Frank, I am 58 years old now and hunted Spring Bear for about 8 yrs.
I have been to Hell’s Canyon and hell canyons with no luck, though have seen them 2 miles at the bottom. So I decided to stay close to home do an easy hunt.
We decided to put in for a unit that is only 125 miles away from our home base, which is a lot closer than 300 miles.
Scouting, the area we found fresh bear scat was everywhere. GREAT! We will come back when the snow has receded a bit more. At least bears have come out of hibernation.
So I my hunting buddy Roar and his son Hayden (the flat belly) always good to have a young flat belly along. Hayden is 6’1″ and 190 lb. 20 yr. old fireman. We hiked 4 miles into NoTellEm Canyon to a nice meadow split up to glass for a couple of hours. I glassed down to where those two were sitting to see them scrambling to get in position for a shot. However they missed a beautiful reddish-brown big boar.
We decided to hike out. All of sudden there goes the flat belly (Hayden). We had to hold him back so he wasn’t so far ahead of us. Some times its pays off to be the older, wiser and slower. We were about a mile and a half from the truck when flat belly and his father rounded a corner ahead of me. As I came to the corner I couldn’t believe my eyes they had woke the bear up from an afternoon snooze. He stood up and looked their way about 50′ away from them. I had my chance, scrambled to get my 300 Winchester off my back and my offhand shot was right on to put him down. Down he went moaning and biting everything in his reach.
I had spine him (boar). As we approached he started in again, a little spooky to be that close. Finished him with another shot. Now the work begins.
Yea flat belly offered to drag him all the way to the road. OK! How to get him back to the truck. In my infinite wisdom I left the cart back at home (we are not really going to get a bear)?
We call it a pig pole it worked to get him out, but it was brutal.
ODFW Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife took a tooth and aged him at 9 yrs. old.
What a great trip. You bet we’re headed back to the same spot this season.
Frank here is a short story about my Nevada Sheep Hunt. Feel Free to pass along!
Desert Bighorn that I harvested this year in Nevada.
I have been trying to draw a Sheep tag since I was 18 years old. And now at 61 years old, I figured it would never happen.
Being a Non-Resident, Nevada has been better to me than my home state of Washington in getting tags. Much to my surprise, in June I couldn’t believe my eyes. My name was listed in the successful column for Desert Bighorn in Nevada. I also drew an Antelope tag for Nevada… Thinking maybe I could Antelope hunt and have time to head south and do a scouting trip for Sheep, I found there just wasn’t enough time with my busy work schedule.
I thought it would be best to hire a guide, since this may be my only opportunity in my Lifetime to hunt Sheep. After talking to several guides, I settled on Nevada Guide Service. This being my first ever guided hunt, I checked out their referrals and felt good about my choice of guides.
This Ram Scored 163 which is a great Ram from this Unit
My son Travis would be joining me on the hunt and we could hardly wait for November. We chose to hunt the second week, allowing us to spend time with our family over Thanksgiving. Arriving at camp on the 28th of November around noon, we met with our guide Seth who had a Ram spotted; he thought was worth checking out. After a long drive we me up with the other guide Jason who had been keeping eyes on the Sheep. After looking through the spotting scope, I agreed it was a beautiful Ram, but passed as I had not waited this long to hunt Sheep and have it over the first afternoon.
The next morning Travis and Jason headed south while Seth and I went north to find Sheep. The morning spent with Seth, we looked over dozens of sheep with a handful of nice Rams. Shortly later we got a call from Jason, saying they had a Ram spotted we needed to look over closer. After driving many miles south we met up with Travis and Jason, only to find out that the Ram has disappeared in to one of the many folds of rugged terrain.
Glassing up several other Sheep we decided to split up again and glass our way back towards camp. After stopping at a few spots and spotting several more Sheep, we stopped at one last place before camp. Right away Seth spotted a group of young Rams. Looking more to the south, I spotted a couple of ewes. Telling Seth where they were he got excited and said “look what’s bedded between those two ewes.”
