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Old November 17, 2010, 04:54 PM   #1
woodguru
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Fighting Over A Deer I Shot?

So I'm hunting an area in the Sierras that I had scouted for about three weeks before season opened. I had found a beautiful 5 point (10 for easterners ) that crossed a clearcut in the evening and came back across in the morning at first light. I found a little cubby hole behind a downed tree that I could make a comfortable place to sit with a perfectly situated tree for a rifle rest. I'm all set a couple of hours before sunrise, snug as a bug in a rug in my arctic parka. As it started going into first light I'm using the scope to see at the opposite edge of the clearing when I see my buck ***** footing out of the woods. My shot was an easy 225 yards for the Sako .243 I was using that had been my old faithful for years.

As I'm looking at squeezing off a shot as it was standing there a shot startled at least five years off of my life. I saw a bullet hit the ground under the deer, it froze him like it will sometimes do and another went over his back. I'd seen enough and popped him right behind the front shoulder. I could tell the shots were coming from a quartered off position so the guys weren't in a crossfire with me.

It took me a few minutes to cross the rough fresh clearcut and these two bozos were whooping it up by my deer. I had slung my rifle and pulled my 6 inch Python out (in the guise of dispatching a stone cold dead deer ) I was really more concerned about having a clear drop on my two clueless yokels.

I walk up and announced that this was my deer, they said no it's not, we shot it. I said no you didn't, you shot at it. They asked how I knew that and I told them that anybody would be able to tell which side of the deer was shot and which had an exit wound (.243's are good for that). The guy points to my entry wound and says looky right here, that's where I hit it, I laughed and said that's where I hit it, turn it over and you'll see a way bigger hole.

They turn the deer over and one of these morons says it's still our deer, there's two of us and only one of you. My comment was to point out that with a .357 in my hand I didn't see the number advantage. This clown acted like he was going to go for a gun and I had to get deadly serious and tell him not to be a fool because I was not going to let him pull a gun or point a rifle at me, I said "be very careful here, you're making this a very touchy situation".

One of them told me I could have half of it???? I had been weighing the logistics of defending my turf and having to drag a 200 pound deer to the road and decided I didn't want to have to shoot two Darwin award recipients over a deer, so I told them to go ahead and take it. These guys would have more than likely shot me as I took care of the deer. The area I was at outside of Georgetown is notorious for hunters and hikers getting shot and or disappearing, it was pretty remote.

That was the last hunting I ever did on public land, it was back in about 1988. That was the last straw as far as the idiots that are out there hunting.

Growing up my high school friend lost his 19 year old brother when he got shot in the head hunting with his dad, that wasn't an accident by any stretch.
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:11 PM   #2
longranger
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I know how hard it is to kill a deer in CA on public land even in 1988.You made the right decision not to challenge the idiots.It's a deer,the idiots will never know it wasn't their deer.
I had a deer stolen from me in the Clark Fork area by a bear ! He picked it up in the middle of his body like a sack lunch and was gone.
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:26 PM   #3
turbotype87
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Deer kill

I feel your pain on this issue. I live in CT Where there is more public land to hunt than there is private land. In your situation concerning who killed the deer, You made the right decision to walk away. A confrontation with the other hunters would most likeky have ended in someone getting hurt or killed. I have never had that experience, but a deer isn't worth getting killed over.
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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As I'm looking at squeezing off a shot as it was standing there a shot startled at least five years off of my life. I saw a bullet hit the ground under the deer, it froze him like it will sometimes do and another went over his back. I'd seen enough and popped him right behind the front shoulder.
When you saw someone else had shot at it first, you should have backed off and not taken the shot. You were pretty much asking for what happened when you decided to shoot.
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:31 PM   #5
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Ya you never know how stupid people will be over a dead animal. I say if they want it bad enough a dead deer is not worth your life.
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:47 PM   #6
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Great deer and some nutty people

Hunted on public land in the California White-Inyo mountains east of Bishop during the early 1980's. Great terrain and rather plentiful mule deer. My friends and I would set camp in a small valley and had the place to ourselves. Quiet with only one or two camps downstream and out of sight.

My last year in California we arrived at our regular site and found it occupied by a small tent town. People peeing in the stream we used for drinking water, loud music, Rambo wannabees strutting around with 44 mags on their hips and huge knives strapped to their calfs, unsecured trash, and sighting in rifles the afternoon before opening day. Following morning there were more sighting in shots and generators were growling to power electric coffee pots and griddles.

The weekend prior to opening day an article in the Los Angeles Times touted the wonderful hunting in the White-Inyos. Angelenos took it to heart and created a version of California-style urban sprawl in the wilderness on the following weekend.

California is physically beautiful but certain residents (and their politicians) spoil it.
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:48 PM   #7
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Ya'll keep saying a dead deer wasn't worth my life, that never ever occurred to me. The only thing running in my mind was was it worth killing two idiots for?

