for everyone now. You can hunt them the way you see fit. For me, that meant sitting my butt down and letting the gobblers come to me. It is not really what they call ambushing. That would imply I don’t call them. I do. I just don’t go chasing after them. Over the years, I figured out I was putting my butt down by the same trees, so eventually I gave up trying to act surprised over it. I stopped being hell-bent on trying to call gobblers off the roost. I don’t give up. I found out the gobblers are usually very henned-up after flydown. By 0900, they’re a lot more cooperative, and they are far more willing to come to a call. I stopped being all wound up at sunrise and learned flydown was just the overture. Over the years, I have had an increasing number of gobblers pitch down off the roost and come to me. I guess when I stopped trying, I stopped sounding so needy.  Who wants to date a needy chick, right?

The Honey Hole looking towards the road

The old-schoolers did have one thing right.  If you can find a tree that is wider than your shoulders at the base, this is the ideal spot for placing your butt while you wait for the turkeys to arrive.  The thing they did not realize is that you can put your butt down by the same tree, day after day, year after year and get similar results.  All that hiking around never got me to where I could sit and watch turkeys for long periods of time.  I’m now watching the great-great-great-great-great. . . whatever grand dads of the turkeys I was hunting back in 2001.  They enter the same fields at the same times from the same directions.  Furthermore, gobblers that strut in the same corner of the pasture have similar personalities to the gobblers that strutted there a decade ago.

I found out a lot of other things to be true.  If I have a mind to, I can go out to one of the pastures where I see gobblers in the afternoon and high-ball a box call from Noon until I start hearing the hens flying up to roost. Some days a gobbler will come, sometimes from long distances, to be with that loud hen. I have learned all sorts of tricks like that, but I had to start by opening my mind to the possibilities and look at the turkeys and the land with my own eyes and use my own head.

No, e, I’m not going to tell you how to hunt turkeys. When I was pro-staffing, I never tried to put myself forward as an expert turkey hunter. If I am, I am only an expert on my little 200 acre plot. No, the best I ever claimed to be was an expert beginning turkey hunter. 40 seasons on, I’m still just getting started.

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The Big Book of Gun Gack

I spent Saturday reading in John Barsness’s book, The Big Book of Gun Gack.  You have probably read the author, he’s published in a heck of a lot of magazines, and he’s got a slew of good books on Amazon.com.  This one is a collection of articles about a select bunch of rifle cartridges for the hunter and John’s take on reloading for them. It is a book for the hunter that reloads..

 

 

Table Of Contents

Working Up a Load in the 21st Century
Modern Rifle Powders
Rifle Primers
Rifling Twist
Pre-Testing Big Game Bullets
Sizing Cases Straight
Meat Hunting Bullets
Why Reloading Data Varies
Choosing Varmint Bullets
The Tree Factory .17’s
Why the .204 Ruger Works So Well
The .22 Hornet and K-Hornet
The .221 Fireball in a 700 Classic
The “Triple Deuce” (.222 Remington)
.223 Remington: The Smallest All-Around Cartridge
Newer Powders in the .22-250
The Infamous, Accurate .220 Swift
A Pair of Fast .22’s
6mm PPC, the Essence of Accuracy
Untangling the 6mm Lee Navy
.243 Winchester: Popular Imperfection
The Other Two .24’s: 6mm Remington and .240 Weatherby
A Pair of .25-20 Winchesters
The Accurate .25’s
.25-06, The Most Popular “Quarter-Bore”
The 6.5×54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer
The 6.5 Creedmoor-Modern Accuracy Distilled
The 6.5×55 Swedish-Norwegian Mauser
The 6.5/.284 and 6.5-06
Reviving the .264 Winchester Magnum
26 Nosler-The Hottest 6.5
The 21st-Century .270 Winchester
7×57 and 7mm-08 Remington-A Perfect pair
The Hard-Luck .280 Remington
.280 Ackley Improved and 7mm SAUM
Remington’s Phenomenal 7mm Magnum
Handloading the .30-30-If You Simply Must
Easy Accuracy From The .308 Winchester
The 7.5×55: A “Metric” .30 Caliber
The .30-06-Still the Finest All-Around Big Game Cartridge
Holland & Holland’s “Super Thirty”
Winchester’s Most Popular .300 Magnum
Roy’s Famous .300
Great Britain’s Great .303
Modern Powders in Two Old 8×57’s
Kinder, Gentler .338’s
The Changing .338 Winchester Magnum
The .338 Lapua Magnum, King of the Wide-Open Spaces
.348 Winchester-Only The Loney
The Original .35 Remington
Colonel Whelen’s Fine .35
9.3×62 Mauser, The Working Man’s Medium-Bore
The .375 H&H, Still The King
Modernizing Two Old .40’s

