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Zee wrote: »
Heck, I'd rather see the GUN with the game than either of YOU two! The guns are assuredly more attractive.
Six-Gun wrote: »
Hey now! I already feel bad enough for forgetting to get that pic. It's all good, though. It won't be the last hunt with that gun and I'll be sure to correct my mistake.
knitepoet wrote: »
Hell, bring it to the heart of Dixie w/ you when you figure out how to get here. These Bama deer don't take a lot of killing and less than 150 yards is as far as you'll be able to see to shoot one (unless we see one in the hay fields on the way in or out)
Six-Gun wrote: »
This .243 would be perfect fo that task. It was actually pretty surprising to see it blow right through a 180 poundish mule deer at 250 yards with no trouble at all. No question it would do great with a southern witetail.
Linefinder wrote: »
The consistently worst busted-up deer I've ever seen was accomplished by a 14 YO, with a .243 Win loaded with Win Power-Points at ranges of 60-100 yards. Over the course of 3 years, I saw him bring back probably twenty deer. The ones he shot once usually incurred some pretty bad damage, and the ones he shot more than once looked like they'd been hit by a truck once you'd skinned them.
Personally, I like the Ballistic Tips simply because I'm prone to take longer shots where the velocity has bled off a little bit. The damage isn't quite as substantial at longer ranges.
Buffco wrote: »
Mike, is this some characteristic of the .243, or was the kid using ballistic tips?
Wambli Ska wrote: »
You hev no idea how much I enjoy your hunting stories. Thanks for taking the time to share them Luis!
rberglof wrote: »
Luis what area in Nevada did you hunt?
The only hunting I have done in Nevada is chucker out towards Paradise but have seen some nice deer there.
Six-Gun wrote: »
On a different note, I forgot to point out one other interesting thing I noticed about mulies vs. whitetails. My mulie had a LOT more fat on it than any whitetail I've ever shot. There was tallow for days on that thing. I wish I had a place to put it in the field. There would have been plenty to render and use for sealant and patch lube on my flintlock.
Six-Gun wrote: »
Ok, now that I’m back, let me preface this hunt report by stating outright that mule deer might be the weirdest, least jumpy animal I have ever hunted. With that out of the way, I’ll give you some details.
Back in June, I was drawn for Nevada’s Any Legal Weapon early season for a mule deer buck in Game Management Unit 16. This area is massive, covering roughly 12,000 square miles and much of central Nevada. The season runs from Oct 5-22, but based on the advice of the friend who accompanied me (a retired game warden named Frank who used to work this area, who didn’t have a tag and just came along for the fun of the hunt), I chose to go the second week instead of the opener. The early season is a considerably easier draw than the late season, but it’s also notoriously tough with a much lower success rate. The bucks are in scant bachelor herds this early in the season and are not rutting. Simply finding them would prove to be a helluva task given the scale of the country I was hunting.
The weapon of choice for this hunt was my lefty Tikka T3 Lite Stainless in .243 Winchester with a Harris field length bipod. This is the same rifle that the artist formerly known as “BPSNIPER” custom painted for me with his very own carny hands. It was an absolute joy to carry all day in those mountains given how tough the terrain was. The ammo was handloaded 100 gr. Sierra Pro Hunter soft point bullets over Ramshot Hunter powder. I also brought along my Leupold Gold Ring HD spotting scope, my Nikon ATB 12x binos, and my Leupold RX-1000 TBR rangefinder.
After setting up camp the day prior, we got to hunting the high country. I saw well over 40 deer this day, but nearly all were does. We saw most of them after posting up high on a vantage point and peering near a mountainside mahogany thicket. One group walked rather unassumingly past our truck as if they expected to see us there. I say again, mule deer are weird. The only bucks we saw this day were a single spike and a forkhorn that was with a doe. I passed on both. There was lots of action this day, but little worth fussing over.
We tried a lower area in the mountains on the second day, following the banks of a creek. The edges of the creek had mountains and rocky crag formations around it. Within 10 minutes, we spotted deer, but again, they were does. We continued walking and spotting more does…and more does. We didn’t see a single buck this day and I was starting to get a little nervous. We saw fewer overall deer and not a single buck after walking 4 miles in and out of the creek bottom.
The morning effort was a disaster. We went nearly 6 miles down a different mountain creek bed without spotting a single deer. We saw nothing on the way back out either. Now I was starting to get really worried. Being new to mule deer hunting and knowing how tough this particular season is to hunt, my goal was “anything better than a forkhorn.” At this point, that forkie I blew off on the first day starting to haunt me and make me wonder if I just should’ve shot what I was given. We still had a few days left, but this was looking bleak and chats with the locals reflected the exact same sparse buck encounters. One guy apparently passed on a 4-point (8-point, for us whitetail folks) and ended up having to shoot a forkie as he ran out of hunting time. Another simply couldn’t find anything better. Maybe I was being a little too smug in my initial expectations given how the locals were doing.
