Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Great Opening Day

My Son-In-Law and I used to hunt a friends farm, but do to family issues, we lost that area for at least the time being. Then my Son-In-Law had a previous commitment to go to the Apple Festival with his brother so it was looking like I was going to get stuck hunting alone on public WMA land with 10,000 other folks.

Then, out of the blue I get an email from Noel Lucas showing me his finished custom rifle (and a very nice one it is too!) We exchanged a few emails (in which he included some game camera shots of the deer on his families property) and to make a long story short, he invited me down to Talbot County near Baughville, GA to hunt with him on opening day.

Of course Baughville, GA is about 127 miles from where I live near Atlanta so I had to be up by 3:30 am to meet Noel at 6 am. After only a few bad turns I made it by 6:15 and met Noel at the BP in Ellerslie, Ga and from there we drove to his families land to begin the hunt. Noel took me to a nice two-man stand and he went to try a new spot with his climber. The two-man stand was overlooking the exact spot from where the game camera shots had been taken. I attached the safety line to my rifle and wearing my backpack climbed up the stand's ladder. Once safely in the stand I pulled the rifle up, loaded it, and was ready for a days hunt.

It was a little crisp at 44 degrees but with my 200 gram long john bottoms I used for diving with drysuits, heavy jeans, a long sleeved tee-shirt, regular shirt, coat and camo-overalls I was actually getting toasty by the time the sun came up. I ended up eventually removing the coat and shirt and just hunting in the long-sleeve tee-shirt on top.

Unfortunately, other than a great many birds and squirrels the morning hunt was fruitless without even a sighting of a flashing white tail through the trees. However, it was peaceful, no phones, no TV and no Oracle and even a poor day hunting is better than one at the office! We came down out of the stands about 10:30am and met up with Noels dad Doug and his Aunt to go into Waverly for lunch at the Cathead Restaurant (Its a southern thing). It looked like a camo-clothing convention in the restaurant with all the hunters in there, in fact the waitress commented when we left that she was already sick of seeing camo.

After lunch we reviewed the game camera footage and determined that the best time was between 5-7pm to be on the stands, so of course we got back on them at about 2pm. We figured that with all the hunters in the woods the deer might be a bit restive and off schedule a bit. We were wrong.

So I spent another 4 and half hours watching the birds and squirrels and listening to the distant, and not-so-distant sounds of gunfire indicating other hunters were having a lucky day (or just shooting their guns so they could tell their friends they missed a really big one...) Finally, at about 6:30 pm I heard the sounds of something pushing through the bush that was obviously not a bird or squirrel. I scanned the game trails I could see from my perch and soon was rewarded with the sight of two deer, a medium size and small size doe. I waited a bit to see if there was a buck following them but since the rut is still a few weeks off it was not to be. In Georgia you are allowed ten"antlerless" deer and 2 bucks a season. In the northern counties there are special either-sex days and hunts, but in the southern counties like Talbot, the entire season is either-sex due to the large proliferation of deer in recent years. I put my eye to the scope and centered on the largest doe's chest, just behind the front shoulder. This would tell if all the weeks of work on the rifle and several trips to the shooting range to zero in the scope would pay off.

I squeezed the 3 pound trigger, and was surprised when the gun went off (not surprised that it went off, just when, which is the sign of a proper trigger pull) and the doe leaped up like a stallion. When the deer does a leap up on the hind legs like a stallion does, it is a sign of a fatal (usually heart, lung or both) hit. She stumbled off with the smaller doe following.

I had just lowered my rifle and was glassing the area where the deer had exited when my cell phone buzzed, it was Noel. "Did you get one?"

"Yep, they came in just like on the camera"

"I'll be there shortly so we can track it down!"

I cycled the bolt on the 8 mm rifle and left it with an empty chamber, recorded the deer on my tag, then packed my hunting backpack and using the line provided, lowered them both to the ground. I then climbed down the ladder and went over to check the kill zone. Just as I located the blood spore I heard Noel drive up in his red Chevy pickup. Together we followed the heavy bright red blood spoor about 50 yards to where the doe lay dead. Grabbing the hind legs I pulled her out to the truck and we put her in the back. I went over and got my rifle and pack and put them into the back seat of the king cab and we headed back to the house.

It was just turning dark when we started to field dress, skin and quarter the doe. We hoisted her up on a sturdy branch of a huge old Oak. With Noel providing light I finished up at about 8 pm and packed the quarters into the cooler. At the same BP we had met at that morning I filled up on gas and got some ice to pack the cooler with, a diet Mountain Dew and some snacks and headed for home. A great end to a great day! I can't wait to go back down and hunt with Noel during November and the rut season. Hopefully I can bag a nice 10 point buck or better!

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