I knew from the moment I laid the glass on the big Ram, I knew I would be thrilled to take him. Wanting my son to be there, we called and told Travis and Jason, we’d found the one.
After a short stalk and steep uphill 350 yards shot, my dream of taking a Sheep had finally come true.
My only regret was tagging out so early in the hunt. Giving many thanks to Travis, Seth and Jason, I couldn’t have had a better group of hunting partners to share this experience with
This isn’t so much a hunting story as a story about family, the passage of years, the things that change, the things that never change, and what it all means to us.
In 1972 during one of the Boeing busts my father had to leave Mom and the kids behind and go work in Ohio because there were no jobs in Seattle where we lived. Two years later things got better and he was able to come home. On the way back he stopped in Wyoming to hunt Antelope. For a farm boy from Pennsylvania, this was a real adventure. He shot a small buck (about 8 or 9 inch) with Grandfather’s Savage 99 in 358 Winchester and was totally thrilled. The horns and hide went into the basement chest freezer till there was enough money to pay a taxidermist. 4 months later the freezer croaked and everything in it was ruined. The picture was all that was left, hanging on the wall and fading over the years.
Dad taught me and my brother to hunt and deer season was a family ritual with us. We hunted close to home, in places we knew well, with family and close friends. Many years went by, pictures accumulated on the walls and horns in the garage. Then mom got sick. Dad took care of her, seldom leaving her side, and for the next 7 years did not hunt. Mom passed away in the summer of 2016. Dad was 83 now and I asked him if he thought he had a few more hunting seasons left in him. He thought maybe he did, so I started planning a hunt.
I had enough preference points saved up to draw an antelope tag in a decent unit in Wyoming that had adequate public land access, so that was no problem. I told him we could likely find a bigger buck for him than the one he took back in 74, but he didn’t care much about that. He’d grown up dirt poor on a farm and had always been a meat hunter. That wasn’t likely to change now.
The tag wasn’t a problem, but his knee might be. Dad had a bad knee that he had put off getting repaired while he took care of mom. Time to get that fixed. He got in to the Doc and got the surgery scheduled. It would be done 8 months before the hunt, which would mean he would not be 100% recovered, but the Doc gave him a green light, with some limitations… he couldn’t kneel on that knee, and it probably would not have full range of motion yet. That would present some limitations on shooting position and he couldn’t walk more than a few miles a day, but we figured we could work that out.
Last problem was a rifle. Dad hunted with an old, beat up model 700 with a 4X fixed power scope. He always bragged on how accurate that rifle was, but with a low power scope and cheap factory ammo, how would you ever know? Not the ideal rig for antelope, but Dads shots had always been 100 yards and under, so it had never been a problem. He’s also a lefty, which meant I couldn’t loan him one of my rifles.
He came down to my place in September and brought the old rifle so we could give it makeover and see if we could get it set for the kind of longer shots you sometimes get in antelope country. I scrounged an old Weaver 3X9 I had sitting in the gun safe and we swapped scopes then we worked up some hand loads to test and headed to the range. With the load it liked best, allowing for a called flyer, that old beater of a rifle shot ¾ minute. He was right about that old rifle… and he could still shoot. Mission accomplished, we headed out to Tillamook bay to do some crabbing, which was another thing we hadn’t done in a while. We killed them. Best crab season they’ve had in ten years. There really are few things better than sitting in a lawn chair, eating fresh crab with a cold beer and watching the sunset over the ocean.
In mid-October Dad came down to my place again. He had all the family camping gear in the back of his truck. I had called him the week prior and he had already started packing. In the end, he pretty much brought everything. Nothing had been used in at least 7 years, and some of that gear I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. Lot of memories there. We sorted through everything, weeded it down to what we thought we would actually use and stared driving.
