Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Shy 6 Point and The 300


A Shy 6 Point and The 300

I got the same camping spot I had the year before for opening day of buck season here in PA. There was maybe an inch or so of snow on the ground but the weatherman predicted warmer weather throughout the weekend and for Monday for the first day of Buck. We were all sure there would be no snow on the ground come Monday.

 I got camp set up Saturday a little after 12 when my friend Jeff showed up. With a few beers, Capt. Morgan and a shot of Fireball Whisky we caught up on how our lives been going since we last seen each other. He was staying at his brother’s camp on the other side of West Hickory for buck season and decided to come over and visit. He told me he had caught a 24” walleye in the river outside his brother’s camp. He had already fillet it and asked me to join him for lunch on Sunday. I convinced him to bring the fillets over Sunday and we can fry them up on the Coleman stove. He said he would be back at 1:00.

 Saturday evening I heated up some venison chili and sat by the fire with a beer. Already the snow was beginning to melt. I finished the night with a Pinar del Rio Reserve Limitada. Wasn’t bad for a cigar I never heard of.

 Sunday morning I was up early and got a tarp up over the table in case of rain. I had the stove out ready for lunch. By now the snow was gone. I put on my camo coat and binoculars and was heading up the hill to do some scouting.
 Though I didn’t see any deer I did come across some feeding areas that looked promising. I was back at camp by 12:30 and Jeff rolled in at 1:00. He heated up the oil and fried the fresh walleye for lunch. With a can of Bush’s Beans and Molson Golden it turned out to be a great lunch while we listened to the Steeler game.
  After he left I piddled around and got things ready for the big hunt on Monday. Around 7 I grilled some venison chops. I wasn’t really that hungry but I wanted to get to bed early. A toasted everything bagel went well with the chops. After one last beer and a Sosa Vintage stogie sitting by the fire did me in.
 Monday morning I was up early at 5:00am. It had rained overnight so I figured it might be not so noisy walking in the woods. I already had everything ready so it didn’t take me much time to get a move on. After a quick breakfast I got my gear on, fanny pack with lunch and hot seat. I slung the 300 Savage over my shoulder and with my flashlight guided my way up the hill.
  I didn’t have any particular place picked out to sit the morning. With no snow it would have been hard to find the spot in the pitch blackness anyhow. I headed up the hill where I felt I was able to see the saddle to my right and into the dense woods to my left. I loaded my rifle, sat down, got pretty cozy and waited for morning light.
  I watched the headlights down below as hunters were on their way to their lucky spots. I heard no vehicle doors slam so I figured I’d be the only one on this mountain side again. I listened to the wind blow through the bare tree tops as the braches rattled together on the heavier gusts. The wind whisked through the pines which is how the term ‘Whispering Pines’ got its origin by the soft sound that is made.
 As morning gradually lit up the forest I looked over the area and listened for any movement. Once light enough I looked through my Weaver scope making sure there were no problems. The hunt was on!
  About an hour went by when I got my first glance of some deer. I happen to look up the hill and seen two deer moving through the woods. I couldn’t get a visual on them through the scope but they didn’t seem to be moving as if in danger. I learned, through experience, that sometimes a buck will follow behind. I waited a good 20 minutes before moving up to where the deer crossed. Though it had rained overnight the leaves were still a bit crunchy as were the dried sticks and branches that laid beneath them. I moved slowly stopping a second or two before proceeding further. I also learned that where deer cross in the morning without being spooked there’s a good chance other deer or the same deer may use the trail later in the day. I moved leaves away from the base of a tree, above the trail, and decided to set for a while before moving. It wasn’t long before I seen movement down in the saddle some 150 yards away or so..
  I shouldered the lever action and scoped out the area. Down in the branchy and blow down area I saw antlers curving out front of the deer’s head. I couldn’t see its body at all but with the saplings, brush and distance between us I wouldn’t have attempted a shot. Besides that I couldn’t see how many points were on the moving buck.

Where I hunt in the Allegheny National Forest management area an antler deer has to have at least 3 tines on one side of the rack, including brow tines, to be legal to shoot in antler deer season.

