Dec 21: Sand Creek (new #13 tripod stand) – The wind was mainly from the west (my left) so while most deer come out on the right at the edge of the property line, I was expecting to see one come out on my left. I had seen a deer as I was walking toward the stand go off past the stand up to the right into the woods and up a hill. Then as I was still upright while getting into the stand, I saw a deer across the creek running to the right. A very encouraging beginning to the hunt!
Then the wait began and the wind started swirling around and around.
Sunset came and went and the ½ hour after was just up when a deer popped up much closer than I was expecting to my right. I didn’t see horns but if I was going to get to take a shot I had to change the settings on my scope quickly. The deer was quartering towards me, first at a walk and then at a faster pace. He hadn’t noticed me in the stand as I took aim at a spot right behind his left shoulder. As I was using my muzzle loader, I pulled the hammer back and the click made the deer stop and look around but not up. That was time to pull the trigger.
The cloud of smoke billowed out of the end of the barrel but I saw the deer turn to its left and then head back for the opening in the cane by the creek that it came in from into the field.
Had I missed? The deer was only 25 yards away and the bullet (sabot, really) was a 50 mm caliber. It should have dropped the deer where it stood.
As I only had a tiny bit of daylight left I got down from the stand and went to look for signs of what happened at the spot he was standing. I couldn’t see any blood! Slowly I worked towards the spot entering the cane at the creek. I heard some thrashing of cane and then what seemed to be a deer climbing up the other side of the creek. Then silence.
After trying to see any deer prints in the creek bottom and not seeing any, I decided it would be better to get to the other side of the creek and look for signs. As I was walking towards the ATV I was using I saw an ATV coming on the other side of the creek towards me. It turned out to be Guy’s brother Wayne. I flagged him down with my flashlight and called across the creek to ask for his help while I went back to camp to get Dan, who was hunting over at the Tin Can to help in the search. By the time I returned with Dan, Wayne was standing by his ATV and called out that he had already found the deer. It had climbed up a pretty step bank and then collapsed almost right under the #14 tripod stand. It was probably about a 1 ½ old weighing in at about 110 pounds.
Then I realized I had an unusual “hat trick”: 1) I had never shot a deer on the winter solstice 2) I had never shot a buck with a muzzle loader and 3) in all my years of hunting at Sand Creek I had never gotten a deer there!