Author Topic: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot  (Read 506 times)

Offline Aziscohosbuck

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The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« on: Nov 15, 2020, 04:21:57 PM »
Just wanted to reach out to those of you with many years of experience on what your success has been with taking a rifle shot with adequate caliber for taking deer that are walking in and down upon you from a ridge above from upwind while cruising for does and offer a quartering towards shot opportunity. I am not referring to bow hunting just rifle.  The specific scenario I am referring to is a method that I have learned to use many years ago when I harvested my one and only Maine Buck over 200 lbs. field dressed during the peak of the rut.  I have harvested my share of decent bucks using this method since then and have had many up close and personal encounters with much larger bucks that did not pan out because the buck saw me before I saw him.   What I do is find big woods with specific south east or south west facing ridges that have a very good supply of white oak and beech that produce heavy mast crop in the way of acorns.  I set up with a stand at ground level, just sitting or standing next to a tree that I can use for cover, ideally you will be 3/4 of the way up to the top of that ridge and with your back up against a thicker growth of softwoods with pine, fir or spruce.  At the peak of the rut a cruising buck looking for love during the daytime will almost always move quartering downhill with the wind at his back so that all he has to do is turn his head to the side and he can smell danger and/or does in estrus and then use his eyes only for downwind protection, this is a mistake on the part of a rutting buck that you definately can take advantage of!

So back to my question regarding a quartering towards you rifle shot on a buck bearing down on you with no clue you are there, he does not smell you because he is coming in from upwind, you are lucky enough to keep watch turning your head from left to right looking up that ridge and you spot him before he sees you and he is closing in a zig zag movement on your position within under 20 yards.  Holy s**t man it is game on, you have time and remain calm, switch the safety to fire and pull ahead of the deer with the cross hairs of the scope into an opening that he is walking into at less than 20 yards.  The cover is not exactly wide open hardwoods that he has dropped into it is a mixture of more mature and younger hardwood growth so you have to thread your bullet through a 2 foot wide opening all the while this deer turns left then right and moves closer.  My choice was to take a shoulder shot on the center or slightly forward of right front shoulder, as that was the first and best alternative, maybe I rushed it and could have waited for a quartering away shot, but in my experience these large bucks don't give you a lot of time so you better take the first center mass shot they offer or it is game over in a hurry.  I think Hal Blood would agree, what do you think.

So the end of the story was that I drilled the shot into the right shoulder or maybe slightly in front, the buck who was in my estimation was at least a 4.5 year old 8 pointer who would field dress in the 175-180 lb. range, upon taking that bullet after sneaking in on me with his head down sniffing for does, stands upright at broadside on the report of the first shot and stares at me offering a broadside shot.  Here is the embarrassing part in over 35 years of hunting I have never partially pulled the bolt back on my Winchester Model 70 bolt action, but yessuh I managed to do that so that the empty shell was ejected, but the new live shell was not slammed forward into the chamber.  Consequently my 2nd standing broadside shot at this Buck resulted in a "click" sound which was very sickening, however I quickly chambered another round and gave it a "hail mary" as the buck bounded off straight away from me.

This all went down at 9am on Saturday 11/14, interestingly on Thursday 11/12 while sitting on the exact same stand two large does came running by me at full speed as if something was chasing them, I let them pass even though I have a doe tag as they were running to fast for a responsible shot and I wanted to see if a buck was chasing them but that did not pan out, and yet two days later on the exact same stand this buck sneaks in from behind me!

Bottom line is I waited over 30 minutes to pursue that buck, feeling confident with the shot, then I found a blood trail starting about 25-30 feet from where that buck bounded after the shot.  Not heavy blood at all but dark red spots and very small splashes with tissue mixed in, I have never seen that.  I spent over four hours almost on hand and knees by myself tracing these little drops of blood until finally I found a place where the deer either layed down or stopped and pawed the leaves off the ground with much more sign of blood, kind of like a bloody bed, but not by any means a whole lot of blood.  After that point the blood trail just completely petered out at least as far as I could manage with large half circles trying to pick up a continuing trail.  I marked all the major points and direction of the blood trail with orange flourescent ribbon in anticipation of a long search and calling in reinforcements for help.  Sadly I had to leave the search with darkness closing in and a sick feeling in my stomach over the thought of losing this buck.

I called the warden service Saturday night and told them what was going on and that if we recovered the deer it would be beyond the 18 hour requirement and they had no problem with that.  I then called a friend who has two blood hounds to take up the blood trail on Sunday.  On Sunday morning the bloodhounds got a full whiff of that bloody bed and took off on a mission for about 200 yards and then the trail ran cold with no more blood I assume.

