Hunting With Handguns

My Bittersweet Buck
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by Ty Chatell a.k.a. MIHunter     Last updated: 2008-09-03 20:36:27

Several years ago I bought a Ruger Super Redhawk .44 caliber with the intentions of deer hunting with it. I had the gun Mag-Na-Ported and I would shoot the gun every year before the season but never really got serious about hunting with it. I hunt in southern Michigan where there is a lot of pressure on the deer and you donít get many chances, so I either hunted with a shotgun or muzzle loader.

The 2004 deer season was going really slow for me. I had not taken a deer that year and I was getting frustrated. One night after hunting I read an article about deer hunting with a handgun. I spoke with a friend on the telephone and he convinced be to take the handgun out the next day so I did.

Well, as you can guess the next evening things really picked up. I was in my tree stand when I heard deer approaching. As they got closer I could hear a buck grunting. There were three does being chased by 2 bucks. They got within 40 yards and the lead doe stopped. She got nervous. I had the larger buck in my scope and when he turned broad side I shot. A few seconds later I hear several shots from the direction the deer ran. I got down but did not find any sign that I hit the deer. I went back out the next morning and looked again but it was a clean miss. I was now hooked on handgun hunting.

After the season I began to read books and found I took my Ruger back to Magnaport and had the trigger worked on. This really helped with my accuracy. I practiced a lot during the summer and when I drew my Michigan Bear Tag I knew I would only hunt with the handgun. Unfortunately I never saw a bear during the five days of hunting.

During the archery season in Michigan I took a small buck with the bow. When gun season rolled around I was ready. I had a doe and buck tag so I was going to shoot at the first good opportunity I had. Unfortunately when I told the wife about the plan she insisted I not shot a doe because we already had one deer in the freezer.

A few days into the season I had my first good chance. Three nice sized does came within 30 yards but all I can hear is my wife complaining so I hold off thinking about the consequences. I really wanted to harvest a deer with the handgun. As Iím mulling it over the does all look to the south. I look and see another deer coming with its head down. I get excited thinking this must be a buck. The does scatter and are now actually under my stand. When the other deer comes into view itís a button buck. He starts chasing the does like he has a chance with them. I started to laugh then realized all the deer now ran off with the button buck chasing them. Oh well, at least I wonít hear the complaining when I get home.

A few days later Iím back in the same stand. It was a nice crisp morning in the low 30ís. Around 7:30 AM three does start to work their way in eating fallen acorns. At this point I was ready; I was going to shoot if a good shot presented itself ó it doesnít and I start regretting not taking the shot the other night.

Around 8:30 AM I hear a shot come from the direction where my dadís hunting with his muzzle loader, I get ready in case anything comes my way. About 30 seconds later I see a buck coming. Heís just trotting along, I pull up the gun but I was having a hard time getting him in the scope. I grunt to try and stop him but he keeps going. I finally get the scope on him and have a clear shot. I shoot. The deer keeps going so I shoot again. At this point the deer ran into a very thick area and I can no longer see him. A few seconds later I hear a crash. Iím thinking thereís no way I hit him and I must have heard him running through the woods. I get down and call my dad on the radio to see if he connected. He explained that he shot at a nice buck but couldnít find any blood. I start looking and find one small drop of blood on a leaf. I call my dad and he comes over to help me track. We were struggling through the low limbs and brush trying to follow the random drops of blood. I feared that we might be pushing the deer so I sent my dad up the hill to where the deer would be heading out.

I continue my search and low and behold I find more and more blood. I look to my left and there he was, down for the count. He went less than 50 yards. As I approached the deer I could see half the rack sticking up and it had four points. I then pulled the head up which was under a log and see the other side is very thick and heavy but only has 2 points. It looked like a crab claw to me. I called my dad on the radio and let him know the deer was down. When we checked the deer the only bullet hole was from my handgun. I felt bad that my dad missed but I was so happy that I got him. I called him my Bittersweet Buck.


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Recent Comments:

Poster: FROSTY    Date: 2017-12-25    Top

Thanks for sharing you're hunting adventure. Great Buck also!
Poster: jamesfromjersey    Date: 2008-12-21   Top

Thats a damm nice first buck...I know there will be many more that will fall to your .44...
Poster: pab1    Date: 2008-09-04    Top

Great article MIHunter!
Poster: dertiedawg    Date: 2008-09-04   Top

The hook is set deep! There is no escaping it now. Handgun hunter for life. Since I started hunting with a handgun, I have not taken the rifles into the woods again. I currently hunt with the Super Redhawk 44 mag as well. T/C Encore is on my short list for the longer shots which are possible in the mountains in various locations. Congratulations on the fine buck. You are now officially a "Handgun Hunter". DDawg
Poster: larry223    Date: 2008-09-03    Top

that is a nice story with a happy ending i would think your hooked on handgun hunting nice thanks for the story. larry

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