Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Always bring your bipod gun rest with you.

Hello all,

As the season goes on the amount of actual daylight obviously decreases. The time that I am able to get out and hunt greatly diminishes as time goes on. I commute to work about half an hour both ways and Cheatham WMA (my primary hunting location) is about 50 minutes from where I live. Consequently, when I planned a hunt in the early season I could get to my favorite hunting areas after work (@ 3 PM) and have a good 3 hours to hunt, but at this point in the game I can't hunt in Cheatham during the week. Just not enough time

As the Summer turned to Fall and the Fall to Winter the sun now dips below the horizon by about 5 PM. To make a long story shorter... I began to look at public hunting opportunities closer to the hospital that I work. I found a place about 5 miles away.

As I hunted this area last year for Spring Turkey Season I noticed some deer sign, but nothing to write home about. I decided to give the area a look after work. I noted that the area seemed to be hunted frequently. I always saw trucks parked along the fields and while I saw lots of deer tracks I failed to see any deer during the last two hours of light.

On the 25th of December, Cheatham sadly ended it's legal hunting season. I had planned to hunt private land for the next two weekends. Those plans unfortunately fell through. I decided to get up early (4 AM) on Monday morning to go to the area where I had been hunting after work. This would be the first morning hunt at this location.

As I arrived at the WMA I decided to have a look at the large field to see what type of sign was there. When I got to the field I saw a hunter who I waved to and moved to a small little stretch of land that seemed to be a night time haunt for deer. I held very little hope of actually seeing anything at this location. Especially since the sun was rising by now. As I came to the area, I began to think about the breakfast that I could be getting instead of sitting in the cold waiting in an area that was so obviously the wrong place.

I maintained my version of stealth as I came into the clearing. I noticed a deer running to the left of me. I stood motionless as I looked in disbelief. I dropped to my knees and held my Knight Revolution Muzzleloader as if it might know what the deer would do next.

Just a moment later another deer comes in and out of view so quickly that I start to move my head around like a bobble hunter in search of all the other deer that may be running... no traveling undisturbed into their favorite bedtime snack.

I was holding my muzzy up and searching for deer that kept moving behind trees that seemed to be in exactly the wrong places. There seemed to be anywhere from 5-10 deer within 40 yards of where I was knelling.

Just then I notice a deer traveling towards my location. I raise my scope and squeezed off a shot at the deer. When the smoke cleared (which seem like an eternity) I saw some tails in the woods bounding in every direction. I reloaded the muzzleloader and went directly to where the deer was when I shot. I found no sign of hitting the deer. I did find where I thought the bullet hit the dirt though. I made a perimeter search three times and finally concluded that the shot was a clean miss. Thank God. I would have rather killed the deer but am always relieved to know that I didn't injure the deer.

I decided to leave and head to the firing range to check that my muzzy was correctly adjusted. When I got to the range I shot 4 bullets down range 100 yards and all but one hit dead center. That one was the first shot and it was within the 4 in ring and was a flinch that was detected as the shot was fired.

I came up with what I feel is a reasonable explanation: I botched the shot. I could have put up a knee if I had thought of it before I did. By the time I thought of it the deer was heading right towards me and would have surely seen the movement. If, on the other hand, I would have brought my bipod gun rest I would have taken home the venison for sure.

Tough luck though. I felt blessed to see so many mature deer. I will obviously be back to that location some day soon. Perhaps this weekend and for sure next year.


1 comment:

Mike said...

Sean - sounds like you are doing something right to be seeing deer. multiple deer within 40 yards when you are ready to fire is cool :) You have a good area there. I'm enjoying reading about it and glad to know that i am not the ONLY ONE to ever just plain miss - remember that big muley buck at 40 yards I told you

Here in NY the season is closed, but I'm already looking forward to spring turkey in May :)

I hope to have my son take a hunter ed course before then so he can join me.

Now I have nothing to do (hunting that is) except finish tanning a couple of hides that God blessd me with during the 2007 season.

Hope to hear more from you soon - Mike in NY