 The last I seen of him was his back as he was gradually heading up hill and away. I could have taken a chance and try to catch up with him but with no snow, crunchy forest floor and he was already a good piece off I knew better of it. He wasn’t spooked by any means so I planned on coming back later to maybe get an edge.
  I slowly hunted my way, in the other direction, towards where I got my buck last year. To make a long story short I did come across two doe where I kicked up 5 deer from there beds during turkey season. I hunted a good hour in that location before slowly hunting my way back to the area I hunted in the morning. I was up above where I seen the buck but I knew I wasn’t too far away. I came across an area that was torn up by the hooves of feeding deer. I figured this might be a good place to sit the evening in case Mr. Buck decides to come back for a snack. I picked out a big tree to sit next to. When I cleared out a spot at the base of the tree I found a couple of good sized acorns. This gave me a little more confidence that this area was a pretty good spot to sit and wait.
  Time went by as I cautiously turned my head on occasion to look for any sign of deer movement. I was facing down hill but only could see about 70 yards right in front of me before the ridge dropped. To my right I was able to see quite a distance through the dense forest in spots. To my left, 50 yards or so, 3 big blow downs covered the ground so any deer coming my way would have to go around them. Behind me was pretty open up to the next bench so it didn’t take long to scour the area once I turned my head around.

I was sitting peacefully as a slight cold breeze would come up the valley and blow in my face occasionally. It got to be deathly quiet with just a gust of wind that rattled the bare branches. I had my parka zipped up to my chin with my fingerless mittens on keeping my hands warm from the chill. On occasion a tall tree would rub and creak against another. And then to my right, down hill…
  ...I caught movement and seen that familiar brown color body walking down, to what looked like a narrow old grown up, logging trail. I shifted my body to my right. I saw tines sticking out forward from the buck’s head. His body was in full view some 130 yards away. As soon as the bucks head got behind a tree I shouldered the 300 Savage and waited. I had my scope focused on just this side of the tree. His forward tines was the first I seen and then his head. I fingered the safe back on the lever action. He was down hill, looking forward, gradually walking unaware of the danger. I let him get about 100 yards down hill from me. The crosshairs met his left shoulder and I squeezed the trigger. The 300 boomed breaking the hour of silence. Through the scope the buck dropped instantly as the 150 grain pointed soft point found its mark. I heard his grunts as he scrambled into the brushy blow downs never being able to get to his feet. I had him!
  Scoping his whereabouts I saw no movement. I stood up, with my rifle on safe, and unzipped my orange parka. After snapping on my fanny pack I slowly made my way down towards him.
  I found him dead as a door knob a few feet from where my bullet struck him. I had aimed for his shoulder but I seen blood across his spine above his shoulders. Maybe I flinched off hand but close enough it was a mortal hit. The drag was all downhill from there. At 3:30pm buck season was over!
 At camp I found a fellow to help me lift the buck in the same tree I hung my 8 point in last year. This year it was a 17” outside spread buck that hung in the tree. 3 legal points on one side and a 2 point ‘Y’ on the other with a brow tine shy of an inch.
I offered the guy a beer, which helped me with the buck, and we talked a bit. After he left I mixed a Captain Morgan and Dr. Pepper and got a fire going. I lit up the Coleman stove and heated up some Haluski. After dinner and dishes I sat down next to the campfire. There I relaxed and enjoyed a Rocky Patel Vintage Cameroon and my last Leinenkugel Snowdrift Vanilla Porter.

2 bucks two years straight, 1 shot one kill each. The ol’ model-99f 300 Savage lever action still puts them down!

 Tuesday morning I slept in. It was a little after 8 am and I heard the weatherman say it was 22 degrees. It sure was cold outside. I drank a Frappuccino while I cleaned up camp and put things back into the van. I left the camp sight a little cleaner than I found it. I’m sure I’ll be back again, maybe as early as April to fish the trout stream.

The buck took the back seat of course.
I drove down the narrow road and came to the stop sign at rte. 666. I took out an Alec Bradley Family Blend cigar and lit the foot. The flavor was smooth and tasteful. I turned left up 666 and took the long way home.




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