Then, I decided to go back to basics. I told Frank that I wanted to hit up the same canyon I scouted in the summer, even though I only saw does back then. I knew it held deer, we just had to see if there were now bucks where once there were not. He agreed with my logic and we headed for the spot. On the way out, an obviously insane coyote decided to cross in front of the truck, hold up at 50 yards off the side of the road while I pulled over, wait for me to retrieve the handgun case from the back seat of my crew cab and retrieve my Colt Anaconda, wait further for me to get ammo out from under the hardcover over the bed, load the gun and fire a shot right into its neck. It made for a nice little diversion hunt.
After I smoked the coyote with a 240 gr. Sierra SportsMaster JHC bullet from the .44 mag, we drove deep into the high country over some brutal terrain to find my old, high vantage point. However, looking at the fact that this would be an evening hunt, I decided we needed to get closer to the mountain, as we wouldn’t have time to spot a deer and move in on it in the waning light from as high up as we were. We would trade some elevation and viewing distance for a much closer seat to where the deer previously appeared. It was a gamble, but that decision proved to be the best one of the hunt.
As I drove the truck down the other side of the mountain toward a new, lower vantage point, I almost immediately spotted 3 deer on the low edge of the adjacent mountain. They looked close, but I had no choice to bail out of the truck as they watched and hope they wouldn’t spook. They didn’t (did I mention that mulies are weird?) Given how we had seen almost nothing but does up to this point, I wasn’t immediately excited. Then, a flash of antler changed my mood slightly until I noticed that all three deer were forkies…bummer. I painfully mulled over the thought of lowering my expectations for the sake of filling my tag given that precedent up to this point did not lend itself to the notion that there would be any more opportunities. Just then, a 4th deer appeared and a quick look through the spotting scope showed that he had 3 points on one side. For the purposes of this hunt, he was immediately considered a shooter.
A quick laser reading confirmed that this was a very doable 262 yard shot. The problem was that my buck and one of the forkies were leapfrogging next to each other while feeding, presenting a very real risk of hitting both deer. Worse, they were about to feed behind a large tree. They did just that before I could shoot, forcing me to gather up and run up my new mountain vantage point a bit higher before they fed back out and saw me in full sprint. I got back into shooting position with the bipod legs fully deployed to clear the sage brush. When my buck finally fed clear of his buddy, I shot. My buck just stood there for a moment, and then gradually started walking like he had a bad back. None of the other bucks around him did much more than look up to see what his problem was. About 15 seconds later he came rolling down the mountain. The post-mortem would later show that the 100 gr. Sierra Pro Hunter got total pass-through and double-lunged him.
Not a terribly large or well-spread rack, but I found out upon recovery that he had a 4th point on his far side that I didn’t notice in my haste to set up. Given how poorly most of the other hunters I talked to had done, bagging a 4x3 buck was a very nice treat. Another nice treat was his buddies hanging around for a photo opportunity after he fell dead no more than 100 yards away to watch us recover him (weird, no?)
Regardless, I had my mule deer hanging in camp just a few hours later and that was more than I could ask for.
rberglof wrote: »
I have driven through that area a couple times but that is all.
I use to spend a fare amount of time in Winnemucca and hunted up around Chimney Reservoir, there was a lot of chucker in that area.
JerryBobCo wrote: »
Luis, I shot a 3x3 (4x3 if you count a brow tine) mulie several years ago in the flat tops that had at least a 3 inch layer of fat on the top of its rump. The next year, in the same area, I shot at one running, knocked it down, thought it was down for good, only for it to jump up and run off as I was approaching it. I never did find it, but I did find a chunk of fat at least 2 inches wide near where it fell. I think my bullet grazed the top of its rump and temporarily disabled it.
All of which goes to say I have also seen that some mulies carry a lot of fat on them. Also, the one that I did kill was the largest deer I've ever killed. I'm guessing its field dressed weight was at least 175 lbs. I know I had to butcher it in the field and carry it out in pieces to get it to camp.
bullsi1911 wrote: »
Very cool! Great hunt and nice deer.
snake284-1 wrote: »
Nice Sixgun, and you're suckin' double right now Bro!!! Hey, sincerely, congrats on a great hunt. I'm gonna kill me a local whitetail this weekend as this is the season opener here.
knitepoet wrote: »
Yep, because 180# on the hoof is a HUGE Alabama whitetail
edited to add: Mature does average 80-100# and Bucks another 25-30.
There are a FEW bigger ones, I have bucks of 240#, and 170# as my 2 largest (live weights) in 30+ years of hunting
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