Probably, whatever you’re lobbing at whitetails or elk  is listed.  If it is, I would suggest you pick it up.  If you’re not lobbing stuff at whitetails, I’m wondering what brought you to this weblog in the first place!

John is also on 24HourCampfire.com posting as Mule Deer.  I have been corresponding with John for over a decade and a half.  He holds court in “Ask the Gunwriters” where he is the undisputed authority among the serious rifle looneys.

The book is available from RiflesandRecipes.com however, I would strongly suggest ordering from the 800 number.  His wife, Eillean will pick up, and she’s such a nice person.  While you’re talking to her, have her pitch you for becoming an official rifle looney and getting the  Rifle Looney News.

 

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Dawn of American Deer Hunting

Junior, my honorable #1 son, gifted me a book. I’ve already been through it several times, and it is super cool. I have been enamoured with old pictures of deer hunting for quite some time, ever since we got the farm.   Back then, I had all these bare walls to cover, and not a whole lot of budget.  I went online and downloaded every old hunting photo I could find and put them in cheap frames.  My surmise was that over time, our pictures of actual hunts would slowly replace the old stuff.  Quite a few of the pictures in this book happen to be on my walls. This book tells the story behind them

A lot of the pictures from before 1900 show fellows with converted flintlocks.  That means that a lot of the rifles that were around at the founding survived a hundred years or more.  Also, if you are into old lever actions, this is your book.  The modern bolt action deer rifle really does not appear until much later.

I am going to buy an accessory for this book– a stereoscopic viewer.  A lot of the pictures are stereographs, and with a proper viewer, they should produce the 3D effect.

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Deer Camp Close-Down 2017

Angus, Moose and the Mooselette joined me at Deer Camp one last time to shut down camp, and have one last time afield before the cold weather hits.

Moose and Angus went for a hike. Mooslette and I went on a grand tour of the blinds. This was her first time at Hollywood. I introduced her to the 2-man tower blind. She’s 5. She’s highly motivated to hunt. She sits in bed with her head under the covers at night watching Youtubes of deer and turkey hunting. My son caught her when he heard “Shoot it! Shoot it!” coming from her room. This was a kid that was wired for hunting. The new tower blind is 5X7 and it has enough room for a kid to get up and stretch and fidget without the deer or turkey seeing anything.

We all met back up at sunset to watch deer and enjoy the last Super Moon of the year.

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Season Recap 2017

Now that everyone is home safe a-bed, I thought I would go through the season and give you all my impressions of why it went so well, and what worked and what did not.  Overall, this was the most spectacular deer camp we’ve had.  Everyone got their buck. Everyone got  a doe.  We saw a lot more bucks than usual. There was a lot more rutting activity than we expected.

Home » Season Recap 2017 » Deer Hunt 2017

Pre-Season

This year, we pulled all the aging buddy stands out.  Campground was the only one we replaced.  We had not hunted at Newstand in several years.  The main reason why was that it was meant primarily as a bow stand.  It’s main drawback was that it overlooked the steepest ravine on the farm.  If you shot something, it was going to be a hard slog getting it out.  Garbage pit had not produced a deer in years. However, the new Blackberry stand, just 100 yards away has been one of the hottest.  Again, it was bow-centric stand covering a chokepoint behind the treeline.  Blackberry is a rifle-oriented stand that covers the field where the deer feed. Surprisingly, Blackberry is producing some rather close encounters.  A lot of deer we see at Blackberry are coming within 5 yards.

