27 January 2024

Opening Day 2023 - A Great Success (The 357 Magnum and the Doe)

I had initially been worried that I wouldn't have been able to get out on the first day of rifle season due to IVF related things. First was my retrieval wouldn't be scheduled until next week and the second was I had to give my wife shots in her abdomen twice a day around 8:30 AM and PM. Once done, I was able to pack my gear and head out. I was determined to back anything for the freezer with the Marlin 357 Magnum.

It was a pretty warm day so I wasn't expecting much movement. I selected the South end of the property. Once in place, I happily enjoyed the company of inquisitive squirrels and a chipmunk. At some point, the local birds became very talkative. Not shortly after taking the below video clip, a hawk swooped through the trees. That explained the birds. I had chosen a broad but small tree to sit under and listen to the latest Jack Ryan Jr. audiobook, Weapon's Grade. After a while of not seeing the deer walk in, I opted to relocate to see if they were down in the pond bowl or on the road. Not seeing them there either, I selected the bedding blind. 

A while later, the wife texted me, we had somethings we could do that day so I chose to leave around 11:30 AM letting us have lunch together. I hadn't seen anything on the property anyway. I figured that, if everything works out, I can get an evening hunt in or go back out Sunday as long as I'm back before 8:30 PM for the next injections. 

After getting chores and such done, I did have time to head back out for an evening hunt. This time was much more interesting.

On the driveway walking in, I spooked what looked like a pair of does that had bedded down in the tall grass area in the swampy part of the driveway. I couldn't see them well enough but I watched closely. I couldn't get a good shot. I choose to continue down the driveway to get them time to calm down. Maybe they would come back in. I selected the bedding area blind and settled in for a while. 

The clock showed we were nearing closing time and that if I wanted to get a stalk in, I would need to get moving. I hadn't seen anything in the usual places so I figured I'd see about those two doe. 

Headed back down the driveway, I got to where I spooked the two doe. I didn't see them in the spot but I did see them in my neighbor's front field. Graciously, my neighbor lets me take deer on his property so I figured a spot and stalk is in order. I started moving back from down the driveway to get into a suitable position. After moving down an open lane to get closure, I could see the head and ears of the two doe along the fence. The distance is around 100 yards. I crouch and slow walked to the edge of the brush so I could get a closer shot but the brush end and it's open space. I would have needed to crawl into the field to take a close shot. After thinking about what I needed to do, one of what looked like a larger doe had walked into sight. Instead of crawling out, I'll take the longer range broadside shot straight down the powerlines. I took a kneeling position and laid the red dot of the SIG Romeo5 on the shoulder area and pressed a shot. 

The doe stood stunned for maybe a half second before her hind legs fell. The front legs collapsed immediately after. I prayed and gave thanks to the Lord above and moved forward to claim the harvest. As I moved out from the edge of the brush, I found that another doe had been very close. She had been just on the other side of the brush line. She would have been in pistol distance had I wanted to take that shot. The rifle shot I took seems to be around 85 yards or so. Later on, I confirmed the distance was closer to 99 yards. 

I checked the doe to make sure all was done. The bullet had completely passed through. There wasn't a huge hole on the other side so I don't know if the Remington 158 grain SJHP expanded huge like I'm expecting. I loaded her up onto the cargo carrier and made a B-line straight to the processors. I needed to get home to get cleaned up and give the next shots. 

The meat wasn't a big haul from the processors but that's fine since apparently, we didn't have much space left over. I managed to fit everything in with a little room to spare.

At the time of writing this, it's been a week and two days since the hunt. I had my IVF retrieval surgery and am recovering nicely. My wife has been given the trigger shot and her retrieval completed. The doctor's have combined the two halves. We are currently waiting on the status of how the 9 fertilized eggs have progressed and won't know for sure for two more days. 

I am thankful that I was able to harvest a doe, prove that the Marlin 1894 in .357 Magnum can take deer ethically and provide for my own family soon. 

Update JAN 2024: I took the opportunity to go out to where I took the shot and step out the distance. I wear a size 12 boot and counted 275 steps from heel to toe from where I shot the doe to the where I think I took the shot. The math from size 12 boot converted to yards is around 99 yards. The shot apparently was very close to 100 yards. That's impressive for the old .357 Magnum revolver.  I've updated the distances. 

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