DEER HUNTING BACKGROUND
AND FAVORITE EQUIPMENT
I have hunted white-tailed deer since the early 1960s and have been fortunate to hunt in many sections of Texas. I have also had the pleasure to hunt in Old Mexico in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. On these pages, will be shown photographs of deer that I and my friends have taken or had the opportunity to take and photos of the country that we hunt and the local fauna where there is general interest. During the last few years I have concentrated on trying to take photographs of deer and have found that it is much easier to shoot a deer with a rifle than to take a photograph...!!! The deer you will see here, with only a few exceptions, are not "once in a lifetime" animals, but are animals that are still good enough that most hunters will enjoy seeing them. My "once in a lifetime" deer has eluded me all these years, but the chase goes on, and I wouldn't want to miss a single day of the pursuit for anything!
My still camera is a Canon EOS 7E-QD and for most deer photos I use a 50-500mm zoom lens f1.4 to f6.3 made by Sigma and Kodak 800 speed film. Because the f stop is 6.3 at 500mm in low light, there are some problems with shooting pictures in early morning and late evening light; however the cost of a small number f stop 500mm lens is prohibitive and I make do with what I have. Occasionally I use a 2X extender but due to available light at the usual time that you see deer, it is rarely very practical.
My video camera is a Sony DCR-TRV33. This camera only has a 10X optical zoom and that is not adequate for many wildlife situations. I added a 2X lens to it but have not been happy with the ability of the camera to automatically focus with it installed. The camera would be perfect if it had a factory supplied 20X optical lens. My next camera will have that for sure and will be a multi MP one that will take acceptable stills. This will eliminate my need for a still camera.
The binoculars that I use are 10 X 40 aspherical lens units made by Docter Optic. (The Docter factory is in the old Zeiss facility in Jena, East Germany.) Although the Docter brand is not well known in the U.S., they are top quality binoculars in line with Zeiss, Leica, Swarovski and other top brands but with a Chevy pricetag.
For a spotting scope I use a waterproof 16 X 45 Nikon with a 60mm objective lens. This is a fine product. From a practical standpoint it is very unusual to use a power setting higher than 30 or so in the field because field of view and light conditions are usually less than ideal.
I have used 2 different rangefinders, the first that I purchased several years ago when they first came out was a Bushnell 400. Sounded like a great idea at the time but for a rifleman I found that it was practically useless since it had a difficult time establishing a distance to a deer sized animal at a range beyond 250 yards. I purchased a Bushnell 800 last year and have found it marginal but at least capable on deer sized animals to perhaps 400 yards. The way that I have found it effective is to range objects, that are better reflectors of the lazer beam (rocks, trees, etc.), in several locations where I guess deer might appear and try to remember those locations and distances when a deer appears. In this method, the 800 will range effectively to 600 yards and this is considerably farther than I would attempt a shot at a game animal.
Although primarily a rifle hunter, I started bow hunting using a straight Wing Archery bow in 1963 and killed my first deer, an 8 point 110 class buck, with it in my first season to hunt. I moved to a Wing Archery Thunderbird recurve shortly thereafter and a few years later went to a compound Bear Whitetail which I hunted with up to the mid-90s. In 2004 I decided to get back into archery and am now shooting a Reflex Grizzly by Hoyt with all of the bells and whistles. Shooting it does not compare with the difficulty of those old bare boned bows. I have taken 10 bucks, a number of does and several javelina over the years, but really use the bow season as a wonderful opportunity to get out and hunt when few people are there.
I have used a Smith & Wesson Mod. 57 Revolver 6" barrel .41 Magnum for 30 years and have taken several deer with it; however, a couple of years ago I purchased a Thompson-Center Encore in 7mm x 08 with a 2 X 7 Burris scope on it and have been a wildly enthusiastic single shot fan ever since. This pistol is simply amazing in that it will shoot groups off of a rest that are the envy of many rifles. It rarely will shoot a 100 yard group larger than an inch (target7mm X 08)and has shot 3 shot groups as small as 5/8" with witnesses (and believe me I need witnesses when I talk about a 5/8" group with a pistol..!!). Although I haven't taken a deer with it, I killed a couple of javelinas with it in 1997 and it performed just as expected.
I have two rifles that I use for most of my deer hunting. My overall favorite is a Ruger No. 1 in 7mm Mag. that I have hunted with for almost 30 years. A straight 6X Redfield with fine crosshairs is mounted on it and the rifle shoots dependable 7/8" to 1" groups at 100 yds., using 139 gr. Hornady factory ammunition, for three shot groups (target7mm Rem. Mag.) which include the first shot out of a cold clean barrel. There are lots of rifles that will shoot better groups, but not many will do it with consistency to include the first cold barrel shot. That is the shot that counts.....if it goes where you want it to go, there is little need for more..!!
The other rifle is a Custom Long Range Rifle chambered for the 7mm STW (I had mine before it became a factory round.). It is based on a Remington 700 action that has been trued and has had the trigger replaced with a Jewell trigger adjusted to provide a crisp 2 1/2 pound letoff. The barrel is a 26+ in. longitudinally fluted heavy barrel made by Hart. All of this is pillar bedded into a H-S Precision fiberglass stock. I mounted a 4 1/2 X 14 Leupold with a 50 mm objective lens on it in Leupold rings. The rifle looks very similar to a Remington Sendero, but shoots better than most Senderos with handloads using 150 gr. Nosler Ballistic Tips yielding 1/2"or smaller groups at 100 yds.(target7mm STW) and 2 1/2" groups at 400 yds under ideal conditions.
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