At this point obviously I am heartbroken over the loss of the buck, but I really hope he survived and will continue to live a long life from the lesson I gave him.  More importantly, this buck gave me a lesson on not taking that quartering toward shot, if you may well have a quartering away shot if you wait a little longer.  But then again a shot at a Big Maine Buck comes at a high cost of time, experience and patience and with a 4-5 second window on average for one of these beauties you have to take what you are given, and Hal Blood and company make no apologies for doing this in the North Maine Woods!

Offline zwiggles

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #1 on: Nov 15, 2020, 04:53:30 PM »
I canít offer anything in terms of experience or advice, but I will say Iím with you hoping it was a grazing wound (with it not being found). I do appreciate the tactic/piece of advice on your strategy, and the write up. Hopefully you get another crack at one this year.
« Last Edit: Nov 15, 2020, 10:28:44 PM by zwiggles »

Offline aquaassassin

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #2 on: Nov 15, 2020, 05:33:49 PM »
Iíll chime in,

First off, I know Iíve told you before but I love when you post! The best reads always.

Back to the story. I would and do take that shot with a rifle all day long, in fact, the buck I killed Thursday night was just that and I dropped him.

The one thing I donít like, is where you said  ďslightly forwardĒ. Iíd be willing to bet you ended up hitting opposite shoulder with nothing vital hit and that deer just lost some blood and got a haircut, and got a bit smarter ( probably not) he wasnít in his right mind.

When I take those I aim top of shoulder and they drop! Way to much shock and you cut the artery done in seconds and if you mess up you are hitting something vital. If anything Iíd want to hit further back not forward, even if you go back your gonna get Liver/gut and thatís a dead deer. Go forward and it also may die but in a few weeks.

What Caliber, grain, and bullet?
It's not being cocky if you can back it up!

Offline Aziscohosbuck

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #3 on: Nov 16, 2020, 05:18:57 AM »
Iíll chime in,

First off, I know Iíve told you before but I love when you post! The best reads always.

Back to the story. I would and do take that shot with a rifle all day long, in fact, the buck I killed Thursday night was just that and I dropped him.

The one thing I donít like, is where you said  ďslightly forwardĒ. Iíd be willing to bet you ended up hitting opposite shoulder with nothing vital hit and that deer just lost some blood and got a haircut, and got a bit smarter ( probably not) he wasnít in his right mind.

When I take those I aim top of shoulder and they drop! Way to much shock and you cut the artery done in seconds and if you mess up you are hitting something vital. If anything Iíd want to hit further back not forward, even if you go back your gonna get Liver/gut and thatís a dead deer. Go forward and it also may die but in a few weeks.

What Caliber, grain, and bullet?

I very much appreciate your candid evaluation and definately agree with you.  A mere split second and a few more inches tucked in just a little further to the left and that Buck most likely would have piled up within 50 yards of being hit.  Bullet was Remington 30/06, 180 grain core lokt soft point.  The fact that the buck continued up hill in a consistent direction to the NorthWest without circling and an extremely narrow in width blood trail with only very small drops of blood seems to further confirm not being hit in a vital organ or artery.
Pretty frustrated with myself, these kind of opportunities come very hard earned with a lot of time spent on stand.

Offline Dirt23

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #4 on: Nov 16, 2020, 05:40:29 AM »
Quarterings twords you is definitely tough shot on deer especially when they are on the move because tendency is to squeeze trigger when it comes into sights.  This typically results in brisket or opposite shoulder nothing vital blood couple hundred yards and peters out unfortunately know from experience.  Definitely need to shoot for exit pull back a little like AA said otherwise that white patch on throat drops em in there tracks. Not as big of Target but a 180 core lock will have enough concussion even if you didn't hit wind pipe or spine will flop around enough to put another one into em

Offline lv2hunt

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #5 on: Nov 16, 2020, 08:59:31 AM »
Quarterings twords you is definitely tough shot on deer especially when they are on the move because tendency is to squeeze trigger when it comes into sights.  This typically results in brisket or opposite shoulder nothing vital blood couple hundred yards and peters out unfortunately know from experience.  Definitely need to shoot for exit pull back a little like AA said otherwise that white patch on throat drops em in there tracks. Not as big of Target but a 180 core lock will have enough concussion even if you didn't hit wind pipe or spine will flop around enough to put another one into em



X2 on the white patch although its a shot a lot of people don't want to take because concerns of head shots its definitely a great shot. took down a moose and several deer using that. good luck and great read.

