My friend Doug Giles met me at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. After spending a nice evening with his wonderful family we made our way to Okeechobee, Florida for a two-day hunt on the 2000-acre Brady Ranch. When we got there, I immediately understood why Ted Nugent once traveled all the way from Michigan to hunt in this beautiful part of the country.
Just after dawn, the first herd of Axis deer came walking past the grove of palmetto trees we had chosen as the spot for our morning hunt. After letting several bucks pass, Doug set his sights on a 175-pound Axis deer with 31-inch antlers. Some might say that a .375 H&H is too much gun, even for the resilient South Florida Axis deer. But many hunters using the phrase ?too much gun? simply lack the steady hand needed to guide a 275-grain bullet generating 4600 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Doug Giles isn?t one of those guys.
When we found the fallen beast in two feet of grass, we knew that he hadn?t moved a step from the place where Doug had shot him. When we saw the bullet hole placed perfectly through his shoulder we knew why. The vitals of the Axis deer are further forward than other breeds, calling for much heavier loads than the North Carolina white tails I am accustomed to hunting. Of course, I didn?t know that when I packed my .243 Browning A-Bolt for the trip to Okeechobee.
That afternoon, my guide told me that the shot would have to be perfect to take home a trophy that afternoon. When I saw the 200-pound monster Axis deer come out of the woods for an afternoon snack, I knew that I had found my trophy. I was glad that I had the patience to pass on two others that I had locked in my sights earlier that day. His main beams were only 29 inches, but the nine-inch brow tines and superior width made him an obvious choice.
I was certain that the shot hit him cleanly in the shoulder. But there is more to a successful hunt than a well-placed shot. We kept our cool, to make certain that the Axis remained unaware of the direction of the shot. And then we decided to wait for thirty minutes before descending from the stand. Then Doug and I agreed to extend the wait another 15 minutes after waiting the initial half hour. It would prove to be a good decision, much like the Samuel Adams waiting in the cabin cooler.
I was looking through my scope at a break in the woods, exactly 126 yards from the deer stand when I suspected that a branch from a fallen palmetto was really the antler of a fallen Axis. But it wasn?t. And then something happened that I will never forget.
Just to the left of the spot I was examining, at 104 yards, an Axis deer rose from behind a wood pile with blood on the right side of his mouth. The beast had been licking an exit wound for 35 minutes when he got up to attempt an entrance into the thick of the woods. We called him in the hopes that he would stop his slow march into the thick for long enough to take the second shot. But he ran instead. Doug urged me to fire that second shot just as the beast broke into a solid run. At 126 yards, the Axis took a second and fatal shot behind the other shoulder. Thirty feet from there he reached his final destination-a fallen palmetto at the edge of the woods.
We waited another thirty minutes, just for safe measure, before retrieving the mighty Axis. Later, he was dressed and readied for the cooler. After a long day we were spent and headed to the grill to enjoy some lightly seasoned back-strap before turning in for the evening.
In the morning it was Doug?s turn to make sure that the finest shot of the weekend would belong to him. After all, he was the 30-year veteran hunter. Not to mention that we were hunting in his neck of the woods.
When Doug?s .308 Browning dropped an Axis doe at 327 yards, there was little doubt about who would come home with the bragging rights for the finest shot of the weekend. The .308 cartridge, the Browning name, and the steady hand of my host were a lethal combination-literally.
When I got home from my weekend adventure, I decided that I needed an upgrade for my next hunt of the Axis deer. Getting a Browning A-bolt Medallion, chambered in 30.06 is probably my next goal.
Back in the academy, my gender variant adversaries are still seeking gender neutral bathrooms. For some people, the world is a complicated place.
Mike S. Adams (www.DrAdams.org) enjoys putting things into perspective. He also enjoys doing commentaries for his friend Doug Giles on www.clashradio.com . And, of course, he recommends Doug?s new book, ?Political Twerps, Cultural Jerks, and Church Quirks.?