Deer Hunting with an Original Spencer Rifle

The title sounds pretty cool doesn’t it. It would be, if I had actually taken a deer with it! You see, I am writing to you as a failed hunter.

I am deerless for the Kansas rifle deer season of 2009 and it’s my own fault. See I had this plan; I was only going to shoot a big buck if the opportunity presented itself during muzzle loading season. Because my plan, was to shoot a deer (any deer) with my original Spencer 56-50 rifle during rifle season.

Plains Hunter, dedicated to hunting with historical weapons, I thought my plan would be cool, right?

So I was not upset when I did not get a deer during Muzzleloading season.

Flash forward to Opening evening of rifle season. I’m on the stand when a really nice buck (the one Bill missed during ML season) presents itself 135 yards out. I draw a bead and fire. A clean miss. I forgot to take into account the 183 MPH cross wind. Some where in Oklahoma a farmer is thinking “How did I get that giant bullet hole in my John Deere”?).

One hour later two smaller bucks, a spike and a ragged six point, run down the hill 20 yards to my right and stop 30 yards in front of me. This is where my plan went south. I start thinking: “You know… that big buck will probably be back… It’s only the first day of rifle season… It would be a shame to end the season sooo soon.”

Meanwhile, Dad and Jim are hunting without much success.

Bill arrives Thursday and begins his tragic battle with Buck Fever. In Bill’s case Buck Fever doesn’t properly describe it. Is there such a thing as Buck Cancer? Or at least Buck H1N1? Seriously Bill should see someone. If cost is an issue maybe the Shriners can help. I don’t believe anyone should have to suffer like that. Three shots, ALL at BUCKS! Not a single doe shot. Deer know, I swear they know! If a deer can sniff out Buck Fever maybe they can sniff out other deadly diseases. I think I’m on to something here. I’m going to contact the Mayo Clinic.

Speaking of animals with extraordinary abilities; Every time I walked to any deer stand, carrying only a rifle, a pheasant would flush perfectly; RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!

But while pheasant hunting just a month ago, carrying a shot gun, DEER WERE FLUSHING EVERYWHERE! They Know!… I’m telling you they know!… DON’T CALL ME CRAZY! THEY KNOW!

Uh hem.. I digress. A few days into the season I’m hunting on a different stand. Two does, a shooter buck, and the FATHER OF ALL MONSTER BUCKS is standing thirty yards away. Then the Monster walks within twenty yards and TURNS BROAD SIDE! Then he stands on his hind legs and FLIPS ME OFF! WHY? Because he is a MULE DEER and I have a WHITE TAIL ONLY license! My Dad has an either species license and Bill has an either species license. I change stands so Dad or Bill will get a shot at the muleys. Neither one sees them. After Dad and Bill return home, I return to the stand and the mule deer are BACK! I’M TELLING YOU THEY KNOW!

Slightly changing the subject, I’m not much of a tech guy, Bill can tell you that. But before deer season, I decided I just HAD to have a range finder. So I bought one. Pretty neat little gadget. That’s how I know I missed that buck at 135 yards. Seems like I paid a pretty steep price for a gadget that’s only usefulness is to tell me how far away the deer was that I missed.

wes with doeI bought another item I thought would be a lot handier. I bought a set of insulated coveralls. And they are pretty nice, warm. The problem is that I have always worn a size XL. So I bought a size XL. I’ve packed on a few pounds lately (Noo problem I’ll lose the weight after the holidays, like I planned last year). I sure don’t want coveralls that are too big. So ultimately I paid a pretty steep price for coveralls that fit like a scuba suit. Which wouldn’t be so much of a problem, but I didn’t try putting a rifle to my shoulder wearing my scuba suit until I was sitting on the ground at my deer stand. Consequently, if …I lean back… Juuust righhht… and stretch my arm just sooo…and lean my head waaay down… I can kind of get a sight picture and almost reach the trigger at the same time.

Ultimately Dad saved us from getting skunked by shooting a white tail doe. He shot it with his 50-95 1876 Winchester (I personally think Dad just put a Sheriff’s Office salvage tag on a doe that was killed in a collision with an 18 wheeler.) That 50-95 messed that deer up!

1876 winchesterThe second week of deer season a cold front moved in. One would think in this day and age of high technology the weather forecasters would have better instruments. Our local weatherman stated the temperature was down into the single digits. I know for a fact that the on my stand the average morning temperature actually hovered around 77 degrees below zero. I’m not kidding, cold like that would have killed a normal man.

On the last Saturday I took a friend and two of his sons out hunting. One of his boys shot a button buck with an M-14 with iron sights at 200 yards (I know it was 200 yards because I used my rangefinder!). An M-14 is a historical rifle, kind of.

The final Sunday of the season I rested against a fence post looking out over a milo field and watched a beautiful western Kansas Sunset. I even relaxed smoking my pipe. The wind was in my face so I wasn’t concerned anything behind me would scent me anyway. The light was fading fast so I decided to hunt my way back to the truck and leisurely set about securing my items and stood up. Just in time to see the whitetails fifty yards BEHIND me hauling away. WHAT THE *#@+!! THEY KNOW! I’m telling you THEY KNOW!!

On the plus side the very historical former chicken coop (I’m not kidding) now hunting lodge has come a long way this year. We have a fridge so we no longer have to deal w/ice for beverages, food etc. And we have a TV and DVD player. Now I know many of you are saying that watching TV ruins the historical atmosphere of our hunting experience. Not True! We only watch WESTERNS! John Wayne shooting Comanches, just after the Civil War with a 94 Winchester is very authentic and only enhances our western hunting lifestyle!

If you enjoyed hearing our tales of woe, send your tragic hunting stories to Plains Hunter. Don’t send tales of your amazing success, we don’t want to HEAR IT!


3 Replies to “Deer Hunting with an Original Spencer Rifle”

  1. Well, even though it’s been a bust for the season, I still had a great time. I’ve learned a lot thanks to you and your dad. I just hope that we can have better luck next year.

  2. I just wanted to wish everyone watching Plains Hunter a Merry Christmas.

    I can’t wait, my wife is surprising me this year with a 16 Bore Holland & Holland Royal Double Shotgun this year! (yea right, Why don’t I ever get what I REALLY want).

    Well I still hope YOU have a Merry Christmas.

    The Lum

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