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JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

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JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

Old 11-21-2007, 04:36 PM
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Default JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

Hey guys,

Asa few of youmay already know Melissa, (JCChartgirl), and I just return from a whirlwind 3 day hunt in Illinois with a number of friends from NJH (New Jersey Hunter). While the rest of the folks that were in camp spent a good deal of time out in Illinois before we arrived, Mel and I were only there for a quick four days. Given that this type of unguided/bring your stands hunt requires traveling with a good deal of equipment, (and therefore necessitates driving), it is not exactly for everyone. However, I can certainly say it is exactly the type of hunt I was looking for!!
Day #1 (arrival)
We left NJ last Wednesday afternoon at 3pm. After putting 750miles of driving in myself, plus another 250 by Mel, we arrived in IL at 7am the following morning. After a quick breakfast in town with Rich, Joe, Frank and few of the local folks it was back to the house to hang stands.
With literally hundreds of acres to hunt I was happy to get a helping hand from Frank with a quick scouting mission. While I was a little concerned about being in the field so close to the hunt, (this was still the day before the 3-day shotgun season opened) I was very happy to see that I had a number of great options for hanging stands. Frank and I were able to check out a number of great spots and get my climbing stand set in a great location a ways back in the thick woods.
After returning to camp and getting reorganized it was quickly becoming clear that an aggressive approach to hunting this land could really pay off. So despite having not slept for 36hrs straight, I decided to turn around and go back out to sit in one of the stand locations we had just scouted. My thought was simply that this would be the best way to increase my understanding of the deer movement in the area, even at the potential cost of educating a few of the local deer. (Remember, with all of the land available I could always move elsewhere.)
All I can say is…I knew immediately that I had made right decision! In less than the first 10minutes, in the location I was sitting, I had deer within 20ft of me…
About 4:00 in the afternoon that day I heard another deer approaching from the other side of the “hollow” I was hunting. When the deer finally appeared through the brush at about 40yds I could see it was a buck. I watched him closely before deciding that while he was a very decent buck, probably scoring in the low 120”s from what I could see at the time, I probably would be looking for bigger deer over the next three days…Then suddenly when the deer turned sideways at approximately 35yds my eyes light up! Not only was the rack thicker and taller then it appeared when viewed from the front, this deer also had a very nice 2-3” sticker coming straight out of the side of its 10”+ G2.
Once I saw that sticker, I immediately knew that I wanted to hunt this deer. Although the deer did not appear to have a large inside spread, given the mass and tine length I was now thinking the rack was closer to the 130” neighborhood. Add in the fact that the deer had great character with the nice sticker and for me personally I would rank the deer as a higher priority than a standard 135-140’ deer. (My original goal before I even left for the hunt was to get something 130”+ with some kind of junk, so this deer definitely qualified.)
Now remember…here I am in the woods with no gun, just watching this deer, the biggest buck I have ever had that close while in the woods. Next thing you know, he walks within 15yds of me, never once recognizing I am there. (I had washed myself and all of clothes with scent eliminator which paid off time and again all throughout the hunt, never once getting winded despite having 10+ deer come within 25ft of my stands) Unbelievably, I was actually able to get my camera out and take a few quick pics before the deer left the area to go out to some nearby fields. Unfortunately, given the light only one of the pics was viewable and really didn’t show the rack well at all…(The rack is visible in the lower-middle of the pick)


Needless to say…now that I found this deer in the area that I knew was a shooter for me, I decided to high tail it out of the area prior to last light in order to minimize any chances of educating any deer in the area…My aggressive approach was already paying dividends!
Day #1 (Hunting)
As anyone can imagine my hopes were very high for both myself and Mel on the opening day. Given the locations we were hunting Mel was using the Savage 210, and I decided to bring out the Savage 10ML Smokeless Muzzleloader.(I had visibility in a few select locations to 100+yds)). I knew the location that I was in held at least one large deer, and the location Mel was hunting was an excellent pinch point between a field and a ravine. However, despite seeing a 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8 pt buck on that first day, I never saw a single shooter all day. (The 8pt was a 110”+ deer, a shooter in most places for sure, just not what I was after). Meanwhile, Mel had seen two shooter bucks during the day. One was a nice 8pt and the other a 10pt that may have been a true monster (likely well over 150”). Unfortunately, both deer were hot on the trail of a doe and never provided her any shot opportunities. Needless to say I was little disappointed in the deer I saw given the fact that I had sat in the stand from 5:45am to 6:00pm without ever once getting down.
Day #2 (Hunting)
Despite not having seen the deer I spotted earlier, let alone any other shooters on the previous day, I knew the location I was in held great promise. One simply does not see 20+ from a stand, including 5 bucks, in a day unless it is good travel location so I hunted this location again on the second morning. I suspected that it would just be a matter of time before one of the bigger bucks came through.
After getting in the stand on day two at 5:30, it was not long after shooting light that the first deer started appearing. To my surprise, it was a number of running does. Sure enough shortly after a 6pt buck showed up and spent about an hour milling around my stand. For the second time in two days I was treated to all kinds of rutting activity including watching the buck hunch up and rub/urinate on its hocks. Of course the downside to this activity is the fact that I had to keep a constant eye on the deer below me in order to avoid moving when they were looking. After a short while I was already keenly aware that the presence of all of the deer would cost me dearly if I needed to get into position to shoot. Sure enough, after spending too much time keeping an eye on the small 6 pt I turned to check the are way out in front of me on to see a large bodied deer walking at a quick pace about to go through the single shooting lane I had out to 100yds. While I was able to get my gun up quickly then rested on a set of shooting sticks, with the need to confirm the size of the rack, I was not able to get a shot off before the deer was covered in moderate brush at 80yds angling toward me. All I could do was watch the deer walk by me for 50yds through my scope, with no shot…knowing that it was the nice 8pt with the sticker that I was after…never getting a shot opportunity before it disappeared! To say I was bummed was an understatement…
After quickly reassessing my situation I knew I had to make a big decision. If I really wanted that buck, and was willing to risk going home empty handed to get it, I had to get aggressive. That meant hitting the ground again and backtracking the two known locations that I seen the arrive and depart in previous sightings in hopes of figuring out its feeding and bedding locations; as well as the best ambush located right over his travel route between the two. Most importantly, I needed to do this without him knowing I was ever there!
While it was not an easy feeling to hit that ground in the middle of my second day of hunting, I spent the next hour power scouting a ¼ mile area I knew that deer was using most heavily based on what I had seen and the sign that was present. After successfully completing that whithout getting busted that I know of, I quickly left the area….
Later on in the day, after conducting some mid afternoon drives, where a very nice 8pt was taken by Joe, I decided to go back to the location where I had been sitting for one last try that afternoon, knowing that if I did not get the buck that afternoon I would have to roll the dice with my aggressive strategy and relocate into the heart of the bucks core area for a full day hunt on the last day in a last ditch effort to fill my tag….
Not surprisingly, my sightings were way done on that second afternoon given the fact that I did not arrive in the stand until relatively late after conducting the drives. While I did see a few more small bucks and some does…Day 2 ended once again with only a single sighting of the sticker buck…now nick named “Number 2” by Mel and I, but never a shot at a shooter.
Day #3
Feeling a little desperate at this point, knowing neither Mel nor I had gotten a shot opportunity on a large deer yet, I was more determined than ever to get #2 on the third and last day of the hunt. In fact, I decided that getting #2 was probably our single best shot at tagging a true shooter with so little time left. (Short of getting a deer on a drive which is not the method of choice for either Mel or I).
So, I suggested to Mel that we go all in…Asking her if she would be willing to make the 3 am wakeup call and 4am departure that would be required to get into the area that I felt #2 was most likely using as his core area. (a ¼ mile back in the woods from our entry location).
While we had two stands in location to hunt the area, one of the stands was a climber that Mel preferred not to hunt from. Therefore, while I would have preferred to hunt from the location of the fixed stand myself, it was decided Mel would take that stand, and I would sit in the climber on the ridge above. Additionally, given the heavier nature of the brush in the area, it was decided that I would take switch to shooting the Tar-Hunt 20ga instead of the Savage 10ml, and Mel would bring the Savage 210.
After leaving our cabin at 4:20am…I took me an hour and forty minutes to get back to the location I wanted to place Mel, get her set up, and then to get in location myself. Needless to say, it was a very, very difficult morning in the dark woods of Illinios. In fact, I quickly realized that it was already getting light by the time I finished getting settled in the climber.
Within minutes it became clear that the location that I was set up in was a virtual wind tunnel with 20-30mi/hr winds. With the air temps in the high 30’s I feeling a little rough to say the least. Approximately, 6:30 I called Mel to see if she was facing the same conditions, only to find that she was feeling no wind down in the hollow only a few hundred yards below. Of course, that gave me a bit of sinking feeling knowing that the deer would be unlikely to travel the ridge tops in the wind when they could easily travel the hollows below.
Less than 5 minutes later I turned to see two deer walking into the field just behind my stand. I quickly noticed that one was a very large doe, likely the largest I had seen the whole trip (it turned out to be as larger as some of the 130” bucks taken). While I wasn’t going to shoot the doe knowing it would greatly reduce my chances of taking a buck. I turned and placed the cross hairs on her shoulder to contemplate the shot if it were a buck….As I was lifting the crosshairs off her shoulder…I hear a shot fired in the hollow!!...Knowing Mel would only have been shooting if she saw a buck…and being fully confident in her shooting abilities. I leveled the Tar Hunt on the doe and shot…she bounced a few feet and I quickly put another Hornady SST into her shoulder...this one taking out both shoulders, and she wheel barrowed herself to within fifteen feet of my stand…expiring in seconds. (I figured if I had to help Mel drag her deer out of the woods my morning hunt was over anyway so I might as well do my part and harvest a doe.)
Quickly calling Mel, she informed me that she had in fact shot a buck, and that she saw it go down within sight.. I asked her what she had seen and all she could say was she knew it was it was shooter…and she shot it!
After climbing down with my climber and quickly gutting my doe I made my way down to Mel’s stand in order to help her down. (It was a good climb down in an unfamiliar stand to her)
We quickly went over to the location where she last saw the deer…and could find nothing!!...I looked down and noticed that was not even a blood trail…my heart sank! I asked her how there could be no blood, she quickly replied…”oh, it didn’t run this way….there it is over there!!!!
As I walked up….all I could see….was a big sticker on the G-2……Mel shot #2!!!!!!!!!
Single shot…single lung hit….Savage 210….Winchester XP3…37 yd shot…67 yds to expire.
(More pics to follow…)



