It was this past Saturday, opening day of regular season in the southern zone. I woke up bright and early from my turbulent slumber (I tossed and turned all night, dreaming of my chance to shoot a trophy buck, or a doe, or Bambi… people like me can’t be picky), and I headed out to my special tree stand! This tree stand has brought good fortune to all who have sat in it, with one exception… me.
It was about 56 degrees outside, which is really warm for November, but it was raining all morning. I tried to text my hunting partner, Ashleigh, to see if she had any luck in her stand when I realized that if I kept texting, the rain would probably ruin my phone. I was going to have to hunt the old-fashioned way… without a cell phone.
I waited all morning and about ten minutes before I decided to head back home, I looked up and saw a doe walking 75 yards away in the field. As I mentioned before, I was not in the position to be picky, and with a doe tag to fill I went for it!
I zeroed in on the doe with my scope, turned the safety off, and BANG! I was so confident in my shot; I didn’t shake while I was shooting and I didn’t feel myself jerk the gun so I assumed I had hit it. In my excitement I forgot about the whole concept of re-loading and shooting again, so I just watched while the doe took off, stopped to look around for a second, and then disappeared into the woods.
Now I’m no expert (clearly) but I’ve seen enough hunting shows to know how deer react when they’ve been hit. This deer did the complete opposite. All of my confidence in my kill disappeared.
During the process of tracking the doe I realized that I should have paid better attention to where the doe was standing when I shot, and I also realized that you shouldn’t drive a four-wheeler through tall weeds in unknown territory because you might drive straight into a beaver dam in a little swamp. Oops.
After concluding that I missed, my husband and I decided to sight my gun in again to make sure I did it right the first time. I shot a couple of times… missed. My husband shot... missed. The marks from the bullets were no where to be found on the targets. Something was seriously wrong with my gun. After a half an hour of shooting at huge pieces of cardboard and completely missing my husband figured it out.
I was shooting .270 bullets out of my .30-06 rifle.
If you’re like me and completely clueless, let me break it down for you. Bullets for a .270 are smaller than bullets for a .30-06. So I was shooting bullets that were too small, causing them to vibrate and spin through the barrel of my gun, which in turn shot the bullets out in every direction but straight. The mystery is this: how did I get my hands on .270 ammunition when nobody at my house owns a .270 rifle? Some things will never be explained.
On the bright side of things, it wasn’t my fault that I missed!!
After that disaster of a morning I was confident that with the correct ammunition, I would have a much better chance at hitting a deer!
20 minutes after getting back into my tree stand for the afternoon I saw three doe cross in front of me. I know that I could have taken my pick but I had the rest of the night so I waited for something better to come along. When the doe had just about exited the field I saw another deer coming from my right. It looked like another doe. I found it in my scope and just about fell out of the tree stand… it had a rack!
It was a buck!
It looked like a spike horn which was good enough for me! This time I wasn’t going to mess around. I lined it up in my scope, made some awful pitiful noise that sounded nothing like a deer, but more like a person grunting because they ate too much at the Ponderosa buffet, and I shot! The buck ran across the field, stopped, changed direction and ran four steps back towards me, and dropped!!!
Little Buck Down!!!
I can’t even put into words the excitement I felt at that moment! After searching through the weeds I found my buck! I had hit him right in the kill zone. He turned out to be a small four point. I couldn’t believe it; I killed a buck on opening day! I was in all my glory… until my husband showed up and reminded me that I had to be the one to gut the deer. 45 minutes of arguing and protesting later, I finished gutting it. I am now an official deer hunter!
My sister's boyfriend (the bad fisherman from a previous post) with his first kill, a bigger 4 point.
Next year, these are the bucks I'm going to kill:
Mike Lavenia shot this 15 point buck in Redfield. Photo courtesy of Lake Ontario Outdoors.
Rob Godfrey of Hannibal with his 10 point buck