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November 19, 2007

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Meditations on the Whitetail Deer

BeaugarrettbwWhat follows was meditated in a tower blind in northern Maine this past week. It was interspersed by reflections on Ms. Beau Garrett, a particularly wonderful-looking young actress who appears in a dopey movie called Turistas.


I saw on the Discovery Channel a few weeks ago that tele-transportation, as practiced by the Starship Enterprise, is not possible. Well, it may not be for humans, but whitetails do it all the time. You can stare at a spot where there are no deer, and in less time than it takes to blink your eyes a deer will materialize. Obviously, their molecules are disassembled, projected elsewhere, and reassembled by some force that is denied to us.


Like the Shadow, the old radio thriller character, whitetails have the power to cloud men's minds. One of the hunters in camp, a 70-year-old who has taken a great many big deer and is a fine shot, was out with a Remington pump gun when a mildly retarded but very big buck strolled into sight not 40 yards away. Since this gentleman was in a truck and his rifle had to be kept unloaded, he unassed the truck, shoved a round into the chamber, and slowly, softly, so as not to spook the deer, ran the fore-end forward.

Now if you know from Remington pumps, you're aware that they are to be racked back and forth with great violence or else they don't work, and that's what happened. He pulled the trigger and…nothing. And then, despite the fact that he knew it was the wrong way to work the rifle, he did the same thing twice more. Finally, he slammed the action shut--and missed. The next day, using his old familiar .270 Model 700, he took a much more difficult shot at a nice buck and killed it deader than world peace.

There are animals that are bigger than the whitetail, more exotic, more impressive on the wall, and better to eat, but for some reason whitetails are able to make grown men addled, and I think this is why we love to hunt them so much.


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I'd write something but I'm meditating on Ms. Beau Garrett...

B. Cameron

Again with the shotgun bash, Dave? For shame!

Yes, in order to get a good eject from an 870, you have to run the slide *back* pretty firmly - but if you're putting one in the chamber and closing the action, you can do it just as fast or slow as you want. Or perhaps I've got the only 870 that allows this?

Or, then again, maybe you're bashing the 760/7600? My 760 has chambered at all speeds with nary a hiccup. You have to be firm at the last to make sure the bolt face is seated, but again, never an issue with a slow rack!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to my treestand... it's nap time! Dreaming about deer seems to be the only sure way to see any this week.

Dave Petzal

to B. Cameron: I am merely relating the tale as it was told to me, and from my experience pumps do work better if they are operated smartly, as do bolts and levers and sem-autos.


Hey Dave:
After all the rants in previous posts about staying on subject you interjected Beau Garrett and a movie I'm sure none of us ever heard of?
Any I could care less (she's quite pretty but young enough to be my daughter)
After all that's been said about the light calibers between you and Clay Cooper, I've got a hair up my butt about buying a left-handed rifle. I really like the Sakos, would love a 25-06, but they seem to be really rare. I found one in 30-06 for a good price in a store near here. Is there a lot of practical difference in ballistics and recoil?
I shoot a 94 Winchester with open sights and would love to go with something that I could put a scope on. If I wait for a 25-06, I might not live that long.
It sounds like you had a nice trip to Maine. Glad the guy got the buck. Lots of Wolves in Michigan. I think its having an affect on our deer herd. Same in Maine?

Steve C

“Mildly retarded” is a term that would only apply to any hunter stupid enough to buy into the theory that a deer is able to tele-transport. However, they do have the ability to cloak when there's a loaded weapon in the vicinity.

Dave Petzal

No wolves in Maine that I know of, but coyotes that are the same size as Rin-Tin-Tin, and they have about the same effect as wolves.

As for the .25/06, it's not an exotic cartridge, but it's never been really popular. An '06 would do you fine; it kicks more than the .25/06, but is far more versatile. A .25/06 is for light game; a .30/06 can take on anything. Use any good 150-grain bullet for deer.

I did not get a deer in Maine; in fact I went running out of camp like a whipped dog. Logging and a day of torrential rain turned the roads to soup, and with a cold front coming in I was advised to leave now or leave much, much later. Life is not all beer and skittles.


Practice, practice, practice. Work that action either at the range or by dry firing. It takes at least 3,000 repetitions to be able to perform a physical task without thinking. Another case for the 22 rifle action matched to the big game gun.

Dave, regarding Ms. Garrett's outfit: Is it appropriate for a Maine tower blind? Does it come in camo patterns? Can I get one in time for Christmas?

Mike Strehlow

A .25-06 will have about 2/3 the kick of a .30-06, shoot flatter, and kill deer just as well. Unless you are an elk, bear, or moose hunter, the .30-06 is more than you need, despite how many of us (me included) hunt deer with them. I've been thinking about a .25-06 myself.

As for Dave's tales of deer transporting, etc., I've believed every story I've heard about whitetails since the time in Wyoming when I saw a buck with a rack like a Christmas tree raise his head about 20 yards from me. I didn't know he was there and the grass he was hiding in was about a foot and a half high. When I got to where he'd been, he was gone. I was carrying a camera that day, but I missed him anyway. Deer can vanish, all right. I've always thought they used mirrors, but Dave may be on to something with this transporter theory, although Steve C's cloaker idea is also worth following up.

Dr. Ralph

So Dave how do you get away with all these comments regarding fine young women? Obviously a bachelor... I was walking through a horse pasture with a muzzle loader once upon a time ducked down so the landowner would not see me (don't ask) and a mule started following much too closely and the next thing I knew I almost stepped on an eight point buck. He bounced once and was obviously disassembled and projected elsewhere because it was a big field and he literally disappeared...


