AR for Deer Hunting in Texas?
AR-10s are the bigger brothers to the smaller caliber AR-15s, and the 10’s are chambered in definite big-game calibers, usually.243 Win and up.
I was deer hunting in one of my favorite places in the world, the Mississippi Delta, near Yazoo City, Mississippi. And I was using one of my favorite types of deer-hunting firearms: an AR-style rifle. In this case, my rifle was a Remington R25 GenII, Remington’s second generation of the gun maker’s AR-10, chambered in .308 Win.
A good friend of mine farms several thousand acres of the Delta, and he has extended an open invitation to me to hunt his land. So, I was in the Delta trying to fill a deer tag. I spent the first two days trying out different locations. I saw whitetails, but all does and a few young four-point bucks.
Day Three found me in a large, elevated hunting stand built between a series of defunct fish ponds. My friend had dug a number of fish ponds years ago, five- and ten-acre impoundments where they raised catfish. But the fish business went bad, and the ponds were drained out many years ago. Now, they were large depressions ten feet deep or more, and overgrown with brush and small trees.
The levees were still in place, and from the sky the ponds looked like a half-dozen large rectangles sunk into the ground. The levees are also a great place to set up a hunting stand, as they over-looked the brushy ponds, the grass-covered levees where deer liked to feed, and the stands of oak beyond the ponds.
A half dozen does and their young showed up that morning to feed on levee grass. I ate lunch around noon, and was sitting back in my chair feeling like a nap was coming on, when I thought I saw a shadowy blur moving through the trees way beyond the fish ponds, 400 yards or more to my west. Through my binoculars, I saw a stout deer body drifting through dark brush, and then a second body. But I couldn’t see any horns. They were bucks, I was sure of that, but how big? And were they legal?
In this region of Mississippi, a buck’s antlers need to have a 12-inch inside spread or a 15-inch long main beam to be legal. As I glassed them, the two bucks moved to the edge of the levee and away from the shadows. I could see antlers now, and they both appeared to be legal deer. But 400 yards?
I got down from my stand as quietly as I could, and ducked down into the nearest fish pond for cover. I hiked along the edge of the levee for a couple hundred yards, and then eased up onto the bank to peek through the brush.
The two bucks had moved onto the levee now, and they had been joined by three does. The five animals fed on grasses and slowly walked away from me. I crawled onto the levee, and found a slightly raised area, sat down and cradled the Rem R25 rifle across my knees. I glassed the deer.
I sat about midway along the longer bottom side of the rectangular fish pond. The deer were to my left and just rounding the far corner. A huge clump of brush filled much of the corner, and when deer moved behind the brush, I got into shooting position, my elbows on my knees, and rifle held forward.
The buck I wanted was the nice eight-pointer with a good-sized body. I lined up my Trijicon VCOG scope on the brush and waited. And waited. Finally, a doe stepped out from the cover, then another one, then my buck. I had to wait for the does to separate from him, and waited another couple of minutes until he turned and gave me a solid broadside shot, my heart thumping hard the whole time.
Slow down, I told myself. Breathe.
The shot, I estimated, was 200 yards in distance. I put the VCOG’s reticle at the top of the buck’s shoulder, let out my breath, and squeezed the trigger.
Given the way all the deer scattered, I really wasn’t sure if I’d made a hit or missed the buck altogether. I sat back and waited about ten minutes, re-running the shot through my mind’s eye. It had to be a hit, I told myself, and then I was sure I’d whiffed the shot altogether. But ten minutes later, standing at the far corner of the fish pond, I spotted large drops of blood on a muddy trail leading off the levee. I found my buck about 80 yards away, lying next to a big old oak, my .308 bullet having pierced his lungs.
He was a nice deer, a solid four-year old. He also carried a unique rack, with an extra stubby beam on the left side sticking out.