So I took my second deer using my Winchester 9410 firing 410 slugs. Here’s the story of what happened.
So Monday morning (11/26/07), open day of modern gun season here in Ohio began with moderate temperatures but a steady down pour of rain. I was in the woods on the family farm near East Liverpool Ohio an hour before sunup. All of our older deer stands are 16ft ladder stands. My brother and father added two new stands early this fall that were 20fts stand. So Monday morning I am sitting in a 20 ft tree stand (dang, if that don’t seems high when your in it) on the edge of large hickory and oak forest in a steady down pour of rain. The best part is dad found these cool umbrellas made for deer stands. They have a notch for the tree, are camouflage, and have a very slick mounting system to hold them to the tree.
So I am sitting bundled up in my bad weather hunting gear under a camo umbrella in a steady but windless down pouring rain. I was as snug as a bug in a rug and I had an extraordinarily sweet view. I probably could have sat there all day if the seat was just a touch more comfortable. It was as close to heaven as I have had in the woods in several years.
Well about 9:00am after not seen any deer my brother wanders over to my stand. He did not put up his umbrella and was soaked and decided to head in, getting dad on the way, and go back to the house for dry gear. I had already made preparation to stay out all day, rain or shine; I had packed extra gloves, hat, a light lunch and some water in my day pack. Bro looked at me funny when I said I am staying out in the rain but I was determined to make the most of opening day.
I climbed down from my stand and after my brother head back I headed south from my stand still-hunting my way across a large open creek hollow. It took me about 40-45 minutes of still-hunting (walk several yards, stop, look and listen for a minute or two and repeat) to cross the creek hollow and was about 60 yards short of the far ridge where I had stopped once again to look and listen. As I scanned the ridge a doe trots into view on the top of the ridge. Now this hillside I am climbing is above the larger hardwood trees and is transitioning to a large thicket of crab apple trees. So it’s a fairly close environment and such that when the doe stops I do not have a clear shot due to a larger number of small trees between us. But I cock and shoulder my Winchester 9410.
I have been using my Winchester 9410 410 shotgun for several years now, I took a modest 8 point buck back in 2003 with it but since that hunt I have found a much better slug (modified Brenneke 410 slugs) for it and had yet to take a deer using these new slugs so I was determined to shoot pretty much any deer I could except a very small buck or a yearling.
Now the excitement happens, I’m standing there, shotgun shouldered, waiting for the doe to step into the clear so I can take the shot when I catch motion on the right edge of my vision. I turn my head, look and the follow thoughts flash through my head:
Coming right for me!!!
HOLY SHIT IS HE CLOSE!!!
Well by this time that buck realizes, and no doubt my head motion clued him in, I am not a critter he wants to be around and puts the breaks on. He was moving very fast straight at me when he slams the breaks on, front feet spread, rear end down low with his hind legs sliding up between his front legs pushing up a pile of wet leaves ahead of him. (Later I paced it out he came to a stopped nine paces (18 steps or a bit less the 14 yards) from where I was standing)
The next moments are just a series of images in my head. Having swung my gun and body around and I distinctly remember seeing the bright green fiber optic front sight right in the middle of his chest. A moment later he’s gone, bounding to his left (my right) down the hill I had just come up. The only thing I thought at this point was “I am going to shoot him on the run.” I remember seeing the front sight on his shoulder as he is streaking to my right. Now these where not those big lazy arching leaps you see when deer are just a little spooked this was ass to the ground putting ever effort into maximizing a scrambling and desperate sprint. I fire two fast shots, bang, bang, I do not remember pulling the trigger or cycling the lever action. Everything was in automatic mode; all I remember is watching the front sight on the deer and then that big deer crashing to the ground, sliding into a fallen tree.
Now I don’t know for sure which slug hit where but I am pretty sure the first shot went just below his chest and hit the far side (left) front leg at what would be the elbow and came out just above the wrist joint. Somehow the slug did not hit bone, breaking the leg. What I assume was the second shot, hit him about where the diaphragm would be front to back but high and it broke his back. He was down at that hit and could not move anything from the hit back and the spine hit pretty much dazed him. I move forward and down hill several yards and put a final slug in his side. He was rolled toward me so the slug went in just below the right shoulder blade and went down through the right lung, heart and clipped the bottom edge of the left lung. Death was almost immediate after that shot.
All of the above from first sighting of the doe to that final finishing shot took maybe twenty thirty seconds at the most. The adrenaline was flowing like I have rarely experienced. It took me a minute or two just to decide what to do next. I thought to cycle my gun one last time to eject that last empty hull and realize I was empty (Ohio limits deer guns to three shots). It took me another moment to convince myself I had actually fired three times. I reloaded, lowered the hammer and looked him over. He was a very nice deer. Counting points showed him to be a very nicely symmetrical 10 point. Not a record breaker but a very solid example of a mature deer.
I finally remember that I had to put my tag on him, I also realize I was so hot I was about to catch on fire. They don’t call it buck fever for a reason. I pull my pack off and put up my stand umbrella to make a small shelter threw my gun, pack, and heavy coat under it. Tagged the deer and then called my dad and brother on the cell phone. They had just got back to the house but turned right around, despite being cold and wet, to help me get the deer out of the woods. I spent the next few minutes just taking it all in and replaying it over and over in my head. By the time my dad and brother got there I had just manage to get my field dressing gear out and started getting ready only to realize there was no way I was going to be able to field dress him alone.
We weighed the buck back at the house and it field dressed out to 140 lbs so it was probably close to 180lbs live weight. I got two coolers of meat from the processor. Probably not a record deer in anyway but it was nice enough that I am going to have it mounted. I will post pictures here of the mounted deer when I get it back from the taxidermist.
This hunt also reinforces my notion that hunting is 10% skill 10% determination, and 80% luck. And luck favors the prepared. I am not sure I have done the experience justice here with my story but it was truly one of my most intense hunting experiences I have ever had.