Depredation Deer

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sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
1,835
Location
soda springs, idaho
I have a few depredation deer & antelope tags but the weather has been so hot I've been holding off trying to fill any of them. Last year I took a muley doe & an antelope doe with my Ruger 10.5" 357 Maximum so I was hoping to use other calibers this year.
I decided late yesterday to make a little run & see what things looked like because it's always different from year to year. Last year the hay crops had been harvested & the antelope could be pattered pretty easy. They would hold up in the cut fields during the day & head for water 2-3 different times. My problem was trying to figure out their travel pattern & it took me several trips with these little speed merchants to finally get one at 123 yds with the scoped Maximum & a 200 gr. cast PC slug. I had shot the muley doe a few days earlier at 93 yds with the same gun so I was hoping I wouldn't have to use it on this trip although I did take it.
As I turned down a dusty dirt road I saw 6 deer standing in a stubble field off to my left at about 125 yds or so. I didn't range them but they were within easy distance of the Maxium but I held off, I hadn't been there 5 minutes! A couple more miles & I see 5 more & these are about 40 yds, all doe's & fawns & any of the 4 revolvers I have with me would have been up to the task, I pass again.
I really want to see what the antelope (Pronghorn) are doing up in the hay fields so I keep going & turn into several big hay fields & they are still irrigating , yikes! There is water everywhere & antelope everywhere. I have a real problem on my hands, they can drink anywhere they want & this country is as open as a pool table for miles in every direction. They are going to harvest another crop, this is really going to be a challenge with a six gun.
About that time one of the hired men drives up & he knows me & asks what I'm packing as he eyes my iron sighted six gun. I tell him it's a Ruger 41 magnum Bisley & he just smiles & says he has to go turn on another center pivot & takes off on his 4 wheeler. I can tell he thinks I'm crazy!
As I'm unloading my 4 wheeler a muley doe & twin fawns walk up out of some very heavy bushes & stands in the hay looking at me from about 50-60 yds. No way would I shoot her. They've been down to the reservoir to get a drink before starting their nightly feeding pattern.
I take off for 2-3 miles glassing for antelope, they are everywhere but up high at the top of the hay fields & they can see me from 7-8 hundred yds away, they know they are safe & I'm quickly running out of time for the day.
I cut down through some sagebrush towards the reservoir because there's always deer hanging out in the little draws between the hay fields & the water. I start seeing deer everywhere. After a few minutes I quit counting. I see 4 head of doe's watching me at about 50 yds & I turn the 4 wheeler side ways to see if they will give me a shot but I think they have played this game before & they start doing the bouncy bounce around the hill side & within seconds all I see is dust.
I ease around the hill side & I'm looking at acres & acres of very heavy Cockle Burrs, they are so thick its like a jungle. Easing around the hill side I just happen to see a deer hidden in that crazy thick stuff so I stop & glass & it's a doe. I ease off the 4 wheeler & I'm amazed I even saw her it's so thick in there. You'll see in the first photo the real green stuff, you can't imagine how thick it is & everything has a Cockle Burr on it with thick stalks. I think it's about 40 yds but don't dare take time to range it, at this distance it doesn't matter anyway, I can hit an orange with this gun every time. If I miss it has to be a bad orange. I'm afraid I can't run a 230 gr Keith through the heavy stalks so I make a soft fawn bleat with my mouth to try & make her stand, nothing. I do it again & this time she stands up. Great, now I've got a worse shot. Nothing but the head & neck & I hate those shots. I know some people swear by them & I know they are deadly when perfect but they can also be a big mess if something happens right at the trigger squeeze.
I decide to take the neck shot as I'm leaning over my 4 wheeler seat & kneeling. At the shot I hear the beautiful thump what a solid hit & I can't see anything, she's disappeared in that horrible jungle of Cockle Burrs. I range the spot at 42 yds.
I start easing my 4 wheeler down into the Cockle Burrs of hell, going real slow & I drop the front end right into a 3 foot drop off & almost go over the handle bars! It was all grown over & I didn't see it & was very lucky I high centered or I might have flipped it right on top of me. I couldn't budge the machine so I had to walk 2 miles back to my truck in the fading light, drive back to the 4 wheeler, hook onto it with my tow strap & ease it out of the drop off. I was really lucky.
I took my walking stick & tried to jump the drop off but only made it far enough to fall part way in so I climbed the bank & found the doe. I had hit her right at the base of the neck & she never moved. Bad blood everywhere. With this kind of a hit any caliber will work but the 41 magnum is an old trusted friend, that 230 gr Keith has been with me for 50 years & taken a lot of game. I've taken more elk with some of my other calibers but when it comes to deer I've probably taken as many deer with it as any caliber I've ever had going back to the mid 60's, can't imagine a better deer caliber.
So now it's 10pm & I'm gutting a very fat doe using my head light, it's cooled down a bit & I'm a happy six gunner. Holster is my ever present Barranti North West Hunter rig, nothing finer!

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Dick
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
21,433
Location
Lake Lure NC USA
Love these "Tales From Soda!"

Kudos on getting the deer. And as it happens all too often,, what can appear "easy" turns into a lot more work than anticipated.
Thankfully,, you were not hurt.
 

Joe S.

Hunter
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
4,755
Location
Central MS
I am so glad you werent hurt!!

Good job. Do you ever encounter snakes out on these adventures? Like crawling through rock gardens and in heavy brush?
 

sixshot

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
1,835
Location
soda springs, idaho
Joe, good question & I"ve never been ask that. Yes I have had some run in's with snakes but I've been lucky, I've never been bitten. There are certain areas that are much worse than others & in those places I'm pretty cautious because I can't hear them. If any of my kids are with me I have them walk in front, they hear them rattle if it's a Rattlesnake & we take care of business (kill them) I know some people don't but we do although we don't see that many except when we are on spring bear hunts in central Idaho, Yikes! That place can be simply crawling with them in many areas, you really have to watch out.
I had one crawl across the foot of my sleeping bag one time, it woke me up & the natural thing to do is to kick but if you do that you might toss it right into your lap. I waited a couple of seconds & then flipped it sideways before grabbing my flashlight. It crawled away & I moved to another spot a quarter mile.

Dick
 

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