Regolith,
I knew someone was going to catch that. It did occur to me that technically speaking the guys that shot first may have had the upper hand as far as claiming the deer was concerned. I admit to being caught up in the adrenaline and testosterone pumped heat of the moment. I had the drop and wasn't going to let these guys get the upper hand on me which pretty much meant I'd have to shoot them if one of them made a stupid move. One started edging apart and I had to put a stop to that as it was.

Common sense and sensibilities came through and I walked away. What can I say except that I was in my 20's?
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Old November 17, 2010, 05:55 PM   #8
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Who needs public land when you have this on your property?

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Old November 17, 2010, 06:05 PM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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I had an uncle who had an almost identical thing happen to him. The major difference was that he shot first and never saw/heard the other guys until he was almost on top of the deer. Two shots rang out close enough that he was compelled to duck for cover and dirt flew up near the several minutes dead deer. As he got back up, two guys came out of the woods and the discussion went down much as you describe, minus the handgun.

He capitulated, but noticed that one guy was wearing a Syracuse Orange sweatshirt.

As he exited the woods, a car was parked just up from him with a Syracuse Orange bumper sticker. They had an unfortunate number of flat tires that day.

Note: I'm not saying he was right to do that, just relaying the story as told.
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Old November 17, 2010, 06:34 PM   #10
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[A beautiful 5 point (10 for easterners )]
Heck I'd rather have a 10pt Than a 5 ANYDAY
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Old November 17, 2010, 06:59 PM   #11
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All things considered, I would not want to be in an argument over who owns a shot deer. The OP knowing shot at a deer that he knew was being hunted by other hunters as he heard their gun fire first and saw their first round miss. Taking the shot AFTER knowing the deer was being actively hunted by somebody else is a great way to cause a conflict.

The two "idiots" in the story probably though the OP was an idiot for trying to take their buck.

There is the notion of "the rule of first blood" where, depending on the source, the person that first draws blood or the person that hits the vitals, or the person that drops the animal gets ownership of that animal. It is a notion that works well amongst hunters who are friendly to one another or hunters who are in the same group. With archers, the decision is often a bit more clear cut as the arrows protruding from the animal can be identified as coming from a particular hunter. The task is more difficult when it comes to a downed animal that just has a hole through it.

I can't say that I would shoot at an animal I know is actively being hunted by others not known to me. I certainly would not be inclined to run out to claim it as my own until which time I knew the other hunters had safed their weapons. Walking into another hunter's known field of fire is not safe.
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Old November 17, 2010, 07:40 PM   #12
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I had an experiance like this with my first buck I shot, it was a little fork. I shot him behind the shoulder at about 300 yards and he ran about 30 yards and dropped dead. As we are about 100 yards away a gun walks up to it shoots 4 shots into the already dead deer. When we got up to him we told him that I had killed the deer and that I was going to take it, we argued with him for about 5 minutes and just as we got fed up with him I turned around and whats running right toward us but a huge 8 pointer. Now mind you the guy already has his tag on the downed buck, so I pull up and just as I pull the trigger I hear a thud. The buck goes down and I turned around to see the guy laying on the ground holding his face. The guy had the nerve to grab his gun and try shooting the second deer, so my brother grabbed the barrel and slammed the scope into his face. We got out with no further confentation. The same guy has since been one of the few guys charged with the biggest poaching case in North Dakota.


The way I see it no ones life is worth a dumb deer. No matter if its the new world record.
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Old November 17, 2010, 09:31 PM   #13
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Lost a 240 pound on the hoof 8 point in a similar encounter in upstate NY two years ago. Hit the buck hard with my .307 from 10 yards away. Shot over it on the first shot because it was so close. Hammered it in the femeral on the second shot as it was turning to head for the hills. Waited about thirty minutes before blood trailing it. The blood trail consisted of big chunks of thigh bone as well as tons of blood. Hard to believe how far the deer went but it was easy to follow. It laid down twice and left huge pools of blood in both areas. When I reached the second area where the deer laid down a hemlock was just covered in blood. That's where the blood trail ended but no buck. Then a voice calls out from the knoll above, maybe 30 yards away but hidden behind brush. Says "hey flat lander you're screwing up my hunt. Get out of my area. Go back to Long Island or wherever it is you came from." I apologize for interrupting his hunt and let him know I'm tracking my mortally wounded buck that fell where I'm standing and I just need a few minutes to find him and I'll be out of his area. This time he threatens me and says you're deer ain't here. Now get out of here before I show you how we we locals take care of flat landers around these parts. I live here all year long and scout this area for big bucks and then you rich bastards drive up here for the day and shoot our deer. F U, now get out of here before you get shot.

My buck happened to die right where this guy was hunting. He heard it fall and was probably gutting it out when I stumbled upon him. Probably an unemployed local guy that needed the food or just a red neck jerk. Either way I wasn't going to lose my life over that buck. As I left I told him I hoped he enjoyed the deer meat (I give mine away anyway) and I told him I was sorry to lose a fine rack but I've shot better bucks.

