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Old September 16, 2010, 11:40 AM   #1
Join Date: January 20, 2006
Posts: 55
Hunting with the SKS

In case anyone is wondering about taking white tail with teh SKS, here is my experience:

In 1997 I took two deer cleanly with a Chinese made SKS using semi jacketed lead point ammo made in Germany and China respectively. Those bullets cost 9 cents each. On the opening day of NY’s southern zone regular deer season I had a tag for one antlered deer and one antlerless deer. I left my home before dawn and decided to hunt just a few hundred yards behind the house as the sun rose. I was hoping to catch deer passing along a deer trail that I figured linked feeding and bedding areas. I stood between two maple trees leaning against the down hill tree and hoping that the other would block me from the sight of any deer uphill on the trail. The sun rose behind me turning the dark to grey and tingeing the sky with pink. I heard fat grey squirrels come down from their nests to search the fallen leaves for acorns and watched them play. One worked his way toward me, climbed a tree about 5 yards away and ran along a branch a few yards over head and into the tree I was leaning against. I saw a partridge hen fly down and feed through my field of vision. Both moved off to my left. My plan was to watch this trail during sunrise, then slowly work my way uphill and southward in an attempt to drive deer to my hunting companions if I didn’t see any. As the morning wore on I continued to hear the squirrels and partridge off to my left but paid little attention as I had seen the small animals already. But when I decided to move I worked that direction walking quietly and cautiously along over the stone wall and from rock to rock to minimize the noise of my foot steps. I had travelled about 50 yards when I heard footsteps ahead of me. Well I thought – it’s way too noisy to be deer but I’ll take a look to see what it is.

Peering down hill I saw not one, but TWO deer. The fork horned buck was inches behind a doe. He must have heard, smelled, or sensed me because he looked back over his shoulder just as I settled the SKS’s hooded front site post into the V notch of the rear sight on his shoulders. They were +/- 70 yards away from me and about 20 feet down slope. The buck swung his head forward and launched himself into a bound that should have carried him out of sight safely – except that his lady friend was squarely in front of his chest mere inches away. He rebounded off her butt and twisted sideways bringing his front shoulder out of alignment with her hind quarters. That was the opening I had been waiting for and I sent the 123 grain projectile high into his left side, just over his heart and through the offside leg at the elbow.

Stunned by the noise and impact of the buck from behind, the doe wasn’t sure what was going on. I let her go. Somehow it just seemed greedy to drop them both. The buck fell about 5 yards away and was still breathing when I walked up to him for the coup de grace.

On the last day of the season. I hunted up to the top of the hill and on to the adjacent property. I had attempted stalks on deer bedding at the top of the hill several times since opening morning without success. This time I followed them after I jumped them and tracked them into a stand of pines too thick for me to crawl through. I circled the grove and waited for them to emerge taking a position inside a group of tall straight hardwood trees. It was a park like setting without undergrowth so from behind a large tree 50 yards away I had an unobstructed view of the pine thicket.

I waited patiently. I waited impatiently. I counted all 317 trees within sight. And then I waited longer. Finally three does emerged from the pines and fed into view browsing on low growth just 50 yards away through the hardwoods. It was the last day of the season and I had a doe tag to fill. Which one should I take? I resolved to take the first one that offered an unobstructed shot. They fed bunched up for several yards until at about 75 yards one of them stepped away from the others offering the opportunity to squeeze a shot between two trees and through her heart. At the sound of the shot she leapt into the air and hit the ground dead. She folded on the spot with the single shot entering through the near side (knocking out an inch sized chunk of rib), then passed through the heart and exited between the ribs of the far side.

The other does looked at her curiously but did not flee until I began to walk toward them and shooed them away. When I dressed the doe I found that the bullet had passed cleanly through her heart and the chunk of rib had slashed through the center of the heart horizontally cutting through all four chambers.

The SKS certainly proved itself as a capable deer rifle with that double harvest season.

As a side note, when I opened her chest cavity warm blood literally poured out. Before I had finished field dressing her a rustle in the leaves and movement caught my eye as a snow white ermine flowed over the brown leaves like liquid silk drawn to the scent of blood. The little carnivore came within 5 yards before it spotted me, reversed direction and disappeared like white furred lightening. That was a very special moment. I felt like I had been visited by a woodland nymph. The memory is even more special because those stately park-like hardwoods were logged off the next spring. I probably had the last hunt of anyone in those old trees.

Last edited by GroovyMike; September 18, 2010 at 05:52 PM.
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Old September 16, 2010, 11:51 AM   #2
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Good read, thanks.
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Old September 16, 2010, 12:00 PM   #3
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The memory is even more special because those stately park-like hardwoods were logged off the next spring. I probably had the last hunt of anyone in those old trees.
The logging opened up the ground to sunlight, making for better browse (deer fodder) ..... deer are creatures of edges, so as long as the whole area was not clear-cut, opening up some of the forest should help deer habitat.

Nothing wrong with an SKS for a deer rifle, so long as it puts the (soft-pointed!) bullet where it needs to be, with sufficient energy to do the job when it gets there. Too many people (one is too many, and I know of at least one) try to use FMJ ammo out of an SKS to hunt deer, resulting in lost, wounded game.
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Old September 17, 2010, 09:52 PM   #4
Dan The Sig Man
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Awesome story, Reminds me of hunts I had with my Grandfather before he passed. I love shooting his old SKS, which he left to me when he passed, Which I will keep until my now 8 week old son is old enough to shoot. They are a great weapon for hunting white tails. Great read.
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Old September 18, 2010, 07:25 AM   #5
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Wow, are you a writer? Your story reads like a novel. I Think that an SKS is ballistically similar to a 30-30 which I am sure you know has been killing deer for a very long time.
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Old September 18, 2010, 05:56 PM   #6
Join Date: January 20, 2006
Posts: 55
Thanks for the kind words guys. I do have a few pieces in print. But not enough to make a living at. Maybe someday I'll be that blessed. But in the meantime I write these memories down to keep them fresh for myself and if any seem worth sharing I put them out. Every so often the SKS is brought up as a hunting rifle, so I thought it worth posting my experience with the little carbine. Thanks again, Mike
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Old September 19, 2010, 03:07 AM   #7
Mutatio Nomenis
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Join Date: May 19, 2010
Location: Virginia
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Well, the 7.62Soviet can kill deer, so it's adequate for humans too. All-around, it's a great cartridge that will be in service for many more years. It will be used until either we can't make them anymore, or firearms are completely outclassed by something else.
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7.62x39 , deer , hunting , sks , whitetail

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