Hello fellow hunting and shooting enthusiasts!
My name is David, I am more of a reader than a poster on this great forum. (well, forums...)
I am a member of a land lease near Sparta, GA in Hancock County. Up until this summer I lived just outside Atlanta, GA. Well things changed this summer and I now find myself in Charlotte, NC. It's quite a drive down to the 'ol hunting lease now, so my brother and I decided to make the trip last as long as we could. We managed twelve long and cold days, and windy... and were both rewarded with the memories we will share as well as the thrill of success. In a way every hunt is similar and yet very different from the last.
My brother had success with an 8 point buck, shown below
Now that I have introduced myself, on to the story!
I brought my trusty K-31, in 7.5x55.
Swiss Products clamp-on scope mount, Warne 7.3 medium height rings. And last but not least, my Leupold Vari-X III
I told you all how the K-31 did last year on a 1 1/2 year old doe, (I will add those old pictures on here near the end).
My rifle's accuracy and resilience impressed me even more this year. I still have my box of Norma Oryx 180 grain, soft-point bullets. I am not too pleased with their performance. Accuracy is fine, however they have not given me exit holes in either case. Both animals died though...
I will add a short story about the inherent strength and durability of these military surplus K-31's. It is a great (but heavy) platform. I would recommend one of these not-your-run-of-the-mill rifles to anyone who wants something unique, accurate, and historic. It is also a killer I might add.
I will be brutally honest...I ran over my beloved rifle three times in my truck. I leaned my K-31 up against the rear tire of my truck and hopped in, turned on the truck for the a/c and music. I had just met up with my brother, Greg after a morning hunt. We talked about our "action" from the morning hunt and decided to drive on up the path and sit on the edge of a field, tailgating, and eat lunch. And hey, maybe a deer would walk out if we were lucky.
I threw the truck in gear, did a three point turn. I recall feeling the truck run over a stick, and I remember thinking, "I dont remember there being a stick in this grassy area..." We proceeded on to the field. Upon arrival, I bolted upright and asked Greg, "Where is my rifle?"
"I dont know..." the reply
Then I knew! I remembered the stick... "I think I ran over my rifle while turning around back at camp." I said to Greg
"Seriously?" asked Greg
"Dead serious," my reply
On the way back to camp, I imagined the splintered, bent, and broken horror that awaited me. I started laughing like a madman. At least Leupold has a good reputation on fixing scopes right? I guessed I was out a rifle...
We came back to camp, I stopped some fifty yards up from ground zero. My brother and I trudged across camp...still laughing but expecting the worst.
Imagine that, there's a long rifle sitting there, compacted into the dirt with tire marks and a flattened and crimped leather sling.
In retrospect, it is not a good idea to test-fire a rifle that has been smooshed. However, as one can infer from the initial run-over, I must not have been thinking too much.
We walked back to the truck, set up some targets, and I fired from 50 yards, hoping I could adjust my scope back.
Test firing was spot-on! The rifle lived!
Well, after that mishap, I was even more proud of my rifle...but not of myself! It was time for all the long, cold, and windy hours in the stand and on the ground to pay off.
This year, on October 29th, I was in the tree stand hunting over a swamp that backdrops against a set of raised railroad tracks. From the stand, the tracks are close to 75 yards away, and actually very close to being the same height as my stand, but just taller. I was deer hunting, and had to let a doe walk the day before because it took me a while to figure out if she had spikes or not. You cannot take a buck unless he has 4 points or better on one side; Hancock County rules...
She had positioned herself behind a bush and I didnt want to take a risky shot on her and she ambled off mostly concealed.
Two days later I was in the same spot and was being entertained by a group of turkeys walking down the tracks and making a ruckus. They dropped down into the swamp and started foraging. They eventually moved on.
A few minutes later, I heard footsteps. Sounded like a deer but very careless and loud deer. I generally see deer before I hear them. They are as silent as ghosts when they want to be. I ready my rifle and start scanning the area.
Two hogs walk out along the base of the tracks, black and stubby. Because there is not a season on hogs, I instantly knew I wanted to take one. And it was, in essence, something I could shoot!
I scoped in on the hogs and tracked the lead hog's progress through the brush. Once it walked into a clear, I found the head, dropped down the neck and a little behind the shoulder and shot. "Squeeeeeeeee!" was the reply. It fell down on it's front legs and started kicking. It was not getting up but I decided to make sure. I fired again. Still moving a little bit. Still in the tree, I fired four more times...until it stopped kicking.
I pretty much knew he was dead. But had no idea how large this dumpy lump of black fur was, he was far away.
I descended from the tree, heart racing. I have never shot a hog before, or even seen one. I was wondering if it was a boar...
As I made my way through the chest-high grass, I caught glimpses of something much larger than my initial estimate. I realized I had killed something larger than a deer. Possibly larger than myself!
Upon closer inspection, this was indeed a boar, and a large one at that. I watched him for a while, poked him with my rifle, and made sure he was not alive and then did what any good younger brother would do. I hiked back to my truck and went and picked up my brother from his hunting spot and enlisted him to be a hog-dragger. He was more than happy to help. Neither of us had seen a hog on our lease, there had not been one taken in at least five years from our property. We were both excited!
As you can only imagine, getting this big boar out of the woods was quite a drag...We had a game cart to help some. However the cart rapidly deteriorated under the weight of the boar, first losing one support and then another.
I almost crushed my brother when we were going up an almost vertical 15 foot climb. I slipped on the loose dirt and the hog went rolling...Lucky my brother was in its way to accept a beating.
After a long, and at times, painful pall-bearing, we strapped him onto the affectionately named "deer tray" I had recently purchased from Harbor Freight. Money well spent.
Then off the Garner's Grinders for a weigh-in and donation to "Hunters for the Hungry."
This boy weighed in at 180 pounds and a few ounces. Biggest thing I have ever hauled out of the woods.
I had him caped and he is off to Chris Fortner; a taxidermist in Covington, GA. I am getting an open-mouthed mount.
Here are some pictures of this year's boar and last year's doe. Both taken with the K-31 and Norma Oryx 180 grain bullets.
Here is the doe from last year:
Once again, for a quick-and-easy side by side of the two animals taken on this trip, check out these "deer tray" pictures:
I never imagined I would get a boar this trip, or any trip! They sure do make deer look lean...
Thank you all for reading, I hope you all have a great hunting season.
As a friend once told me, "Keep your nose in the wind--- and your eyes along the skyline--- stay safe, and shoot straight!"