To replace the old stands, we put in three new blinds.  Lazy Boy, a ground blind overlooking a shallow ravine  will probably pay off, but it did not this year.  It was the only deep woods/short range addition we made.   Fort Apache was a good idea with not enough time to develop. I took the leftover wood and built a V-shaped blind just behind the house.  I got two chances to sit in it before season.  Both showed promise.  However, heavy rain and wind wrecked the last-minute tarp roof and I never got a chance to repair it during season.  The idea is good.   It needs a roof and a back.  I don’t think SuperCore ever sat at S-10 this year. He spent most of his season going to the Jagendehutte.

 

Hollywood

The magnum opus from this year’s stand and blind projects was Hollywood.  It started life as 10-foot tower blind, but got shortened to 8 feet the day we put it up.  8 feet was plenty high for the site.  The top shooting rail is about an inch too high, but that will be simple to lower.   I will leave the camo blind just the way it is.  The 5X7′ dimensions are too big for one hunter.  However, it will work great with  a daughter or grand daughter along.  Hunting solo out of a camp chair as I did, I found that I picked one side and hunted that, occasionally turning my head to cover the other.  With the camo burlap wrapped around at a height of 40-inches, the deer could only see the top of my head at 80 yards. Closer than that, nothing showed.

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. . . except for the space at the ladder, which was wide open.  Yes, I did get busted twice in one day.  Once by a doe  at under 50 yards directly downwind, and then again a few minutes later by a young doe that walked right up and stared at me through the hole.  Both of them made it out into the field a few minutes later, albeit 50 yards further down the field– thinking they would sneak past me.  That is a funny thing about whitetails, they always under-estimate the operating range of  the 30-06.

Hollywood gets two-thumbs up for placement, a  9.8 for design ( except a 7.0 from the Romanian judge)  and  double peanut butter clusters for execution.  Of course, I’m the only real judge and it’s basically all me and mine, but the guy who dreamed it up did a good job for the guy that now has to hunt out of it. I would be the first to admit that has not always been the case. I also want to thank Angus, Moose, SuperCore, and Keith for all the schlepping and legwork.  I will probably build another tower blind just like it out at The Hand within the next couple years.    I would not hesitate to use the Elevator brackets again.  The set I had were leftovers from project years ago.  They are not cheap. A set of 4 cost $80-90 at Home Depot. However, they make a sturdy joint for the legs to the deck with no guesswork.

The Mauser From Hell vs. The Ruger Hawkeye

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8X57 with 175 round-nose is potent deer medicine, but I would not go out of my way to try it.  The Mauser from Hell is turning into a decent deer rifle, but I could have bought a nice Ruger American Rifle in 308 WIN for a lot less money and suffering than I’ve thrown into this 8mm project.  It shoot minute-of deer. It handles well.  However, I still trust my Ruger Hawkeye in 30-06 more.   The MFH still needs work. I will free-float the barrel, and if the accuracy stays within reason, I will replace the safety with something that works with a gloved hand and a scope.  I wanted a project rifle.  I got one.  I don’t want to knock custom Mausers from the Sixties. However, this piece is an example of what a DIY step-barrelled K98 put in a new stock ends up being.

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By comparison, My Ruger Hawkeye in 30-06 cost $800 in 2014. I added $100, buying a wood stock. It grouped less than an MOA with the first practice loads.  I run 2 rounds through it every October and take 2 deer with it during season.  Since the first bit of breaking-in and all completed, I have run less than 25 rounds through it in 4 years and have killed 7 deer with it.

It is the Third Reich vs. Bill Ruger and Yankee Ingenuity on this one and Bill wins.  The 165 grain Hornady SP’s I shoot out of the Hawkeye have a higher velocity and drop deer most assuredly.  Granted, most folks say that’s a bit of overkill.  165 grain is what I tried first and it worked.  The 170 Hornady round nosed came out of the Mauser from Hell with less velocity, less recoil, but a lot more arc. I had to try 3 different bullets and subject the barrel to arm-numbing cleaning to get it to shoot a 2 inch group.  As they are, Inside 200 yards, a deer will not know the difference. However, the MFH took years of work, and gobs of money to get it there.

