After a little time away from the forum, I have finally righted myself and am going to make time to do a short post about my hunt on the Durham Ranch in Wyoming with my daughter. Her photo, though not done with a handgun, will be at the end of the post just so that I can put them together due to time constraints.
In a nutshell, I arrived on Wednesday, a day and half ahead of my daughter, and had about 3 hours to scout before dark. My hunt was to start on Thursday as they were driving out and wouldn't make it until after dark. My plan was to plot as many good bucks for my daughter and her now EX-boyfriend (thanks to all who prayed with me for this favorable outcome) so that they could be assured of an opportunity for a good buck. My daughter, Taylor, wanted to hold out for a buck that would look great on the wall, dumdum just wanted a buck, and I wanted a good buck, but not a giant, unless it worked out well because my self-imposed limit was 100 yards with my baby, also my namesake on here. (Please don't judge yet, I shoot this gun a ton in the off-season and know the ballistics and my capabilities well.)
Thursday morning rolled around and I spotted from the highway as best as I could with the Leica spotting scope, and I felt good about our opportunities. Once I was able to get on the ranch, I had about 12 bucks plotted that I thought we good enough for me and dumdum, but nothing earth-shattering for Taylor. No worries, I was just starting and I felt confident to say the least. (Gregg had another hunter on the ranch with him, so I was solo) About 4:15, I spotted this buck milling with a couple of other similar sized bucks about 1480 yards away on a side hill that looked like I could come in on top of him to get to within my prescribed distance. Then, the start of the magic, he bedded. So, in an effort to wear out my boots, I started circling around and by GPS, 1.75 miles later, I was on the wrong hill. Good news, I only had to back track about 1/4 mile to get onto his hill, and he was still bedded. Woohoo!
Now that I was on the same hill, I set my pack down at about 100 yards from my buck to lighten the load. Spare gun, ammo, spotting scope, blah blah blah. Over the next couple days, the load got lightened. Anyway, I snuck to 77 yards as low as I could get and was able to find the buck still bedded. God was looking out for me. I wanted to cut the distance more, so I continued until I saw the buck stand, the gig was up. While still crouched, I cocked the hammer back and eased up with the Python at eye level. As I came up to my knees, I cleared all the grass and the sights found his chest quartering slightly to me. Again, God is good, perfect angle for the 180 grain JSP. Unconsciously, the Python erupted, and I say erupted because I forgot to put my plugs in, and the distinct "WHOP" came back to me. He wheeled around and ran down the hill towards a two track (insert my belief that God was looking out for me) when I thumbed that hammer back again and took a second shot even though I knew the first was plenty good. (This is from my taxidermist telling me he can fix holes in hides, but can't help me recover a lost animal.) PUFF, the dust behind him. One more time I thumb the hammer back leading him a little more, and WHACK, I hit him again at 130 yards on a full run and he rolls. Now, as the saying goes, the work begins.
I retrieve my pack, take this one cheesy hands completely full cell selfie, and get to work. I struggle to not smile the rest of the night. Supper that night with Don and Ardith, Gregg, Joe and Barbara tastes better than ever. Gregg tells me during supper that this is probably the first antelope buck taken on a Lil-Gun hunt with iron sights. Not sure if that's braggable or I'm half a moron.
On to Taylor. The weather turned rough on Saturday, 32 degrees, 30 mph winds and snow. An antelope hunters worst nightmare. But her little bullheadedness prevailed. After passing a tremendous number of what I thought we 68-72" bucks, we finally located a better antelope tucked away with a group of does with at least one hot one in the bunch. So, after a mile stalk, a lay in wait on an open hill side into a fierce, now 40 mph wind, Taylor made the shot at 433 yards with her .243 on this great buck. She is a better shot than me, no doubt.
I'm happier now than I was with my buck and her smile says it all. Thanks Gregg and thanks to the Durham for making our hunt fantastic.