|The cast on Kubota's right hand may have been a factor on his missing a shot at a running deer. I am starting a rumor that he had to pull the trigger with his tongue.|
Here is a contingent from the next generation, from left-to-right:
Lessons learned (and relearned)
Kubota had a shot at a buck. It was a solid six point...maybe an eight.
He saw it long before I did, even though it came out of the south....the sector I was supposed to be watching.
He, the buck, was with a girl friend.
He was dancing with her in a picked corn field about 200 yards from the stand. They crossed the road and started north across the chisel plowed bean field. I did not expect them to come our way but they did.
They got closer, and Closer and CLOSER and CLOSER.
I did a doe bleated but he did not stop.
Background was clear. Buck was 80 yards out. I told Kubota to take the shot when he was comfortable.
The buck ran 15 yards into a CRP field, stopped, and flipped us the finger. I think he knew Kubota was carrying a muzzle loader.
Lesson #1, deer will not stop in an open field but might stop in cover like tall grass and goldenrod.
I told Kubota to watch the buck as long as he could and to mentally mark the path. I reloaded the muzzle blaster. The buck and his girl friend sashayed to the north east, across a two-track, a drainage feature and up a hill.
Out came the primer. In went the powder (note: pill-bottles make excellent containers for pre-measured amounts of powder.) Down goes the sabot and bullet. Out comes the ramrod.....wait.....the bullet is stuck to the end of the ramrod!
We are shooting Hornady SSTs and they have sexy, hard, red, rubbery, pointy tips. As the bullet was pushed down the barrel, it engaged the rifling which rotated the bullet. That screwed the rubbery tip into the tapped hole in the end of the ramrod.
Push bullet back down barrel. Unscrew ramrod. Pull out ramrod sans bullet. Agonize. Visualize a pedal of the sabot (French for shoe) bent underneath the bullet.
Look for hair. No hair. Mark tracks with tissue. Attempt to cut the track along the two-track they crossed about 200 yards from where they were when Kubota took the shot. No blood. Look back at Kubota (still in the stand) to confirm I am where deer crossed the two-track. Cast back and forth 20 yards in each direction to ensure I checked every blade of grass. Still no blood.
Go back to stand. Collect firearm. Climb down from stand. Walk a long way. Discharge firearm behind large object, hopefully muffling sound. (It did not work. My cell phone started buzzing...."Did you see another? Did it have headgear?!?!?) Swab out barrel, one damp, two dry. Reload. Unscrew ramrod (lefty-Lucy) before removing.
Lesson #2: Yeah....I have done this before. You think I would write it down so I wouldn't repeat this mistake. Maybe putting it on my blog will help me remember.
We don't hunt to fill the freezer, although that is a nice bonus. We hunt to spend time with family, to build memories, to hone skills and to pass those skills and values on to the next generation.