Usually, I don’t publish photos of me with dead animals, but this unfortunate creature, who breathed his last in Montana on November 3, reinforced a couple of shooting precepts that have always been at the top of my list.


I had this fellow in the crosshairs for a full half-hour before I was able to pull the trigger. I was lying on top of a high dirt bank next to an irrigation ditch, and the deer was between 170 and 200 yards away in a herd of bucks and does, moving between trees and brush so that I could not get a shot. He had no idea I was around. I waited, and had faith, because deer are constantly in motion, and if you’re patient, you’ll almost always get the shot you’ve been waiting for.

And when the moment came, I shot right away, because constant motion works both for and against you. When the time does come, all you are going to get is a couple of seconds. Speed and deciseiveness count for much.

I killed him with the 6.5×55 of which I’ve written recently. The 130-grain Swift Scirocco took him through both shoulders. He went 40 yards and dropped. Because the 6.5 is a medium-velocity round, I didn’t have to look at a dinner-plate-size slab of bloodshot meat on either shoulder. There was plenty of damage in between bullet holes, but not the ghastly mess you get with a magnum.

Wish I had known about the benefits of small cartridges much earlier in my hunting career.