The Hawkeye’s design is an updated version of the Mauser Brothers 1898 design. It too has Controlled Round Feed. However, it has a 3-position safety that is built  to work with a scope.  The Mauser had to be D&T’d for a scope, and it got munged up along the way, causing it to earn the MFH moniker.   Bill Ruger’s integrated ring system is much simpler.  I added a $100 Timney trigger to the MFH and it comes close to the Hawkeye. The Hawkeye’s trigger is one of the best I  have ever shot. If I had any sense, I would stop monkeying around and hunt with the Hawkeye excluseively, but I am a bit of a looney when it comes to deer rifles.

The Hirshwagen

My old S-10 with the winch on the front was an invaluable tool for reaching down into Hootin Holler and pulling out SuperCore’s buck.  I hope I can squeeze some more years out of it.  It is especially handy now that we have the L-Evator .

 

 

 

Midway

We celebrated the 9th deer season at Midway.  I filled both my tags from it.  SuperCore filled his doe tag there as well.  We hardly ever see anything out the north window.  However, the Garden of Stone, out the south window added 3 more deer  this year.  That brings the total count to 18 deer–2 deer per season. Almost all have been taken out of a small patch of mystery forb, growing out in the middle. 120-200 yards away from the south window. We’ve also taken a bunch of turkey and a couple coyote from it.

Gear that Worked

I could not be happier with the chair I picked up from Sportsman’s Guide this year:

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My one addition was using electrical ties to add two small rings to the left side armrest. This allowed me to attach a mil-spec map case to that side. It holds my thermos and my binos and my tablet.  I’ve added the same map case and ring-combination to the rifle rest on the buddy stand at Campground. It makes me wish I thought of it years ago. I put this fatman chair up at Hollwood.  The metal skids on the bottom slide silently on the decking.  I can get off my butt, still bent over and move this around to reposition it for a shot.  I practiced this with deer around before season.

An honorable mention also goes to the chair I picked up from there last year. I bought 2 last year, and this year I bought another when the price dropped to under $13.  This is what I use on the ground at Lazy Boy, S-10 and on the carpet I have down at Midway.  Both chairs support 500 lbs, and both hold be in my full Orange clownsuit get-up without feeling crammed.

Another  honorable mention goes to the LHR Redemption, now available as the TC Strike.  It is the first muzzleloader that has hit the paper at 100 yards with the first try with cast bullets. See First Looks. . . for details

I also have to mention my new Samsung Galaxy Tab E, replacing my older Tab 2 .  I have been bringing a small tablet out to the blind since 2012.  Before that, I would just bring a book. Books were bulky. This is about the same weight and size as a paperback.  There is enough battery in both of them to get through a 4-5 hour hunt.  The older 7″ and newer 9″ screens are much easier to read than a smartphone.  It also keeps my reading budget way down.  I spent several years reading the free stuff I could download from places like Gutenburg.org.

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Lately I have been going through the .99-center Kindle editions at Amazon.  I prefer reading military history in the blind.  I spend most of my time with the wi-fi turned off, but if I want to grab an updated weather report, I just turn on the connection-sharing on my Samsung  smartphone and surf.  This is one piece of technology I have found that really improved my hunting.  It is quieter and less bulky than a book, and the tablet has more than paid for itself in its ability to access cheap reading material.

 . . .And Keeps Working

One gear standout worth mentioning again is my Buck 113 Ranger Skinner knife. It is still going strong. It did two deer and two turkey this year without sharpening and I can still shave with it.

 

 

 

Another is flashlight that went with me. It’s a cheap Dorcy 3AA LED job that I have been carrying since 2015, in turkey and deer swaon. They are under $10 at Amazon. I’ve bought about a dozen so far. They are cheap enough to put everywhere around the house. They are waterproof and extremely bright. I also like how they clip to my gear bag, or the shooting rail.

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Tagged Out in 2017

With 6 days left of season, SuperCore ended the 2017 with a shot on a doe in The Garden of Stone. I had slept in and was just drinking my coffee as I heard the shot back at camp, and started getting dressed for the trip out when the walkie-talkie crackled and I heard, “SuperCore to Earth. Bring the truck.”

For the number of days we’ve hunted, it has not been all that grueling a camp.  Most days, somebody has tagged something.  Last Tuesday morning nobody had a chance. It started out well.

