First let me ask, how do I post pictures?
I left on November 7th flying into Grand Junction to hunt the last days of the gun season. I am blessed to have a friend that is a licencee Colorado outfitter for over 30 years. He has been asking me to come out for several years. We would be hunting private ranches.
We finally arrived late that evening. After a day of travel that began at 3:30 that morning in Alabama. Wednesday morning we went to the range to check everyone's guns. They all looked me like I was crazy when I pulled out the encore handgun in .308. They were all hunting with ultra mag this and magnum that. I think they began to believe me that I was going to hunt with it when I began calling the shots on the target. I am comfortable and shoot regularly out to 300 yards with the gun.
Off to the first hunt Wednesday afternoon. I was set up overlooking a deep creek bed with cedars in it. I had the bog pog with PSR rest set up and was able to cover anything that walked through there as far as I could see. Max range to the top of the other side in the cedars war 258 yards. You had to keep your head on a swivel because the deer would move through the cedars and then you would have to anticipate a shooting window. I had 3 does come out at 100 yards and feed on some grass. They hung around for 20 minutes and began walking through the cedars. I was glassing them when I caught movement where they came from. When I turned my head, all I saw was the eye guards and couldn't make anything else out. I figured it was a small buck since I didn't see any tops. He stood there with his head behind a clump of cedars feeding on the same small patch of grass the does did. I could only see from his shoulders back. I put the cross hairs on him and said bang to myself just wishing he was bigger. He finally walked behind the cedars and I was still glassing for him when he came out the other side behind some limbs and he was a beautiful 4x4. There was no shot, he just walked up the hill and was obstructed the entire way. I just shook my head and had to laugh.
The next morning I was set up on the other end of the creek and cedar canyons. It was amazing to watch the deer parade from just before 7 until almost 9. I was looking right down a fence line and every deer would walk up, stop and jump the fence. I must have seen 30 or 40 deer do that. Saw some little spikes, but nothing with horns. I saw a large body standing under a large tree at the fence, but never saw a rack. I was set up to shoot the fence line (rancher owns both sides of the fence) Its there to keep the cows out of the cedar canyons as I call them. Anyway when it jumped the fence it was a beautiful 3x4 but he would not stop and I was not going to shoot a walking deer at 267 yards. the opening on the fence line was about 10 yards wide before it went into the cedars. I could see him walking in the cedars, but no shot.
That evening I went to another ranch and I was set up on a pasture surrounded by cedars. I saw 6 does and no bucks. I forgot to mention that when they tell you the temperature drops when the sun goes behind the mountain, yeah it does, and not like Alabama. This evening I was prepared for the temperature drop. A friend of mine did kill a nice 6x6 bull elk that evening. I forgot to mention, I did not purchase an elk tag since it had been unseasonably warm with not a lot of snow in the high country. There were elk around, but not the numbers like in the past.
The next morning found me back at this ranch set up on a pick nick table on the front porch of a cabin, Talk about a perfect shooting situation. I was in heaven, bi-pod down, squeeze bag, range finder, just like at the range this was sweet. Well I had deer walk past me in all directions and there was a pretty 4x4 out there at 420 yards chasing does. Even rock solid I wasn't comfortable with the shot. Its a whole nother story about what can and will go wrong 24 hours before you leave on a trip. Anyway, lets just say its a blessing to have a good friend who is a gunsmith and I was shooting store bought ammo. The first store bought center fire ammo I have bought in 20 or more years. I did not know the BC or the MV for what i was shooting so I didn't have the true balistics. Yes I could have made an educated guess, but I wasn't comfortable so i didn't squeeze the trigger. Still an awesome morning hunt.
Friday evening I went to sugar loaf mountain as I call it. I gave it that name while I was out there turkey hunting a couple of years ago. Its the flat top of a finger where the rancher will move his cows in the winter to feed. When I was there in the spring it was covered in 18" of cow manure and cows. When I was set up calling a turkey and a cow decided it was time to use the restroom 3 foot behind me. The river came running down under my legs and seat. I can say that is the only time I walked away from a gobbling turkey. That evening I didn't see a thing, but what a beautiful sunset.
That evening we went into town for dinner with some other friends that were hunting too. One friend was sick because he had shot a huge 5x5 and could not find him. I asked how far? he said 487. I said what? What are you shooting? he said a 30-06. I asked if he had ever shot at even a target that far and he said no. I just shook my head. He had sighted his gun in at 100 and had turrets on the scope. From what he described, I think he hit the deer high in the shoulder. He said the deer hit the ground with his legs straight out. He picked his head up twice and he and the guide watched him for 5 minutes. They were gathering their gear up when they looked up to see the deer walking, staggering out of the field. They looked for 2 days and never sound that deer. my guess is the shock wave paralyzed him and when the got feeling back he was able to stand up and slowly walk off.
Saturday morning I went back to the hole where i was the first evening. I just knew I was going to see a deer parade. Only thing I saw was a doe and a small spike buck.
Saturday evening I went with one of my friends guides to watch a large sage flat and some cedars. What was cool about this set up was that we were in a 4 foot deep irrigation ditch. I was able to set the use the bipod on the gun and squeeze bag. Here again, just like on the bench but one step up and lean against the ditch and I was rock solid. You could just peek over the edge of the ditch and watch everything in front. I nicknamed that area the sniper pit. Here again the deer parade began and I watched 30 deer walk through. Finally jut beofore legal shooting time ended I glanced down the ditch to my left and there was what i thought was only 4 does and a nice 3x3 standing in the sage. I had to get down in the ditch and crawl to get set up again. When I slid up and got ready to shoot, there was 15 does and him. In the crawl I didn't know where the buck moved to. When I got up, I started glassing and found him standing perfectly broadside. just about the time I had him in the scope a doe walked in front going the other direction and he wheeled around and went out of there.
I spent the last day of the season in the sniper pit watching the deer parade and nothing to shoot.
It was an awesome time. Completely different way of hunting than I expected. When I went to Montana bow hunting years ago I did all spot and stalk.
I flew home Monday. I will go back with my friend next year. That brings me to what caliber XP should I build for next year? 6.5-284?