Last Day, Deer Season 2018-2019

Discussion in 'The Hunting Journal' started by Loyalist Dave, Jan 6, 2019.

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  1. Jan 6, 2019 #1

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

    Cannon MLF Supporter

    Nov 23, 2011
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    People's Republic of Maryland
    So in my state they open up "regular gun" season for deer the first weekend in January, for three "extra" days.This year it was the 4th, 5th, and 6th. They allow Sunday hunting on private land on this weekend, as well as on the first weekend of Fall Deer season, and the first weekend of Muzzleloader Season.

    Where I live you may only use muzzleloader or shotgun, no fixed cartridge rifles. So for the range and the accuracy, I like to use a muzzleloader. ;)

    It having been sooo wet this year, and my having other obligations, really put a damper on my ability to get into the woods. Muzzleloader Deer season was open the weekend before Christmas, but since we were having house guests, I had to help clean up the house. (I mean they got free drinks and a feast, what more would the guests have wanted ??? o_O) Well, Happy Wife = Happy Life.

    So I told the family, "Don't bother me from the 4th, through the 6th". And they were nice enough to comply.

    So Friday, things weren't bad, but it was dry so the leaves were crunchy. I saw several deer, but..., they were on the other side of property lines. The tiny farm where I hunt has a horse-boarding operation to the East, so I can't even think of shooting in that direction. Mostly I hunt the abandoned vinyard and woodlot to the North on my friend's tiny farm. Prime deer bedding and feeding area, with the Northern border being a creek.

    The deer in the area had developed an evening feeding pattern. On my way home for about ten miles leading into my town, I'd check the fields. All along these fields, and on the small farm, the deer seemed to like to come out at about 4:30, just before sundown, to graze. Only this past Friday..., no luck when I went out, and set up where they had been grazing the previous few nights.

    Now I did see three deer hopping a fence way over on the horse-boarding farm, and continue South. THEN I heard a teeth jarring gun report from the woods on that farm..., sure didn't sound like any black powder or slug launching shotgun that I've heard in the past. Oh well, his property, if he wants to use a modern rifle and take his chances with the be it.

    Saturday it poured, and although I could move in a very silent manner, the deer like to hold-up in very thick pine areas to be shielded from the wind and the rain, in my area. So I heard some move, but saw nothing. I came home, worried I'd be skunked for the season, but I made up for the lack of venison by brewing 3 gallons if IPA. (Some folks feel better baking...I feel better after brewing :cool:) I remembered it was the dark of the moon this weekend, so... I still might get lucky.

    This morning the storm front had moved off, and I got out just about at sunrise. A nice, still morning, with frost on the grass. Not much if any wind to carry my scent....,

    I like to go to the old barn on the property, and stand for about ten minutes and listen, then try to move to a good spot to wait in ambush. I saw four doe move off to the West, and two more skirt the border to the East (well as I've written, I won't shoot in that direction ... with my luck I'd hit a nice jumping horse with a pass through bullet from a deer nope.....)

    As I moved cautiously from the barn across a field of grass only about 20 yards wide, toward the defunct grape vines, from the West came two doe (I think from the first four I had seen move off). Minutes before, they had moved off at a walk with tails high, but I think they had heard me and moved without seeing me.

    The closest doe was craining her head very high trying to locate me. I think she was very curious. I was between them and the sun, standing in the open, and I was sure she could see me, but she kept stamping and taking a step. She then snorted and moved off the way she had come. Again, though, not at full speed, but at a fast walk.

    A few minutes of slow creeping later, I was in the old vinyard, among the old posts, and overgrown brush. IF the deer I had seen (including the curious doe) hadn't kept moving after I lost sight of them..., they'd be in the woodlot about 60 yards West of me. As I pondered the two doe that had come back looking for me, it suddenly dawned on me she couldn't have seen me with the sun so low....I probably could've turned 90 degrees from facing North to facing West, and taken a shot. BUT..., I was glad that I hadn't, as none of the deer that I'd seen so far had bolted, but had moved off with perhaps "some concern"...if that makes sense. They might be still near by, or maybe they had some friends around ???.....

    So just as I reached my spot..., among the defunct vines in a large open area of low overgrowth, surrounded by boundary hedges, I could hear noise to the South West. A straggler, a doe which came out of nowhere was in the open field where the curious doe had just been. I could see the doe through the hedge, but she obviously didn't see me....,

    Shoot through the hedge? Naw, that for me is a recipe for a clean miss or worse, a wounded but mobile deer. Better to wait. She might hit the hedge and walk West, paralel to the bushes and away from me an out of sight, OR with luck..., she'd come through the hedge and present a shot. I waited.

    Sure enough, I heard her moving through the hedge, but I don't like shooting off-hand. I usually brace my "weak" hand against a tree (or in this case one of the old vinyard posts) and lay the rifle across that arm, so I get a sort of standing tri-pod effect. Very steady, and quite successful in the past, but I couldn't get that position and be able to line up the sights where she looked like she was going to exit. So I got my feet planted, got the best off-hand position I could muster, and shouldered and leveled the rifle.

    She poked her head out, started moving forward, and I slowly pulled the lock to full cock. The audible click sounded to me as loud as a firecracker, but she didn't react. She came out of the hedge, broadside to me, but then turned 45 degrees toward me. Well, I've been meaning to try a shoulder shot...., so I lined up the sights, and touched off Trudy's patched, .530 round ball, and 70 grains of 3Fg.

    The smoke cleared, and the doe was still there.

    BUT..., she was lying on her side right where she'd been when I pressed the trigger. WOW..., so the first time I've tried the shoulder shot, and as reported by others in the past, it drops them in their tracks. Litterally in their tracks. :thumbs up:

    I knew she wasn't very big when I first saw her, but I decided that on the last day of the season, without having put in any venison earlier, that I would take whatever blessing came my way when it came. Either she presented me a shot, OR I would be happy that I'd seen a lot of doe for my day in the woods.

    January Deer 2019.jpg Distance from me at shot = 33 yards.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
    Hammond79, wiksmo, bud in pa and 7 others like this.

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