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.
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.
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.
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.