Muzzleloader Season
2007-2008


Deer: 6 pt.
Weight: 135 lbs.
Date:
January 11, 2008
Time: 5:20pm
Location: Madison County, AL
Weapon: T/C Omega
Scope: Leupold VXIII 4.5x14 50mm
Caliber: 50 Cal.
Bullet: Barnes Spitfire 285 gr.
Stand: None
Range:
120 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 75 yards
Hunters: Jeff Smith

It was getting late and I saw movement in the field.  With the binoculars, I could see the buck walking toward me from 200 yards out.  He stopped at 120 yards and moved to my right.  I was on him with the scope and hoped he'd stop.  He paused just long enough for the shot.  He ran flat out for 75 yards and crashed.  The shot was a perfect bow shot - just behind both shoulders.  He has 4 points on one side and the other side is damaged.  Looks like it was broken in velvet and grow two points out of the antler base.  I was glad to get him.


Deer: Doe
Weight: 110 lbs.
Date:
November 15, 2007
Time: 8:30am
Location: Jackson County, AL
Weapon:
T/C Omega
Scope: Leupold VXIII 4.5x14 50mm
Caliber: 50 Cal.
Bullet: Barnes Spitfire 285 gr.
Stand: None
Range: 40 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 100 yard
Hunters: Jeff Smith and Jim Childers

Jim and I hunted at the Jackson County hunting club - what a difference 12-hours can make!  It went from 70 degrees and a South wind to 40 degrees and a North wind.  The wind chill was in the 20's!  With a North wind, I hunted a draw coming up the mountain from the North side.  It had rained all night, I found several sets of fresh tracks crossing the cutover into the draw.  I found a high point looking into the draw and stayed put for an hour or so.  I saw no deer and decided to ramble.  That's my problem - if I'm on the ground ... I want to ramble.  So off I went into the cutover rambling.  I'd walk a little ways and stop - all at a snails pace.  I was almost to the head of the draw where it leads down the mountain and stopped behind an oak stump with sucker trees growing out of it.  My plan was to make it to where the draw comes up the mountain.  Maybe catch something coming up the mountain, exiting the cutover going down the mountain or traveling east/west inside the the timber.  As I stood there, movement to my left caught my eye.  It was a small 60 lb deer moving through the cutover.  The wind was good - it was moving directly at me.  It came around the sucker trees and was face to face with me - just 4-5 feet away.  It put the breaks on - stared for 3-4 seconds - blew and ran to the other side of the trees.  It stood there just 10 feet or so away looking at me from the other side of the trees.  All the leaves and wind made it somewhat camouflaged for me.  I saw another small deer on the trail and then momma.  I knew it was now or never - I slowly raised the muzzleloader and found the doe in the crosshairs.  I expected the little one to blow and run at any time.  It didn't and I sent a 285 grain bullet at the doe.  It was a hard quartering toward me shot.  The doe ran like she was on fire and right off the side of the mountain.  I ran to the edge and she has went down on the first bench.  She made a look around and saw me - took off again and went down the side out of sight.  I reloaded the muzzleloader and took out the binoculars.  I saw one of the other deer standing on the opposite ridge.  I walked that way and it didn't run.  I figured she was laying there.  After my journey down the draw and up the other side - no deer.  I went back to where she went off the mountain and started blood trailing her.  She went a 100 yards almost straight down the mountain.  She was hit just behind the shoulder and it came out the guts in front of the back ham.  Luckily, there was a road just below where she fell.  Jim and I drove the 4-wheelers around and loaded her up.  In a couple hundred deer, it was one of the worst gutting job I've done!  The 285 grain bullet pushed by 150 grains of powder made a serious mess - I can't believe she made it 10 yards much less a 100.


Deer: Doe
Weight: 110 lbs.
Date:
December 2, 2007
Time: 4:45pm
Location: Madison County, AL
Weapon:
T/C Omega
Scope: Leupold VXIII 4.5x14 50mm
Caliber: 50 Cal.
Bullet: Barnes Spitfire 285 gr.
Stand: None
Range: 230 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 100 yard
Hunters: Jeff Smith

I hunted on Madison County land - saw 13 deer.  I arrived early and did a little scouting on the North end of the property.  I jumped a pretty nice buck but no time for a shot.  He looked to be around 170 lbs with 6-8 points.  He had ivory colored antlers - pretty neat.  I setup on the east side and it was very windy with a cold front moving in.  The wind was 20-30 mph and swirling.  I had 4 deer come out and work to within 230 yards.  That's a stretch for a muzzleloader.  I had a good prop and with the weather bad - decided I could make the shot.  I had the scope on the10-ring and it did not move.  I waited several minutes for the doe to get broadside.  I squeezed the trigger and they took off.  I found some small pieces of meat but no blood.  I guess I did not allow enough for the right to left wind with that big bullet.  I saw several other deer but all we're not good shots.

December 12th (Wed-PM) I hunted on Madison County land - saw 2 deer.  I arrived early and looked in the cutover where the deer ran I shot last week.  I found her at the back edge of the cutover -she made it 80 yards or so.  The cutover is to thick to walk through - I made a complete circle around the cutover to get to the back.  It's only 80 yards or so wide but half a mile long.  If she had fell 10 yards short, I'd never seen her.  It's a bummer not to find her right after the shot.


My first deer with a muzzleloader was in Paint Rock Valley with a muzzleloader borrowed from John Childers.  Jim and I both harvested a deer that trip with muzzleloaders - it was a fun trip.

