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My sister's 2017 bucks

Old 11-24-2017, 07:44 PM
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Default My sister's 2017 bucks

Hey guys, sorry I haven't been on much. Been busy with hunting and work. I've got quite the story for y'all, but I've got to warn you, it's kind of long.


Many of you may not be aware, but my younger sister Summer is my favorite and best hunting partner. Although we don't always hunt together, we often have some of our best hunting experiences when together in the blind or stand. Case in point, Summer's massive 9-point from two years ago:


However, that buck was the last deer she's killed. I've also gone just two fewer weeks without putting a decent buck on the ground. With three big bucks routinely visiting my trail cameras, she and I were hoping to make up for last year's abysmal season:






Of particular interest to both of us was the buck on the right in the bottom picture. From the looks of him, he had the potential to become "The" big buck. Not simply a big buck, but "The" big buck. The one the whole neighborhood is after come fall, but few actually see. The one we and our neighbors all dream of taking. Given his spread and the shape of his tines, my sister wanted to nickname him "Moose." I just knew that if I could keep the does on our farm come fall, these big bucks would be all over us during the muzzleloader season.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Moose vanished around the beginning of August. Although I hoped he would return during the fall, that wasn't the case. The week before November rolled around, the other two bucks also vanished. When muzzleloader season came, unusually warm weather brought the rut to a screeching halt. When the bucks did come out to chase does, it was always the little yearlings and 2-year-old basket racks.

With muzzleloader season a bust, I put away my unused Optima pistol and broke out the Model 460 and 300 Win Mag Encore pistol, ready for opening day. With highs in the 60's, winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour, and torrential downpours pounding the landscape, we skipped hunting the opening day of gun season. The next day offered only sightings of does.

Tuesday morning, my sister didn't have class until 11:00, so she elected to go hunting. My dad and I both had to go to work early and couldn't go with her. However, we were both soon hurrying to her location after hearing a gunshot. She had shot a buck. Unfortunately, she experienced something she hadn't before: ground shrinkage. Having only seen the buck from the side,he looked far more impressive than he actually was:


My dad and I have both been through this scenario before, so we were sympathetic. We also complemented her on her shooting, nailing the moving buck at 175 yards with my now long-unused Weatherby Vanguard 270.

Since she had a buck, Summer decided she wanted to follow me hunting so she could film me shooting a deer. I've often filmed her hunting exploits, and she wanted to return the favor.

Thanksgiving morning saw us heading to a large field. On top of a hill in the field, I had created a blind by pushing four round hay bales together at the corners. With an excellent field of view provided by the hill coupled with the rock solid rest offered by the bales, we could not only see deer no matter their location in the field, we could also keep our guns steady enough to cover the 300+ yard distance to the far corners.

Although I wanted to finally use my Model 460, I brought along the 300 Encore just in case something showed up beyond the 460's range, which was admittedly very likely. With the Encore on such a steady rest, I wouldn't be afraid to make a 300 yard shot if I needed. Although she objected at first, I convinced my sister to bring the 270. Even if she wasn't planning to shoot, its 20x power Leupold makes for an excellent spotting scope.

With the sky growing brighter, we began glassing the field and immediately spotted does. We counted 10 in all. When daylight got a little brighter, I laid my 300 Encore on top of the left bale to ensure I could get it properly set up and ready to go.

As shooting light came upon us, Summer quietly alerted me to two does off to our right, close. She wasn't kidding, as the doe and her companion approached to within 50 yards. When together, Summer and I are a well-oiled deer slaying machine. We generally communicate well, we both keep an eye out for our quarry, and when we finally spot something, we keep at least one set of optics on it at all times while telling each other its position, direction of travel, and range. This morning was no different.

I ducked low enough to be out of their sight while I put on my GoPro and protective earmuffs. Unfortunately, when I raised up to get the 460 in position on the right hay bale, the doe spooked and ran back to about 100 yards. She continued blowing and stomping at use for the next few minutes, but the two of them stayed in place. Summer got her earmuffs on and turned on the handheld camera while I settled the 460 into the sandbag. I turned on the GoPro.

