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by wheeler45 Last updated: 2010-11-09 23:08:03
Sika in the rain
My friend Randy Ratliff and I were wanting once again to hunt exotics. We had last hunted together in Tennessee where he had taken a boar with a rifle and I had killed a Barbiroussa ram with a bow. He now wanted such a ram and I was after a Sika deer. My nephew Danny Shelton, a precocious ten years old would accompany us. I contacted my friend Tom Belville owner of Dale Ray Hunting Preserve 2228 Co. Rd. 66 Proctorville, OH 45669 740-886-7060 www.dalerayhunting.com and scheduled a hunt.
We arrived Friday evening and Tom got us settled into The Haven. Having hunted there many times I knew a good hunt was forthcoming. Randy and Danny would be sleeping upstairs and I would take the lower lever. The incoming weather was forecast to be rainy. For once the weatherman was right, as we awoke Saturday to a foreboding cloud cover. After a quick breakfast we decided to pursue the sika first. I and my wheelchair were loaded on the ATV and we headed to what Tom calls the ‘hills’. I am Hoosier Flatlander, raised in corn and bean country.
The hills of southeastern Ohio seem more like mountains to me. Back when I was walking and could surmount said hills, I knew they were mountains. Once in position we readied ourselves. This was going to be my T/C Contender’s first trial. Many rounds had been expended while practicing and I was confident that the 7-30 Waters was accurate and destroyed water filled milk jugs. How would it perform on deer? This was also to be my first experience hunting with a red dot sight. Ah, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Danny had never been in the woods before that day and was carrying my Winchester Model 94 .30/30, albeit unloaded. I wanted him to feel like part of the hunt, but not risk him killing something that would come out of my pocket.
I chambered a round, hoping to get a shot soon as it had begun sprinkling rain. We caught a glimpse of a sika as well as other game in the distance. They were all lower than us toward the ground level. I turned on the dot and waited all the while concentrating on the hillside below us. After sitting in the rain for a while a noise caught my attention. I turned my head to the right and saw a boar about ten yards from us. He was scenting us but was unsure what we were. I slowly turned to tell Randy. He said, “He has been there for a while, where were you?” Danny, never having seen a boar other than on my wall was scared and said, “Shoot it uncle Tony!” I told him to be quiet and still. After losing interest in us the porker went on his way. Having hunted many boars I knew that the danger was minimal. However, I have been run up a few trees by them! By this time it was the rain was a gully washer. We saw the sika few times and Randy would pull me through the mud, but we could not get a good shot. It was not late afternoon and Tom came to get us. We figured the day was bust. Once on the ATV we headed down the trail. Suddenly Randy saw the sika on a ledge ahead of and above us. Tom stopped and told me to take a shot. I reloaded and rested across Tom’s shoulder. After making sure that his ears were plugged the dot settled on the deer. At the shot a 120-grain Hornady single shot spire point was propelled from the muzzle by a load of AA2520. Given the falling darkness and rain, I was amazed at the muzzle flash. The sika dropped as if lightening struck. Randy and Dan ran to recover the deer as it quickly became dark. The bullet had entered the chest cavity and fragmented. The heart and lungs were pulped Right then and there the 7-30 and I fell in love. It has never failed me after many years. We quickly got the deer and our soggy bodies to the lodge.
By now the sun had set and Randy had not been hunting. He was wanting to kill a ram with his Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt. We spent Saturday night in the Haven and decided that Randy would hunt the next day. Danny went with him and Tom and I stayed behind where it was dry. Around noon they returned with a beautiful ram that adorns Randy’s wall. Now we had few hours to drive home and a lifetime of memories. Once again, good friends and family had enjoyed a hunt in God’s great outdoors. Without friends like them I would be unable to hunt. Without my Lord and Savior Jesus I would have no hope in this world, nor any promise of Heaven. Praise Him!
Tony Huffman HHI#8113
P.S. The picture looks the muzzle is covering Danny, but it is not. Danny is now grown and a hunter. Planting seeds reaps a good crop.
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