The deer “hunter”

It occurred to me the other day, while walking around downtown Memphis that I’ve lived the majority of my adult life either in cities or large suburbs of cities. I am about as far from “country” as you can get. Since moving to South Dakota, I’ve been exposed to proper hunting for the first time, first with pheasant hunting, then coyotes, then prairie dogs. As it turned out, I actually like hunting.

Well, let’s be a little more clear. I enjoy the marksmanship challenges presented by hunting, and in the case of prairie dogs, I do enjoy blowing their little furry asses straight to whatever plague rat hell they’re spawned from. But as it turns out, despite being by and large a city guy, I really do enjoy the activity around hunting. I’m not a big fan of “sitting still” and “being cold” so coyote hunting wasn’t my favorite of the three, but I figured I should round it out this year and go for the quintessential American hunting experience.

bambis mom

I’m going to shoot Bambi’s mom. Or Bambi, but a full grown version. I bought a South Dakota muzzleloader any deer tag this year, because I’ve never really hunted deer, and yet hunting, and especially deer hunting, is a foundational part of the American gun culture. I figured since I live in South Dakota, I should probably take part in this experience.

Right now I’m in the process of preparing for the hunt, South Dakota muzzleloader season opens December 1st. I have about a month to get all my gear correctly squared away, and I have some great friends here in SoDak who are going to help me find a good spot for the hunt itself. South Dakota’s rules for muzzleloaders are pretty simple, they allow modern, in-line guns such as the T/C guns, but no telescopic sights. That leaves me with the choice of either fixed irons or adding a red-dot sight. It also means my effective range is really capped at about 100 yards, 150 if I have a good rest and feel like pushing the shot.

Speaking of guns, I am going to use a T/C Pro Hunter FX or the more budget conscious T/C Impact. I had my first real introduction to how awesome T/C guns could be for hunting on a prairie dog hunt, where my best shots and greatest success were with a T/C Encore in .223. For bullets, I want to go with the Federal Premium Trophy Copper, a neat expanding bullet designed specifically to work with muzzleloaders without the use of a sabot. According to Federal this makes it more accurate, and since you get the full diameter of the .50 cal bullet, more effective than a .45. All I know is that pushing a 270 grain .50 cal bullet at 1800 FPS is a lot of hurt to put downrange. For my competition shooting friends, that’s a power factor of 486.

There’s a ton of other gear and sundries to get before the hunt, and I’m going to be writing continued pieces, both here and for GunUp the Magazine about my experience. It should be fun. Despite the whole “being cold and sitting still” part, of course.


  1. Don’t expect to be successful your first times out, that way its cooler if you are.

    Take someone who knows how to field dress and care for the meat.

    Most of all, enjoy this. Listen intently, you’ll see why

    Good Luck

  2. Pack a lot of base layer if you’re going to be in a stand much, also field dressing is an experience so be aware of that. Good luck from your northern neighbors!

  3. The same thing happened to me when we moved out in the country. I never really had an interest until we left the over crowded burbs. It started with pesky groundhogs which are abundant. I’ve since taken two white tail deer with a 6 inch GP100. Here in western PA its heavily wooded and they don’t see you until they are really close. Both where no farther than 10-15 yards and didn’t travel much farther. My heart never pumped so hard. Good luck.

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a hunt as much as when I carried a single-shot T/C Encore. It puts a whole new spin on things when you know you have one chance to do it right. I should probably try muzzleloader one of these years.

  5. Get a range rod, TC Vue powder flask, and powder measure. My buddy has the Pro Hunter, I have the T/C Triumph, both are incredibly accurate. Blackhorn 209 powder is the nutz, it cleans up with regular nitro solvents and is less hygroscopic than black or other substitutes- use 209A or Magnum primers with BH 209. I don’t know about sabotless projectiles as I’m shooting sub-moa with 300gr Hornady SST or T/C Shockwave. Good Luck!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: