19 February 2023

The Doe and the 300 Blackout - My First Deer on Our Homestead

 In October 2022, my wife and I closed on the 19 acre land that we hope to build our home on. We had seen deer on it several times so I knew I could pull something off of the unbuilt land lot for our chest freezer. In the years before, I had used my 1970's era Winchester 94 to harvest deer on a club lease but had retired it for newer guns. One of the guns I had put together was a Remington 700 with a surplus Model 7 lightweight profile barrel in 300 Blackout. That barrel probably came from the liquidation of assets during the Remington bankruptcy. It's possible the action had as well. The barreled action was set in a Black Collar Arms Pork Sword chassis and fitted with a 6 inch FAR End mlok rail. A JMAC Custom's, a WV company, 9 inch riser folding stock couples to the rear of the chassis via a picatinny rail. I had an inexpensive 3-9x scope on top. To help keep things quiet, I have a KeyMicro compatible muzzle device to host my Dead Air Wolfman. The whole system is configured and zeroed to launch 190 gr Hornady SUB-X bullets out to about 75 yards with the 50 yard zero. The whole kit is fairly quiet and works well enough.

The Remington is the top rifle

In November 2022, I had opted to go out one morning but had gotten up about 30 minutes later than I should have. I decided that since I was running late, I wouldn't put on the cargo carrier on the back of the 4Runner. If I needed it, I could come back home. 

I knew I had messed up since it was already getting light as I was just getting to the plot. I pulled into the usual parking spot at the entrance to start walking the 300 yards into the property but just as I stopped, I observed 4 to 5 deer jump out of the woods about 275 yards away, along the driveway and turn back in toward the property. I hadn't even gotten out of the truck and I've already spooked them. 

The rifle is fairly light

I figured that at this point, I'm already here, let's just get out there. I grabbed my camo and 300 Blackout rifle and headed in. As I got further into the plot, I saw a doe back toward the edge of the clearing in the center of our spread. I stalked my way back into the space to see if they had jumped into the neighbor's field but they had skirted around East and headed North. The herd had moved back West behind me toward our pond. I spotted one heading back South again toward the Southwest most point. There's a neighborhood that butts up against there. I figured I would cut them off as the passed through the powerline right of way. I did catch up with them but the shot would have been aimed toward the houses. I held off. Hoping to ambush them on the return, I back tracked toward the Northeast woods where I usually see them. I had a blind set up there so I posted up in wait. 

After about an hour of reflecting on the absolutely abysmal job of hunting that day and catching up on a Tom Clancy Ryan-verse audio book, I opted to head out to complete house chores. After having packed up and pulling off my camo, as I headed out, I noticed a doe on the edge of our Northwest field along the tree line. I put the truck in park and popped open the door. 

Seeing that the doe hadn't run off, I grabbed my rifle and jacked in a round. As I ducked South from the truck, I chose to use the pond's embankment as concealment from the doe. I made sure the 3-9x scope was dialed all the way down. I knew I was going to push in close. 

I crouch walked on the inside of the pond embankment, heart racing, hoping for food. I covered the 90 yards (according to Google Earth) to where I would end up taking the shot. As I popped up over the embankment, I raised my rifle. The doe had started to turn North presenting me with a broadside shot of her right vital zone. I put in a good hold and took a breath. I broke the shot clean. I had a high ground position and watched her run about 50 yards into our North woods. She had fallen and I could see her white tail flickering in the brush. I safed the rifle and headed back to the truck. 

I steadied my self off from the adrenaline dump, so excited from having gotten something on that day. I realized that the hitch cargo carrier was at home. Thankfully, I had not cleaned out the truck or removed the tools along with my wife's garden wagon I had in the back. I had used the wagon for a project I did for the wife but had been lazy about clean up. I pulled the wagon out and put all the tools in the back for the truck. I had laid out the cardboard box that my blind had been in out on the carpet and dragged the wagon to the woods. 

I managed to work my way back through the brush where she had laid out. Seeing her, I realized that she was very small.  In my excitement, I had figured she was bigger that she actually was. I did take note to see how the shot had gone through. The hollow point passed through both lungs pushing bubbles out. I think the round worked well.  I was able to pull her out by hand from the briers and put my harvest into the wagon. Once back toward the truck, I was able to pick up the whole affair of doe and wagon at once and load it into the back of the 4Runner. I dropped the doe off at the processors feeling a bit awkward having brought in such a small doe. Graciously they didn't say anything about it. 

When I had the chance, I got on Google Earth to see if I could calculate the approximate distance from where I took the shot to the deer. Based on what I can remember in the blur, I believe the shot was anywhere between 35 and 45 yards. A very short range. 

I'm very grateful for that doe. It was a confidence booster on a day that hadn't gone well at all. While coming home from the processors later on with a single brown paper, grocery bag mostly full of venison, I had a laugh at how little there was compared to other harvests. That venison has, however, been very welcomed. Several pounds of the ground meet has been turned into a home favorite jerky that several of the neighbors have enjoyed. The tenderloins made for an incredible Valentine's Day meal that was made over a camp fire. 

God has truly provided us something special. 

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