With the PA flintlock season closin' this past Saturday and a weekend of work loomin', last Wednesday and Thursday would be my last chance to try to get some more venison for the freezer. I'd carried the ol' beast a handful of times, but hadn't seen many deer and didn't have any decent shots at the few that I'd seen. I figgered it couldn't hurt to draw my ace in the hole, which panned out for me last year... Grandma's pasture.
I spent a few hours visitin' and playin' cards with Grandma on Wednesday, and as the shadows got longer, I headed out to sit at the base of one of the trees behind the barn. There was already over 30 deer in the neighbor's field a few hundred yards away, and I knew that none of them were likely to wander my direction. I was hopin' to catch one crossin' the pasture to join the herd. Sure enough, a pair of 'em dashed across, but the larger of the two never stopped long enough to give me a decent shot. The smaller one stopped, but with a half hour of daylight left and another afternoon to go after 'em, I decided to give her a pass. Nothin' else crossed the pasture until after dark, when I was back at the truck, but I was pretty excited to see almost 50 deer in one quick sit.
Thursday night found me on the opposite edge of the field, a setup that would have given me a much closer shot at the deer the night before. The weather was perfect, so I settled in for the remainin' hour of my season and enjoyed the sights.
As daylight waned, I began to wonder if they'd cross before dark. I'd seen one young doe crossin' the road a few minutes before, but she had yet to try to cross the field. I checked my phone and saw there was about three minutes left of legal shootin' light. I'd no sooner looked up from my phone when I saw the first brown shadow start across the field, followed by at least four more. Of course, they ran straight up the fenceline toward the barn and the trees I was sittin' at the night before. One finally stopped in one of my safe shootin' lanes. It was a poke, but I reckoned that it was either then or never. I settled the front iron on the deer's chest and touched it off. A flash, a slight delay, and then the smoke rolled as the gun bucked against my shoulder. The smoke finally cleared, and sure enough, I had one anchored. It quickly became apparent that the shot unfortunately wasn't righteous, so I reloaded, got close and finished the job.
I had hoped to get a mature doe, since the two I got in gun season were on the small side. Well, this ol' girl exceeded my hopes... she was definitely one of the biggest damn deer I've taken in a few years. I'd give her a solid 140 pounds live weight, if not more. Should be more than enough to hold my freezer over until October.
My initial shot was back and high, which I wasn't too happy about. After pacin' off the distance of the shot at around 125 yards though, I reasoned that it was prolly a better shot than either of us deserved, given how much of a bitch those guns are to shoot in the first place. As my ol' man has said a few times, I'll take luck over skill any day.
As an added bonus, when I was skinnin' her, I found my roundball had stopped on the opposite side, just inside the skin. It's always neat to recover the bullet to add to the keepsake shelf.
I've hunted with the ol' rock slinger since my early teens, but as agravatin' as that beast is, I've really started to appreciate luggin' the thing around the last few years. Hopefully I can get around to gettin' a buck with it eventually...