Before completing this website, I wanted to get through one hunting season so I would have some actual hunting experience with the Max to report. I had already taken a buck in the 2008 Indiana bow season. With the current 1-buck per year rule imposed in Indiana, this would limit my firearm season to the harvest of does. The two counties that I hunt in, Noble and Kosciusko both increased the bonus doe permits to 3 each this year. I also, have two friends that I helped get set up with .357 Max rifles for this year’s hunt. So with a bit of luck, this would allow me to see first hand how the Max performs on several deer this year.
The firearms season came in on November 15th this year. The first kill reported from my trio of .357 Max hunters, came from my good friends Tom and Tracy Parker. Tracy had been hunting now for several years and has taken several deer. Unfortunately, Tom had to work on the morning of the opening day. This meant Tracy would be hunting by herself on the opening morning. As you can see by the picture and her smiles, she did okay. This is the largest 8 pt. I have ever seen. Tracy saw the buck early in the morning chasing does around in a picked bean field at 175 yards. When the buck started working her way she picked out a dark spot in the field that would be her self imposed green light if the buck came that close. A later rangefinder check showed the distance to be 104 yards. Before reaching the spot the monster buck mounted one of the does. Next, the testosterone filled buck continued on its way toward Tracy’s predetermined spot that would put the big buck within range. When the buck stepped into the dark area in the field, Tracy obtained a solid rest from her stand and when the crosshairs looked good she gently squeezed the trigger, releasing a Hornady 180 gr. SSP bullet from her T/C Contender Carbine at the broadside buck. The deer stumbled after the shot and ran about 50 yards. It then jumped a fence into some heavy cover where she was not able to maintain visual contact. A doe ran in the same direction. She saw the doe come out the other side of the heavy cover but did not see the buck exit. It turns out, Tracy made an excellent pass through shot removing the top portion of the buck’s heart and it only made it 15 yards into the thick cover. The taxidermist measured a rough green score on this buck at 160 pts. After the 60 day drying period, Tracy will have her trophy scored by our mutual friend, Bill Novy, who is an official scorer for Boone & Crockett and the Hoosier Buck Program. I will be sure and keep you posted!
Further hunts by the Parkers produced two antlerless deer taken at estimated distances of 100 yards by Tracy and at and 60 yards by Tom. No tracking skills were needed as the performance of the Hornady 180 grain SSP bullet was outstanding. Next, Tom’s son Josh took a doe at a distance of 182 yards, verified with a Leupold rangefinder. Josh was shooting from the ground and had a solid rest. The big doe was slightly quartering away and he clipped the heart and the bullet exited out the opposite front shoulder. The doe ran about 30 yards before her nose hit the dirt. Like his father, Josh has always been an excellent shot so this longer shot comes as no surprise to me. Next up Tom took an exceptional doe at a distance of 10 yards. A head shot assured that tracking would not be necessary. The Parkers had taken 5 deer with their .357 Maximum in less than one week. Very nice! The annual requirement for this family’s venison was taken care of in the first week of the season. I spoke with Tom after this last kill and he told me he was very happy with the performance of the Max. He appreciated the simplicity and efficiency of his new rifle. Like myself, Tom had used muzzleloaders quite a bit in the past, but his relationship with the dirty smoke poles was bitter sweet.
Five deer in the first week of the 2008 Indiana gun season, all taken with the .357 Maximum by the Parker family!
Next up was yours truly. The second weekend of the Indiana firearms season provided my first opportunity at a respectable antlerless deer. A nice doe presented a 40 yard broadside shot. From an offhand shooting position I was able to settle the crosshairs just behind the shoulder of the doe and squeeze the trigger. The doe made her 50 yard death dash and literally flipped end over end, a performance that could only be topped by an Olympic gymnast. As soon as the deer hit the ground it laid still. Field dressing confirmed that I had made a heart shot that also caught the lungs. I estimated the doe at a field dressed weight of 125 lbs.