Sunday, July 16, 2006

day 10

Aargghh. Muffing these chances is getting old. Tonight I had my best opportunity yet and flubbed it.

One of the interesting things about deer sniping so far is learning the tricks of the "non-sporting" trade. So for example, when tonight it was 90 degrees until the sun went down, I elected to sit in the (air-conditioned) truck in a good spot, with a game plan of getting out and sniping if the opportunity presented itself, which it did.

I had parked the truck in the shade at the corner of the winery's parking lot, near a corner of the woods that jut out by a small drainage pond right next to the grapes. I had gotten there fairly early, about 6pm, and for the first hour or so nothing happened.

At about 7:15 a doe poked her head out of the woods right at the corner by the pond--thirty yards away. I'm in business! Here was my mistake: I turned the engine of the truck off, which the other night had no effect on the deer that I saw that night. Here, it turned out to be a big mistake.

She instantly froze and looked at the truck. She didn't run, but she sure didn't stick around. I eased out of the truck to get my gun which I had rested on a bucket in the truck bed. From there I tried to see if I'd have a shot over the truck bed, which I didn't; and by the time I got to the front of the truck, she had moved up the treeline parallel to the grapes and was obscured by grass.

At this point, I made mistake number 2 which was when I elected not to follow her, which I could easily have done while screened by the corner of the woods. Stupidly I had some idea that she might be followed by more deer, or that it was still early and that another chance would present itself later. In hindsight I should have followed her, because she was unthreatened and lingered eating in the tall grass for some time.

The big mistake was turning off the engine. Later I tested getting out of the truck cab and resting the gun on the hood with the engine running. Guess what--the vibration of the truck and the engine is so minimal that at thirty yards (hell, at eighty yards!) I could get a nice steady sight picture.

So you can be sure I won't be making that mistake again. Again, this is not something you ordinarily have to be concerned with during the course of the regular hunting season. I've never had to hunt from the cab of a truck when it is 90+ degrees out--but this was the best opportunity yet. Oh well. Still a long season.

That's confessions of a deer sniper.


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