Massacre of the Innocents, Part 1

asaxon

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
1,076
Reaction score
8
Massacre of the Innocents* Part 1 (pictures below)

This year, we decided to do our Catalina deer hunt differently. Instead of staying in Avalon and hunting the Middle Ranch area, we went to Isthmus/Two Harbors with BJ on his lovely 42’ sailboat. I was in charge of meals so 5 lbs. of Good and Plenty and we were good to go. We moored at the USC landing in Big Fisherman’s cove for 3 days. The boat was the most comfortable of accommodations and talk about an idyllic spot. However, soon after we settled in, who takes the moorings right in front of us, none other than the Sheriff and then the CA DFW big enforcement boat. WTF – “The Man” was onto us even before we got started. They must have gotten an anonymous tip from some deer.

From Isthmus, we had better access to the more remote areas of the island. We understood that the deer population in those areas had plummeted over the past three years due to the drought but it was an opportunity to see parts of the island we don’t generally get to so that was the plan. Of course, the “end game” was, as ever, to have a great time while helping keep the native plant munching invasive mule deer population in check, preferably by shooting the breeders, i.e. does.

Next day at 5 am, we took the dingy ashore at the USC Marine Station with all our hunting gear where RK picked us up. As the sun rose, we were in the damn thick fog that blanketed the higher parts of the island. The only deer we were going to “get” there were those we hit with the truck. We finally got under the fog when we were down near the shoreline. At the foot of one steep valley, there were so many wild cherry trees that large numbers of cherries were lying on the ground uneaten. And deer tracks were everywhere. Soon the Admiral spotted a doe bounding away and then a spike buck (not legal to shoot) showed himself. As we walked up the valley, RK noticed two seriously big bucks way up the mountainside. They were in range if we had a Cruise missile or maybe a N. Korean missile but definitely not a rifle. The bucks sneered at us and promptly disappeared. But at least we had seen some deer.

We decide to drive toward another area and as we do, BJ looks back and calls out; “There’s a deer under a tree up that hill.” Sure enough, through the mist, we could make out a doe’s head. It looked like a very long shot – like 400 freakin’ yards. But by now we are getting frustrated so the Admiral and BJ quickly scramble out the side of the truck away from the deer. The Admiral lays her Winchester Coyote Lite on her bipod shooting stick and Bam; an 85gr. Barnes non-lead 243 Win projectile goes screaming into the mist. The deer jerks, takes a few steps and falls. Great. But hold the phone, now another almost identical head pops up. RK says; “Shoot that one too.” The Admiral jacks in another round and Bam, the head snaps back as the bullet slams into the neck and down she goes. Holy Tartar Sauce Sponge Bob, two deer in less than 10 seconds! What do we find when we scramble out to the spot? Two very small does, probably yearling “sisters.” It was “The Massacre of the Innocents”**.

As it is now clearer, we range find to the truck; it is “only” 250 yards away. The mist (in our minds?) and smaller heads fooled us into thinking the animals were larger deer at greater distance – or we had just witnessed one of the most severe case of “ground shrink” known. Actually, dropping those small targets at 250 yards was some shooting. Plus, it was two less future breeders and I can tell you, the meat was the most tender we have ever eaten – but I am getting ahead of myself.

After lunch and a rest on the boat, we headed back out that afternoon but saw no “shooters” at all. As we walked back to the dingy that night, we found a young woman feeding the fish at the USC dock where BJ knows fish feeding is not allowed. However, it turned out she is the only person allowed to do so - she is doing a research project on the stress of Catch & Release on fish and specifically a 6 lb. or so Calico Bass she has named “Franklin”. She lures Franklin to the surface to eat and then catches him with a fishing pole and bait. After having his/her (can’t sex them from the outside) various parameters measured, Franklin is released only to be caught him on another day. The lady even kindly offered to let us help if we had fishing poles on the boat. However, we declined because The Admiral is a big fan of Catch & Fillet for calico and that would not be good for the research project.

Daylight the next morning found BJ, RK and I hiking up the “Valley of the Cherry Trees” with mist again on the hilltops. As BJ and RK went after a deer they spotted, I hiked much further up. I finally spied three does in the distance but they disappeared over a ridgeline when I tried to close the distance. As I am panting away trying to catch my breath, I hear RK’s “get your butt over here” whistle from down below. I rushed down the mountain trying not to kill myself and 15 min. later come upon BJ & RK who were pointing across to the next ridge. Standing there 200 yards away at most was a forkie buck who had conveniently stayed put the whole time they waited for me. Why wait for me? Because BJ only had a doe tag. Boom, a 168 gr. Barnes non-lead 30-06 heads downrange and the buck drops on the spot. When we recovered him, we find he is shot right though the neck – perfect shot placement. I could’t let the Admiral show me up. JBU, I was aiming at the chest, not the neck but do not tell the Admiral that.

