Wisconsin. Gun season. Opening morning. Hunting pressure has put this buck in the open, jogging across a hayfield.
It takes longer to explain it than to think it, but here’s what my brain tells me as my cheek nestles into the cool stock of my old-but-trustworthy .30-06: Decent-sized buck, don’t be foolish and wait for a bigger one. Safe shot, as evidenced by the hill in the background. Range of 90 yards? Piece of cake, with nothing but air between us. Wind? Negligible at this distance. Yes he’s moving, but only at a steady canter, not at that crazy-bouncy, all-out whitetail gait. Wait for the perfect standing shot and you’ll seldom shoot a deer here, and I’d rather eat deer than cow this …
BOOM! The rifle had been panning with the buck, the muzzle moving along and the crosshairs centered in the middle of the deer’s chest. I walk over, shaking a bit from the cold but mostly from the excitement, and quickly spot sprays of bright red blood. There he is! Lung shot. I go to work on my winter meat … with the bonus of a beautiful chocolate-brown rack for the wall.–Tom Carpenter
Global warming my frozen gluteus maximus! A few weeks ago I dressed in bug-resistant clothing, and now I’m wearing goose down. Welcome to November 1 in Minnesota. Actually, the cold doesn’t bother me anymore now that I’m completely numb.
Still, I was enjoying my submersion in this Norman Rockwell setting when this dandy buck materialized from the brush. The rangefinder reads 38 yards—not a chip shot, but I don’t have a problem with this distance. Last season my tears would’ve been freezing to my cheeks as I pouted and watched this buck wander off, but this year he’s in trouble.
I discovered Magnus BuzzCut broadheads during the off-season, and I’m more confident than ever with shots up to 45 yards. I’m a bit concerned about this buck jumping the string at this range, but he hasn’t been alerted by the chattering of my teeth so I should be safe. I also see bit of vegetation standing close to the buck, but because I’m shooting a fixed-blade broadhead, I’m not afraid of mowing a little grass before driving an arrow through this buck’s vitals.–Luke Hartle
I’ve been waiting for the return of rutting whitetails since last November! No doubt this buck’s a shooter —10 long typical points, good mass and spread, easily a 150-class rack. His overall body confirmation, including a slight pot belly and darkly stained hocks, indicate he’s fully mature.
My favorite .308 Win. T/C Encore pistol is topped with the new Nikon Encore scope and loaded with 165-grain Ball istic Silvertip ammo, which is sighted dead-on at 100 yards. The gun’s resting solidly on my BOG Gear shooting sticks, and I’m following the buck through the scope as he speed-walks.
While I’ve shot moving game with my hunting pistols, I prefer a standing shot. With this buck on the trail of a willing doe, he’s probably not going to pause on his own, so I’ll have to stop him with a loud grunt or snort-wheeze call. I’m not the least bit concerned about the range because with the .308 Win. Encore pistol I can accurately shoot to 300 yards. As soon as the buck puts on the brakes, I’ll take a deep breath, release a little of it, hold steady and then as calmly as possible gently tug the trigger.–Larry Weishuhn