How to avoid a stampede
Saturday's drive of the south place was met with only limited success. Doran and I watched as about 50 deer came out of the timber between us as I sat on the side of Strawberry Hill with him just off to the my left, also out of range. Dick was on...
Saturday's drive of the south place was met with only limited success.
Doran and I watched as about 50 deer came out of the timber between us as I sat on the side of Strawberry Hill with him just off to the my left, also out of range.
Dick was on the hill to my right, and did get in some shooting, but was also just out of position. Dick, Doran and I are the old guys, so we get to choose where we stand and who gets to chase deer to us.
By Sunday morning, we had a plan. Dick moved a hundred yards closer to where the deer came out the day before. Doran moved back to the ridge the deer had followed and I stood in the center of the main escape route. We were on stand for only a few minutes when six bucks came out of the timber in a group. They were far enough away and I could tell they were bucks but could not make out any big racks.
They headed up the hill toward Doran and were close enough to him; I knew he could sort them out. When I did not hear any shooting, I knew they must all be young. Off to my right, I heard a volley of shots. Dick was laying down some lead at something, or several some things. We had several doe tags and two either-sex tags left.
Dick is a pretty good shot, so if he hit half the deer at which he was shooting, we were close to the limit. Two bucks jumped the fence out of the timber and started running toward me. I could immediately see one was a big one. He was a nice mature 10- or 12-point accompanied by a two-year-old 10-point that would be a big buck in another two or three years.
The big boy was well on his way to the locker when he skidded to a stop behind some trees and looked up the hill toward Doran. He was too far away for Doran to get a shot and the trees were blocking my line of fire. I had my gun up, aimed, and safety off, waiting for him to step out into the open. The younger deer, who thought he was being followed by his buddy, continued directly toward me. I did not want to move, afraid I might spook the deer I wanted to shoot, but was getting concerned about getting run over.
The big buck still did not move, transfixed by Doran. The young buck was rapidly closing ground with no apparent intention of veering off. He was getting so close, if the big buck stepped out into the open, I would not have been able to get a shot around the deer almost on top of me. I really did not want to be run down, impaled, or have to shoot him in self defense.
Fearing for the safety of all involved, I moved when he was about six feet away. A full-grown deer is quite an agile creature. He made a 90-degree turn in mid stride and headed up the hill toward Doran. The big buck saw my movement and made a dash for the creek. I had time to make one futile shot in his direction before he disappeared. Doran sat at the top of the hill, watching the drama unfold, and laughing, until the panicked young buck almost ran over him.
Fortunately, Dick and some of our drivers were able to salvage the drive by getting enough meat to make it through the winter.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.