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Montana freezer filler Deer

ID_deerslayer

Active member
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
486
Location
Great Falls, MT
As many in Montana know, the opening weekend of rifle season was very snowy and cold. I had my nephew from Washington come up for a hunting camp experience and to learn what hunting was like as it has interested him for sometime and no one in his immediate family hunted or would take him. I did my best to create an authentic experience for him: stayed in a wall tent, used the stove to keep warm, ate camp food, woke up early, hiked our butts off in the snow storm, saw lots of deer, explained hunting ethics along the journey to finding a buck and some does to harvest, the joy of the hunt and the value of the meat to my family.

My friend had his boys at camp as well and they stayed in his camper, but we opted to hunt together on opening morning and while visibility was limited we made plenty of stalks to get close for a good shot and played the wind to our favor. my friend was able to double down and fill his A tag and reload to fill his Limited are B tag and have both deer down just fifty yards apart. After notching some tags and a quick bite of lunch we took some photos before getting into field dressing both deer via the gutless method to drag out of the coulee they were in.
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with my nephew being 17 years old and 6'2" he naively volunteered to drag the sled once the deer were quartered up all the way back to the truck, about 3/4 of a mile. My friend and I immediately agreed he was going to learn a valuable lesson in volunteerism and let him proceed!
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He quickly learned that just because it is in the sled does not mean that it will be easy to tow out two deer. He had shed down to a thin sweatshirt and somehow misplaced his orange vest by the time I caught up to them and was mocked by the 8 and 10 year old boys the entire way to the truck about his decision to tow the sled and keeping track of something bright orange.

more to come later...
 

ArchBoi

New member
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
5
Great story! Some good lessons learned. I'm holding out for the days that my kids are big enough to do the really hard work.
 

ID_deerslayer

Active member
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
486
Location
Great Falls, MT
Once we made it back to the truck we headed to another coulee to look for some deer and hopefully I would be able to get behind the trigger and start filling my coolers. sure enough we round a corner and spot some does up on a hillside. I range, and they are 250 yards. no problem, I shoot that distance on a consistent basis and am comfortable with the shot. I get prone, pick out a doe and settle in for the shot. Bang! Doe didn't move an inch. She just stood there looking at me trying to figure out why I can not hit the broadside of a deer. I double check my CDS dial, put another round in the chamber, settle in, Bang! Doe is now trotting away and I missed again. At this point I am flustered, confused and embarrassed. my nephew opted to stay in the truck while I had closed the distance on these deer and I am thankful, as I felt like a complete idiot. figure out something is off either with me or my gun and watch the doe run up the coulee and out of sight.

I walk my way back to the truck, head held low and racking my brain trying to figure out what's going on with those shots. Two weeks prior I had no problem filling my antelope tag at that same distance. I tell my buddy I am not going to shoot my gun again until I have a chance to get it to the range and double check my zero, etc. Luckily I have another rifle back at camp that is ready to go and I can continue to hunt later in the evening or the next day. On the way back to camp my friend spots a buck and says I can borrow his gun as he has already filled two tags with it today. Ouch! We make a long plan for a stalk and my nephew who is wore out from the hiking and sled dragging opts to stay in the truck where it is warm and dry. Kid said he was going to come all the way to Montana and hunt in Timberland Street style boots! I warned him and his mom against that but they did not listen. Sure enough those boots did not hold up and were soaked and filled with snow do to the amount of snow that had accumulated over night and earlier that morning. He was done for the day. Hopefully a lesson was learned.

Here is the antelope I got two weeks prior. Something must have bumped the scope from the time I harvested the Antelope or I just crumbled under pressure, which was minimal to non existent when filling a doe tag.

IMG_1041.JPG

More to come...
 

ID_deerslayer

Active member
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
486
Location
Great Falls, MT
Back to putting on a stalk, to get in range of a buck my friend spotted, I was hesitant at going after it due to my now questionable shooting abilities. Additionally I had originally told him I was going to focus on shooting a whitetail buck this year as I haven't hunted that many of them and like to mix things up from my typical mule deer hunting. Well we glass up the buck and he is with a bunch of does about to go over a saddle and it is a big bodied mule deer buck. I decide that I want meat more than anything and we begin our pursuit of the deer after they disappear over the saddle they were on. After a brief hike through the snow and up and over the saddle we last saw them on we spot the deer a few hundred yards away and are at a stand still as we have no cover to advance any further. I get set up and am waiting for the does around the buck to stop milling to and fro while the buck is standing broadside unaware of our presence. Just as I am about to squeeze the trigger, the buck decides to bed down. More does begin moving around looking for a place to bed down as well, prolonging my shot. I wait patiently for the does to clear and am left with a high lung shot or a neck shot on the buck. At this point in the day and the hunt the wind had completely died and the snow had stopped falling, which I was thankful for. I settled the crosshairs and informed my friend and his older son who tagged along with us that I was going to shoot. they said they were ready and were watching through their binos. Bang! the deer didn't move and inch. his head was down and the does scattered like cats in the rain. We gave it a few minutes watching attentively where the buck was laying and the was no movement from him. we gathered our gear and hiked over to put hand on the buck before we drug him down the hill to a flat area to field dress.

The entire way over to the deer I was nervous considering the earlier shot issues I had with my gun. as we walked up on the deer it was very clear he was dead. A few photos and then the drag down the hill began. This bucks body was the biggest I have ever harvested and netted just under 60pounds of meat after processing.

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As he layed when I walked up to him.

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Happy with this freezer filling buck! 40 pounds of breakfast sausage made after removing the shanks, backstraps, and tenderloins.