Offline Aziscohosbuck

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #6 on: Nov 16, 2020, 02:11:47 PM »
Quarterings twords you is definitely tough shot on deer especially when they are on the move because tendency is to squeeze trigger when it comes into sights.  This typically results in brisket or opposite shoulder nothing vital blood couple hundred yards and peters out unfortunately know from experience.  Definitely need to shoot for exit pull back a little like AA said otherwise that white patch on throat drops em in there tracks. Not as big of Target but a 180 core lock will have enough concussion even if you didn't hit wind pipe or spine will flop around enough to put another one into em
I hear your concern with jumping the shot as soon as the deer comes into the scope, I learned those lessons early on in my deer hunting career many years ago which started in November of 1980.  I never pull the trigger until the cross hairs are settled upon the exact part of the deer's anatomy that I want that bullet to penetrate.  Currently I use the State of Maine Summerhaven rifle range and sight in my rifle and muzzleloader using a led sled prior to the beginning of every season.  I've had enough up close and personal experiences while deer hunting that I am confident, remain calm and remain focused on that moment of truth.  To explain my reasoning in a little more detail with this particular buck while aiming with cross hairs settled on the right front shoulder, the reason was due to the perceived 45 degree angle as the buck quartered towards me, my gut instinct was to let fly as soon as that right shoulder moved into the cross hairs as that would be a perfect way to pass the bullet through lung, heart, liver with the offside exit behind the left shoulder.  Obviously that did not work out, maybe the angle was less than 45 degrees or with a slight flinch to the right while taking the shot could have made the difference. When I first spotted this buck angling in on me in a zig zag pattern, the first opportunity with scope pulled ahead of him in an opening he was angling away from me from my right to left with me being right handed this is ideal, however he passed too quickly through that opening and I did not want to risk that quick and hurried shot, but as I knew he would watching him through my scope he then turned to go around a tree and then angled back towards me so I pulled ahead of him and waited for him to present that 45 degree angle quartering towards me that ended up the way it did.  Maybe I could have waited for a third opportunity, I will never know, you do what you think will work while being as patient as possible under heart pounding conditions and try your best to control your body's physical reaction and your mind's ability to stay focused and get it done.  But in this case I blew it, even with patience and the best of intentions with experience.  Thank you for your evaluation, it is much appreciated.

Offline Aziscohosbuck

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #7 on: Nov 16, 2020, 02:52:58 PM »
Quarterings twords you is definitely tough shot on deer especially when they are on the move because tendency is to squeeze trigger when it comes into sights.  This typically results in brisket or opposite shoulder nothing vital blood couple hundred yards and peters out unfortunately know from experience.  Definitely need to shoot for exit pull back a little like AA said otherwise that white patch on throat drops em in there tracks. Not as big of Target but a 180 core lock will have enough concussion even if you didn't hit wind pipe or spine will flop around enough to put another one into em
I tagged a 6 pointer off this same exact stand in 2016, I could here him running up the ridge at 7am quartering from my right to left and running up hill.  When he came into view at around 30 yards he suddenly turned and ran straight at me, which changed my reaction to how to place the shot, there was no choice had to take a straight on white patch throat shot, hit him mid way on the throat straight on which continued straight back and severed the jugular vein.  Upon impact the deer reacted with a nerve twitching shake as it obviously impacted upon it's central nervous system, then he ran straight ahead for about 10-12 yards and tried to hide between a forked birch tree with single trunk.  I let fly with a second shot to the briscuit, then he jumped a good 10 feet rearwards and took off in a circling and downhill run off to my right.  I waited for over a half an hour, marked the spots where I took the first and second shots.  Once I started on the track, I found nothing in the way of blood or hair on the first shot position.  Then I went to the second shot position where he jumped backwards and ran off, within 20-30 feet found small drops of blood, continued on that blood trail that turned into larger spots and splotches of blood, which then turned into spraying of blood at 2-3 feet high on saplings and trees, continued on and found where he layed down but still managed to get back up where there was an extreme amount of blood, at that point I looked ahead and saw his white belly layed up against a stone wall and he was stone dead, amazingly this deer covered over 120 yards from where he was hit in the throat.  I called a neighbor to come help me out with the retrieval and while we were dressing out the 6 pointer he spotted and shot a 4 pointer, that resulted in my having tinnitus (permanent ringing in the ears) because he was using a 300 magnum within 3 feet of me while shooting the second deer.

Offline aquaassassin

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #8 on: Nov 16, 2020, 03:50:24 PM »
ď you do what you think will work ď

No truer words have ever been said. Until next time, I have faith in you.
It's not being cocky if you can back it up!

Offline aquaassassin

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #9 on: Nov 16, 2020, 04:03:08 PM »
You probably donít remember but you once told me years ago ď just keep things in perspective to survive, eventually you find a way to thrive.Ē

Iíve lived by that as well since. May good fortunes come to you this tail end of the season.
It's not being cocky if you can back it up!

