Opening day of modern gun in KY yesterday. Miserable morning. Cold front moving through. 6 AM and it starts a light rain..low 40s. Within an hour its in the low 30s and rain has turned to snow. I'm the lucky one...sitting in a covered tower blind. The wind is pretty hard as well which makes it worse. By 8:30 I'm soaked and all my friends are soaked and freezing as well. Saw two does galloping across my cornfield and that's it. I've already killed two does for meat earlier...I'm looking for antlers today... I climb down, fire up the Ranger...collect my friends and head back to the heat of the truck. Didn't hear a shot fired all morning which is an indication of how miserable it is and how few hunters are out.
By 10:30 we are warmed up and dry and the snow and wind have stopped. We mostly head out...2 of the younger guys have had enough and head to home. Back in the blind and the deer are moving everywhere. Probably saw 20 deer by 2 PM. My blind sits on the edge of a 70 acre cut cornfield with a wooded draw to my left...wooded fencerow to my right and woods to my rear sloping steeply down to fairly large creek about 120 yards behind me. The deer are heavily using the woods to my rear and there are two trails that seem to be a deer superhighway based on their traffic today.
About 2 PM my buddy next to me along the same creek...but 300 yards up facing a different field...shoots a doe. Said she ran into the woods behind us. 15 minutes 2 does come running behind me from his direction followed by a badly wounded deer with a clearly broken front leg and bloody bits dangling from her sternum. She's about 50 yards so I pull up and shoot her while she's walking. At the shot she jumps and runs and piles up within 15 yards. Good... Text my friend I finished his deer...let her lay for the moment...still hunting for bucks!
At 2:30 I see three does at the bottom of the woods near the creek to my rear headed from left to right. They are moving fast--probably being pushed by a buck. About 10 minutes later I spot him...nice mature ten pointer following the does. He's about 90 yards away...but lots of trees and brush and the opportunities for a clean shot are limited and he's moving with intent. Its not a long shot but it has to be threaded through a few narrow openings and timed right because he's moving. I've got my Benelli Lupo in .270 Winchester up on the frame rail but the downward slope of the hill requires me to halfway stand to get the barrel low enough to be on target--not the steadiest or most comfortable shooting position but hey that's hunting...you take what you got! First two breaks in the trees are all wrong...then the third opening I have him. Shot breaks low on his chest and right behind the shoulder...should have been a little higher at that angle but like I said...you take what you can get. I had at best a 2 second window in that small lane of open woods. I see him hunch up and then give a big mule kick (which is usually a good sign) and then he disappears over a small dip in the ground BUT in the direction of the creek about 15 yards away....no no no...if he gets there I cold lose him. Don't see him any more. All is quiet. I give it 15 minutes and climb down... Gently pick my way down the steep, very wet slippery hill...and there he is piled up 10 yards from where I shot him barely 5 yards from the water.
Any other time of year there is no way a mature deer like this is up and moving around in daylight. But the prospect of a doe in estrus is too much and these guys will move nearly non-stop for days chasing does. You will see them at all hours of the day. When I looked where I shot him there was a scrape he was tending along the trail not 5 yards from where I shot him. Complete pass through--low double lung.
Hunting the rut is so much fun. Even if you are lazy and don't want to go out in the early AM you can still find deer like this....like me...at mid afternoon, Not my best buck by far. But a nice mature 11 pointer and it took three of us to get him in the back of the ranger and had to use a winch to get him up the creek bank!
.270 Winchester with hand loaded 130 gr Nosler Accubond..about 3120 fps...
One last thing...I was using a 1.75-10 variable power scope. When hunting I always preach keep the scope on its lowest power. In this case I shot him with it on 1.75 power. If I had it on 10 power I would have never made the shot because I had to be able to see him moving between the trees...had it had been on 10 power the field of view would have been too narrow and I'd have never picked him up or maybe ever found him in the scope in a situation like that.