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by Joshua J Kelley a.k.a. JoshK     Last updated: 2008-09-08 17:49:44

Opening day

The oak tree covered ridge seemed to sway back and forth with the cold November breeze. It wasn't real cold for November, 40-45 degrees, but the wind made it feel like Antarctica! The sun finally broke over the Ozark skyline and warmed things a bit. After about an hour in the tree stand I caught movement over my right shoulder and sure enough, it was a decent 7pt buck. He stopped and smelled the doe in estrus sent rag id set out 25 yds in front of my stand. I put the crosshairs on his shoulder, then just watched him walk away.


I was hunting the central Missouri Ozarks. Now this area is not as well known for its bragging sized whitetails as the Northern half of the state, but there are some very nice bucks taken in this area on a yearly basis.

I may have taken that buck a two or three seasons ago, but my hunting partner and I were wanting to let the little guys grown to their potential. We kept a minimum of 120 B&C points as the smallest buck we wanted to harvest, if one of use shot a smaller buck, we'd owe the other $50. It has worked very well! During each of the last two years we had noticed many 3 1/2 to 5 1/2 year old bucks.


Gotta put in the time!

Well, after two FULL days of hunting the 7pt I'd seen on the first morning of the hunt was the only deer to cross my path. I was starting to get that "itchy trigger finger" feeling we all get from time to time. Hunting is like that sometimes, it'll wear you down mentally and physically but you just have to keep on it. The third morning rolled around foggy, chilly and wet. Sprinkles were falling and so were my eyelids. At 8:00 on the money I noticed two does feeding along the ridge I was hunting. I decided to take one if given a shot. The lead doe stepped into a small clearing 110 yards away. As the crosshairs settled behind her shoulder I eased my finger on the trigger. Then the doe decided she'd been in one place long enough and before I could finish the trigger pull she moved on. That about did it! Now I was starting to feel the pressure. This was the last day of my hunt and I had to leave by noon. With my 6.8 SPC Contender in hand I set back and relaxed. "What the heck" I thought to myself, "if I go home empty handed it wont be the first time or the last!". Just as I was throwing myself a pitty party I saw a flash of white to my left. There feeding about 1/3 of the way up the ridge was a very nice 8 pt. Slowly I eased the Contender onto my shooting rail. As the crosshairs lined up on the heart/lung area I sent the 110gr TSX on it's way. The buck took off at the shot and stopped 80 yards out. One more TSX and the buck was down for good!


When I got to the buck I was very pleased. After thanking god for the opportunity to harvest such a fine animal I dressed the buck out and actually made it out of the woods early enough that I didn't get into any trouble with my wife!


The gun

My T/C Contender was wearing a 15" TC Custom shop barrel. The barrel started life as a 270 Ren but was sent to SSK Industries to be rechambered to 6.8 SPC. This is the most accurate GUN I have shot to date. Groups of .045" are possible when I'm on. The bullet I chose for this hunt was the Barnes 110gr TSX. While it worked well on this particular buck, it's not as accurate in my barrel as the 110gr Sierra ProHunter. I've taken only 3 deer to date with the TSX and have very happy with it's performance. I can't wait to try the 110 gr Nosler Accubond, it might be the best bullet yet for the 6.8!

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Recent Comments:

Poster: gemihur    Date: 2012-12-24    Top

Great depiction of a hunter's tale! Just got a 23" 6.8 bbl and was wondering it's effectiveness on whitetail. Thanks for the insight,Josh, I really appreciate it. We need more out there like you! Thanks, Jimmy
Poster: UglyDawg    Date: 2012-08-03   Top

Very nice description of your hunting success. I really enjoyed it. Thanks!
Poster: Wyatt 545    Date: 2011-12-04    Top

Good deal.
Poster: Smokewagon    Date: 2010-04-01   Top

You should try the Hornady 110-VMAX. The antelope I've shot in the shoulder have all been DRT.H-322 gives 2300-2350 fps. For non-loaders Hornady offers this bullet in a factory load.
Poster: Jeffx    Date: 2009-12-25    Top

I have the same set up and I reload the same bullet the 110 gr TSX and I have harvested two Bucks and a Doe so far with great bullet results.
Poster: miggy41mag    Date: 2009-11-16   Top

Hey Josh, I have a 12" 6.8 from Coyote Arms (I believe their out if business, unfortunatly) and use the same TSX bullet. What an unbelievable shooter! Looks like a very nice rig you have. Congratulations on your success with it.
Poster: PsyopsE6    Date: 2008-11-04    Top

Seems like you have done your homework, I am just starting on a 6.8 project and your article was very helpful..really a nice buck you took, be proud its so much more exciting with a handgun, and the TC really looks nice to...As ole Ted would say to you "Rock On"..ElDee
Poster: Mikewin    Date: 2008-09-22   Top

Nice buck and story! But relating to accuracy: a .045 inch group is VERY small. 6,8mm is around .26"....
Poster: SChunter    Date: 2008-09-16    Top

Nice buck - and you never know what that 7 pt will turn into this year or next!
Poster: KRal    Date: 2008-09-09   Top

very nice handgun trophy...KRal
Poster: Tigger    Date: 2008-09-06    Top

Real nice deer!!
Poster: MIHunter    Date: 2008-09-06   Top

Nice Buck!




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