Monday, July 17, 2006

day 11

The wait is over, number one is in the cooler.

After predictions of record high heat today (predicted 96 deg F), I didn't have much thought about going deer sniping tonight. But late afternoon clouds and a fairly stiff breeze kept the temperature down to the low 80s, so at 6 pm I bade goodbye to Mrs. Zaitsev and the little Zs swimming at the lake and headed for the vineyard.

Got settled in by 7 pm or so. The truck thermometer read 86, so I decided basically to park where I had last night in the parking lot and wait it out. I monkeyed around a bit with the "parking configuration," giving myself a bit more of an angle to lurk behind should the opportunity present itself to shift and shoot.

Nothing for the first hour. I sometimes catch myself getting antsy and wondering if I should go take a walk. Then I remind myself, it's 86 degrees, and you're in the best spot so far for evening sniping. So I decided to stay cool and sit tight.

Good thing I did. Right about 8:30 Bambi's mom and the two little fawns from the other morning showed up behind the truck, coming out of the woods behind the small drainage pond and walking the berm around it toward the grapes. Mom took her time and waited for the bambinos to move up.

I basically and bloodthirstily decided that if she stayed out in the open and I could get out of the truck and ready to shoot, that I would finally take advantage of the opportunity and "manage the resource." She was basically about ten yards from the spot where last night's deer came out of the woods.

I opened the door (leaving the engine running!) and she briefly looked at me through the glass, then kept going. I wheeled behind the cab to reach for the gun in the truck bed, and could see through the cab that she was still there. I got the gun ready to mount before sticking my head out, got it focused on her, moved a bit more away from the cab for good measure, and pulled the trigger.

The image of what happened next is vivid. The doe did what seemed like a backward flip with all four legs in the air and landed on her back. The two fawns split up, one into the grapes and one past mom around the woods corner and presumably back into the woods. I felt a little bad about orphaning those deer, but at this point I've seen enough deer around Richard's place to realize he really does need these deer removed. I had convinced myself ahead of time that if I again saw that mom with the fawns that I would shoot and chalk it up to management. Who knows, with luck they may just make it anyway, although clearly the mother was full of milk and still nursing.

I walked over to the doe, who by this time had slid down the berm in her death throes into the weeds in the shallow water of the pond. She only kicked for another half minute or so, and that was it. One shot kill at thirty yards, and she fell over--just like I wanted.

Checked my watch, it was 8:30. I was able to pull the truck right to the deer, and I was out of there by 9:00. The weird thing when I pulled her back up onto the berm was that I didn't see where the slug hit. Turning her over, she bled profusely from her neck. Best I can figure is that right when I shot she turned toward the fawns, because the entry hole was in her neck on the "away" side (her right side). When I hang her to butcher I'll look more closely to figure out what exactly happened; but because of the heat I was in a hurry to get her field dressed and get her home as quickly as possible.

Because I gutted the doe so close to the building and the parking lot, I scooped up the guts into a manure tub and dumped them later in one of his fields away from the building. I washed up at the hose bib outside the building, and headed home. There I hosed out the body cavity, skinned the hindquarters back some more to cool, removed the legs, and sawed the pelvis. She was in the mudroom refrigerator by 10 pm, not a bad turnaround time-wise. Next time it will be quicker because I'll have my routine down. A quick mop of the mudroom floor and hosing out of the truck, and I was inside cooling off by 10:15.

Fortunately she's not the largest doe in the world, so horsing her around and into the frig was fairly easy. She'll also be easy to handle for butchering, which is a good thing because she'll be my first home butchered deer (confessions, confessions). Gotta learn sometime.

Anyway, that's about it. We're "on the board" as they say.

And that's confessions of a deer sniper.


Blogger KGT (aka Cagey) said...

Very "cool" and nice write-up. Congrats.

By the way, my menonite butcher makes some nice maple flavored breakfast sausage out of my managed does...ever thought of that? Nice to have excess meat to experiment with.

And I'll say it for Ernie, whom I am in total agreement with...why did you waste a bullet on the doe when the best meat was standing next to her? :)

Get back out there!

Tue Jul 18, 09:25:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it any better Keith, thanks for the support! Couldn't help but notice you have a new portable shade tree in the middle of the pasture, wondering how that was ever missed from the hedge row!

Wed Jul 19, 02:37:00 PM 2006  

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