Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last Chance Buck: Hunting Nebraska's Whitetail Deer

© 2010 Scott Croner and
Nebraska Hunting Company™

"Sometimes, the best shot,
is the one you give someone else."

It was late in the day, and light was fading fast. The dried leaves and stalks of the worked over soybeean field rustled in the Northeasterly breeze.

I asked her to please take the shot, but being the good and ethical hunter she is, Tori would not. "I just can't get a good sight on him!"

We had been at that particular field for a short time, nestled against a tree in a low hollow that gave us Tori and I a good view of the soybean field in front of us, and some protection from the breeze.

It was late in the afternoon when the first buck appeared. A good sized spike came into view on our left, working a scrape line in a ditch bordering the soybean. As he got closer, we could see that he had all of the hallmarks of making himself a big deer. If he kept his wits about him, managed to survive the next three or four yaers, he would be a bruiser.

Suddenly, the spike was alert. His ears swiveled forward concentrating all sounds. We caefully looked in the same direction, which was somewhere between us and the spike.

"There!" I whispered.

Another big bodied whitetail buck was stepping between the laurels and brush, his nose to the ground.

The young spike stood his ground as the forkhorn, still one hundred yards away, paused at the edge of the wind blown field, the cold breeze ruffling his fur.

I debated whether we should take the fork or not. It started out into the soybean.

I carefully raised the call to my lips. The plastic was cold. A quick snort followed by a wheeze brought him to a standstill.

That's when Tori with her young sharp eyes spotted him.

Whispering excitededly she said, "Look over there! Across from us!" Yes, right there I caught some motion between two cottonwoods. Almost two hundred yards away I could make out yet another deer, this one with heavy antlers. I carefully put him in my scope, wary of all the other eyes in the field. He was bigger than I expected.

I told Tori to pick him up in her scope and get ready.

The forkhorn was now making his way towards our hidden spot, while the spike stood his ground unsure of what he should do.

It was time. I asked Tori to shoot, the light was fading, the forkhorn was intent on joining us for coffee or stepping on us, and the spike was stomping his foot.

"I can't!" She whispered, "I just can't get him in my sights. You take him!"

Again I hesitated. "Are you sure?"

Her urgent response was, "No Mr Scott, you shoot!"

The crosshairs found their mark. I gently squeezed the trigger, the recoil pulling the buck out of view. The spike and forkhorn bolted in opposite directions as the roar of the rifle echoed off the trees.

As I pulled the rifle back into place and worked the bolt, I heard Tori exclaim, "He's down! He's down!" I scanned the ground with my scope, but I didn't see anything.

I was nervous, it was a quartering away shot, one of the most difficult ones to make, especially at a distance.

"Let's wait awhile..."

So we sat there and watched the sun as it slowly hid behind the trees.

There wasn't much time left before the sun set true and well, so we left our concealed spot, and hurried to the tree I had marked him by.

As we carefully approached the spot, I kept Tori slightly behind me. I pushed a round into the chamber, my thumb on the safety.

The grayish brown coat stood in contrast to the reddish brown of the leaves on the ground. He was down.

Tori was ecstatic at recovering the deer. It was several hours later when I finally got him hung up and gutted. His estimated weight by tape, was aproximately 300 lbs! He will score right at 150, once the rack has had time to dry.

I was shooting my Browning A-bolt in 300 Winchester Magnum, with 150 grain Remington Cor Lokt.

As I mentioned earlier, I was worried about the shot, and I was right to be concerned. The bullet entered behind the ribs, slicing through the liver, and punching into the stomach. That in and of itself was not a bad thing, considering the angle. But the Core Lokt didn't hold together. Vegetable matter stopped the bullet forcing it apart.

The bullet disintergrated without exiting the stomach. If it had continued in the line it was traveling, it would have clipped the heart and damaged the lungs. A premium grade ammunition would have been preferable, something like the Swift A-Frame used in Remington's premium line.

On the positive side, we followed my instincts and waited before following up on the deer. Had we pushed him, he might have gone a couple of miles before expiring.

Best to you,
Scott Croner
Nebraska Hunting Company


Albert A Rasch said...


That deer is a beauty! I'm looking forward to getting together with and doing a little hunting. I sure would like to get a shot at a good deer some day!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
A Chronicles' project: Building a Pirogue

Ian Nance said...

Congrats! Nice buck!!!

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

I read about this from Albert and I'm quasi-glad I stopped by. First of all, congrats. Secondly, I'm extremely jealous! He'll look nice on your wall!

Happy Hunting!

Anonymous said...

I got the lead over here from Albert's site and must give you a big CONGRATS on that fine lookin' buck! What a beauty!

Michael Spinelli said...

Several of my friends have beat me to it! Congratulations on a fine deer!
Mike S

Bob S said...

Scott C,

I hope you bought that young lady a drink! Nice deer!

Best to you!
Big Bob