We count these things

The dentist there is a Safari Club member.  Seems kinda hoity toity and not my deal, but ya get over the class angle you might be able to understand that it provides a framework for approaching your hunting life.  Anyway, the members count all the big game they have killed and record them in a book.

I can record too, merely because the number is manageable (unlike some of my cousins and friends, who are really good hunters)..  I’ll transcribe mine for posterity.

2 – SE Montana, Ekalaka or Biddle, late Oct 1983.  I was not yet 15.  I got a mule deer doe and a fawnish pronghorn antelope.  For antelope, I had wandered out into the prairie during the day to hunt.  Very hot autumn then.  Walked a bit and napped on a small plateau.  Woke up 20 – 30 min later and there was an antelope sitting down the way, well more than 100 yards.  I had my dad’s Remington 700 in 30-06, and I seemingly kept missing it, shooting ‘prone’.  Took my boots off eventually to rest the rifle, to get some steady elevation above the immediate cacti.  Uncanny similar seen like this at beginning of No Country for Old Men with Josh Brolin.  Went through most of a box of ammo, and it kept standing there, I must have taken 17-18 shots.  Turns out I had hit it a couple times, and it probably couldn’t run at that point, but it didn’t go down immediately.  I was convinced the rifle was off zero, but actually it was a longish shot.  Switched to my grandfathers Browning BLR .243 for the rest of the hunt.  These have always been peachy little rifles but have not picked one up in my prosperous adulthood because they are yet a bit pricy.  With the deer, our uncles led us through a draw a couple days later and a buncha mule deer popped up.  I shot the mule deer with one shot with this little lever rifle from real short range.  Nice doe.

3 – Mule deer, SE Montana again, late Oct 1985.  Out of radio range for most things, but got the WS game 7 on when the Cards / Joaquin Andujar / Whitey Herzog melted down and the Royals won 11-0.  My cousins had filled out I think briefly, as had my uncles.  In the waning days of this trip the rancher loaded me in the back of his pickup and drove me into the boonies, kinda ‘guiding’, as they did all know unconsciously here the deer were.  Wasn’t long before we came upon one and I took a shot from the back of his pickup and killed a doe.  It would stand to reason I also had an antelope tag on this Montana trip but I do not remember it.

4 – Had taken up hunting in Goodrich, ND with my relatives.  I think I was a jr. or sr. in college and drove out there in Nov. to hunt.  Very snowy and cold, My good guess is it was Nov. 92.  Took a walk through a soybean field with some unplanted terrain, brushy, very hard walking.  Came upon some does, I had a doe tag.  Picked one out and seemed to have hobbled it.  Followed the blood a mile, and took a couple more shots, which I was missing.  It was a Weatherby .300, my dads, which was a 5 shot bolt action.  I was near having used that many, and look in my pockets for the plastic shell holder with another 10.  It’s gone, along with my license, they fell out as I am kinda jogging and tracking this deer.    So I think I got one cartridge, and am very afraid I’ll miss again as I get close as this wounded deer will allow.  Now, even then I was infatuated with six-shooters, and I was fancifully carrying one in the field then though there’s no way you figure it’s going to be any utility to a 21 year old doofus hunter.    But it was loaded with 6, an Armi San Marco black powder replica of an ol ’58 Remmie  .44 (Josey Wales revolver, in popular culture).  So I unholster this as I’m about 50 feet from this deer and it has stopped running away.  Figure I’ll try that and try to save my one ‘real’ rifle cartridge.  Then I came to the proper conclusion I had no chance of hitting it with that and used the rifle.  Finally I did finally put a decent shot into this deer’s shoulder  to put it down.  I scratched this rifle stock with the spur of the revolver going after this deer, I still hear about that.  I found my license and the extra shells as I retraced my steps the next morning.

5 – Got a buck with a little 4 x 2 rack at one point at the I think was the Indian Hills public game area in Goodrich ND.  This was a traditional deer drive in which some guys walk from one side of a field while some guys walk or post from the other.  Buck had been flushed towards me and turned broadside maybe when it smelled or heard me, I hit it as it ran, right in the shoulder, good shots, I think actually just one.

6 – Couple years later took a good shot from the farm road I was walking on in Goodrich and put down what I thought was a big doe in the field to fill my doe tag.  Get up to it, and it was a buck with little tines, but a buck nonetheless.  Had to tag that with my dad’s buck tag, and took some grief for that.

7 – Couple years after that near the same spot, we had field glassed some deer way out.  So we walked in, see if we could maybe walk some draws and crest a hill and find them still there.  They were.  Didn’t get that close, but made a a single shot with no mental fuck ups and took a big doe cleanly as it trotted.  I think this doe was noteworthy for its black teeth, it was old.

8 – 1997 or so, had gone out to ND on a weekend, did not fill my buck tag.  Went back a couple weeks later, just me and my girlfriend / future wife, to try and fill this tag.  Like 3rd week of Nov, bitterly cold on the prairie.  We walked a shelter belt that we knew as promising / where the deer lived.  Down at the end of the section line there was a farmhouse, the goings on there kicked up some deer, and we could see this from ¾ mile away.  So we hunkered down as they ran up the shelter belt.  They took a swing out into the field to go around a little jog of trees, and when they followed it around they present themselves right in front of us.  I picked out a modest / nice 8 pt buck from that group.  Two properly done shots, I think I shot him through front of the chest both times.  I was using a 1973 built Winchester Mdl 70 in .270 that my grandfather had passed on to me as he was in his 80s.

9 – Mighta started being few and far between, my first child was born in 00, going to ND was expensive and I do not like MN deer stand hunting, but have gone to my father-in-laws place he had in Longville.  Did shoot a 6 pt buck from a stand there about 10 years ago.  Nice, well executed shot.

I figured it might been low teens, I could be forgetting a couple.


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