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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ohio Gun Season - Opening Day 2012

I went out for the opening day of Ohio's gun season for the first time in about 5 years. Deciding to take the muzzleloader over the battle tested 870 just in case I needed the extra reach on a deer cruising through the open woods, or slipping along the field edge. Not having a crystal ball at the time, I probably should have just stuck with my preferred weapon of choice, my bow. As I passed the time counting gun shots in the distance, my overly high anticipations of a successful morning hunt were starting to drift away by 9:00 AM. However, just shortly thereafter my ears caught the distinguished sound of over turning leaves behind me, and this time I was certain that the cadence didn't quite match that of the fox squirrels who had fooled me earlier.

Quickly looking over my shoulder I could see the group of deer heading my way in a single file fashion. The occasional pause by the lead deer seemed to catch the followers off guard as they would nearly bump into one another before proceeding. Before I knew it I had 6 does filtering past me at about 10 yards. I wanted to test my long range marksmanship with the muzzleloader so I let them slip off into the distance... and at about 18 yards the gun's stock met up with my shoulder. The group paused once again, just as they had while I watched them work through the woods moments earlier. I quickly scanned the group to isolate the biggest doe, placed the scope's cross hairs on her quartering away chest, applied a little pressure to the trigger, and in fractions of a second my ears were ringing from the BOOM!!!

With only a subtle breeze blowing through the tree tops at the moment, the black power smoke lingered in the air like a misplaced cloud, making it tough to see where my deer had dashed off to. Six had come in, I could make out two scampering off to the south, three still stood in their tracks just mere yards from the spot they held as the shot sounded off, and I thought I could hear the crashing of the sixth unaccounted for deer on the other side of a small thicket.

After letting the three (now partially deaf) deer walk away, I climbed down out of my stand and packed up up gear. Walking over to the point of impact it didn't take too long to find some of this...


Following the blood trail along the edge of the thicket for about 20 yards I looked around the corner into the more open woods, and saw this...


After saying my "thanks" for being blessed with the experience this morning I took a few more pictures before getting back to work (literally, I only took a half day's vacation so I had to get to work!)...


I'm grateful to put a nice big doe in the freezer after so many close, and frustrating calls during the first part of the bow season. Now I can just relax, chase some birds around, and maybe still fill my buck tag later in the season. Oh, and the kids are already asking for jerky.

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