jcchartboy is offline  
Old 11-21-2007, 06:49 PM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

Great job to you and your girl! I was just reading your other thread at sgw, what a great story!
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Old 11-21-2007, 07:16 PM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

Wow...nice buck. CONGRATS
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:38 PM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

Wow! sounds like a great hunt, wish my girl was more like yours.....had a love for the outdoors as i do that is. mine just likesgirly girly crap[>:] anyways,what have you concluded about the XP3's? (im a big lurker on the shotgunworld forum).do you prefer them over the core lokts? for next year i am setting up my encore w/a 28" (1:28 twist) barrel andthrowing on my 3x9 conquest up top. i am hoping to get sometight groups from either the core lokts, XP3's or the partition golds. this year my primary gun was my 870 WM w/26" hastings and an aimpoint red dot up top, thesmaller faster sabots just wouldnt stablizefor me, they were all over.finelly i shot some lightfield hybred elites and i am impressed with them to say the least. i can honestly shoot 3 shot cloverleafs @ 100 yds. I say a 3 shot group because 2 out of3 times you will get a flyer in a 5 shot group. and thatswith a HORRIBLE870 trigger.also with a MV of 1730fps, and ME of 3650 ft/lbs and a zero @ 125 yds, i am impressed for a near bore size projectile
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Old 11-21-2007, 09:28 PM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

A good read and a great buck
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Old 11-22-2007, 06:23 AM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

great buck, awesome story , you should be extremly proud
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Old 11-22-2007, 06:44 AM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

Congrats! Great story!
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Old 11-22-2007, 08:48 AM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

Great story and a great buck!
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Old 11-22-2007, 12:18 PM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

great buck and great story. congrats.
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:24 PM
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Default RE: JCChartgirl--Savage 210 12ga--Winchester XP3's and Success!!

Great story and great deer.
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