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Blacktail Deer on Kodiak Island with Winchester Deer Season XP

WHOP! The report of a well-placed shot is a beautiful sound. Music to my ears on Kodiak Island, Land of the Giants.

The Emerald Island has an abundant population of brown bears, mountain goats, blacktail deer, and fox. The hunting history of “The Rock” is rich, filled with big tales from big adventures.   When gearing up for this journey, many thoughts run through my mind regarding safety and performance. I don’t want to be under-gunned (or should not be!) when coming face to face with a 10-foot tall hungry brown bear. A near perfect medium with calibers such as 338 Win Mag, 300 Win Mag, and 300 WSM are all great choices to consider for such an outing. The real key is finding the ammunition combo which will perform as intended.

Blacktail Deer on Kodiak Island with Winchester Deer Season XP

The Emerald Island has an abundant population of brown bears, mountain goats, blacktail deer, and fox. The hunting history of “The Rock” is rich, filled with big tales from big adventures.   When gearing up for this journey, many thoughts run through my mind regarding safety and performance. I don’t want to be under-gunned (or should not be!) when coming face to face with a 10-foot tall hungry brown bear. A near perfect medium with calibers such as 338 Win Mag, 300 Win Mag, and 300 WSM are all great choices to consider for such an outing. The real key is finding the ammunition combo which will perform as intended.

Kodiak Blacktail

 

Expedition Big Game Long Range in the above calibers give me great confidence. For this adventure there were multiple hunters with multiple firearms. My father-in-law and I both carried 500 S&W handguns with 330-grain bear rounds. These self-defense-pistols were the last line of defense and taken as ultimate precaution; this level of protection is not only necessary when in bear county, but also a good idea as my wife and two-year-old son joined us on this outing.

 

Kodiak Blacktail

 

My goal was to get my wife a nice buck, get my father-in-law some stalking opportunities with archery equipment and for me to take to take a nice buck and maybe a fox. With the handguns in camp, I wanted to try out the famed Deer Season XP (DSXP) rounds for blacktails in 300 WSM. The bonus was I also carried a fist full of 190-grain Expedition Big Game Long Range ammunition for defensive-rounds in case a bear claimed one of our downed deer. The DSXP lived up to the hype; two beautiful bucks and one old cross fox were taken on this Thanksgiving family vacation. 

 

Our shots ranged from 120 to 340 yards. The impact delivered from the polymer tipped beauty was magnificent. Both bucks didn’t go 20 but yards after being hit. The fox dropped in its tracks. Lethality is important in all hunting situations. This is amplified on Kodiak with the world’s largest land predator on the prowl. Leaving an animal overnight could lead to an unwanted run in with a Brown Bear. Thick vegetation in this diverse country can make retrieving blacktails difficult to say the least. We left the buck my wife took overnight so we could find him the following morning as a family unit. The buck had traveled 20 yards from where we left him the night before. One of the most meaningful moments in my life was walking up to the handsome buck with our 2-year-old son. The look on his face and attitude he presented was priceless.

 

The second buck of the trip came on the last day of hunting. The buck was high on the mountain in the middle of an alder-choked drainage. Shooting and then finding him after a lengthy blood trail would have been nearly impossible without the aid of a blood hound. 

 

Spotting the buck with a doe some 340 yards in the distance, I chambered a round and touched one off … it plunked him perfectly behind the shoulder and down he went. Carefully memorizing the terrain and taking photos of where the buck died, I slipped into the alder-infested oblivion. Forty-five minutes later, I had the biggest buck of my life in hand.

 

All told, this was my favorite family hunt of all time. Everything went exactly as planned. Cheers to full hearts, grilled venison, and the racks on the wall to remember who we are and why we as hunters do what we do.

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