By: Buzz Ramsey
Although I shot this deer a little over an hour before dark, by the time I crossed the canyon and my brother's son Jeff arrived, the light was fading; thus the grainy photo.
Perhaps not the biggest deer as compared to some this Fossil Unit buck was one of the nicest I've gotten on the ranch we hunt. Oh, I've harvested a few with wider racks, and a friend of mine got one that was 24 wide but so old (10 years) that the rack came out thick and heavy but then petered out with cigar like tops.
Other than the deer son Wade and Jeff harvested opening weekend, after 7 fun hunting days, this was only the third buck I’d seen - and one of those was on the wrong side of the fence.
Actually, I first jumped this deer in the early morning one canyon to the east but he ran out so fast I had no shot. I didn’t follow him as he was on high alert and not likely to let me see him again, but I thought he might bed in the adjacent canyon, and if not disturbed, come out to feed just before dark. The odds of him doing this were a little long but better, perhaps, than hunting canyons where I’d seen no antlered deer in seven full hunting days.
As luck would have it I did spot him from the far canyon top when I returned that evening. He was feeding with some other deer and although I had only a small window through the trees was able to get a solid rest and nail him with a single 430 yard shot from my 338 Remington Ultra Mag. Needless to say, perhaps, but he instantly dropped to the ground when my 210 grain Barnes bullet hit him in the back bone just above his lungs.
I must admit I get a little ribbing about shooting deer with my elk rifle but have come to realize I lose little meat with Barnes all-copper bullets because, unlike most lead-core hunting bullets, if they break apart can ruin a lot of meat, these don’t and the extra bullet diameter makes for a large wound channel.
I’ll be hunting around our Klickitat home when the Washington deer season opens this weekend.