just a doe?

Started by tasunkawitko, November 21, 2004, 08:53:03 AM

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nope, absolutely not.
date: saturday afternoon, 20 november 2004
location: about 8 miles south and west of cascade, montana, just inside the rocky mountains.
weather: mid-to-high 30's, clear sky, light snow in the shady areas, no wind.
trespass fee: none, this was a BLM section
rifle: cz m550 american in .275 rigby (7x57mm mauser)
scope: sightron s1 3-9x40mm
ammunition: winchester factory
bullet: 145-grain winchester powerpoint
knife: schrade sharpfinger
gps, laser rangefinder, other hi-tech gadgets: absolutely none
range at initial sighting: 300-350 yards
range of the shot: 150-175 yards, slightly uphill
rest: flannel jacket on a rocky notch
position of deer: broadside, and yes, i waited for her to assume this position
path of bullet: went in just in front of the diaphram, through one lung, exited just behind the knee
meat wasted/lost: absolutely none
result: one mature mule deer doe (appx 160 lbs on-the-hoof)
the story: no long-range, windy, texas-heart shots, monster buck, no premium bullet failing, or even working as designed, but this was a good hunt. no scope failure, over-exploded deer, or standing on my head firing as she ran away.
we crossed a bridge over the missouri river, walked in about 2-2&1/2 miles along some abandoned railroad tracks and through a tunnel. we left the tracks at a clearing and then set up on a nice, well-covered rock outcropping overlooking the about four draws where deer could come in from, leading down to a nice meadow which terminated at the tracks with the river right on the other side of them. we were well protected from view by rocks. only a week before, my hunting partner (rob1/dempsey) had taken a very respectable buck from this very spot, so our hopes were high.
rob's buck:

early on we saw a herd of about 8-10 does along the top of a ridge. i am not a good judge of distance, but they were probably 400 yards or so away and at a very steep angle. they worked their way down behind the ridge into a draw. one of the outlets of that draw was right in front of us, so we waited.
after about a couple of hours, we hadn't seen them or any other deer, and were contemplating the idea of going up further into the main draw to see if they were in another meadow. there is, of course, always a chance of running into them unprepared, but we figured that it was worth the risk. we were just getting ready to move out when we saw a dirty patch of white on a hillside something over 300 yards away.
near a traingle of three trees, a nice, mature doe was browsing along. as we watched, we
became aware that there were two other does with her. the distance was somewhere between 300 and 350 yards, i won't even pretend to know the exact distance. in any case, the shot would also have been sharply uphill, which does all kinds of things to trajectory estimation. we waited a while to see if they would move down into the meadow, but they did not.
we planned a stalk which was mostly out of their sight to another rock outcropping which would have halved the distance. the sun was behind the hills now, and without it in our eyes, we could see the three deer well. they were aware of us, but in no way were they edgy or spooked about it. there was absolutely no reason to risk a long-range shot. as we began our stalk, we used brush and rocks to conceal ourselves, and walked in a circuitous route so as not to alert them.
when we got to the rock outcropping, we were pleased to see that the does were calm, unspooked and unaware that we had moved in on them. there was a terrific view of them, as well as a natural rest on a small notch on the rock. i used my jacket to pad and elevate the rest a bit, then centered the crosswires on the doe which had the best angle of the three. the cz has a set trigger, which i activated. there was absolutely no reason to hurry the shot, so i waited until everythng was "perfect," then touched off the shot.
the shot was noticable, but not deafening, the recoil of the cz was non-existant. everything had looked perfect, but the doe did not fall. rob, watching the doe, reported that the shot hit just above her. even though i had aimed exactly in the center of the heart/lung area, i can only assume that i waivered, jerked the shot, or that the angle of the shot caused a miss. i also remember reading somewhere that if you use a hard rest, such as i did, that the shot will go high. any or all of these factors could be the reason. to me, this is proof that anything can happen, at any range.
the doe did not seem alarmed by the shot at first, but after a moment, she pawed around and started to head up the hill. i figured that was it for the day, and was about ready to call it quits, when she walked a ways back down and turned perfectly broadside again. this time i aimed at the bottom of the chest and fired again. in all honesty, i was much more confident in the first shot than i was in the second, but the second shot struck gold.
the bullet went in just in front of her diaphram and exited just behind the offside knee, shredding one lung and hitting absolutely no meant. the exit wound was somewhere in size between a quarter and a 50-cent piece. at the shot, she scrunched up, walked uphill a few yards, stumbled, then fell and rolled.
the rest of the story is an adventure in itself. we dragged her down to the meadow and my son mike and i began the process of field dressing while rob hiked back to his house to get his suzuki mule. mike and i soon discovered that we forgot one important item, a flashlight, so we took a bit longer than usual in the field dressing, finishing just as rob arrived. while we were wroking, we heard coyotes, and i told mike that as long as we saw no bears or mountain lions, we should be ok. he was cearly nervous about the prospect, but remained a valuable help.
we dragged the deer down the meadow and loaded her up on rob's ATV, then rode back to the house and loaded her up in my vehicle. rob, the super-classy guy that he is, walked while mike and i rode on the ATV. this in spite of the fact that he had already made this hike twice before.
conclusions: as i said, no trophy buck, but a great hunt and an even better experience. the doe is very satisfactory, mature and full-grown but not old, and will do a great job of feeding my family. we were able to halve the distance of this shot opportunity, and i beleive that this is what made the difference. though the 7x57 is capable of a 300-yard shot, many variables in nature, in the rifle and in the shooter can conspire to throw the shot off. even at a relatively "easy range," these things can happen, as evidenced by my missing the first shot. for the record, this is the longest shot i had ever attempted and made on an animal, but i had confidence in myself because i had gotten as close to her as i could, and had a solid rest. i also had confidence in the rifle, ammunition and optics that i was using. these factors made all the difference between coming home with meat or coming home empty-handed.
acknowledgements: i'd like to thank rob1/dempsey for the hunt and the help, taking time when he probably could have been looking for a nice bull elk to help me get this deer. i would also like to thank fiftydriver for his assistance in checking the scope mounting and sighting-in of this rifle. it was thanks to his help that i didn't even worry about the distance and was able to concentrate on placing the bullet where i wanted it to go. finally, i want to thank my son mike who was a trooper while we gutted her in the light of the half-moon, even though i am still slow at this task and he had never been so up-close-and-personal with the innards of a deer before in his life.
"just a doe?" hell, she's a trophy in my eyes!
pictures coming soon.

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Good story, Crazy Horse....

Sounds like a great hunt, & nice pics....
Share the new pics as you  get them back, OK?

Remind yourself often to SEE not just "look".


Great story indeed, and sounded like a great day afield.

"Politics is supposed to be the world\'s second oldest profession.  I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first."
Ronald Reagan


There's no such thing as "just a doe". Sounds like you had a great hunt. Good job on the shot and enjoy the meat.
Ask not what your government can do for you. Ask how your government can go away and get out of your life.
The unarmed man is is not only defenseless, he is also contemptible.
Niccolo Machiavelli


thanks for the kind words, everyone~~
as promised, here are the pictures!




check it out! hunting, fishing, shooting camping and conservation conversation......and anything else we can think of!


Thanks for the pics!

I'll bet that backstrap is tasty.....MmmmMmm

Remind yourself often to SEE not just "look".


Looks like a fine doe to me! Thanks for the story and pics. Congrats to your partner Rob on one fine buck, too!