Too many desperate and ignorant crack pots out there to escalate matters and get into a ******* contest over a buck when both sides have loaded rifles.
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Old November 18, 2010, 12:02 AM   #14
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Similar experience to OP's post here. Loon lake area (I'm sure you know where that is....a bit east of Georgetown) but it was in the early 70's. I decided that it wasnt worth someones life, stranger or not. Besides, it was opening morning and it was a forkie. Three days later, I got a nice 3 point, and was able to spend a lot more time in the field instead of around camp. Still, its a shame that there are so many non sportsman out there hunting.
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Old November 18, 2010, 12:09 AM   #15
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I know a man that killed an individual over deer. I also knew his three sons and daughter. He was really never the same after that incident. His family had a little money and spent most of it on lawyer fees. He died in his early 50s.
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Old November 18, 2010, 03:06 AM   #16
LanceOregon
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Ya'll keep saying a dead deer wasn't worth my life, that never ever occurred to me.
The other dude's life was not worth you fighting over it either.

Just think of all of the problems you would of had, if you had been forced to use your .357 on them.

Just not worth all the trouble, even though you were in the right.

.
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Old November 18, 2010, 03:28 AM   #17
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I guess I can't relate here. It's been years since I saw anyone at all while I've been hunting big game. But I did have a good laugh at nathaniel's story. That is one good brother you got there! A "thud" is better than a thousand words!
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Old November 18, 2010, 03:38 AM   #18
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I'll tell all of you, this opened my eyes that there is more of that kind of thing than I was aware of. The heat of that moment when an animal you are hunting is down is one where single sentences can turn the tide and incite a shooting.

Things happen quick in situations like this and it takes one person with a level head to diffuse it and walk away. No level head and someone's getting shot.
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Old November 18, 2010, 03:50 AM   #19
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The way I was raised hunting, that would be considered bad form to shoot at a deer someone else was already shooting at. Just because you may be a better shot then the other person does not mean you should elbow in and kill the deer before they can. Hunting should be more than just killing a deer. Respect for the game, but also for other hunters whatever their skill level as long as they are being polite and safe.

If the other guy gives up the deer after missing then sure go for it, but not in the middle of his attempt.

At least in western Washington and Oregon most deer hunting is still hunting, walking gently through the forests and logged areas; as the other hunters you encountered appeared to be doing. When you set up in a fixed overlook position you have to be expecting that other hunters could be wandering through your area. Especially since you set up there because it was good deer terrain which is why other hunters would likely come through there as well.

You may have been caught up in the moment, but you did the right thing to walk away. I'm surprised the other guy was not POed that you butted in. It was very generous of him to offer you half the deer.
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Old November 18, 2010, 07:16 AM   #20
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How Times have Changed

Back in the early '60's I had shot a nice buck up in Northern Michigan. A bit remote, to say the least. The deer was obviously hit but took off running as they are wont to do. I'm tracking the animal and came across another hunter just up the ridgeline a bit. He pointed me "that way" and on I continued. Back then another hunter would no more shoot and claim another man's deer than he would swear in church. My, how times have changed.
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Old November 18, 2010, 07:37 AM   #21
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I'd never shoot at another guys buck. Once you saw the bullet hit dirt I would have backed off.
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Old November 18, 2010, 07:45 AM   #22
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I've always told myself that if someone was to steal a deer that I had shot and killed I would let them have it but wait until they had tagged it and then shoot it a couple of times in the hindquarters ruining that bit of fine eating. There would be no arguing or fighting over it but next time they might think a little bit about trying to steal someone elses deer again.
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Old November 18, 2010, 10:14 AM   #23
Regolith
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I've always told myself that if someone was to steal a deer that I had shot and killed I would let them have it but wait until they had tagged it and then shoot it a couple of times in the hindquarters ruining that bit of fine eating. There would be no arguing or fighting over it but next time they might think a little bit about trying to steal someone elses deer again.
That's a good way to get shot yourself, particularly if they think you're shooting at THEM and not simply trying to ruin their meat.
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Old November 18, 2010, 04:45 PM   #24
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I was hunting pheas with a group of guys, a rooster got up, I shot it, as it fell another guy also shot it and blew it apart. I made him take it as his. Quit hunting in groups and have had no further troubles.
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Old November 18, 2010, 05:35 PM   #25
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Taking the shot AFTER knowing the deer was being actively hunted by somebody else is a great way to cause a conflict.
And invading a spot that someone else has put the time, effort, and planning into working and scouting is a bad move too. It's happened to me several times that I work and area learning patterns and crossings for weeks ahead of time--mark my trails, hides, etc, wake up at Oh-dark-thirty to get out well ahead of light. Then have someone come traipsing right through the area spooking off anything that would have been there. One joker one time in particular not only invaded my area, but shot the deer I'd been working for over a week to get, AND after stomping out of the woods disgusted I had my truck blocked in by his truck. Lucky and unlucky for him, he left it unlocked. After shoving it back a few feet so I could get out, there was a little payback. He probably had fun finding all his plug wires scattered in the woods.

There are honest "oops, didn't realize you were here" moments, and then there are those who should never be allowed outside city limits--ever. I'm very tired of the latter.
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