Tuesday 11/14

Now that the leaves are down, you can see all sorts of things from Hollywood. Deer Camp is over a quarter mile away, just enough to make it appear quaint. If I look real hard for a flash of orange across Hootin Holler, I could see SuperCore’s cap in the Jagendehutte over on Gobbler’s Knob.

I had borrowed SuperCore’s rangefinder, so as soon as the light came up, I started ranging landmarks. Going west, I had a maximum shot of 150 yards. Going east, I the farthest cedar I could range was 200 yards, but the deer were all coming through a hole in the fence at 150. This made the Mauser from Hell a near-perfect choice for this venue, loaded with Hornady 170 grain RN’s over H4895. In case you don’t know about the Mauser from Hell, there’s a fairly recent thread on it in Ask The Gunwriters, and threads in there dating back to 2013. You’ll see why it earned its name. I had taken the MFH out once previously this season after rescuing it from Deer Rifle Purgatory, but held back taking a doe, because I had not filled my buck tag. It was now freezer filling time, and this would be an ideal time to test the MFH on a live target.

I had just poured my first cup of coffee from the thermos and settled in with The Old Farmers Almanac. All of a sudden, my phone started vibrating and it would not stop. It was work. Half the server farm had taken a dump. Every PC in the place had a dark screen. Demons were in the server room. There were flashing amber and red lights on all the drives. They needed me back. Drat.

Back From Camp

I spent from 0800 to 1100 trying to put things back together from camp before I got mysteriously cut off. By this time SuperCore had come back in. He’d not seen anything, and reported almost no shots all morning from the surrounding ridges. I made the decision to pull up stakes and head back to town. We had two weekends left to take a doe each, and it was going to rain   anyway.

To shorten a long story, I showed up at work Tuesday afternoon, still dressed for camp and spent the next 4 days putting the server room back together.  Saturday was due to be a nasty, a day filled with wind and heavy rain.  Angus stayed back.  SuperCore and I drove down at mid-day in between bouts of rain.  We were safe inside camp when the 50 MPH gusts hit.  At sundown driving rain was added into the mix.   It  all began clearing around Midnight.

Sunday  11/19

In the back of my head, there is vision of what deer hunting weather is. This was it.  High thirties, light wind, and an occasional bout of sleet or grauple.   SuperCore was in the Jagendehutte.  I was back out at Hollywood.  At 0913, the deer began to move.  First it  was a doe winding me from somewhere down in Left Leg Creek.   Then another doe walked up and peered directly through the hole in the camo blind I left for the ladder.    Shortly thereafter several doe, with a buck in chase broke out into the sweet spot directly to the east of the blind.  At 65 yards, I had a perfect shot at a doe.

Look, I can make all kinds of excuses. The truth is this is the my first season hunting with the MFH.  I am used to a 3-position safety like what you find on a Winchester Model 70 or on my Ruger Hawkeye.  It never dawned on me that the old K98 safety with a scope mounted could not be operated with shooting mittens.  By the time I got the glove off, I was rushing things. The trigger surprised me. The shot went high. The herd scrambled.  The doe went into the woods. I searched for an hour all through Hootin’ Holler.  I could see where she had bounded down the ravine, but never found her or any convincing sign.  Double Drat!

On my adventures I did solve the mystery of why SuperCore had not seen anything all morning. On my trip through Hootin’ Holler,   I caught a brief glimpse of the Jagendehutte over on the opposing ridge.  His ATV was parked in back. The camo cover had slipped in the wind and was flapping wildly in the wind.  Deer do not like that.  We both came out with stinging sleet and graupel on our faces.

In the afternoon,   SuperCore tried Blackberry. I went to Midway, trying to give Hollywood a rest.  The wind was still brisk enough that I left the north window closed up and hunted out of the south window into the Garden of Stone.  Sure enough, with the sun making its first  appearance of the day, a large beefy doe and two young ones came out to feed.  I suspected one to be a button buck. They were feeding mightily with their noses to the wind  for the longest time, giving me no chance for anything but a head-on shot.  All of a sudden their tails went up.  I thought I’d been winded, but their attention turned back towards the Campground.  A very nice 8-point buck emerged from the treeline and that sent them scurrying about the field.  When at last, the situation calmed down, one of the young ones turned broadside at 185 yards.  This time, I had my glove off.  This time, I was not in a rush.

