Deer Stalking in Southern Illinois

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okawbow

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Today was the last day of the Illinois muzzleloading season. The sun finally came out this morning, so I decided to sit against a tree on a ridge, where I could look down a small valley and see a grass field about 100 yards away.

The temperature was 20 degrees, but fairly comfortable in the woods. About 8:00, I saw movement in the grass field, and could see antlers through the brush and trees. The buck stepped into the sunlight, and I was tempted to shoot, but there were too many branches in the way.

The buck walked out of sight up the hill, so I moved as quietly as possible to the edge of the field. Peeking out of the brush, I couldn’t see the deer, so started up the hill along the field edge. As I came around a brush pile at the edge of the field, I saw the buck standing about 100 yards away with his head down. I slowly raised my longrifle, settled the silver front sight halfway up the deer, aiming at the far leg. Squeezed the trigger, and followed through the shot as the flintlock quickly fired.

The deer took off across the field and disappeared from sight behind some brush. I looked for him to reappear on the other side, but he never did. I reloaded quickly and headed in the direction of his flight. I walked to the edge of the woods, but could find no blood. Then I looked back toward the direction he ran from, and there he was laying in a low spot in the field!

The .54 caliber ball had entered about the last rib, and was stopped under the hide of the opposite shoulder, after going through both lungs.

I built my rifle from a walnut plank. The 48”swamped barrel was made by Charlie Burton. The lock is a Davis Colonial. It’s very well balanced and accurate. The lock is extremely dependable and fast for such a large lock. My load was 90 grains Old Eynsford 2F. The patch was .024” denim with bear oil for lube. Prime was 4f.
 

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sb 54 cal.

40 Cal.
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north of Stl Mo.
Very nice Rifle and deer our Muzzleloader season starts 12/20 here in Mo. and hope to do as good as you did. Also using a .54 (smooth Rifle)
 

Shifty

45 Cal.
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Nice hunt and you rifle performed well, congrats.
 

Rat

50 Cal.
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Wow. Nice rifle. 48"!!! Cool.
 

Christophero

36 Cal.
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I LOVE it when a plan and stalk come together! Congratulations.

I filled my two local tags already with the 45/70 and lament not being able to go out with the muzzleloader in January. Yet, meat is in the canning jars on the shelf and the antlers are in the garage waiting for whatever I make with them. Still, placing a round ball in the vitals, as you have done, good sir, is a special treat. Well Done and told. Thank you for the story.
 

hanshi

Cannon
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Great stalk on that buck. That is a nice rifle, too.
 

chuck p

32 Cal.
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nice,..where do you hunt in southern ill.,...i use to hunt down in southern pope county, in golconda,..lotsa deer and usually pretty comfortable weather
 

okawbow

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My property is just north of the Shawnee national forest in Saline County. Good numbers of deer and turkeys, but fewer big bucks than the northern part of Illinois.
 

Logcutter

40 Cal
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Congrats on a nice buck Okawbow. And on the last day of the season, that makes it all the sweeter. That's some rifle as well. Enjoyed the write up.
 

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