I am an over the road truck driver. I recently moved my camper out to one of my friends’ places in the woods about 3.5 miles from a state highway on a dirt county road. For the last year, every time I come in for a day or two off or leave out, I see deer hopping and jumping around. I began to figure it might not be difficult to kill a deer this year. I have zero time for scouting but I thought I may as well try anyway. So I came in one day on muzzle loading season and borrowed a 50 cal inline. I went up on the hill above my camper about 200 yards from the camper and sat down. I put on my leafy suit. I heard some things in the distance but didn’t see anything. No luck on that hunt.
I went to Walmart and bought some blocks. One feed block, one salt/mineral rock, and one deer cocaine block. I then took those up and placed them about 25 yards from the chicken coop on the road near the white metal shed. I also found some containers refuse around the buildings and placed them around the shed where they could collect rain water, thinking this would give the deer something to drink as well. The next time I came in these blocks appeared weathered and melted. It did look like something had eaten on the feed block because pieces of it were laying a few inches from it.
This location was an old house place. The house had burnt down and there were several sheds/barns left. There was an old chicken coop that looked as if it might make a good blind. I had been hunting out in the open in front of this coop. I next planned on taking my vacation during gun deer season. The next time I came in I bathed in no scent soap, and washed my cloths in no scent detergent. I then realized it might be best to have clothes that are for deer hunting only, that is not dual purpose. This way you can keep them scent free easier and ready to go in a moments notice. I took my 410 Rossi Tuffy, 3 lb pack gun with a slug, and went up to hunt at daylight. I was in the open again this time. I put on the leafy suit pants and gloves. I was wearing cammo coat up top.
A nice grey squirrel came along and played in the trees. He gave me at least 10 good shots at him, never saw me. He moved on. I heard crows in the distance. Again I occasionally heard something in the distance but saw nothing. So I went back home and then to Walmart. I talked to another hunter there that recommended the fake antlers and the Gold Doe Estrus, which I bought.
Next time I went out I stood in the chicken coop or leaned against the hen roost in the coop. I saw nothing again, I did rattle some and I was also playing with a squirrel call. I think I heard a squirrel nearby making a lot of noise. Oh, on that day I heard what sounded like buck antlers crashing once fairly loudly. But no sight of deer. On these previous 2 hunts it was cold, 20 degrees and my legs, feet and hands were cold.
So I go back to Walmart and get some buck scent. I also bought some nice neoprene hunting gloves, farmer john coveralls and what looked like freezer boots (black with water proof bottoms up to ankle, insulated throughout). The time before I was cold. My coats and head gear were plenty good, so my head was fine. Next time I was good and warm in the 20 degree weather. I then go to the scrapes that day and spray buck scent in them. I looked for signs to see if another buck was trying to take over the scrapes (saw nothing) and then went back to the camper to do other things like work the garden or whatever.
A few days later, the day after Thanksgiving, I decide to give it one last shot before my vacation was over. I put on all my clothes and headed up to the coop at 15 minutes until full sun up. I overslept the alarm clock a bit. This time I decided not to try the squirrel call at all thinking that was a mistake the last time, just the antlers. I made a crash sound and scraping sound and rustling sound with the fake antlers. I immediately heard some noise in the distance past the old burnt house foundation and thought it sounded like deer or maybe squirrels.
I would wait 15 minutes and give a little rattle that sounded like young bucks sparing, but not too loud. I waited another 15 minutes and again a little bit of rattling. In this chicken coop there is chicken wire to my left and right. To my left 25 yards away were the blocks I had put out. I could also see the scrape at 40 yards. To my right I could look through the wire and see the scrape that was at 30 yards, and through the door I had a very limited view, but could see about 42 yards away between two large trees.
07:35 I hear a noise and lo and behold a doe steps into view at 42 yards through that doorway. I raise my gun to take aim and before I can squeeze the trigger she moves forward to my right and out of sight between me and some limbs or brush. She was headed for the 30 yard scrape on my right, so I figured I might have another chance. Before I could even lower my aim a bit a second doe steps in the same place. I aimed steady down the barrel of the 410 as straight as I could at her chest area and fired.
There was a slight delay as she looked up and then she leaped into the air and twisted at the same time to move in the opposite direction. She must have thought it safest to run the direction she came from. So I waited about 15 minutes to let her bleed out a little, hoping I hit her. I couldn’t wait a minute more, I paced off the distance and it was 42 yards from the coop. I immediately saw a good amount of blood on the leaves. That excited me that I had hit her. I started to track the blood and lo and behold it was like following a chalk line.
She was heading up hill towards some cliffs above. As I’m approaching where she lay, that is before I had seen her, I heard this noisy galloping and looked back to my right to where it was coming from.
Another doe, maybe the first one that I let get by, was running at me (or her maybe). It stopped, turned broadside to me and snorted then galloped away as fast as it could. I almost would have had time to shoot her, too. So I track another 50 feet then see her laying under a couple of cedar trees where she lay to die. She had laid down on the shot side. I thanked her for the food she would provide and then began to drag her about 200 yards downhill to the old house place.
I then covered her up a bit with leaves so that no one else would easily see her laying there and hiked the 170 yards back to the camper to find some rope or something to drag her with. I found some 1/4″ fiber rope and a nylon ratchet strap. I went back up the hill to the house place and then dragged her the remaining 170 yards to my friend’s front porch. I swear she got heavier and heavier the closer I got to that porch. We are figuring she weighed in at about 120-130 lbs. I had no real way to weigh the deer itself. We did have a human scale that I used later to weigh the processed meat. I later recovered the slug from here skin on the opposite side. It had passed through her lung and liver and didn’t penetrate the skin on her back side. It had passed between the two ribs closest to her stomach so it was indeed almost a gut shot.
In the next article I will tell you how I gutted, skinned and quartered the deer. And I will tell and show you how I deboned, processed and sliced the deer in the last article. One last note here on this hunt, I don’t know if the fake scrapes or scents helped at all. I do believe the rattle may have helped on this last hunt. I think the no scent soaps and detergent may have helped. Using the chicken coop as a blind worked very well, though it did shock me that I was able to get that shot through the door instead of out either side. There was much less view through that doorway and it was wide open with no wire or anything for blind. One thing to my advantage was that, as you can see in the photos, it was dark inside the coop compared to the partly sunny sky outside.
I knew there were deer around me and I proved it. I also proved that the 410 Snake Charmer or Rossi Tuffy can be a good survival tool. I could have borrowed sniper rifles but I wanted to use my gun. This was the only deer legal gun I had. I’m pretty sure I used a rifled slug. But a friend of mine’s son said I got lucky with that 410, so now I’m going to get a full sized deer silhouette on some cardboard and walk it up there to where I shot her. I’m going to go back to the coop and shoot it in the chest area 5 times with rifled slugs and 5 times with non-rifled slugs. That should settle that argument. Later I may post the results as a comment on this article.
On Dec 22 I returned home for one day. On that morning I got up and needed to go to my friends mobile home to get a gallon of water. As I opened the door to my camper I lifted my head to see a large Doe do a jump and 180 degree about face with fast gallop away, white flag flying. She was standing about 20 feet from my camper door in the driveway. I suspect I will get another with a bow before March.