Finally broke away to go down to the farm this past weekend. Went out two mornings and two evenings. We really have an overpopulation problem, and some biologists from Mississippi State have told folks they wish they could go no limit hunting for a few years. In fact, we have greater than 45 deer per square mile, which is the most they release stats for. On our 500 acre farm, we estimate greater than 50 deer.
Anyways, I got my first deer walking. I was downwind headed north on a logging road. We have a spring and I think the deer were headed to that to drink - though it was a weird time to do so. It was 11 a.m. Saw a herd of 3 milling in the woods. Dropped to one knee. One popped its head out. It looked good size, so I waited for a better shot (I was at least 100 yards away). It stuck it's neck out, and that was all I needed. My unmodified 1896 Swedish Mauser fired 6.5x55mm round and got it right in the neck. Clean kill. It was nice because it was right on the road and we just brought the truck right to it.
That night I saw several and might have been able to take a nice buck, but I didn't want to shoot into brush - I like clean kills. Same thing next morning, 2x - they were bounding into roads as I explored the farm.
Finally, I decided to sit by our pond. We have a high, wooded bank (which is new to me, growing up it was cleared... also the drought has seen the pond drop about half it's size) that I sat on. It gave me good coverage of about 80% of the shoreline with good kill zones all the way around due to the pond shrinkage. I sat for four hours, then at about 4:50, a buck bounded out of the woods and kept going into the woods. He turned around like he was scouting to see if it was safe to drink. I pegged him. He never felt a thing - the shot broke his neck. Two football fields away, open sights.
So between me, my cousin, and our friends, we took six deer off the farm this year.
9 shy of what we want off there each year for the next few years to reduce population to healthy levels.
I just loved it though. Walking in the woods is the kind of thing that just brings a feeling of extreme relaxation. Also, walking the land my grandfather and father worked was surreal. Getting to know it was just amazing. I've decided to really work to make the land an even better hunting site, to research and plant food types conducive to a variety of game, and to enjoy enjoy enjoy it.
Also, you might find this video of a Buck attacking a hunter interesting: Click here for video.
If you have any recipes for deer meat - stews, jerky, etc - please reply with them!