We drove 16 hours straight through, with a stop in Boise to visit my niece who is going to school there. When my brother and I were little, Dad would load us in sleeping bags in the back of the truck with the gear and drive all night to eastern Washington to hunt. Now Dad got to sleep some while I drove. Lots of time to talk about family, old friends, and hunting seasons past. We arrived at Medicine Bow in the morning, gassed up, and headed into our hunt unit to look for lopes.
This late (mid-October) lopes would be forming up into bigger bands and the large bands are hard to get close to. We started looking for lopes in the foothills above the sage flats since the terrain often broke up the big herds into smaller groups and would give us some cover to work close.
Heading up into the hills we spotted a couple bucks that had broken off from a larger band. They were about 400 yards out and wary, but had not bolted. We piled out of the truck to see if the ground gave us any options for a stalk.
Hunting magazines will often give you advice about shooting in wind, but that advice is always about the effects of wind on a bullet. They never seem of offer advice on how to deal with the effect of wind on the shooter. I got out the Kestrel and it clocked wind gusting from 15 to 35mph in random gusts. It’s impossible to hold steady in that unless you can get prone and really hug the ground. It did not look like we’d be able to close the distance without being spotted. Decided to pass on these two.
Driving further up into the hills, we glassed a lone doe and buck in a basin sheltered from the wind. They saw us but did not looked spooked so we kept driving around the shoulder of the ridge and out of sight to where we could double back and try a sneak. Keeping low in the sage, we topped over the ridge looking down into the little basin and started to glass. We spotted our two animals about 300 yards out. Keeping low and moving only when they were looking away from us, we cut the distance to a little over 200 yards and found a big rock that Dad could shoot from without having to stress the knee too much. It was an awkward position, but best available under the circumstances. I got prone over my pack about 15 yards uphill so I could see Dad’s shot impact and provide a follow up if needed. The sound of the shot was whipped away by the wind almost instantly and there was an eruption of snow and dirt in front of the buck and both lopes took off. 200 yards is a long shot for Dad, and the buffeting wind and awkward position blew the shot. Dad was never a trophy hunter, any buck would do for him, and I was not fussy either as this hunt was about family, not inches of horn, but I started to get the idea that getting Dad a shot that was close enough, that he could take from a comfortable position, was going to be harder that I had thought.
This was disappointing due to the miss, but here we were on morning of day 1 and we were already getting shot opportunities, so from that perspective, things were looking good. We decided to look for a place to set up camp. A BLM employee we met on the way in told us there was a BLM campground on the north end of the unit, in the foothills where prairie starts to turn to timbered draws. We headed north toward the campground and Dad insisted I take shotgun in case we ran across a band of lopes we could make a stalk on.
As we climbed north toward the campsite I kept one eye out for lopes and the other on the GPS screen. This unit is about 50% private ground, checkerboarded in with the BLM and state land and you have to get that right. Learned that from Frank years ago and using onXmaps. The lopes seemed to know there were some areas where they would not be bothered. They tended to group up on private ground.
We spotted a group of lopes headed south, parallel to the road, about 400 yards out and on BLM ground. As they passed behind a little ridge, Dad had me bail out and he continued on up the road to where the lopes would see the truck move on. I worked down to a point where, if they continued their course, the herd would come out from behind the ridge and maybe give me a shot. Right on time they started to appear, first a few does and yearlings, then a decent buck. I already had my rear on the ground and the rifle settled on the sticks. The shot broke with the crosshairs just behind the shoulder at a bit over 200 yards.
Years ago, Frank introduced me to Mike Abel (a fine gentlemen and superb shooter) when Mike drew a South Wagontire tag in Oregon, a unit I had hunted with Franks advice the year before. Mike and I have had a few adventures since then (Blacktails, Bunnies, and Rockchucks, oh my!) and Mike coached me a lot on my shooting (thanks Mike and Frank both), so I had no doubt about the outcome of that shot. The buck ran about 40 yards and piled up.
Dad and I took pictures, field dressed the lope, hauled him to the truck, and followed the road 4 more miles to the campground. A couple other groups of hunters were also there (deer and elk hunters) and we found a site near a creek in a little stand of aspen. I did the heavy lifting as far as setting up camp, but as Dad remarked to some of the other hunters in camp, that was only fair since when I was little he got to do all the work.