We headed back to the USC Landing and decided to take the Admiral’s rifle in its hard case back to the boat as she was done shooting. BJ didn’t want to upset any tree huggers at USC so he has us take off our blaze orange hats. But we still have on camo pants and blaze orange shirts. I tell him if anyone asks, we’ll just pretend we are “The Band”. Sure enough, while sitting waiting for BJ, some man wearing a USC mentor shirt asks me what I’m doing and what instrument is in the case. I tell him that “I’m with ‘The Band’” and I am carrying a “30-06 autoharp”. He looks puzzled then light dawns and he smiles…The Admiral later tells me I should have told him it was a “Boom Box.”

Late that afternoon after refueling on Good and Plenty, we headed back out to the base of another steep canyon where lots of fennel was growing. RK scampered up the hillside like a mountain goat with BJ behind and me trying my best not to lose sight of them – gasp, wheeze, gasp… After an hour uphill, I am at the point where if I shoot a deer, it will be a toss-up whether they will have to drag the deer or me out first. Where is Uber when you need ‘em? Believe me, I tried calling…
Then as we crest a small rise, a big doe is standing less than 150 yards away. As BJ starts to aim, RK sings out; “There is another doe higher up.” I spot this one and try to get ready when BJ fires. POW, a 130 gr. 270 Winchester Federal Copper hits his doe in the chest. She slides down into some bushes. I quickly line up on the other doe at some 200+ yards (no time to check the range). Boom. Dirt flies; a miss. The doe runs across to the left and just before going over the ridgeline, stops for a moment to take a look back. Mistake! I fire again and hit her at the base of the neck. Just as RK says “dead deer”, she tumbles over a 12-foot cliff where we find her lying at the base. There RK agrees to take my picture with the deer but as he backs up and squats down to get a better angle, he sits right on a cactus pad. Triple Ouch. I had great empathy for RK, but I refused to help him take the spines out in case anyone could see us, as we would likely have been banned from the island for doing something “unnatural”.

While it was a long haul back to the road (you can see how far down the ocean is in the picture; that is the ocean not the sky at the top of the picture) and no off road driving is allowed on Catalina, at least it was an downhill pull. The best news of all was it was only the deer and not me that needed to be drug out. We all got back to the truck before dark where it was high fives all around as we had now “tagged out” and that included four does. However, the Admiral took the opportunity to tell BJ to “man up” and do some real shooting in the future as his doe was so much larger and closer than “The Innocents”.

* No animals were harmed unnecessarily in the telling of this tale although the truth may have gotten lost in “the mist"
.001.jpg002.jpg003.jpg004.jpg005.jpg006.jpg007.jpg008.jpg009.jpg010.jpg
 
Last edited:

asaxon

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
1,076
Reaction score
8
Massacre of the Innocents Part 2

Massacre of the Innocents*,** Part 2

We drive back to Middle Ranch, skin out the deer and hang them with the other three that are already in the “Milk House” cooler. Leaving RK at Middle Ranch, we head back toward Isthmus. At 10 pm, we arrive at the control gate that is designed to keep the bison out of Two Harbors only to realize we did not have the damn card key for the gate. “Oh bother how dreadful” was among the choice things that slipped out of my mouth. As a result, we had to use the bison’s’ gambit to get through, i.e. wait for a car to open the gate then just rush through; no one gets out to block a bison nor did the lucky chance-by driver try to stop us.

Next morning BJ took all the ice chests ashore and then it was back the “Milk House” to break down our deer. This old building is remarkable for the number of Acorn woodpecker holes in it. RK says the massive number of acorns those birds have put into the walls over the years are all that is holding up the building.

The deer were quite healthy with lots of fat showing what one year of good rain can do. Interestingly, my doe had a large area of hemorrhage in her hindmost left rib cage that was far away from the bullet track – it was likely from where she hit the ground after going over the cliff while her heart was beating.

After packing the meat in our ice chests, we returned to the USC dock where we took the now heavy ice chests to the boat one at a time. BJ jury-rigged a hoist on the bow to winch them aboard. Good thing he is quite handy at this kind of thing; I could just see us spilling all that deer meat into Big Fisherman’s cove. Franklin the calico certainly would have been pleased but the Admiral would have killed us.

We got home in the early evening after a lovely ride across the Catalina channel and for the next three nights, we had venison steaks from the “Innocents.” Catalina mule deer meat is always lovely for 1) we get it before the rut, 2) we usually shoot does or young bucks and c) the diet of the island deer does not include much in the way of strong flavored plants. However, the meat from those young deer was the best ever. So beware young things, the Admiral has decided, in the spirit of Herod the Great, she will now specifically hunt “The Innocents.”


* No animals were harmed unnecessarily in the telling of this tale although the truth may have gotten lost in “the mist".

PS ** “Massacre of the Innocents” is the New Testament account (likely untrue) in the Gospel of Matthew of how Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews, is said to have ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem. He is alleged to have to done this to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth the Magi been told him about.

