USA: 2022 Whitetail

gillettehunter

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This year was interesting. Had a tougher time than normal getting hold of the ranch manager where I normally hunt. When I did he told me that the ranch had been leased to an outfitter. Probably my last year hunting there.
Opening day the forecast called for a NW wind. Doesn’t work for the place I often hunt on the South end of the property. So I went to the far North end. Clear to the border fence. It was just getting light as I exited the truck.
Opening day always brings a degree of excitement with it. The crisp morning air felt good. It was mostly clear with a light breeze. Perfect way to start. As the stars disappeared and the horizon brightened I eased up to the edge of a drop off. The stream was well below me and a couple of hundred yards away.
Coming to the edge I spent time using my binoculars. I’d carefully glass and then 2 steps forward and glass some more. I was rather disappointed that there was nothing in sight. After making sure nothing was right under my feet a I made a big loop. I wanted to come out on a point that was about 300 yds to the South of me.
I again I carefully approached the edge glassing as I went. Just as I was getting to where I could see the stream I saw 3 deer. There are both mulies and whitetail here. I prefer to eat the whitetail so I rarely consider a mule deer unless he is very big.
These were whitetails and appeared to be bucks! I crouched and slowly made my way near the edge so I could get prone to shoot. My rifle this day is a 6.5 SS. Very similar to a 6.5 PRC. My hand loaded 156 gr Berger’s are running right at 3000 fps. It will shoot 1/3 MOA if I do my part. Prior to this I was 7 shots for 7 dead animals. Great combo that kills very well.
My scope is a Nightforce NX 8. I dropped the bipod and got the deer in my scope. I increased the magnification and knew they were mature bucks. My rangefinder told me they were 387 yds away and that I needed 3.8 MOA of elevation. I dialed 3.75 and got back on the bucks.
By this time I could only see 2 of the bucks. The one in front was quartering towards me. As I decided he looked as good antler wise as the 2nd buck in sight he gave me a mostly broadside shot. I put my finger on the trigger and as I lined up behind the shoulder I put too much pressure on the trigger and the gun fired.
Although I hadn’t felt ready quite yet the sight picture had been good……. I didn’t hear the slap of a bullet hitting flesh. But I couldn’t see my deer either despite my elevated position. As I watched I could see 2 deer run away, stop and then continue on. In my mind I thought, there has to be a dead deer there right? Always some concern. I didn’t see it fall. Could the 3 rd buck of ran off without me seeing him?
After carefully marking where I thought he had been standing I went to look. I’m going to have a hip replacement in January so I needed a reasonable place to drop off of the top of the cut bank that I was on. After getting to the stream I found a crossing point where I wouldn’t get too wet. On the other side I found my buck. Best one I’ve gotten in a while. High shoulder shot dropped him in his tracks.
After gutting him I walked back to the truck and drove to the South to an old 2 track that went down beside the stream. I then unloaded my jet sled and loaded the buck into it. I pulled him the 50 yds to the stream and then attached a rope to the truck and pulled him across the stream. I drug the sled 20 yds to a place where the front tires were higher than the rear ones. This of course,
61746C17-AEE3-4EF4-B11B-64FCD1AFBE5F.jpeg
makes the tailgate closer to the ground. After heaving the front end of the sled on the tailgate I pushed him into the box and closed the tailgate
Not a monster but a nice buck. He eats just fine!
Bruce
5B091376-0978-4D18-A702-CADC86120333.jpeg
 
Very nice thanks for sharing.
 
Nice buck and good luck on the hip replacement. I had one done in 2021 and I couldn't be a happier old man.
 
Gotta love the ol' Whitetail Freezer fillers. Nice buck.
 
It's almost surgical when you know the ground and your firearm so well.
Congratulations.
 
Beautiful buck. Congratulations. my 72 y/o sister-in-law had her hip replaced last year and she says she hasn't been able to get around so well in many years.

Safe hunting
 
Beautiful buck, congrats!!!
 
Congrats - fine buck!
 
Nice! Great buck. Thanks for sharing the story.
 
That's a great whitetail, Gillette!

I'm going to be in your neck of the woods for the first time next September, chasing elk with a bow...can't wait!
 
Congratulations on a great last hunt there. Good luck with the upcoming surgery
 

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