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Interestingly I found the bullet lodged in his neck meat and it never expanded. Bullet was a Hornady Custom for 7mm rem mag. after getting the buck quatered out and into coolers we called it a day. A good opening day at that!

More to come on Saturday...
 

ID_deerslayer

Active member
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
486
Location
Great Falls, MT
Sunday morning we wake up and my nephew opts to stay in the tent where it is warm and dry and informs me that he is to sore for any kind of hiking. I meet up with my fried in his camper for a breakfast burrito and we make a plan to fill some doe tags. we head out and start hunting when we see some white tail does milling around on the hillside. We set up to shoot, each of us verifying what deer we plan to shoot and take our shot on the count of three. I was now shooting my back up rifle and was on my selected doe, at the count of three I pull the trigger and realize I never chambered a round. I am a blundering fool! my friend puts his doe down and I am now cycling the bolt to chamber a round while my doe is looking perplexed at her friend who is laying on the ground not moving. I settle the crosshairs and squeeze. My doe is down and we make our way over to the deer. My whitetail OTC tag is filled and my friend has filled all of his deer tags. we get the deer quartered and loaded up into the truck. I still have a muley doe tag to fill so we keep on hunting and head to a good spot around the corner of our hunting grounds and spot some does. while making my stalk on a set of bedded does I see another lone doe bedded at 150. she is looking right at me without a care in the world. I open the bipod and get setup to shoot, settling the crosshairs on her, Bang. Another doe harvested and tag filled. this doe I drag out of the coulee and field dress next to the truck. I have filled all of my deer tags as well and we can now focus on hunting elk the rest of rifle season. This is the first year I have tagged out on deer tags and am truly blessed to have the bountiful meat that they deer provide my family. could not have asked for a better opening weekend.

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My daughter in the next picture helping me tow the Muley doe to the meat locker. She was very excited for the meat I brought home and said now we can have lots of steak! She also loves eating the heart!

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WATERMAG

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Ohio
Congrats of the successful hunts!! What is up with the skin on the legs/shanks of the doe? Why did you do that? Easier to skin when warm?
 

ID_deerslayer

Active member
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
486
Location
Great Falls, MT
Congrats of the successful hunts!! What is up with the skin on the legs/shanks of the doe? Why did you do that? Easier to skin when warm?
Thanks, the skin peeled back a little on the legs is so that when I fully skinned out the doe after it was chilled, I had a good hand hold for pulling on the hide thus making the skinning easier. I just skinned the doe out last night and was able to grip and rip for the most part making the process very fast.
 

WATERMAG

Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Ohio
Thanks, the skin peeled back a little on the legs is so that when I fully skinned out the doe after it was chilled, I had a good hand hold for pulling on the hide thus making the skinning easier. I just skinned the doe out last night and was able to grip and rip for the most part making the process very fast.
Got ya!! Makes sense. I might have to start doing that after I get my walkin cooler built.
 

cahunter805

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Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
1,604
Congrats. Did you ever check your original rifle or figure out the problem?
 

ID_deerslayer

Active member
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
486
Location
Great Falls, MT
Congrats. Did you ever check your original rifle or figure out the problem?
I took my rifle out to shoot at the range and double check everything and was able to get some shots in and dial back in but ended up fighting the wind so much I felt like I was wasting bullets cause of the wind drift and gusts that were blowing through. I have set the gun away for the season and switched over to another gun that is verified zero at 200 yards and will fill the rest of my tags with it. I will jump back in to the other gun this winter and figure out what is going on with the rifle.
 

golfer

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2010
Messages
1,043
Back to putting on a stalk, to get in range of a buck my friend spotted, I was hesitant at going after it due to my now questionable shooting abilities. Additionally I had originally told him I was going to focus on shooting a whitetail buck this year as I haven't hunted that many of them and like to mix things up from my typical mule deer hunting. Well we glass up the buck and he is with a bunch of does about to go over a saddle and it is a big bodied mule deer buck. I decide that I want meat more than anything and we begin our pursuit of the deer after they disappear over the saddle they were on. After a brief hike through the snow and up and over the saddle we last saw them on we spot the deer a few hundred yards away and are at a stand still as we have no cover to advance any further. I get set up and am waiting for the does around the buck to stop milling to and fro while the buck is standing broadside unaware of our presence. Just as I am about to squeeze the trigger, the buck decides to bed down. More does begin moving around looking for a place to bed down as well, prolonging my shot. I wait patiently for the does to clear and am left with a high lung shot or a neck shot on the buck. At this point in the day and the hunt the wind had completely died and the snow had stopped falling, which I was thankful for. I settled the crosshairs and informed my friend and his older son who tagged along with us that I was going to shoot. they said they were ready and were watching through their binos. Bang! the deer didn't move and inch. his head was down and the does scattered like cats in the rain. We gave it a few minutes watching attentively where the buck was laying and the was no movement from him. we gathered our gear and hiked over to put hand on the buck before we drug him down the hill to a flat area to field dress.

The entire way over to the deer I was nervous considering the earlier shot issues I had with my gun. as we walked up on the deer it was very clear he was dead. A few photos and then the drag down the hill began. This bucks body was the biggest I have ever harvested and netted just under 60pounds of meat after processing.

View attachment 159904
As he layed when I walked up to him.

View attachment 159905

Happy with this freezer filling buck! 40 pounds of breakfast sausage made after removing the shanks, backstraps, and tenderloins.

View attachment 159908

Interestingly I found the bullet lodged in his neck meat and it never expanded. Bullet was a Hornady Custom for 7mm rem mag. after getting the buck quatered out and into coolers we called it a day. A good opening day at that!

More to come on Saturday...
What bullet does hornady load in their custom ammo?
 
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