Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks
My fall hunting season had not allowed me to hunt as much as I normally do. There seemed to be little things that had to be done at each turn. The time I did have had been fruitful and I had no complaints about the game I had the opportunity to harvest. But….. having a considerable time away from the phones and computer during the Christmas season, I did have some time to get back out in the woods and fields to hunt and enjoy.
The Missouri Alternative Methods Deer Season started on Christmas Eve and was to run through till January 3rd. Most of that time I was away from work. The first weekend was filled with Christmas. Time spent with family and sharing the meaning of Christmas. The day after Christmas found me with only a small amount of things to prevent me from hunting the morning hours. But, ah, the afternoon was free. So I finally am ready to take my muzzleloader and see if a late season deer can be harvested to put in the freezer. I have loaded the #8900 .458 300 gr. ProHunter® in my gun for many years and have harvested quite a number of deer with this combination.
Arriving at the deer stand at about 2:45 pm, I settle in to await that “golden hour” when all the activity starts to take place. It has been pretty noisy around the stand with the birds fussing at one another and the squirrels giving me a startle with their “elephant stomping potato chips” romping around the stand. You just knew it was “the big one” making his approach.
Finally the activity seemed to slowly come to a slightly reduced roar, when all of a sudden I saw a flash of movement off to my right. Quickly trying to locate the cause as I am staring through a wall of oak and hedge limbs and brush, just a little further behind my right side, again I see movement. I can detect a critter, but due to the inability to see very good in the cover, I wasn’t sure just what I was looking at. Then, all of a sudden, there is a twitch.
What’s that? A short stubby tail? That can only mean one thing. Bobcat!! Because he is on my right and almost behind me at this point, I don’t have any option but to stand and turn. I carefully attempt to get around so that I can get the scope on the cat. He suddenly stops and looks right up at me through the heavy cover that we are both behind screened by. I start to freeze, but I know this is a “now or never” situation. I continue to move slow and steady and bring the gun to my shoulder. Once I have the gun up, I can see the cat through the heavy cover. I was not sure if the bullet could make it through all the brush and twigs. I settle the crosshairs behind the shoulder and squeeze off the shot. Sticks and bits and pieces of brush explode in front of me, but I saw the bobcat collapse. I quickly reload, but can see that there was no hurry. I had harvested a very large tom bobcat. No deer were seen the rest of the evening. But that was okay. I had just had one of the very limited opportunities to come to a hunter. This trophy will soon be finding a quality spot amongst my other trophies. This was a slightly late, but well appreciated Christmas gift.