The does milled around at about 100 yards - an easy shot. However, the bigger doe - the one that had spooked - kept turning directly at us. While I was fairly comfortable taking a frontal shot, I'd prefer a broadside shot. She finally turned broadside, but then ran back again, this time retreating to about 140 yards near the edge of the woods. Again, not an unreasonable shot, even with the 460, but I didn't need her going any further. The next broadside shot she presented, I was going to take. It didn't take long to present itself.

As my thumb moved to the hammer, I noticed something. Both does had simultaneously raised their heads, their ears perked, looking at something in the woods. I hesitated for a moment, my experience telling me something was coming. Sure enough, a doe ran out of the trees and ran past them, followed a second later by another. Then, I saw what was chasing them.

"Buck!" I whispered, none to quietly. I tried to get my scope on him, but he was already outside my comfortable shooting range and traveling away, and my 300 Encore was over on the other hay bale. One thing was clear, though. He was definitely a shooter.

"Get your gun up! I can't get him. You shoot him!" I told Summer, taking the camera from her. She complied without hesitation, shouldering my 270 and taking aim. The buck kept running after the does, and he passed a point on the treeline I knew was 200 yards away. Thinking fast, I grabbed my grunt tube and blew three loud grunts. Even at that distance, the buck heard me and stopped running, quartering away.

"He's at 200. Just aim dead on," I whispered.

BANG!

I watched through the camera as the buck jumped and ran out into the middle of the field. I could tell he was hit a little too far forward. Summer put another round in and found him in the scope again. The buck stopped running.

"Hit him again as soon as he turns broadside," I said. When the buck did, I said "Now!"

BANG! Summer fired before the last word was even out of my mouth. The buck took off running toward the treeline, and through the camera I saw some sort of puff that appeared behind him, like when a bullet hits the ground. Summer had evidently seen it, too.

"Chance, I can't get him!" she said, despair in her voice, clearly fearing a miss. Realizing he would soon be in the woods and out of sight, I ran to my 300 Encore and took aim. As I found him in my scope, I saw him slow from a dead run to a trot, then from a trot to a staggering walk, and I knew she had hit him perfectly the second time.

"Keep on him," I ordered as the buck collapsed. "Keep on him, make sure he doesn't get up."

After a few seconds, it was clear he was down for the count. As I zoomed in with my camera, I could clearly see quite a lot of antler sticking up.

"I don't mean to get your hopes up, but I think that's Moose," I told her.

We carefully approached the downed buck. His antlers seemed to grow as we approached. I hadn't realized when he ran out that he was so big. Upon approach, I saw that the buck wasn't Moose. However, I did recognize him. He's that big 7-point from the topmost picture.







Afterwards, I retraced the buck's bloodtrail to the exact spot where she had shot him the second time. He was 253 yards away when she nailed him right through both lungs. The handloaded 130 grain SST shredded his lungs and punched a sizable exit wound. Probably the most amazing thing about this hunt was from the moment we first spotted the does to the moment the buck fell was about 30 minutes.

Although I would have loved to take this buck myself, I certainly am not mad my sister got him, especially since she brought my 270 out of its retirement to do so.



Oh, and that big buck, Moose? Well, while we were taking Summer's buck to my neighbor's to show him, he returned with his grandson and buck his grandson had killed. I recognized him immediately:


Summer and I couldn't be too upset, though. That was by far the biggest buck the grandson had ever taken.
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Old 11-25-2017, 04:34 AM
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That’s awesome that you hunt with her. Congrats to all on some fine whitetails.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:51 PM
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Great post, great deer, awesome sister
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:31 PM
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Fantastic, y'all! Weidmannsheil!
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Old 12-11-2017, 08:58 AM
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Awesomely told story Lone Wolf. It was like I was right there with y'all.
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