Times were different then! There were no trail cameras! Scouting for whitetails meant a whole lot more different things than these days when the hunter simply puts out his cameras, then later checks photos including with some being sent to his or her computer or phone, looks at what time the buck came by or fed on the bait then hunts appropriately in hopes the buck will come by again at roughly the same time.
The last embers of our “Colorado Mountain High” campfire were turning to gray ashes. I poked what was left of the fire which had earlier in the evening prompted many tales of great stags bested. The others had long since excused themselves and gone to bed..
The dying coals sent offerings of bright sparks to the dark heavens above. Way off in the distance I heard a faint high-pitched whistle. It was so distant I questioned if indeed it really was a …… Then just beyond our tents came the rising pitch of a shrill call, followed by several deep grunts. No question, bull elk!
“You packed and ready to go?” asked Sean Lingl. I was….but really did not want to drag my Boyt travel bag and gun case down stairs to head to the airport to begin the long flight back to Texas. The hunt had been a fun one. For several days Sean a long time friend and ace black bear guide, Jamie Romeril blacktail deer hunter extraordinaire, cameraman Jason Miller and I had been hunting on Vancouver Island. What had started out as blacktail deer hunt I had set up with Sean at the Dallas Safari Club convention, soon headed toward a black bear hunt. I had dearly hoped to take what some biologists, such as Valerius Geist, describe as the only true Columbian blacktail deer, those uninfluenced by mule deer or whitetail blood, as those on the continent can be.
“That Ruger FTW Hunter of yours really does like Hornady 250-grain GMX, doesn’t it!” commented Tim Fallon when I showed him two targets I had shot at the Lodge range with my .375 Ruger a few minutes before.
“Yes Sir! Three shot essentially into the same hole at 50 yards and basically the same at 100. That impresses me! From the range card you did for me, sighted dead on at 50 yards it’s dead on again at 200 yards and only 3-inches low at 250. I trued it to that at the 200 and 250-yard steel plates. At the latter I shot 3-inches low with a dead center hold. And I noticed on the range card that with the Trijicon 4-15X scope you mounted on the rifle for me, at 750 yards, I simply hold on target the tenth line down from the primary center crosshair. I have not trued at that distance, but next time I come to the ranch, I want to try to do exactly that. Not that I would ever shoot at a critter at that distance. But, I do admit shooting at steel plates that far with what most hunters consider an “elephant gun” is great fun.” I responded.
“Larry it’s been a couple of years since you visited Oak Creek. Would love to have you come hunt with us again.” As Donald Hill owner of Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch, located in central Missouri, spoke my mind drifted to years past and some of the absolute monster whitetail bucks I had taken hunting with Donald. All of those bucks had been taken with handguns, save one which I shot with a rifle. “Would love to have you come in early to mid-November just about the time the rut starts. Be a good time to rattle up some bucks, could be fun….”
When he mentioned rattling, I was hooked!