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It was ‘the hunt of a lifetime’

Struttin’ Time:

I have been to the top of the mountain and seen the world with rose-colored glasses.

In 2010, I flew to Washington State for a pack-mule hunt. We were hunting the nocturnal Blacktail deer, also called a Sitka deer. They are native to that area, as well as Alaska.

Out of 10 hunters, we saw a grand total of two bucks that someone could get a shot at. Since there were two women hunters on the trip, we had decided to give them first shot on anything we saw. They both scored, and I was happy for them.

By the way, my mule’s name was Oil Can Harry. He was a good mule, but I don’t have a clue as to how I remember his name.

When I was six years old, my dad took me in the woods hunting. I was thrilled to watch the night creatures go to bed, and the day creatures wake up. Sixty- two years later, I am still thrilled. If that thrill ever leaves, I will quit hunting.

Which brings me to this week’s Struttin’ Time. My friends, Dan and Nina Carte, owners of the DD Ranch, in McArthur, Ohio, called me to offer me “The Hunt of the Lifetime.”

I could hunt the Sika deer, a deer that was brought over from Asia. Now there is a bigger population in the United States than in Asia. Sika have spread to 37 states, and have a “huntable” population in most, Texas has the biggest, followed by Maryland.

They are also nocturnal, and are almost impossible to hunt in Maryland although Maryland has more than 10,000. They are in the eastern part of the state, and live in the grassy wetlands. Hunting them there is a very hard hunt I have been told.

Dan has been raising a herd of Sika for about 10 years now. Unlike white tail deer, they never have twins, so raising a herd is time consuming and costly.

Dan’s herd numbers a little over 50 head, with the coyotes dining on them daily. The coyotes got two while I was there.

These hunts are very expensive, but my friends reduced the cost somewhat, which made it just right for me. I scouted the evening I arrived, and saw a few right at dark, which was of no help to me. The coyotes had one for dinner after I left, and sent the herd into panic mode.

I hunted without a guide, I guess because of the discount, but that was fine. I have hunted with them many a time, and know their land pretty well.

I was hunting with a Remington 7600 pump, 270 caliber that my brother-inlaw bought me just before he died. I had never hunted with it, and had only bore sighted the scope.

That is the first and last time that I will use that gun. It is forever put away in my gun safe. I am a 30.06 man, but Tim didn’t know that when he bought it for me, and when someone buys something like that just say thank you. I thought this was a good time to see how well this gun works, and to see if my scope was on.

Around noon I saw a nice big eight point standing about 90 yards away. I thought this is a good time to see how well this gun works, and to see if my scope was on. Not exactly what I had hoped for. At the crack of the gun, down he went, but didn’t stay down. Although I hit him, it was a little far back, but I didn’t know how far back so it took me three more shots to totally put him down.

Sika, being more related to our elk than a deer, their meat tastes like elk and did I chow down on steak when I got him from the butcher. I had them cut at one and a half inches thick, my kind of eating.

The “Hunt of the Lifetime” it was for sure. Hard to beat good friends like Dan and Nina Carte.



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