Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Lessons learned from a deer shoot gone awry

By DICK PINNEY November 18. 2017 8:07PM


We ended last week's column with an unfinished story about how we wounded a deer using buckshot and had a trail of blood drops in the leaves to try to lead us to our deer, but they ran out and after hours of searching by me and several helpers we finally gave up.

But the coyotes didn't take long to trail my wounded doe. It had snowed that night, which made it harder for us. Two days later, while still searching for it, a party of snowmobilers came by and asked us if we were looking for a dead deer. They led us right to the deer, where we found the remains, which were pretty scant as the coyotes had enjoyed a real feast.

Even though we didn't get our deer, we did have a feeling that at least the coyote families did have some good eating. Not that we love coyotes, but we do respect them for filling a gap in the natural balances of our wildlife and do serve a purpose that Mother Nature had set out for them.

After that episode, we never again even carried a buckshot shell in our pocket! We had fitted our Ithaca Deerslayer shotgun with a special barrel that had special rifling for shooting slugs.

With my 1-by-4 power scope sight, that combo was almost as good as shooting a real rifle. We had shot targets as far away as 200 yards and found out how high to hold at different distances to put some holes in the bull's eye!

You're free to doubt what we were able to succeed at with this combo and we really don't care as we knew ourselves and so did several others who hunted with me that clean deer kills up to 200 yards were the norm, and not a freak accident!

All but one of those attempts came from me studying the lay of the land and picking a spot to lie down and support my gun. But a couple of offhand shots at long range convinced my hunting buddies that a well sighted-in 12-gauge shotgun with a special rifled barrel was almost the equivalent of a rifle, out to about 200 yards!

The rifled barrel and scope were not the complete system! We spent several hours with the help of my hunting buddy to shoot a lot of long range targets and to get the distance estimations pretty well down pat so we could almost just instinctively get the right hold-over the targets, being deer or paper, at those long ranges.

We are not boasting about our skills at long range shotgun shooting. Whenever we can avoid this method, we do. But in those open field opportunities, we'll belly crawl using whatever natural cover there is and, if the shot seems reasonable, we'll put the sights aligned and what we feel is the right hold above the deer, and touch 'er off! We've never had to chase a deer down when given the opportunity to do this and don't shoot at all when the conditions are not ideal.

One of the things we should mention is that we spent a small fortune on 12-gauge rifled slugs during our process of establishing the right hold-over sighting at different distances. Our aiming point on the deer is confined to high in the front shoulder or if close enough a neck shot.

We don't do a lot of deer hunting now. But, especially when there's fresh snow, it's hard for the Dickster not to try to take advantage of it. But the ducks and geese here around the Great Bay area and around my camp in northern Maine shudder at our presence and have graced our table many a day for some of the finest meals imaginable!

Drop us an email at DoDuckInn@aol.com sand get out there and get you some!

Dick Pinney 's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.


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