I got up before daylight and headed into the
hills and canyons. I knew there was a large herd of Mule
Deer that hung out in some of the rough country and I wanted to
be in there by daylight. I could drive within a mile or so
of where I wanted to hunt, but I had to backpack on in. I
had gathered all my gear together the night before and was
ready. This was the first time I was hunting with the new
454 Casull from Freedom Arms and I had high hopes I could
collect something with it.
By daylight I was into the canyons and began my
search. After 2 hours I had seen 5 Javelina, 1 Mule Deer
doe and 6 hunters. I was wondering if maybe I should move
to another area and hunt there instead. I worked my way up
a steep ridge full of prickly pear cactus, century plants and Spanish
daggers and as I looked over the top of the ridge before I
skylined myself I saw deer on the far slope! I got my
binoculars on them and began glassing. I counted 10 does
and at least 2 bucks in with them. My pulse speeded up!
The big problem was, they were 300 to 350 yards away. I
would have to go down the slope in front of me, cross the wash
at the bottom and climb up to where they were.
As I watched the deer began moving up and over a
small saddle near the top of the hill they were on. Good.
They wouldn't see me coming..... hopefully. I worked my
way down the hillside, across the wash and began climbing the
hill in front of me. The terrain in these canyons is
rough, broken ground with lots of rock, cactus, catclaw, and
other assorted types of scratching, biting, sticking brush.
And it's steep. There just ain't many flat spots. As
I climbed my breathing sounded to me like a steam engine and I
felt sure the deer could hear me a quarter mile away. I was
worried that I may have spooked them.
As I neared the top I stopped and let my
breathing slow down, then I eased over and took a look ....
nothing! I wondered to myself, "Which way did they
go?" To my left the ridge dropped down into a
steep canyon. To the right it went up and over another
small saddle. I choose to go to the right. I mean,
Mule Deer prefer to go up, correct?
About 150 yards or so and I eased up through the
saddle. As I got where I could look over I spotted a deer!
It was about 100 yards down the hill below me, feeding and
unaware of me. As I stood there trying not to move or make
any noise I could see that the herd was scattered around the
hillside feeding calmly. I slowly eased my way through the
brush trying to be as quiet as possible, when all of a sudden a
2-point buck (Western count) walked out into a clearing about 75
yards in front of me. Never one to look a gift horse in
the mouth I figured this buck was meant for me.
Slowly I sat down and leaned back onto my
backpack. I raised up both knees and steadied the Casull
between them. The buck was now standing broadside to me,
facing to my right, so I pulled the sights about halfway up his
body behind the shoulder and squeezed the trigger. At the
shot the deer jumped as if startled, then stood still and put
his head down as if to eat some grass! Thoughts raced
through my mind. Did I miss? The shot looked and
felt good. What's going on?
The buck started walking slowly, circling to my
left, his head hanging down. Then about the time I decided
to shoot again I noticed he was staggering. I did hit him!
I wonder to myself how good the shot was? Should I shoot
He staggered over to a mesquite tree about 30
feet from where he was standing when I shot him. He laid
down and as I watch, his head falls over to the side. I
wait, not moving. Then I spot movement! Two does come
sneaking in and go up to where the buck is laying. They
sniff around and then move off into the brush. The buck
does not stir.
I got up slowly and eased my way to where I
could see him clearly with my binoculars. He is laying in
such a way that I am sure he is finished. I work my way
over slowly and sure enough. He is meat. Now the
work starts. It's quite a ways back to the road and when
it's all said and done I am thankful that I did not shoot a
bigger one. After cleaning him it took me over 2 hours to
get him to where I could get the truck to him.
The gun used was a 7 1/2" Freedom Arms 454
Casull. The load was the Keith #454424 cast of Lyman #2
alloy, sized .452" and lubed with Paco's Apache Blue. The
bullets were loaded in Remington .45 Colt cases over WW296 and
Federal #150 primers. The average velocity over my
chronograph was 1531 fps. I carried the gun in Bianchi
X-15 shoulder holster.
The hit was about 3" behind the shoulder,
angling down towards the rear, through both lungs and the liver.
Entrance and exit wounds were full caliber. There was
almost no bloodshot meat.
The date was Nov. 11, 1986.
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