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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Meat on the table - Warning, some blood in the pics

Last weekend was youth gun preseason for whitetail and turkey. Of course we had to go out for that. No question about it.

Something you might not think about is who gets to shoot first when you have more than one little one in a blind with you. I was going to be with #1 in the blind he helped build. My dad was going to be in the old one with #2 and #3. We decided that #3 would get first shot at a deer and #2 would get first shot at a turkey. If anyone shot and missed then it was the other ones turn. Fair enough all around.

I got my dad and #2 and #3 sons in their blind in plenty of time. When I turned in towards the new blind where #1 and I were going to wait the headlights flashed across the ladder of the blind and a large deer jumped through the light and was gone. I couldn't see if it was a buck or doe and I couldn't see for sure if it was a whitetail or mule deer. The jump said "whitetail" but you can't tell for sure from that kind of jump. If it had pogo's off I would have said mule deer because I've never seen a whitetail pogo, but i guess even that isn't a sure thing.

Light was just starting to show in the east by the time I got #1 in the blind, parked the truck, and made it back to him. We had a little while to settle in before it really started to get light. We were probably there 30 minutes before legal time. I like to have a little time to relax and correct anything that isn't right or is uncomfortable.

I was scanning with the binos and at about 7:45am I saw a buck a good distance off. I couldn't tell at first if it were a mule deer or whitetail but soon it was apparent that it was a whitetail. He was watching us and obviously heard us. He was in an open spot between a plum thicket that had grown up around a few huge old elm trees and another loan elm tree. Then he walked over behind the plum thicket and out of sight. Several times he poked his head out to look at us and listen some more, then went behind or into the thicket and stayed. I measured the distance to the near side of the thicket as being 322 yards and the distance to the lone elm tree as 425 yards. Between the high grass and grass burs I wasn't going to try and drag #1 out there and didn't think we would have much luck at that in any case. Early in the morning when the deer are moving I find it is better to sit still and wait.

Shortly after that two very red colored whitetail does showed up just kind of walking around browsing a few leaves. Their heads came up and they were looking toward the heavy brush they had come out of. I was hoping it was the buck coming to join them but it was a grey colored whitetail doe and her fawn. I mention their color because whitetails are typically kind of reddish colored while mule deer are grey. Some whitetails around here are grey like mule deer. There has been a lot a speculation about mule deer and whitetail breeding and I've heard that mule deer are the result of whitetail and blacktail deer breeding. I don't know about that but the two pairs standing next to each other made the difference in color very apparent.

#1 asked why they were different colors. I thought about it and told him I really didn't know but I thought deer might be sort of like people in that some have red hair, some have blond hair, some have black hair, some have light colored skin, some have dark colored skin, and for the most part little ones will tend to look like their parents and grandparents. He seemed satisfied with that answer.

#1 couldn't decide if he wanted to shoot a doe or wait for the big buck. I told him that on opening day I would probably wait if I wanted a buck and that there was plenty of time left in the season. He decided to wait. One red doe wandered off to the south while the other red doe, the grey doe and her fawn wandered back off to the north.

Then I heard a shot from where my dad was sitting with the other boys. Shortly after that I heard another shot. #1 said "I'll bet they shot that buck." I guessed that with two shots close together like that they probably were thinning out the turkey, or maybe they wounded one with the first shot and had to finish it.

My dad came on the radio and said that #3 had shot at a little buck and missed, then #2 connected on his turn. Everyone felt bad for #3, except for #2 that is. The little guy had been looking almost directly into the rising sun and couldn't see well through the scope. He had wanted that deer and decided to shoot instead of waiting for a better opportunity. That is understandable in an inexperienced hunter. We explained to him later that he had to decide if he could make the shot and if he wasn't sure he should have waited a little while. Who knows, the game may move, the sun by go behind a cloud or the shadow from a tree limb may come and make the shot easy.

In any case #2 ended up with the first deer of the day. It's his third deer, so he is getting to be an old hand at this.

I wanted to try out the deer scale I got for Christmas last year so we hung it up.

When we first hung it up it read 122.8. This is the reading after it drained for a few minutes. Not a huge whitetail buck by local standards but respectable.

#2 shot him with a 6.8x43mm SPC using 110gr. SSA Sierra ProHunter factory loads. Here is the exit wound.

Pretty impressive performance for the little round. I think it is because it uses heavily constructed light for caliber bullets at fairly high velocity.

After #1 heard that his little brother had taken a deer he decided he would shoot a doe if one came along. Sure enough, within one minute of saying that the lone red doe that had gone south decided to come back by us. Big boy put a round through her and planted her at about 35 yards. She was moving when he shot and he hit her in the spine above the shoulder. I thought she would bleed out quickly but five minutes later she was still breathing so I told him to shoot her again in either the neck or brain, whichever he could see better with her down in the weeds and brush. She was laying with her belly facing us. He put the round in just below her lower jaw and it took out the top of her head. Very conclusive. He has a great ability to visualize where the vital organ is and place the bullet so it goes through that organ. It didn't matter that he couldn't see her brain directly, he placed the bullet so it went to the right spot.

The boys helped with cleaning this time. #2 showed that you can use a gut hook and still split open the guts. I told him that he proved that gut hooks were not foolproof. He took it pretty well.

After cleaning and eating lunch we had to have a plinking session.

Here they are going to set the cans up again.

#3 didn't get his deer or pig this weekend. He'll have plenty of chances this season. He took two last year so I don't feel too bad for him.

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