I know that deer are pretty smart and they can camoflauge themselves really well but they also do some stupid things. My buddies got back for the deer camp last night with a really nice 12point that dressed out a little over 200 pounds. My friend saw him just before dark as he was headed in,the problem was that he was out over 250+ yards and dan was packing his 45-70 and so he didnt want to try for the shot. The buck stayed there while he went back to camp to get his 6.5x55(swedish mauser) and come back. He dropped the buck with one shot(heart and lungs). The problem was the stupid thing fell into the swamp and he had a real fun time getting him out and back to camp. Only decent buck they saw all week but they also got three does. A nice bag of central ontario whitetails



My brother had a similar experience with a borrowed Remington 7400. On the way to his stand he saw a nice buck, and since he wasn't in his stand yet he hadn't loaded his rifle. Needless to say, the "click" of the firing pin falling spooked the buck.

PbHead, what size do you wear? Bass Pro might have something in your size (heh heh...)



I climbed 3/4 of the way to the top of one of the Catskills' big peaks yesterday, and did not see Beau Garrett (or a deer).

There are no acorns up high this year and the deer have all yarded behind the old farmhouse. So much for high country bucks this year. I am assuming Ms. Garrett will stay off the peak also. Look for her in the laurels in the lowlands.


Would it make much difference using a RH .22 for target practice? I'm sure I'll never get lucky enough to find a LH .22 or .22WMR. I would like to get one with a scope similar to the scope I would buy for the deer rifle.

I can't explain deer camo. I swear that deer change their color to match their surroundings. Even the fawns in the spring are invisible. You can almost step on them unless they're on green grass. If you don't have snow for deer season, you just don't see them unless you hear them first.

Blue Ox

I beg to differ!! There is a supervisor where I work who is endowed with the uncanny ability to appear out of thin air. And it's always when you least expect it, too. I'd be workin', doin' my thing, then as soon as I turn around, that sumbitch is standing right there, eyeballin' me! Scares the crap out of me every time. It works the other way, too. Say you need his keys to open the supply room or something. The man then disappears and is nowhere to be found. And I know that I'm not the only one here who has witnessed this phenomenon, y'all agree?

WA Mtnhunter

While the rack pictured above is not B&C huge, it is close enough to perfect for me....

I wouldn't mind seeing those hams and backstrap.....

Dr. Ralph

Deader than world peace... excuse me, while I steal this line. Help me.


KJ, my size starts with lots of Xs and ends with Ls. When Bass Pro or Cabela's lets me down, I head to Omar the Tent Maker.
Yooperjack, a very good point regarding having the same sighting equipment on the 22 and big game weapon. Regarding the LH, RH number of practice repetitions, this is a complex issue. A rare persom may do it but most of us struggle with the left/right dominance issue.

Bernie Kuntz

Ms. Garrett certainly makes my tail wag...

Yeah, the white-tailed deer is a very special animal. I've hunted most of the major species in North America and still love hunting whitetails. Whitetail bucks never cease to get my heart pumping! And it is comforting to note that I always will be able to afford to hunt this species, unlike some species like wild sheep, grizzly bears and private lands elk. Much of that has gone of of my financial reach in recent years.


Jeez, after all these years experience and all this combined intellgence, and you guys don't know? I thought everybody knew! God drops deer out of the sky like rain! The one's he drops on the ground do fine, the one's that hit the pavement splatter a bit. I know you've seen those lying beside the highway.
Had a button buck during bonus season (it WAS antlerless!) staring me down in my blind. Pin fell twice on a dud primer. Tried slowly to retract bolt, extractor dropped round just out of reach. Finally dropped the butt of my rifle and the errant round rattled around the action and magazine before finally thumping to the sandy soil of the pop-up floor. Slowly bolted another round down hole and did the "nasty" as the little varmint continued to stare me down! Felt it was my duty to help clean the ignorance gene out of my local deer herd!
As far as Ms. Garrett! I may be old, but I ain't DEAD!!! For me at my age, THAT is a "daily" dream!



I have to agree with DP’s basics on 25-06 for big game. I shot for years with a 257 Roberts for deer and varmints, and the cartridge did very well in this role. Upon hunting Montana a season there was no doubt a long, skinny120-grain bullet in 25-cal would take items larger than deer, but it was marginal at best. From that time my big game rifles have always been those cartridges that would throw a slug 140-grains or more.

It would seem DP’s experience is the same and likely he uses the 130-grain bullet in his 6.5 Swede.


I'm so very sorry, Dave. I don't have a clue in hell what you just wrote about. I was busy staring at two things... I'm pretty sure you know what those things are! My two cents: If you want anyone to read what you write, either open up with a photo of a scantily-clad woman who looks like Janet Reno after a week-long bender, or (preferably, for the sake of man-kind) open with the line "So I was b***h-slapping Hillary Clinton the other day and got to thinking..."


Hey all of you guys that are southpaws like me i just thought of a left handed rifle that is cheap to shoot. It a savage either model 93(22mag) or a model mkII(22LR). I havent used either of them but i have a model 93 on order. Your talking about $200 for them the 93 is slightly more expensive. Maybe Dave knows something about them


Bubba; I also am old, but my daily dream is not of being being dead.


Thanks for the heads up. I found the M93 22mag on their web site and I'll bet Wal-Mart could even order one.
If I saw the Janet Reno picture with anything less than a sixpack in me, I'd probably have to buy a new laptop cause this one's barfed on. Also, if anything comes up with respect Hillary, I think why buy new guns now. They'll be gone within 2 terms.


You must be very careful what you write, 'cause somebody's going to misinterpret it!

Shaky, your time of dead day dreaming all day will come soon enough, as will mine also!
It's the photo, that I dream of daily, and it's not necessarily because of Ms. Garrett's looks, (though she's awful easy on the eyes!) I miss the exuberance of youth! Getting out of bed and not hurting like I need to get back into bed!


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