I was fortunate enough to be invited along to hunt the December rifle season opener with good friend Steve Brady. It was cold and windy with temps steadily falling all day from the impending cold front. This seemed like perfect conditions to set up over a large bean field as the deer would hopefully be out feeding heavy before the front set in. Steve had invested the upfront time and effort preparing a nice blind overlooking the two edges where the timber bordered the bean field. I must say that after spending countless hours perched in a small tree stand, freezing to death, during the long archery season, it was quite pleasurable to hunt out of the blind protected a bit from the wind. Our plan was to hunt together and utilize Steve’s new toy that he purchased this past summer, a customer long range gun by Gunwerks. The 7mmLRM has a ballistic calibrated NightForce scope advertised to be accurate to 1000 yards out of the box, and where the blind was positioned, this gun was going to be perfect for some long range opportunities. As the morning darkness lightened into dawn, we were rewarded with a number of deer sightings. They would move into the beans to eat for a few minutes each then quickly disappear. Until a little before 8:00 however all we saw were few small spike bucks, and a couple of small 6-pointers. That is until this nice 10-point walked out for a bite! Gracious to a fault, Steve had me set up for the first opportunity. The buck turned broadside at 250 yards and I somehow managed to keep the nerves in check and made a perfect shot with the 7mmLRM right through both shoulders, dropping the deer nearly in his tracks, allowing me to claim a personal best with my first ever 10 point whitetail buck.
A good pair of binoculars is simply a must when attempting this kind of long range hunting, as most of the deer we saw the rest of the morning were way out there at 500+ yards, barely visible to (at least for me) to the naked eye. Again, though everything was either a small buck or a doe. We continued to sit out the remainder of the day, and with the winds continuing to pick up even further and the deer movement coming to a halt, I was feeling bad that Steve allowed me the first shot and we might not get another chance for him. But right at dusk, he got his opportunity. A second big buck emerged onto the beans that day from the opposite side of the field. I was busy with the range finder calling out distances while Steve got set up. This time he would have to fight high winds and a 425 yard shot to tag this animal. No problem, a high shoulder shot dropped him where he stood! Practice makes perfect.
This hunt will be forever logged into the mental memory bank as one of the most successful and fun days afield. Thank You Steve for a wonderful day!