ARTICLE: MY SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE HUNTS – THREE STRIKES AND YOU’RE OUT! Or Game Called On Account Of Rain
This past October I found myself once again at my friend David’s ranch in Oklahoma for their muzzleloader season. It was my 17th trip down there and I was hoping to break my score-less streak going back to the 2018 season.
The weather was warm and dry the day arrived. I was glad to see that it was dry and that I would be able to get to my stand at the Back Lot. The year before it had rained a butt load the week before opening day and the creek I have to cross to get to my spot was running fast and full. There was no way to cross it safely so I was blocked out of the spot I was certain was full of twelve point bucks and 200 pound does.
Opening morning a buck did show up at the Back Lot just not a big one. A spike came into the plot and fed around awhile then left. It was only the first day so I still felt good about my position.
That afternoon doe wondered in just before 5 to get some supper. I watched her for a quite a while through first through the binoculars and then my scope. I could have taken the shot at any time but since she was relaxed I was seeing if she would come a little closer.
She fed around for nearly 15 minutes when on top of the hill David shot! His stand is a long ways off but down in the valley his shots always sound real loud. When he shot the doe flinched some and started to get antsy I was afraid she’d take off in a rush so I took my shot.
One “advantage” to hunting from a stand with a muzzleloader is you can usually see somewhat over the smoke cloud and able to track the deer’s movements and this shot was the same way. I could see her run away from me about 10 yards and enter the woods on the opposite side of plot. “Meat on the pole” I thought and on opening day. “I can just trophy hunt now.”
I looked everywhere for that doe. Found neither blood nor hair nor any sign she had been hit. I searched far and wide in the area/direction she had run for over an hour and came up empty handed. It had to have been a clean miss at least that’s what I told myself to help me sleep better.
David on the other hand tracked his doe down only to find the hogs had beaten him to it. They had eaten the left side out of it and was about to start on the good parts when him and Todd shot them away for it. They made it back to camp around nine o’clock.
The next morning right after 7 a small 4 point came in to the plot from the other direction and started feeding around. He kept looking over his shoulder at something but I couldn’t tell what.
After a few minutes I caught a glimpse of another deer approaching through the trees. My heart started racing and knew it was a big ‘un. It finally emerged into open and through the binoculars I counted 6 points. Damn! Not the big ‘un I was hoping for.
They ate their breakfast then went back the way they had come. No other deer came around me that morning.
That afternoon David and his brother Ronnie took me to an area Ronnie used to hunt and helped me set up my ground blind as rain was in the forecast. It was much closer to camp so I wouldn’t have 3 miles to ride to get there. Plus I’d have a roof over my head.
Back in the stand that afternoon, things were slow. Didn’t see any deer.
My son Josh texted around 5:30 saying he had just shot at a doe. I responded that if he didn’t find it I would stop on my way in and lend him a hand.
A little after six he said he had found only a little blood but no deer. Told him I was on my way. We needed to find the doe fairly quickly so supper wouldn’t be real late as it was his turn to cook and I was getting real hungry.
Josh said there had been three does and when he shot two went to the left back into the trees and the third ran across the pipeline easement into the woods. There was a little blood in the spot she had been standing plus a small tuft of hair so we knew she had been hit.
We chose to go right after the single deer.
We found no blood trail but after about 15 minutes did find the deer. She was lying about 20 feet inside the brush off the pipeline. Josh was relieved and so was I. I was so happy we found his deer!
That night it started to rain.
It was pouring the next morning so Josh and I went back to bed finally getting up around eight.
The rain slacked off and we were all able to get out to our hunting spots that afternoon.
I was excited to be hunting a new area and settled into the blind full of anticipation. I should have taken an umbrella!
The rain continued off and on in little showers and the blind leaked water even though I had sprayed it with waterproofing before the trip. I had to sit kind of to the back of it to keep the biggest drips off of me. This proved to be a mistake.
Sometime after six a doe came in close to the blind. I mean close, about 15 yards. Since I was tucked into the back half of the blind she didn’t see me bring the rifle up. When I pulled the trigger the inside of the blind filled with smoke and I couldn’t see and thing and had to stick my head out the window best I could to breath. I bet the blind from the outside looked like something from a Cheech and Chong movie with smoke billowing from the windows.
I had no idea which way the deer had went but suspected down the hill in front of the blind because I heard some noise down that way.
I ran a couple of patches thru the barrel and reloaded readying myself for the search.
Once again there was no blood or hair and after an hour of searching I gave up and headed to camp for help.
It was cool and getting colder so the consensus among us all was the doe would be fine until the next morning when Josh could help me look after the morning hunt. I just hoped the hogs didn’t find her.
While sitting in the blind the next morning waiting for it to get light I ran the entire sequence of events through my head thinking about where things went wrong. Once it got light, I found out.
Since I had been in the back of the blind I had not gotten the barrel of the rifle outside of the blind and even though the view through the scope was clear the barrel was blocked by the fabric of the blind. There was a hole just inside the edge where the screen attaches and just above the metal frame of the blind. I had shot through the material making the bullet go who-knows-where! Hitting something 4 or 5 inches from your target will deflect the bullet but being that close you’ll still going to hit your target. Four or five inches from the barrel can throw it way off. I should have known when the blind filled with smoke when the trigger was pulled.
Around 9 Josh showed up and we looked and looked through thick brush, downed trees, across ditches, everywhere in a 150 yard plus circle of the blind but found no deer. We headed back to camp after working up quite the appetite.
That was strike two. In part two of the story I’ll tell you about strike three and why I called the game. Until next month, Jim Bob.