Thursday, July 7, 2011

Double Down

With all the talk going on about our Social Media Deer Tour this year I have been thinking more about hunts, past and future. As we talked on Twitter the other night I told someone about one of the fastest hunts I have ever been on, if you can even call this one a hunt. No stand, no hours of waiting, just pure dumb luck of being in the right place at the right time. Thought I would pass it along just to show that sometimes you just get lucky even when you aren’t particularly smart. When staying home would have been the better choice considering how I felt.

A few years ago I was having a good start to my season, I had taken a couple of deer with my bow and was really looking forward to our muzzleloader season which was only a week long. I had a small food plot out, a new tower stand overlooking it, deer were coming in plus the weather was great. All I needed was the last few days of archery to pass then on to smoke poles.

This is a view from my tower stand before the food plot was in. Deer were between the stand and cedars on left.

I spent the last few days of work just waiting for Saturday to roll around. We had one weekend to hunt with muzzleloaders only since the next Saturday gun opened. You can use any weapon during gun but I wanted to get one with my .50 first. Then along comes Thursday, I don’t feel so good. Is that a fever? Why am I hurting all over? Chills and shakes, you have got to be kidding me!! Yep I got the flu 36 hours before the opener.

Now I am down sicker than sick getting calls from my brother and friends that are going asking if I am. All I am hoping for is to make it to the next day. Turns out this strain was one of the bad ones. Oh joy, just what I wanted. I spend the next 4 days miserable, missing hunting and work till finally I managed to go back to work on Tuesday. I wasn’t much good since I was still weak, but at least I was out of bed.

As I was driving home I kept looking at the clock thinking if I get to my house by a certain time, grabbed my gear, drove 15 minutes, walked/ran for close to half a mile to the food plot I might have 5-10 minutes to see if a deer was out. I got home right on time, ran in grabbed what I needed and took off for Marshall county, wheezing and coughing with every step. I was going hunting.

About 5 minutes into my drive my phone goes off, its’ my brother telling me he is headed to the check in station with a big 6 pointer he had taken in Cheatham county coming into a grunt call. The time is now 4:40 shooting ends around 5:15.
“I’m headed over to hunt the food plot in Marshall county.”
“You’ll never make it, look at the time.”
“They will be there or they won’t. I just need to get in sight of the food plot. Can’t kill ‘em on the couch and I missed the weekend.”
“Call me when you leave the field, let me know if you saw anything.”
“Will do.”

I pulled up to the barn, parked and started throwing on vest, hat and pack. I grabbed my Winchester and headed toward my food plot which was at the back corner of the 75 acre farm. This property was narrow and long, I could have driven closer but didn’t want to spook anything driving in. I was huffing, wheezing and coughing as I tried to go as fast as I could. Amazingly I made it to the back field without my lungs or head exploding or blacking out from lack of air.

I slowed down to catch my breath as I eased up the last couple of hundred yards. The plot was on a small hill and I had to drop down into a dip before going up a final rise. This put me in our farm road with no cover in full view of any deer. I slipped up to get about 100 yards from the edge of the plot and sure enough there are deer feeding about 20 yards out in the food.

Now for the fun part. I have no way to rest against a tree, no trees, no shooting sticks, grass is too high to sit down, what to do? I fall back on something my brother always thought was amazing, for some reason when hunting I can shoot offhand. Not at the range punching paper, then I can’t hit a barn, but under hunting conditions it comes together. I picked out a big doe that was just at 120 yards cranked the scope up to 10 and settled in. As the crosshairs settled behind her shoulder I touched one off.

Huge cloud of smoke, recoil throwing the scope off target and that great BOOM of black powder, I love it. As soon as I could I was reaching for a reload even before I could see past the smoke. As I seated another round I looked to see a deer standing at the right edge of the field looking back to where the one I had shot at had been standing. It took a step back that way never looking at me then walked back out and stood staring at the ground.
“Oh shit! I killed that first one.” I say out loud as I realize it is looking at the first deer.
I get the gun up quickly settle the crosshairs on number 2 and touch the trigger. Again that wonderful push, cloud and boom then I’m reloading a third round just in case. As the smoke clears I don’t see anything in the field. I head up to check things out, as I get near the field edge I see a white belly then another one. Both deer are down within 6 yards of each other, neither one took a step. Not bad, two 120 yard offhand shots in under a minute. Yes I am very proud of those shots.

First deer is in distance. Closer one was the curious one.

By now it is getting dark so I take a couple of pictures, walk back to get my truck then come back to get them loaded. By the time I get back with the truck I am getting sick again after the adrenaline has worn off but I have two nice deer down along with a great story. I get them loaded and point the truck towards home all before 6:00.

Loaded up and headed to the house.

As I get out on the main road I call my brother.
“Tell me a story.” he says.
“Headed to the check in station.”
“So you got one.”
“Nope two. Got a double.”
“Congrats, bro!!”
We swap stories for a few minutes about another 3 deer day for us, I miss those. His good 6 point and my 2 does are now logged into our hunting journals to read, remember and pass along to friends.

Moral of the story, if you get a few minutes, go, you never know what might be standing there waiting for you.


Albert Quackenbush said...

Tommy, that is a great story. Thanks for sharing that. That's some pretty good shooting for a hunter on one deer that's healthy. You step it up and shoot two at 120yds with the flu? NICE! Well done my friend, well done. That is a great day.

Rudy from Huntography said...

Love the details Tommy. Brings your experience to life!

Anonymous said...

yea but hes obviously a killer will never be a true hunter...signed,
a true hunter.

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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