I was only a bit annoyed that it was the button buck I took.   In the bigger scheme of things, taking the button made better sense from a management point of view.  As it stands, we have been seeing more bucks than does since August.  Letting another doe walk is probably a good thing. We all will have our freezers filled.  This one will squeeze in nicely.

Monday 11/19

It was cold on Monday, about 25F.  I stayed in the sack. I was done for the season.  SuperCore went out to Midway and was beset with all sorts of problem, mostly due to the cold.  The padlock on the blind was frozen.  The lubrication on this Remington 7400 was seized up, turning it into a jam-o-matic.   He scared off the first herd of doe trying to get his magazine into the rifle.  The bolt would not close on the first round and bent the tip.  There was a second herd of doe that came out just as I was pouring my first cup of coffee. SuperCore had less than an hour of hunting before he had a young doe down less than twenty yards away from where I felled the button the night before. The cold continued to plague SuperCore. I was a bit late coming out with the S-10. The windshield was frosted. When we went to leave, the padlock on the blind was not functioning.

We spent the rest of the morning, taking the deer to the processor and then breaking camp.  I was back in my easy chair at home by sundown with deer camp waiting its final winter shutdown this coming weekend.

 

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Deer Opener 2017

It was the coldest Opening Weekend ever for the Shamanic Dream Team. The temperature was hanging aruond 24F when the light came up, but there had been a good deal of action at my stand at Campground before that. I had heard a group of doe, probably being chased by a young buck come down through Soggy Bottom, just below my stand, but it was too dark to see. Over at the Blackberry Patch, Angus had been watching a young doe feeding just beneath his stand, and been contemplating a shot on her when a big 8-pointer came crashing out of the cedars.

0645 was the official beginning of legal hunting . There must have been a fellow watching his watch, for at the very second, a shot occured. There was another much farther away and at 0648, I heard my old Winchester boom out from out across Virginia. That was Angus taking the earliest buck in camp history. It was what happened after the shot that made this one most remarkable. When hit, the buck ran back into the cedars only to emerge a bit later, closer to the stand. The doe, meanwhile, kept at the salad bar and refused to move or even acknowledge the carcass close by. Angus had to shoo her off before getting down.

Over at the Jagende Hutte, SuperCore was seeing a few doe, a couple of small forkers and such– nothing worth shooting. At 0813, as I had counted the 203rd shot string of the morning, SuperCore took a shot at an 8 pointer in Dead Skunk. The shot must have gone wild, for SuperCore and Angus searched for sign in the Hundred Acre Wood for an hour and could find none.

The Grand Fusilade had commenced. It was particularly intense this year. I recorded well over 2.5 shot strings per minute into the 9 O’Clock hour, and it increased to 3 in the next hour. When Angus was done with his chores at the meatpole and SuperCore was back in, I finally relented and came out of my stand. I had spent the previous hour watching two doe munching away in the Garden of Stone. I had waited patiently for a decent buck to visit them, but it just was not going to be. I walked out that way towards a rendevous with Angus at Point Victor. The field where the doe had been was well littered with deer turds. The Garden of Stone was going to be a good spot again this year.

We rode Angus’ buck into Lenoxburg and ate lunch there. Opening Day at Lenoxburg has always been a highlight of the local social season, but the new owners have really kicked it up a notch by adding the restaurant in the back. Bucks were stacked like cord wood. It was like Christmas in Camo. By the time we got back to camp it had warmed considerably. Our afternoon hunt started out with the temperature close to 50F– downright balmy compared to the deep freeze from 12 hours earlier.

Lenoxburg Store
I went out to Hollywood for the afternoon hunt. SuperCore went out early. Angus stayed back and napped. At 1700, another shot from Angus’ 30-06 brought his season to a close. He had found the doe from earlier in the day back munching away in the same spot and shot her.  All told, with two sits under his belt, Angus had tagged-out for the season with less than a half-hour’s worth of hunting.

