Saturday, November 26, 2011

The First Week of Rifle Season: Part 1

With the forecast calling for warm, rainy weather in the early part of the week, I wasn't looking to have much success if any at all. But as the saying goes, "You can't kill 'em from the couch." The first week of rifle season always sounds like a World War 3 is starting, just one of those things one gets use to hunting rifle season in WV. Past the first morning, the deer are running scared as well as a few hunters. But there are two parts to this season, the openings week (this past week) that everyone has time off to hunt a portion of the week and the second week when there is rarely anyone out and the deer start to get back on their patterns and the start of the second half of the rut. Luckily, this year I had the whole week off and  a few days in the second week to hunt also. As for how my week turned out, you may have got a clue in the past TCT, but I'll give an overview of the past week over the next two posts.

Monday - 11/21 - Opening Day

Mainly being a bow hunter, I still get excited for this time of year. Even with only starting my reemergence into the outdoor world five years ago, there is still a little bit of tradition here. As a little kid I always went hunting with my grandpa this week, now that he's beyond the point of being able to tote a gun and run the ridges, Foggy Mountain is mainly left to my uncle and myself.

As with any eager morning I got to my stand early, I met my uncle Rick at the bottom of the mountain as he was unloading his ATV and we wished each other luck and we were on our way. With a heavy mist in the air, that quickly turned back into a drizzle, we both knew this would be a long day. This proved to be true, on any normal opening morning, you can normally count 75 to a 100 shots by noon. This wasn't the case, I didn't hear my first shot that morning until nearly 8:00 AM, that wasn't as shocking as it was to not hear a second shot until 10:28 AM. Shortly after hearing that second faint shot of the morning, I saw my first deer. Well, more like a tail, it was a deer that was bumped up by someone, it was off to the races and  nothing was stopping it. Luckily I was able to see that it was a doe. That was my only action all morning. The rain was still coming down and I wasn't getting any drier so I decided to take a 20 minute lunch break. I climbed down and still hunted my way back to my Jeep for a quick lunch, I was hopeful to at least jump something up on the way out, but still no luck.

It wasn't until a little after 3:00 PM that I saw my next deer. It was a 3-point that I had been seeing on and off all of bow season, to be honest I thought it was 6-point I had pictures of from the previous weekend. I actually have some video footage of this deer, from bow season. This deer snuck in behind me before I even saw it. It was already at 75 yards when I saw it and heading towards a thicket with little to no visibility. I proceeded to watch this deer with my binoculars for 45 minutes after it bedded down in the thicket. This deer wasn't moving, I ranged it at 111 yards, but no matter how I looked at it, I didn't have a shot. I had a choice to make, watch this deer until it was to dark to shoot or try and sneak out of my stand and get a clean shot on it. After weighing my options, I decided if I could make it out of my stand I'd have a good shot at making it through another thicket adjacent to the buck on the opposite side of the creek.

I made it out of my stand without spooking the buck. I knew the rest should be easy, right? Over the next 20 minutes I managed to close in on buck at 45 yards, this was the first spot I was able to get a clear shot. Luckily, I was able to stalk crawl through the thicket on my side of the creek. This should like a lot of work for a 3-point I know, but at this point it was more about seeing if I could do it or not, plus I was this thinking it was that six point. After closing in and getting set up for the shot, the buck was still bedded down when I was able to get my cross-hairs on him. No matter what I did, he wasn't getting up, so at this point I decided my best option would be a neck shot, not my first choice, but there wasn't much left to choose from. As I bore down on fire my shot, another close shot rang out only seconds before I pulled the trigger. Finally that made the deer stand up, of course I wasn't ready for this. I was already firing my shot, in that split second I fired the buck, he stood and my shot fired right under him completely missing him. This was the first time I have ever missed a deer on a first shot, hell the only time I had to use more than one bullet on a deer period. I thought this chance was over and he was gone, but he only took three steps in the opposite direction into a hard quartering away shot and paused that's all I needed, I let another shot ring out and he buckled and he was done. I had successfully stalked and harvested one of the only deer taken this past week on Foggy  Mountain. This was the third consecutive year (you can read about last year's here) I was able to take a deer on opening day of rifle season.

My trophy from Rifle Season... So far...



1 comment:

  1. Congrats! I know you will have more to showo off soon ;) Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete

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