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by James Swidryk a.k.a. jamesfromjersey Last updated: 2011-03-30 22:26:44
This is a story of a Pennsylvania whitetail hunt that took place during 1993. In those days I did not care much for cammo and would wear my green wool pants and red and black wool shirt along with a Eddie Bauer down vest. If it rained I had a surplus Army poncho that always kept me dry. Besides, if wool gets wet its the only fabric that still offers a degree of insulation. Today cammo is used by almost everyone (including myself). They even sell cammo underwear. The first time I saw a hunter decked out in cammo and wearing a bright orange vest I figured the vest cancelled out the reason he wore the cammo in the first place....
Cammo aside, I positioned myself in one of the shooting boxes my friend Joe White had built on the land that he oversees for a lumber company. This is in the extreme north-western part of the great state of Pennsylvania. We are talking 60 miles south east of Erie...Its a 7 to 8 hour drive from my house in Jersey. Before sunrise that morning, Joe drove me in his GMC King Cab pick-up to the trail head leading to the shooting box. My flashlight picked up the reflective tacks that brought me right to the box ladder. Once inside I removed the equipment from my backpack, and since I was using a handgun I cushioned each of the three window ledges to cover all avenues of approach. My hunting handgun that day was a Freedom Arms 454 with a 7 1/2" barrel to which Mag-na-port added their very efficient muzzle brake. Ear protection is always a good thing when shooting in a box blind especially when the gun is equipped with a brake...
This was one of those rare fall days when all that was needed was a warm shirt under a down vest and as sunrise broke the forest came alive with all the critters that call these woods home. Three young buck`s were feeding about 50 yards from my position when they stopped what they were doing with all heads turning to the left. One by one the three buck took off running in the opposite direction as I tried to see what caused them to leave in such a hurry. Out of the thickets stepped what I could only describe as the
"King of the Woods"...This buck did not walk out but made his way into the clearing the way a champion boxer would step into the ring. I could see he was full of confidence as his front legs almost pounded the ground to let any adversary know that this was his territory. His brow tines were big but the G-2`s were, for lack of a better word, flagpole in size making the scene being played out in front of me look like it was taken from a wildlife calender that was displaying the month of November. I realized that my impression of this buck was getting the best of me as I considered letting him just walk by when the hunter in me slowly eased back the hammer to position my "whitetail load" in line with the barrel.
The cartridge that was now staring down the barrel of my Freedom Arms model 83 was a handload that allowed me to take a shot from almost any angle out to 100 yards. The bullet was Hornady`s standard 300gr XTP over a charge of H-4227 that gave a muzzle velocity approaching 1450FPS. The extra weight of the 300gr bullet gave me the penetration while the powder charge was enough to make this a 100 yard load without the heavy kick normally associated with the 454 Casull. He stopped....I shot....He ran....20 minutes later a huge blood trail made the follow up easy and as I stood over this magnificent creature I realized that this ultimate piece of power that I held in my hands had made me the new "King of the Woods".....
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