SuperCore and I had nothing worth shooting come by. I bounced two does that were feeding to the east of Hollywood on my in. They came back a bit later. One hung around until after dark. I had the Mauser From Hell out. The doe had no idea how many times I counted coup on her in my scope. However, it became nothing more than a nice, warm sit.

Sunday started with the promise of rain. Angus stayed in. He was tagged out. SuperCore was ready for action. I was hoping for a nice quiet trip out to Midway to watch the doe act as bait and read the Farmer’s Almanac. Sure enough, the small herd of doe that frequent the Garden of Stone were already chowing down when I put the awning up and closed the curtains. They were there most of the morning. After 0800, there was a ruckus when a coyote chased three doe out of Left Leg Creek into the Garden and this caused all the deer to flee in unison. The coyote came around the other side of Midway, and I could not whirl around fast enough for a shot. I was alone for a while until the doe started to filter back into the field again.

This is a common theme this year. I have seen this building since August. I have never seen deer so intent on feeding. My surmise is the general failure of the acorn crop has forced them back out into the pastures to feed. They have not been able to put on sufficient weight, and they are working overtime to feed themselves. There was a short period of time where the field was empty, and I decided to pay the rent on the coffee. Rather than bother with the relief tube, I whizzed out the south window. It was 0900.

Old Farmer's Almanac

I had just gotten to the part of the  ‘Almanac where the editors were making their predictions about kit-based Thanksgiving meals when one of the doe from earlier emerged from the woods on my blind side and stuck her head into the south window. This is yet another time where urinating off the stand or out of the blind seems to have attracted deer. I bid the doe a good morning, and she went off flicking her tail happily.  She was about 60 yards away on my downwind side when she suddenly looked up and looked back my way. She became nervous and suddenly broke into a trot that took her back towards the Garden.

About 5 minutes later, the reason for her discontent showed up. He was a big, brute of a buck with a ten-point rack and an attitude. He strolled out less than 20 yards from the blind and eyed me through the curtain. He curled his lip to savor the local aroma. I’m not sure if it was the doe’s or mine. His attention seemed to turn back to the doe, so I brought up the Ruger Hawkeye and put a round downrange for effect. The buck ran off and I saw him stagger a bit as he bounded the fence at the edge of the field about 80 yards away. It did not take me long to find him. He had piled up   10 yards into the woods.

Angus left the comfort of his recliner and risked blood stains on his traveling clothes to drive the truck out for a pickup. I used a rope tied to the Silverado to drag the buck into the field and got him loaded with ease with the help of the Elevator. Back at camp, I had the buck gutted and back in the truck by the time SuperCore made it out. We rode into Lenoxburg with our 3rd deer in under 24 hours.

Upon our return, the S-10, der Hirschwagen, had a dead flat. Angus stayed around long enough to see that resolved and then returned home to Cincinnati. SuperCore went back out to the Jagendehutte, while I tidied up around camp. I had just laid down for a nap when SuperCore shot, and I knew I would shortly get a call for a pickup.

This was a bit more than the usual deer run. SuperCore had shot the 8-pointer (same one possibly?) at 150 yards at the head of Dead Skunk Hollow after it had emerged from the Hundred Acre Wood. The buck had responded by bounding down into Dead Skunk. SuperCore had driven down there on his ATV, but had not found the buck. It didn’t take me long to find a pool of blood in the creek bottom where the buck had stood for while until the ATV’s arrival. He had then walked off to the east, into the densest cedar thicket on the property. I had given up going in there a decade ago– just too dense. However, in the succeeding years, it had begun to age and open up, at least enough for an adult buck to make it through. The blood trail was pretty evident. I found the buck piled up about 50 yards in and 50 yards down from the treeline looking out into the Jagendehutte. SuperCore got the S-10 down to the closest entry point, and I ran the winch downhill and with the addition of rope, we were able to get the buck out of the woods just as the rain was beginning to start in earnest at 1700.

I called Lenoxburg. Yes, they were still taking in deer, but I needed to hurry. SuperCore did a speed-gut on the pole and off we went. We were back in the house by 1830 and enjoyed a rugged happy hour on the front porch with biting wind-blown drizzle.

 

 

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