Megan and the first day of rifle season


May 18, 2011
Today (11/26) was the opener in Pennsylvania for rifle season. We can take bucks or does in the area I hunt, and Megan and I set out as we have been every opening day since 2014 when she first accompanied me as a hunter in her own right.

Forecast wasn't good.... some rain-free time this morning, but by late morning for sure, the rain would come, if not sooner. And then it would be here to stay for the remainder of the daylight hours.

In preparation, I borrowed an old blind that goes over two-person tree stands from another guy who hunts on the property but would not be out hunting (filled his tag in bow season). It was weathered and worn and a bit leaky, but it would be better than nothing. I set it up yesterday and got it rigged up as best I could. It wouldn't be weather tight, but it would reduce the wet a bit.

We saw a fair number of does in the morning, but something was always a bit off and Megan didn't get a shot. My dad's 6.5x55 cracked and a text from him relayed that he was pretty sure it was a miss, but he hadn't verified it. I was in a position to be able to get to the spot quicker than he could, and I said I'd come over and look to be sure of a miss.

I got about 50 yards from our stand and several deer that had used a blind spot in our stand's location to slip in and bed there suddenly popped up and took off. One stopped to look back. That's all it took. I looked up at Megan from out where I was, and saw the pre64 30-06 poke out the side of the blind...hang there for a moment, and then BANG!

Let me tell you, I've taken this kid to the range, and I've watched her shoot a lot. From that perspective, I didn't see a kid anymore. She looked awful grown up, and the handloads she's using are no reduced loads. It's not a hot load at all...2700fps for a 165gr Partition...but it's not a reduced load either. She took that recoil and as the crack still was echoing, I heard brass rattling on the stand deck. She'd run the bolt and was back on the deer.

I came back to her. She said she'd hit it. I said, "Ok, stay there and guide me to where it was when you shot."

She said, "Ok, but I see it, and it's down."

Sure enough, the deer went about 30 yards from the shot, and left sign anyone could find and follow. She busted it through the shoulders and it was down and out.

Once I was sure, I left her to go look for the deer my dad shot at, and wound up confirming a miss there.

Went back to Megan, who wanted to keep hunting. So we did. We stayed another hour or so, and in that time, the rain came. And it meant business. In a lull, we packed up and went down to her doe and pulled it up to the field edge we were sitting on. She and I dressed it, with her doing about 3/4 of the work and me assisting. With all the we had today and two days ago, the access roads we have are just too muddy and I'd have torn some bad ruts getting in and out to drive to the deer, so we just gritted our teeth and started pulling. Most was downhill after a short uphill bit.

Tired, wet, and dirty, we got the doe loaded and went to my parents' house nearby for some hot food and time out of the weather. We decided to come home, and got the doe up on the gambrel (finally mounted my electric hoist from Harbor Freight...very excited about that, as it is fantastic for this!), peeled the hide while my 7 year old daughter Isabella looked on with tons of questions and interest.

Came back in cleaned up a bit, warmed up a bit, and our gear that we'd spread in front of our pellet stove was dry by now, so I asked Megan if she wanted to go. She said "Yep!"

We geared up and went back.

Just about 10 minutes (at most, maybe less) after settling in, Megan saw a doe at about 150 yards. As we watched the doe and Megan debated taking the shot, I saw a small buck. He was over 200 yards and on the skyline.

He left, and Megan focused on the doe again (she had 4 doe tags to start, so she could shoot does still). As we were discussing quietly if she'd shoot or not, into my view in the bino's trots a nice buck. A very nice buck.

"Megan...forget the doe. Good buck...good buck!"

The buck was on a mission and not slowing down. We had a small power line break about 10 yards wide and not much room to work with. I whistled loud a few times and he stopped. BANG!

The buck gave a low mule kick, slightly hunched, and ran front end low like he was hurt bad.

One of our buddies showed up and offered to help look. It was getting on to dark, and so much water on the deck meant we weren't finding any blood. My buddy John and I just started taking trails in the direction he went and at the area he was last seen. 2nd one I went in, I got about 15-20 yards in and saw the white belly.

No blood at the scene, but the deer only went about 60 yards total, and the last 30, it was everywhere. He'd been quartering away pretty hard. She shot him square through the liver and up into the lungs. 185 yards. Left handed (she's right handed). She dragged this one and did a good bit of the field dressing as well. With it raining and us now REALLY tired and wet, a couple spots I jumped in to help speed things along.

I have some good pics I'll post shortly. I am so tired, and it was so worth it.

Those dang Partitions and the boring old 30-06....they may not be the latest thing, but boy do they both work!

Megan and I with her deer:

Man, that is getting the job done! Congratulations, Megan! You did alright, young lady. You are a genuine huntress. Everyone is proud to see your care and prowess.
Congratulations to Megan and to you for getting everything all set up. That was some fine shooting on her part and perseverance on both of your parts. Well done all around.
Congrats to Megan on a very successful hunt and to Dad for teaching her the skills to get the job done.
Yeah the 30-06 with 165gr PTs will get it done with gusto.
Wow! I'm impressed. Nicely done, and a great write-up. Thanks.

Congrats to young Megan.

30-06 & 165's you say? :wink: Nobody uses that anymore! :grin:

Regards, Guy
Great story! Love the girls hunting, as a Dad with an only daughter who hunts I can appreciate what these ladies do. I don't do much anymore for my daughter she wants and is able to handle most of it on her own when hunting from a blind.
Guy Miner":g5hixm3a said:
Wow! I'm impressed. Nicely done, and a great write-up. Thanks.

Congrats to young Megan.

30-06 & 165's you say? :wink: Nobody uses that anymore! :grin:

Regards, Guy

30-06, 165’s, IMR4350.

Who knew that combo would work, right?

Thanks, everyone, for the kind words.

She is growing up fast and she’s become a good hunter.

I have to skin the buck yet. Her doe is still on the gambrel! Lol

She shot the buck at a hard quartering away angle, entering behind the liver and basically obliterating the liver on the way forward into the chest. The deer was down inside 75 yards from the shot. I did not see an obvious exit, but I will know more when I skin it.

Once I know more, I can give a full “post mortem” on both.

That is so special. Congratulations to Megan, and to you, as I remember back when she first started hunting. You have done a wonderful job of teaching and she has obviously been a good student.

You were once headed to Alaska for Blacktail, did you go ? Did she go with you ?
A fine-looking buck and a girl that appears most pleased. The only one more pleased would appear to be the gentleman in the picture. (y)