Deer season is over, except for those ranches which hold MLD (managed land deer) permits, which are mostly culling like mad to meet their quotas. I have been shooting on one such ranch which has to shoot 400 culls.
I am tired of shooting deer, but this kind of thing does give me a great laboratory to test the various cartridges and bullets. I want to know how they will perform on game before I tell you about them. I still haven’t gotten around to my pet project for the year – testing the performance of the 225-grain Ballistic Tip in the .35 Whelen. Hopefully I will be able to do so before time runs out, but if not there is always next year.
This reminds me of the nasty-gram I got from a reader a few years ago. I made mention in an article of the number of deer I had shot and the number of different guns and calibers I had used. He set down, figured out how old I was, how many licenses I could have bought, how many tags would have been on those licenses, and then wrote and called me a liar. Sorry, Charlie.
I truly have no idea how many deer I have shot in my lifetime. I do know that many years pass when I shoot a lot of deer without using a single one of my tags; every deer I shoot some years is on an MLD tag.
Not only do I shoot deer on the ranch mentioned above, I also assist several more ranches to remove their excess deer. To me such wholesale slaughter is not hunting, anymore, it is simply shooting, and experimentation.
For instance. In an effort to determine the true ability of the .243 Winchester to take whitetail deer, I set out to shoot deer with the .243. I loaded a batch of 95-grain Nosler Partitions and commenced to cull deer. I shot does and bucks, indiscriminately. At the end I had taken a good number of deer of various sizes at ranges up to about 200 yards, and every one was a one shot kill.
The first deer I shot this year was a 100-pound doe and I shot her with my little .243 Winchester Model 70 XTR. She was about 180 yards away. The ranch manager said shot, I shot, the deer fell so fast she bounced. I hit her just in front of the shoulder. The bullet exited the far side and kept going.
Yes, the .243 Winchester is plenty of gun for Texas whitetails, if used with the right bullets. However, do not run out and buy a box of 80-grain soft points and go hunting. Pick a good, tough bullet (like the Nosler Partition, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, or Barnes TSX), intended for shooting deer, not some varmint bullet.
I also shot a couple of deer with my old 7mm Mauser using 130-grain Speer soft points. Believe it or not the 7×57, now well over a hundred years old, will still kill deer like a bolt of lightning. So what do we need all these new magnums for?