Hey guys, I'm new to the forum, and to hunting. I never got into hunting much when I was younger; I was too into racing dirt bikes to have time for much else. After a 10-year stint in the Army, the last four in the Army Marksmanship Unit, I got out, got a real job (driving milk truck) met a great girl and got married.
Her family is very much into hunting. Both parents and both of her siblings hunt. She has her licence, too, but won't hunt. She gives her doe tags to her dad. This year, her brother talked me into taking my hunter's safety course and getting my licence.
Opening day rolls around and I'm set up on the edge of a field behind my house. As the sun comes up, there's a nice 8 point about 120 yards away munching on the abundant clover, oblivious to my presence. I level the cross hairs on my Model 70 .30-06 (one of my match weapons from my days in the AMU), loaded with 150 gr Core-Lokts, on his vitals, exhaled, held it and squeezed off a round between heartbeats. I watched the round impact and immediately got up to track my prize. Little did I know, that was not how to do it. My father- and brother-in-law and I tracked him all day, and even went back the next day, but to no avail. I almost quit right there and resigned to shooting matches. I did not want to just shoot the deer, I love venison and wanted to put him in my freezer. The thought of shooting an animal and not harvesting it doesn't sit well with me.
I didn't go out at all for the next week, but I did manage to get into the same position the following Saturday morning. Lo and behold, in the same exact spot as the buck, a really nice doe is enjoying her breakfast. I held her in my cross hairs for about five minutes before I decided to take her. Exhale, hold, squeeze between heartbeats. She dropped before I felt the recoil. Tempted as I was, I stayed put this time and watched. She started to try to get up, so I put one in her head. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I had never harvested any animal before, although I had no desire to before this year. My brother-in-law showed me how to field-dress her, then we loaded her up and took her for processing.
For the rest of the season, it was as though they knew that coming into my field was a dangerous thing to do. I went out every day after work, hoping to fill my buck tag, or my remaining doe tag. I didn't see a thing and I had given up on getting a second deer. My wife and I agreed that one was plenty to be happy with for my first year.
This past Sunday, the final day of regular season, I was working outside when I noticed two does eating on the far edge of my field. Slowly, I went inside and grabbed my rifle and snuck out the front door. I stalked up to a firing position behind a hay bale holding down the tarp on my lawn mower. This was as close as I could get without being seen. They were 145 yards. As I aquired them in my scope, one was prefectly broadside, but she was behind the one that was facing me. The one facing me must have smelled me, because she picked her head up and was scanning in my direction. The one behind her moved and I leveled my cross hairs on her chest. I had zeroed my weapon at 100 yards, so I knew it would shoot a touch high at 145. I took aim at the lower half of her chest and dropped her with a single shot through the neck.
Overall, I'm happy with my first season. I do, however, hope to hunt somewhere other than my back yard next year. I'm also planning to buy some other weapons to hunt with. I'll probably keep my -06 in this configuration for deer hunting, but I also want to add a Savage 220, a bow, and a muzzleloader to my gun room to expand my hunting season, and obtain more tags to fill.