So, after making a big deal out of my perfect stalk, and subsequent miss on a few bucks last weekend, my actual success story when I anchored my doe is very anti-climatic. It involves a dusty dirt road, and a couple of unalarmed does standing about 40 yards off the road. They stood there and looked at me when I pulled over. They stood there and looked at me when I got out of the truck, and crossed the road. They started looking a wee bit anxious when I brought the gun up, and remembered to hold my breath and selected the doe standing perfectly broadside too me.
Now, with the things I learned last weekend.
- If you are packing up to go hunting, and you are LOOKING at something you should pack to bring hunting(like, a head lamp)...DON'T say...oh I'll pick that up my next time in this room. You will forget to go back and get it.
-Shooting a deer in the morning, and being able to field dress it while the sun is up HAS GOT to be easier than shooting one at 6:15pm, and trying to gut it one handed while holding a flash light in the other hand, or clenching the flashlight between your chin and chest because you left your head lamp at home. The head lamp is already packed for elk hunting. While I have helped gut several animals out, this is the first one I have been 100% on my own to do. I think every other one I do from here on out will be easier.
-When you can't see what you are doing inside the animal, there is a potenital you are going to accidently carve up one of the tenderloins when you are really aiming for the connective tissue holding the belly in. This will make you sad later when you get a chance to look at your carcass under proper light.
-First looks can be decieving. Upon initial inspection, the hole my bullet left in the side of the deer was fairly unimpressive.
Upon removal of the skin though, you can see there was some pretty serious damage done to the meat under the skin. Yes, it's kind of graphic...you can always close your eyes and page down past it.
-When you have shot a deer and gutted it out in the dark, there is no better local for skinning out your kill than an all night carwash. It's nicely lit, and when you are done working, you can just hose everything off.
-The Havalon Piranta is a fine, fine knife. That blade is sharp, sharp, sharp. I used two of the blades to gut and skin that deer, but I only really needed the 2nd blade because I snapped the first one trying to work it through one of the knee joints. My bad...that's not what that knife is designed for, but when cutting on flesh, well, it was 'like buttah'.
-The SOG Revolver is a fine knife/saw. It's not as razor sharp as the Piranta, but the gut hook and saw function came in very, very handy. With both of these knives in my pack, I'm ready for just about any animal care situation. The afternoon before, I had seen a truck parked at the gas station in town that had a buck in the bed. The buck had been gutted, but it still had all it's skin on it. At 3:30 in the afternoon on an 84 degree day. THAT's the guy who will say he 'really doesn't like deer much'.