I lived in Northern Virginia and while there I met some of the moneyed gentry from the Old Dominion, some of whom I worked with. So it was that they found out that I liked to hunt deer. These old money types had a “hunting lodge” in Blue Ridge country that abutted an agricultural area. I’d left my personal rifles at home on the West Coast and they said, not to worry, they used buck shot and would loan me a shotgun.
My arrival at the lodge was somewhat later than most of the dozen or so hunters and a lot of them had gone to bed. I set my alarm for 4 am to get out well before first light. I was dressed, and ready to go by about 4:15 am and nobody else was around. I looked outside to see if some of them had left without me but the cars were all there. So I went back up to my bedroom and waited. At about 8 am (broad daylight) I heard people knocking around so I went downstairs and a maid had arrived and was making breakfast.
|white tail deer
By 10 am, everyone of these Virginia gentlemen had breakfasted. I figured the best part of the hunting day had passed, but since I was the honored guest, I kept my mouth shut on the subject. Still, they all seemed intent on hunting. In a gathering of all the prospective (and now fed) hunters, the organizer, a senior member of America’s Clandestine Service, announced that the target of the hunt was, “Little Elmer”. Little Elmer was a buck white tail deer that had been causing a disturbance at a local farm. He showed photos of Little Elmer, an 8 point buck, to aid in identification.
As a mule deer shooter from the Rocky Mountains, I couldn’t have been more shocked. I’d never heard of hunters naming a particular deer (among thousands). Mule deer antlers are identified by the number of tines on one antler. White tail deer antlers are counted by ALL of the tines on both antlers. Thus a Colorado four-point is a Virginia eight-point. There is such a thing as brush shooting (snap shots) as you flush deer, but most West Coast hunting consists of long range shots exceeding 100 meters and sometimes as far out as 500 meters.
I was driven on hardball road to a point and led through about fifteen meters of brush to a trail and placed there. It was explained that Little Elmer was known to use that path. I racked the shotgun and waited.
Every area requires different hunting methods, however, mountain and desert hunting generally requires that the hunter walk. Not in Virginia, it seems. They wanted me to wait. Other hunters were positioned in tree stands …chairs in trees so you can shoot down on the deer.
Roughly half an hour later, I heard something walking down the path and sure enough, it was Little Elmer. I fired one round of OO Buck from the Remington 870 and that ended the depredations of the offending deer. Normally I’d clean the deer where I shot it, but my host instructed the hunters that they should pull the deer to the road that paralleled Little Elmer’s favorite route. On the hoof, Little Elmer didn’t weigh much more than 120 lbs. A full load-out military (special forces) ruck weighs 105 lbs, so the weight difference wasn’t all that much. I tied a few loops of 550 cord around Little Elmer’s rear legs, piercing the legs above the joints through the tendons and dragged him to the road.
Maybe five minutes later, my host drove by and said, “I thought that was you shooting.” We put Little Elmer into the back of his truck and started picking up other hunters along the road. I asked why they didn’t continue to hunt. He said, “You got Little Elmer, the hunt is over.” I checked my watch. It was just about noon. My host said that the maid would be putting out a lunch for all of us shortly. We were driven back to wash up for the noon meal.
I said that I planned to clean the deer, but my host said that had been arranged. Unknown to me, a butcher was standing by at the lodge to clean and butcher Little Elmer.
After lunch, the assembled Virginia gentlemen drank a lot of very good whiskey, toasting my victory, and discussed past hunts, and difficult shots. (with the underbrush a long shot would be about 20 meters) Dinner was served in the by and by and I went to bed, blooded by the kill.
East Coast hunting is different than West Coast/Rocky Mountain hunting.