Muzzleloader doe from Paint Rock Valley - early 1990's

January 13, 2006 -  Bought a new muzzleloader for the kids to use.  I couldn't pass up and End-of-Year sale on a T/C Encore.  It's a sweet little gun.  I may get a .223 barrel for it to try a little coyote hunting.  I have an extra scope.  I have a Thompson Contender Single Shot Pistol and it's a great little gun.  T/C makes quality products!  I think they have the best factory bluing in the industry.


2005 Muzzleloader Buck

Deer: 7pt.
Weight: 178 lbs.
Spread
: 17.5"
Date:
December 1, 2005
Time: 4:30pm
Location: Madison County, AL
Weapon:
T/C Omega
Scope: Leupold VXIII 4.5x14 50mm
Caliber: 50 Cal.
Bullet: Barnes Spitfire 285 gr.
Stand: Log Pile
Range: 40 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 0 yard
Hunters: Jeff Smith

The timber on the property was select cut and has some huge log piles.  I climbed on top of a log pile the size of a house - I was well concealed.  I saw several deer coming out of the pine thicket to the hardwoods - I had around 20 deer milling around within 75 yards of the log pile.  There's quite a few white and red oaks remaining in that section of woods. The under growth has exploded with the extra sunlight from the logging.  It's thick with ground cover nearly waist high.  I saw some horns and got ready.  This guy walked by the end of the log pile and I shot him in the right shoulder.  He never took a step.  I had other deer come by within 10 minutes including a small racked buck that seemed puzzled by this deer lying on the ground.  This deer has as much fat on him as any Jim or I can remember.  He had a half inch under the hide and a couple of inches covering the tenderloin.  He had ate well with all the acorns.  I switched bullets at the end of last year.  I shot 7 or 8 deer over the last two years with my old bullet and was not happy with the performance.  They were very accurate but the deer ran off when shot.  I recovered all by one of them but running a hundred yards shot through the lungs with a 50 caliber bullets is not what I'm after.  I'm now shooting the Barnes Spitfire 285 grain and it did a number on this guy.  They're not as accurate as the old bullet but I like the field results so far.  They'll shoot a 3-4 inch group at 100 yards with three 50 grain Pyrodex pellets. I'm sure glad to get him - it's been a tough season so far!


Story about the one I "lost" last year:  I was hunting a large clover field and had a few doe out in the field.  I saw a good buck come out of the woods but could see another deer back in the timber.  The one in the field was a nice 18" wide 8 point (estimate) - I felt like I had plenty of time and waited to see what was still in the woods.  I finally got a glimpse of the other deer and he was a definite shooter!  Big rack deer!!  The thing I remember most was the number of points - I have no idea how many but he had a head full.  It looked like a brush pile on his head.  I had a great prop and the rangefinder said he was at 120 yards out.  I waited a good 5 minutes for him to come out farther in the field and get completely broadside.  The nervousness was gone by now - I was thinking of the best mount for him - upright left turn to show off his height and number of points :) I had the cross hairs buried and knew I'd have my hands on him with a matter of minutes.  I squeezed the trigger and the smoke went everywhere.  When it cleared, no deer in sight or lying in the field.  I had no idea which way he ran.  I had a good mark on the spot - made sure of that before the shot.  I never found a trace of him that night or saw him again.  I was sick!!!  The other deer I shot with that bullet would run a hundred or so yards and sometimes not bleed a drop.  Over the years, I've shot quite a few mature bucks and they don't like to die.  I've actually seen them crawling when they can't stand.  Big mature bucks are a different creature all together - I have a great deal of respect for all deer but especially mature bucks.  I hope I missed but I don't see how with a great prop at a reasonable distance.  I was practicing a lot at 100+ yards and that bullet would shoot 2 inch groups all day long at 100 yards. 


Thompson Omega Muzzleloader - Leupold VX-III Scope 4.5x14 50mm - Barnes Spitfire Bullet

 


2004 Muzzleloader Buck

Deer: 8pt.
Weight: 175 lbs.
Date:
December 15, 2004
Time: 4:40pm
Location: Madison County, AL
Weapon:
T/C Omega
Scope: Leupold VXIII 4.5x14 50mm
Caliber: 50 Cal.
Bullet: CVA PowerBelt Aero 245 gr.
Stand: None
Range: 80 yards
Distance Deer Traveled: 0 yards
Hunters: Jeff Smith

I was hunting off the ground beside an old hog shed and this deer came across the field at 4:40pm.  He was traveling from some big timber to the pine thicket.  I looked at him in the scope and started not to shoot.  I plan to shoot several doe off the land (per landowners request) and only mature bucks.  I could tell he was a heavy deer but lacking on points and mass.  He has good width - 19" spread.  I decided to shoot at the last moment and he hit the ground.  I haven't had an easy shot all year! The hog shed is beside a grown up dry pond and the deer was on the opposite side of the pond. I had to shoot through the brush to the opposite side of the pond.  He was walking to my left side at 80 yards. The shot hit right at the top of the 8-ring and destroyed the top of the lungs and bottom of the spine.  Didn't hurt the shoulder meat but did ruin some of the backstrap on one side.  He really had the buck smell going on!  I can still smell that funky musk odor!!  I think he was looking for a girl friend.

From corner of Hog Shed across dry pond using zoom lens.  It's around 60 yards across the pond and another 20 to the deer.


My muzzleloader - Thompson Omega - 50 caliber


Check out an article I wrote on muzzleloaders


Jim Childers with a Muzzleloader Buck taken in Morgan County - early 1990's

After Jim shot this deer, he called me to go help him find it. I had just finished dressing a buck and carried one of the legs with me. I slipped it inside the back of my jacket and waited until we got to the spot where he shot the deer. When we arrived at the spot, I slipped the leg out and laid it on the ground. We all milled around looking for blood and someone found the leg ... I think it was his brother. Needless to say, it was pretty funny when we found the buck and it had all four legs.


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