From Texas
G. R. Jacobs, 7/21/2000

Caution, the following story contains some graphic descriptions of the natural world.

This is a tad long but it's fun, I promise. Hunting this particular year was to be solely on the last remaining 110 acres of my father-in-law's homeplace, out in West Texas (Callahan County for those who care). It's covered in mesquite trees and thick brush (a lot like parts of Africa, actually, where the "jungle" is not rain forest but a forest of miombo trees(sp?) and brush. Therefore, due to the terrain, I selected my Winchester Model 94 .30-30 (using 150 grain round nosed cartridges), with the Williams peep sight that I installed myself. I presumed no long shots would present themselves. The entire ranch, which is only about 320 acres (two-thirds have been sold now by family members), has not actually been actively hunted for several years. There's plenty of hunting around the area but nobody has used this little area, although lessees of the new owner were now expected (we never saw them anyway). We (that's me, and father- and brother-in-law) have not actually shot anything there in over 5 years and we have driven on it and seen deer, especially last year. Okay, that's background Saturday, Opening Day: 6:00/6:30 AM. I set up on a slight slope, with good views of some clear areas, using trees and brush for cover. I set out a number of doe urine wicks as buck lures, I use some buck grunts and doe calls, and I rattle up some antlers. Nada. Zip. Nothing.
I get bored after an hour or more and decide, like I often do, to go scouting around. After awhile I find some really lush grass and I think there should be deer around. I turn.....WOW! Three or four does being chased by a really big bodied buck, probably at least an eight point. I give chase. They move, I move.
I use the buck grunt, the buck stops, turns my way, stamps his foot at me, they all stare, they move off. This goes on for awhile until they move to where I think I'll be crossing the property boundary so I give up (and I was kind of turned around anyway - not lost, but needing my bearings). Fun and exhilarating - - how many of you watch hunting shows? This was much better! 3:30 PM. After a few hours break, and lunch, we returned and I set up in what I thought was a much more likely place, under some oaks, behind a huge forked trunk for a good shooting rest, with a small clearing across from me at 50 paces. The rifle is dead on at 50 yards. I like how it looks so out goes the Tink's 69 buck lure, in a semi-circle on the clearing's fringe.
It's been raining and the trees are still dripping. I doze. I hear a sound. Over my shoulder, I see a cow. I turn back to the clearing, with my rifle resting in the crook of the tree. A moment later....
WOW! A big buck walks right through my clearing. The Tinks has done its job. Unfortunately, the rifle is not in my hands and by the time I pick it up from its rest the easy shot is gone. I do get a couple of shots off at a bad angle when the buck emerges from some bushes. Misses. Fooey!
So I doze again. When I awake, I realize there has been a lot of dripping from the trees. I point the Winchester at the ground and water comes pouring out of the barrel! Holy SMOKES!!!!! I decide to fire the gun to clear the barrel, although I'm thinking this is not a good move.
Click. Hmmmm. I eject the round and it comes out misshapen, weird looking.
I jack in another, aim at the ground, pull the trigger, BLAM! The bullet goes careening off the cement and I think "Idiot! That could have ricocheted!" Water? CEMENT?????
I really awaken now, look at the rifle, see the hammer as I originally left it, and laugh myself silly. Now that was a realistic dream. And if I'm that sleepy, forget this; so I set up a 50 yard target to double check my zero. Dead on. Quarter sized groups. Rifle is empty.
Isn't that better than hunting videos? Really! Sunday. 6:00 AM. Same place. No deer. Long morning. Sigh..... Lunch. 4:00 PM. Brother-in-law says he'll put me on the Deer Super Highway which he has seen. I try it. Nothing for a long time and then sure enough a buck and a doe run by, as in RUN! No shot. Off in the distance, just a few minutes later, are my eyes deceiving me? Twenty deer? Can't be. Later, when I check, it turns out to be about 120 yards. A short stalk and I realize it is a huge flock of turkey. They see me and skedaddle but I wasn't hunting turkey anyway.
By now we have seen more than two dozen deer, maybe thirty, taken a few bad shots, and are having a blast anyway despite no success. But there's only one morning left. And Dad is razzing us. Doncha hate that? We got shut out last year and he knows it. Sigh.....
Monday. 6:30 AM. I set up back in my oak tree area, put Tink's scents out in my clearing, and I wait. Plenty of shooting in the surrounding areas, maybe even close enough to be one of my team. But me? Nada. Zip.
7:20, and a pretty little buck comes wandering my way. C'MON BABY!!!!
Right down home run alley!!! Get into the kill zone!!!!! NO, NOT THAT WAY!!!! With all those scents and he turns and goes off into the brush to my right. I can't see him. AHA! But he comes out at an angle over my shoulder. However, even if he doesn't see me when I move, it will be an awfully difficult shot in what will have to be an unnatural shooting position. I watch him walk away into the cover. Fooey.
There's shooting to my right!!!! I get ready; maybe something will come by. Sure enough, a buck and a doe come zipping by. This time, as I am ready, I go for a running shot (only with this peep sighted rifle would I try that). Missed. Big surprise, right? :-(
I wait. It's quiet. Maybe I'll just go see if that pair stopped outside the brushy area beyond my clearing. So off I go to see.
Nope. All quiet. I turn.....and I see deer rutting around to my left. I take a few steps and I freeze. I thought I saw a few but now there's just two, a buck and a doe, and he's nosing where he's quite interested [this is SERIOUS rutting] and she's letting him -
I just know they are looking right at me - I can see their faces looking in my direction but it's very cloudy and unclear and I am a statue so they ignore me - after all they are busy.... and then he MOUNTS her!!!!
HOLY SMOKES!!! Whoops. Uh oh. Slipped off didn't we? Let's try that again! Up we go! Good boy!
Now, there I am, watching this pair mate, and I think about shooting him in that position and I decide it's not smart, bad angle, they're moving some, let it be. Now, you animal show fans, you deer hunters, how many of you have actually ever seen deer do that? It was an amazing show. He didn't stay on too long but he did much better than the first time.
Practice, and all that. Then he comes down......
He presents a 100% perfect broadside from less than 50 yards. I'm standing there, rifle in my hands, frozen, and he's posing . I go into auto-pilot. I scarcely remember the rifle coming up, I know I didn't think about cheek to wood, hold my breath, or squeeze the trigger. I try to hunt from a rest whenever I can and this is a free standing shot at what I check later to be about 35 yards. All I really remember is putting the front sight on his shoulder......
The buck dropped like a stone. Examination afterwards showed a perfect shot right above the leg and beneath the shoulder. Anyone says a .30-30 can't do the job is flat out wrong. A neat little atypical five-point says that a .30-30 is deadly medicine. And all I can say is that practice did its job for me. You learn your gun, you know what it can do, and what you can do, and let it rip.
Oh, one more thing. After the buck dropped, the doe just stood there. I'm thinking "Well, if you're just going to stand there....."
"G. R. Jacobs, Dallas, Texas"