Going Blind by Larry Weishuhn
by Larry Weishuhn
“Got a game plan to visit about soon as you confirm you’re sighted-in. Shoot a couple of times then meet me in the lodge.” I grabbed a box of Hornady Precision Hunter, 142-grain ELD-X ammo, my rifle and headed to the shooting range. There I slid two rounds into the Ruger 6.5 Creedmoor, got a solid rest on sandbags and fired a first and second round. Cranking my Trijicon’s magnification to 10x I saw both shots touched about a quarter inch above the “X” in the center of the target. Frankly I had no doubt my Trijicon scope would still have me shooting dead-on at 100 yards. It had not done so throughout the year, even with living through what many would title “rough treatment”.
I headed to the lodge. Travis Benes, wildlife/hunting manager of the expansive 44,000 acres Choctaw Hunting Lodge (www.choctawhuntinglodge.com) handed me a cup of coffee and pointed at a map. “How do you feel about blind hunting? First a raised blind and then ground blind if you don’t shoot one from on high.” I explained I loved hunting from the ground and hunting blind, sounded good, especially with the coming colder weather and a threat of rain.
Over the past many years I have done most of my deer hunts from the ground. Years ago I swore off treestands, because I enjoyed and appreciated the challenge of being on the same level as the animals hunted. On occasion, particularly in inclement weather I have hunted from raised blinds, but much prefer hunting on the ground, mostly natural “hides” secreted behind underbrush, rocks, and the like, making full use of what natural existing cover available. But on occasion, I had and will again in the future hunt from enclosed ground blinds, made of canvas.
After several days of seeing and passing some impressively antlered bucks because they were young. I prefer to shoot mature or post-mature bucks. It was coming down to the last days of my hunt.
Said Travis that night at supper, “The temperature should drop into the low teens in the morning. They’re predicting rain, but I seriously doubt it. However, you might appreciate hunting from an enclose ground blind in the morning.” I glanced at Justin Wegner my cameraman for the episode we were filming for “DSC’s Trailing the Hunters Moon” television. He was nodding indicating “Yes!”
We arrived at the appointed blind well before first light. A cold wind blew from the north. Just before it was shooting light, the clouds vanished. The temperature dropped considerably and immediately we started seeing dark shapes that with increased light morphed into whitetail deer.
Shortly after sun up a couple of young bucks and three does, walked in downwind of our blind. Thanks to both Justin and I spraying down with Texas Raised Hunting Products (www.texasraisedhuntingproducts.com) Scent Guardian, they never knew we were there.
A few moments later out stepped a mature multi-tined buck. He was about a hundred and fifty yards distant. I cranked the Trijicon up to full magnification and got the crosshairs on the buck. Normally I keep the magnification at a relatively low setting, which can help me quickly locate an animal through the scope, then increase the magnification as I get ready to shoot. I took several deep breaths, pushed the Ruger’s safety to fire, let out all my breath and started gently squeezing the trigger. At the shot the buck flinched and ran into tall bluestem and Indian grass before I could shoot a second time.
A few moments later we followed the blood trail into the tall grass, but, only went ten steps before we found my buck. Hunting blind had paid off handsomely once again…