Axis Birthday Buck!
So on a whim at work, I requested a day of vacation the day before my birthday with the intent of either surfing or hunting. Surprised I was approved on such short notice, I made a Costco run on the way home after work to get some seafood for my B-day dinner.
After arriving home after a full day of work, Costco run, cooking and eating, it was getting late, and I was left contemplating the decision: Surfing - no loading up the truck at night, get up and load the board in the morning...easy peasy. Hunting - extensive gear prep and loading...cooler, ice, camera batteries charged, memory cards cleared, water, guns, air, camo, etc. - you know the drill....especially if you are trying to film. I opted to wait until the morning to make a decision.
Morning arrived, and obviously the decision to hunt was made, or you wouldn't be reading this, so I loaded up, albeit not with the usual degree of coordination and planning I do with most hunting trips. I charged the most important battery packs in the truck while driving the 45 minutes to my hunting destination, neglected to fill up my Camelbak (eh, my truck is only half a mile away, and I'll have plenty of drinking water in the cooler) The water thing was a mistake...mainly because I am two and a half months out of cancer surgery, and have not regained near all of my strength.
Retrospectively, the idea was to get out and sit in the brush, listen to the birds, and generally just be out alone in nature, to contemplate things, life. It was a late start, I was ill prepared and again the thought was "I probably wont see anything and if I do probably wont be in range, will be good to just get out and enjoy"
And so I am rolling out at 0830 on a relatively cool overcast day thinking it would be difficult at best to drag a large deer out of the gully by myself..but when has that ever happened? Ninety pound does are fairly easy, especially when gutted, but in my condition...."eh probably wont even see anything"
I have to be honest here, I have not had the best luck hunting in the past year.
I quit counting after 18, yes 18 deer hunts, and not harvesting a deer. Prior to that, I had 2 airgun harvests, both with lost and malfunctioning cameras, prior to that, I had 13 crossbow kills in that year.
Admittedly, I did botch two of the past years' 18 hunts, missed one shot, and equipment malfunction on the next. All the other hunts...about a third I/we didn't see anything, or saw deer, but too many weeds and brush were in the way, or I heard them and didn't see them, or the shot was not safe. I will say we only have limited areas to hunt, so if you are busted, you are essentially done for the day.
But I digress. Walking down to the hunting spot I was just happy to be out hunting. As I was walking down a gulch on a red dirt trail (an anomaly as there is so much vegetation due to all of the rains) out of the corner of my eye, I see movement across the gulch, and immediately sink down into the weeds trying to minimize movement as well as attempting to remember how this new 26" bipod extended. I watched for about 15 minutes and glassed, but the deer had disappeared into the thick lime green vegetation. Amazing how quiet these Axis deer can be, and seemingly just disappear in front of your eyes.
I continued following the gulch laterally looking for a spot with a good vantage point, some shade and cover I could into which I could sink. Finding the spot, I quickly figured out the bipod, set up the cameras, and kicked back for some meditative reflection in nature.
After an hour, again I see something down to my right, and I see antlers! It was difficult to see through the foliage, but it looked to me like a super young buck with a tiny rack rubbing a tree. Lost sight. Darnit. I was thinking he saw my movement and slinked away into the tropical vegetation, but a quick glance to the left and there he was! No more than 30 yards and coming right toward me! Really good size buck! "Ok remember the drill, turn on camera, parallax, safety" went through my head. So I reached up, turned on the GoPro (thank goodness) zoomed and futzed with the camera on the gun, adjusted Parallax, took off the safety, relax and fired!
Well I got a "B" as I completed all the aforementioned steps EXCEPT hit the record button on the gun camera...DOH! At least the GoPro captured most. Here is the result! Note to self..always bring water! That was a big body buck! Fortunately, I had a friend help me drag it out