December 27, 2007
He stood big-bodied and broadside looking at me. Seventy yards across the meadow, and legal shooting light–but, my front sight wasn’t lit yet.
In 50+ years of hunting these deer, I’d not had an opening day “first light” opportunity at a buck. Now, he had kept that appointment.
Antlers beyond his ears and plenty high. If I were carrying the scoped .270, I could readily shoot. But I had chosen to hunt with the .38-55. This would be my last season for deer with it before I passed the rifle on to our middle son. Old, first year rifle–very good Karma.
…The sight still would not show.
The buck was close enough that taking a shot with a natural hold would bring him down. Merely level the rear sight in the middle of his shoulder–No, not the way I operate. I don’t toss lead at critters.
So, we waited.
He took a step. Lowered his head, and nipped. Checked on me again.
As a kid, I used to shoot rats at night in the barns, lighting the front sight with a flashlight snugged against the forestock. But that would be cheating. You don’t shoot old bucks with such disrespect.
Three more steps. Nearly light enough now.
…He ghosted into the young alders.
November 7, 2015
Good story well told. Good call. Gotta see that front sight. We accept limitations when we hunt with the old Winchesters but it’s worth it.
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