012.jpg013.jpg014.jpg015.jpg017.jpg018.jpg019.jpg020 Massacre by Rubens.jpg
 

baco

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2009
Messages
828
Reaction score
6
Great write up as always. I always look forward to your and the admirals trips
 

snoopdogg

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2001
Messages
2,616
Reaction score
19
You do it well, and with all the detail we've come to expect. Congrats yet again.
 

TheGDog

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 13, 2014
Messages
2,212
Reaction score
8
"Holy Tartar Sauce Sponge Bob" <=== You win "teh InterWebz" today with this!! Made me LOL. Adam West and Burt Ward would be pleased :)
 

P304X4

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
3,279
Reaction score
73
Great story as always.....congrats on a successful hunt!! :thumbs up2:
 

Plain ol' Steve

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 1, 2010
Messages
671
Reaction score
1
Nice write up and the back straps look amazing, but let me get this straight....
The Admiral shot the first two does at a distance of 250 yds. but shot for 400 yds? I wish my .243 shot that flat.
 
Last edited:

asaxon

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
1,076
Reaction score
8
Nice write up and the back straps look amazing, but let me get this straight....
The Admiral shot the first two does at a distance of 250 yds. but shot for 400 yds? I wish my .243 shot that flat.
Steve, you asked a good question. The Admiral never lets me near much less use her rifle so while she was asleep, I snuck downstairs, looked thru her purse (a capital offense in itself) and found the key to her locked rifle case. Surprise. Inside was not a Winchester Coyote Lite 243 but it contained a prototype of the latest TrackingPoint laser guided rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. WTF! No wonder she never misses!

gun-info.jpg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD9utBMQ4SU

https://www.tracking-point.com/how-it-works/

If that isn’t the answer, I have no idea what she did to hit those deer. I was sitting in the truck not moving and could only see out of the corner of my eye the deer off in the mist. This may fall under the category of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.” But there is no question as to the result.

Glad you folks enjoy the tales. To get notes from some long time quiet members in especially nice. What is always surprising to me is how many "things" actually happen on these trips if you keep your eyes open though I have been known to look thru rose colored glasses at times.
 
Last edited:

Just_Samson

New member
Joined
Jan 11, 2014
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Wow, Great report. Been fishing around that island for 20 years and never knew you could hunt on it.

JS
 

KTKT70

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2012
Messages
2,688
Reaction score
2
Wow, Great report. Been fishing around that island for 20 years and never knew you could hunt on it.

JS
none of us can. He is a very special man that has been in the game longer than most of us have been alive.
 

KTKT70

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2012
Messages
2,688
Reaction score
2
Great story Andy. The kind of stuff many of us have come to look forward to reading each year. I always know you will have a great hunt and a wonderful write up. I still think you should let people pay to hunt with you. Or maybe we invite you to go on a hunt and your fee is fun times and a doing the write up.
I often tell the Lt. Col. about your great adventures and all the fun stuff you do. One day I hope to just have one or two story's that are half as cool as you tell.
Life is good Sir, and you are like Bing the dream.
Thank you for sharing with us all and putting a smile one on our faces.
I know I really needed that right now.
Have a good weekend Andy.
 

THE ROMAN ARCHER

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 3, 2006
Messages
7,752
Reaction score
412
Thanks for sharing another one of your family hunting adventure stories great read and pics as usual and that fresh meat looks so good!.......tra
 

solus

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
4,591
Reaction score
4
Always a great syory andy congratulations
 

asaxon

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 30, 2010
Messages
1,076
Reaction score
8
Glad you put that belly rope on, I also would have little faith in the handles after all that work.

My kind of trophy photos :toast-yellow:

Thanks for sharing your adventure.
Yo Jindydiver: yes, no way would I trust those ice chest handles. I agree, the real trophies are the fun and the memories... Quite a few years ago I went night hunting for red kangaroos and foxes at night during lambing season on a big sheep station S.E. of Perth. Now that is quite a story - set of good memories where we went bouncing across the fields trying to get close to shoot the foxes. Then, only after several nights sleeping outside the ground while the Admiral and the Kids slept in the trailer, did someone mention all the poisonous snakes I was sleeping with. Never made it to Canberra - I hate politics but I have been from Sidney to Port Douglas and from Melbourne to Perth.

I like KTKT70s Idea of inviting me to go on a hunt and my "fee" is fun times and doing the write up (or is it called a lie up?). The bigger the lie, the more it "costs". Sort of like government.

Best to all.
 

jindydiver

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 28, 2004
Messages
833
Reaction score
20
Most of us living here hate politics too. Sad thing is people still vote for people and then send them our way to house and feed them while they have their arguments and we get very little say in it even if we take all the ribbing over it. I imagine there are plenty of people living outside the Washington beltway that feel the same.
 

Stevehazard

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
715
Reaction score
25
Great write up.
And what hunt is this? Are these some sort of wrigley special tags or something?
 

Latest Posts

Advertisement



Top Bottom