I reluctantly chose to use my Remington 760 rifle this year. Over the years I have used my flintlock rifles during deer season around 95% of the times out. I enjoy the challenge of hunting as my forefathers did. However, as most hunters know the flintlock does have limitations.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission changed the regulations in the past. The area I hunt, the regs are that the buck has to have, at least, 4 points on one side. That ruling was alright with me since I had become a deer hunter not a buck hunter some time ago. I have received more satisfaction with harvesting a doe with the primitive firearm than harvesting a buck with the rifle.
Last year the regs changed again. The hunter could only hunt buck during the first week and both sexes during the last week. My tradition had become to hunt buck only the first day and , at least, the first half of the second day. By noon on the second day I would take a doe if an excellent shot was presented. The new changes eliminated that option.
I decided to not handicap myself with the buck only season. Counting the points accurately is difficult with the naked eye, and an aging one at that! The time trying to use binoculars and moving the flintlock into position is time consuming when a deer may only be viewed for seconds. So out comes the 30:06 rifle!
I sat down to await the dawn when a gobbler exploded his whereabouts from the very same pines I listened at for a few times during the fall season. Later I saw him fly down. I chuckled to myself. The days I listened here were windy and rainy I told myself…trying to justify why I hadn’t heard him then.
I decided to“still hunt” some regardless and walk towards Bob, my step father. (Still Hunting , for non hunting readers, is a style of hunting whereas the hunter takes a few cautious steps and continues to look for any deer detail. If done correctly, one can often walk upon feeding or bedded deer. This method is very gratifying and is my preferred hunting method.)
I hunted only a short distance when I saw a hint of a deer about 40 yards away. I squatted down in preparation. Shortly, I saw a small spike and another illegal-racked buck along with some does. I was, slightly disappointed, when I saw antlers coming up and over the crest of the hill. Nice rack! I tried counting with the eyes, but soon realized I had a chance to move the rifle to my shoulders undetected from all those eyes.
The buck was now behind some limbs. He turned his head and I believed I could count 4 points . I had an opening about the size of a pie-pan when the shot rang out. I knew immediately I had a great shot. The big buck lay 35 yards from where I shot.
The scary aspect of the shot was that I still wondered if I had made an accurate count. What if? I don’t like having those feelings of doubt.
The big deer was huge. The weight was certainly over 200 pounds. The rack sported 8 points. He was originally a ten-point with two broken. The span is 17 inches at the widest area. As is my custom, I spent a few moments in thanks to the majestic creature. I have much respect for the natural world. The taking of an animal from the wild should not be done so in a manner of disrespect. Far too may hunters treat the wilds in such a manner!
The drag out of the woods was tough. I shot this buck in an area where a micro-burst occurred around 6 years ago so plenty of pine tops are scattered about the forest floor.