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Right place at just the right time

It was just a simple matter of being at the right place at the right time.

About 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, I spotted a deer at a long distance away — at least 400 yards — on the side of a snow-covered hill.

About an hour before, I had seen three does near this same location. At first, I thought this deer was a doe, but the more I watched this deer, it certainly did not act like one.

When on high ground, it walked at a pretty good clip to my left and then came down the hill. About 125 yards to my left, I was able to put the rifle scope on the deer and for a moment I thought I could see two spikes. About five to 10 minutes later, it came back to my right on low ground where I was located. Here is where I could clearly see the spikes on this young buck.

It was about 75 yards away when it was walking broadside to me. I put the crosshairs of my rifle scope on the deer and let drive from a standing position. The deer staggered for about 30 yards and dropped. When I got up to the fallen deer, it was lying in the middle of an old logging trail. My first thought was “how convenient.”

While field-dressing the deer, I took a few minutes to study the bullet damage to the carcass. The bullet hit in the heart area of its right side and exited through the lower rib cage of its left side. The upper part of the right forepaw was broken, and about one-third of the heart was pulped. The lung cavity was full of blood and the exit wound was at least one inch in diameter.

The last deer I took with this rifle was back in 2012 after Super Snowstorm Sandy. That thing was a real task in getting out of the woods.

The hand-loaded .308 Winchester cartridge certainly did its job. I was using a Speer 150-grain, round nose, soft-point bullet.

I tied the rope to the deer and started to drag it out. That’s when I really started feeling my years. Even with snow on the ground, I was getting tired fast. After about 100-150 yards of dragging, I stopped to catch my breath. While taking this short breather, three other hunters came up behind me. We talked for a few minutes, and then two of the muscle men in the group helped me get the deer to the car. With this additional help, quick work was made out of this relatively short drag. If it had not been for the additional help, I would have been totally exhausted by the time it would have taken to get this deer to the car by myself.

After being field-dressed, the young buck weighed 88 pounds. It most likely weighed around 100 pounds on the hoof. I just hope I can enjoy some delicious venison for the next few weeks.

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This past week, I read about a hunting accident that took place in Berkeley county. A 15-year-old boy was wounded in an apparent hunting accident on Oct. 28, just after 5 p.m. The youth was airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Fairfax County, Virginia. The person who is believed to have shot the teenager was questioned by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Police.

On the opening day of the buck season, there were two tree stand fall injuries in Harrison County. The first occurred at about 9 a.m., when a 48-year-old woman fell from her tree stand on Range Road near Reynoldsville.

The lady was taken to United Hospital Center with unknown injuries but was conscious and alert while being transported.

Another person fell from a tree stand at Hepzibah just off the County Route 18. At the Stonewall Jackson Wildlife Management Area, a Pennsylvania man had to be taken to a local hospital after tripping and breaking a leg. All three of these hunting accidents are due to falling out of tree stands or falling on the ground, not from firearms.

Early Thanksgiving morning, I read online where a 10-year-old boy died while playing with a .270 rifle in Gilmer County. Later, the county sheriff disclosed that this tragic accident was not hunting-related. I just wish kids that age would receive the same type of disciplined training about firearms that I got when I was that age.

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