One shot, one kill

By Joe Metzger

July 11, 2019

Spent 6 years active duty in the military and finally made it home to share a hunt with my father and his friends. Bought a new Ruger American Predator 6.5mm Creedmoor bolt-action the second day of being a free man, excited to take part in the hunt this coming November in my home state of Minnesota. It is tradition that we hunt up north in Nevis at the Paul Bunyan State Forest. Deer opener came soon enough. We packed our totes and ventured up north and set camp. The air was cold and crisp but hot in the direct sun. Day prior to opener we set up our tree stands and headed back to camp. Opener morning came and so did the pre-hunt jitters (you are never calm till you are finally sitting quiet in your stand).

15 feet off the ground in a tall white pine, I waited till the sun started to show and listened to the forest come to life. Wasn't long till you hear the first shots up here in rifle zone commence. Periodic shots range out through 0900 and I let my alertness cease. I reached in my hunting pack to grab a bottle of water and glanced to my right to see a massive spike buck standing in the clearing 40 Meters away. This was gorgeous, I remember watching and admiring the animal for a little while as the sun glistened on its gray hide and the steam from it's breath was defrosting the needles of a baby pine as it was stretching its neck to reach.

I am right handed and the buck would have seen me if I stood to take a shot, so I chose to remain seated and fired from my non-dominant side (off hand). Lined up the reticle of my Vortex Crossfire II 50mm behind the should and two inches lower and slowly squeezed the trigger.

Heart pounding, my tongue went numb and my ears rang without my shoulder feeling any recoil and the buck jumped 6 feet in the air, dashed 20 feet and dropped.

Walked through the underbrush to get to him and discovered I shot through the left lung into the heart and out the right lung. The perfect shot!

I was using what I will always use to this day. The 129gr Hornady American Whitetail 6.5mm Creedmoor soft-points.

The Buck was approximately 185 after being field dressed. Biggest deer I ever killed but with only a spiked set of antlers. CAN'T eat the horns!

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