Offline Aziscohosbuck

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #10 on: Nov 17, 2020, 05:17:46 PM »
You probably donít remember but you once told me years ago ď just keep things in perspective to survive, eventually you find a way to thrive.Ē

Iíve lived by that as well since. May good fortunes come to you this tail end of the season.
i do remember and thank you so much for your encouragement, this whole experience of deer hunting in Maine as I approach the age of 65 in December is a gift that I am still able to enjoy with physical ability to still roam these big woods.  I hunt alone for the most part out of my own home in this incredible large tract of unbroken forest in what is called the "Kennebec Highlands" and when I step out my front door it all stretches out in front, beside and behind my 3.5 acre lot.  It is an area of many smaller mountains which are considered to be the foothills that transitions into the Western Maine Mountain Region.  Hunting this area is very simaler to hunting the big woods in the Rangeley Region, lots of big woods for the deer to spread out, with mountain ridges and low lying swamps/bogs and connecting streams and brooks.  You have to spend a great deal of time patterning their movements into specific patches of woods and certain times during the November hunt which I have learned over the past seven years.  In all that time over seven years I have been up close and personal at under 25 yards with exactly three exceptional bucks that were in my estimation between 4.5 to 6.5 years in age based on body mass and antler size that I observed.
I have seen many does and curiously only one immature buck that was a 2.5 year old 6 pointer that I did tag.  I also took one very large doe that dressed 138 lbs the first year that we moved into our home.  The real thrill is seeing these really large bucks on high hardwood ridges so there is reward in that, nobody gets to see these quality deer unless you are willing to go very long distances to hike up into these remote areas as there is no ATV  or vehicle use allowed in the Kennebec Highlands.  I have a couple spots that are much easier access that turn on at specific times during the peak of the rut which happened to be where I described my post with the failed quartering towards shot.  I feel grateful for this blessing to even be able to hunt right out of my back yard.  I'm willing to trek a mile or more back up onto those high mountain hardwood ridges and see things nobody else could ever experience.  Seeing that big beautiful 8 point buck come onto me within 20 yards was a reward in and of itself and something most people never experience in a lifetime, and yet I have had that priviledge hunting from our Camp in Aziscohos or from Central Maine many times over 40 years of deer hunting.





 

Offline aquaassassin

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #11 on: Nov 18, 2020, 04:49:21 PM »
I look forward to your perseverance my friend.
It's not being cocky if you can back it up!

Offline Alex D. Large

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #12 on: Nov 21, 2020, 05:46:01 PM »
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestpracticeguides.org.uk%2Fculling%2Fshot-placement%2F&psig=AOvVaw2Gu_kDAaA_3vsVjqAuePEw&ust=1606088071638000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCJCH_MbmlO0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD
I kinda like this link has a great chart on shot placement showing how those vital areas can be small targets at certain angles.
Make no mistake that deer cheated death for the time being. I use the 180's for moose and drop to 165 for deer. Tough animals sometimes they win the game just like fishing. My first shot this year hit a little back in the ribs and never exited, saw the deer fold in half and drop in my scope, start walking up there he gets up and walks over the ridge F#&K! Not one drop of blood but I was fortunate enough to finally get a second shot.
Don't think it too hard get out there and give em hell.

Offline Aziscohosbuck

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Re: The Quartering Towards Rifle Shot
« Reply #13 on: Nov 22, 2020, 02:39:25 PM »
https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestpracticeguides.org.uk%2Fculling%2Fshot-placement%2F&psig=AOvVaw2Gu_kDAaA_3vsVjqAuePEw&ust=1606088071638000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCJCH_MbmlO0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD
I kinda like this link has a great chart on shot placement showing how those vital areas can be small targets at certain angles.
Make no mistake that deer cheated death for the time being. I use the 180's for moose and drop to 165 for deer. Tough animals sometimes they win the game just like fishing. My first shot this year hit a little back in the ribs and never exited, saw the deer fold in half and drop in my scope, start walking up there he gets up and walks over the ridge F#&K! Not one drop of blood but I was fortunate enough to finally get a second shot.
Don't think it too hard get out there and give em hell.
Thank you Alex, that means a lot to me, I did get back out there on Saturday November 21, went into a different remote piece of woods about 1 mile away with long hike in, had a younger but mature doe play with me for over two hours on stand which was awesome but no buck in tow, let her pass three times.  This sneak and peek fast track method with at least two hour periods on stands just using trees as cover at ground level when you get into an area that feels right with good sign works great for me and is an older more traditional way of deer hunting that I was taught that keeps you mobile with the ability to change stand location according to wind direction. I'm not into tree stands, trail cameras, scent control and all that newer gimmacky stuff.  Always hunt into the wind and plan for rutting bucks to come quartering down wind from top to bottom on mountains or ridges.

 


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