The campsite had some elevation and was just a mile or two south of the unit boundary we had tags for. From camp, we could watch lopes through the spotting scope. Not our unit, but still really cool.
Just setting up camp felt good. It felt great to be setting up worn old camp gear that I remembered from my childhood. The lantern we’d used for 40 years, digging out the old camp stove and kettle… every gouge and ding in that old gear was a reminder of hunts and time with family many years ago. When I opened up a can of stew to heat up for supper, it looked a bit odd though. I checked the bottom of the can and the stamp said “best if used by October 2010”. Some gear does not improve with age. Fortunately Dad had packed enough non-vintage food to keep us twice as long as we were likely to stay.
Next morning we were out glassing a couple big patches of public ground that seemed to attract lopes. We spotted a band grazing and bedding on a flat, just clear of the sage, about a half mile from the road and thought they might be stalkable given the terrain. Once the road passed behind a little hill, Dad bailed out and I drove on about ¼ mile and stopped to watch the show. Dad followed a little dry wash to close most of the distance and made a slow crouching approach through the sage. Wind was gusting at about 20. He kept getting closer, 200, 150, and I kept thinking “What are you waiting for? Shoot!”. Finally they busted him at about 75 yards and the whole band tore out of there at top speed and trailing dust. Turned out the issue was the knee again. The wind was too strong and gusty to take a standing shot, a kneeling shot was not an option due to the recent surgery, and a sitting or prone shot wasn’t possible due to the height of the sage he was using to cover his stalk. By the time he worked past the tall sage, they had spotted him. We decided that this spot was definitely a draw for lopes and we would try to find a way to ambush a band as they filed down from the hills to graze in the evening.
The afternoon we spend driving and glassing an area the BLM guy recommended on the other side of the highway. Lots of lopes, but they had obviously been hunted hard and the terrain there did not offer much in the way of cover for an approach. Found some really cool geodes and some jasper and agate for my sister the rock hound.
On the way back to camp for lunch and some rest, we stopped to check zero on Dad’s rifle. I dug out a cardboard box for a target and set it up at 200 yards. Dad shot across the truck hood over a folded up coat. Great group. The horizontal stringing was all due to the gusting wind, which almost never stopped in this country.
That evening we were staked out at what we though was a logical funnel for lopes headed from some private land in the foothills to the flat we hunted that morning. With about 30 minutes of light left, we saw a lope headed down and it looked like we might be able to get out in front of him. We got closer, but at the last minute, he started to veer away. Dad took a standing shot over the sticks at about 150 yards, but the lope took off running. We watched him go flat out for half a mile and over a ridge. Did our due diligence and found no blood. Again, the inability to get a good position due to the knee and the gusting wind had blown the shot. Dad was starting to get frustrated, but this was only day 2. Lots of time left.
The next morning we decided to cover some new ground, an area east of Pine Creek that we thought might have a small band or two up some dry washes in the foothills. It had snowed the weekend before our hunt started and many of the bands we glassed every day were big groups. The big groups tend to stay on the flats and have way too many eyes on duty. They are very hard to get close to. Lopes tend to group in to larger herds and get more skittish as winter gets closer.
Following a little dirt 2-track up toward the hills we saw several groups, but all were down on the flats below the hills… private ground. Even these spooked and ran at the sight of the truck while still ½ mile away. Seemed like every day the herds were getting larger and harder to approach. We headed back toward the main (gravel) road to get some rest at camp and work out a plan for the evening hunt. It was only day 3, but the big herds, lateness of the season and that constant high wind had us feeling much less confident.
As we were crossing several big blocks of private ground we approached a dry creek bed and saw a small band of lopes coming up out of it toward us. I glanced down at the GPS and was surprised to see there was an odd shaped ¼ square of BLM land right in the middle of the ranch land and we were right in the middle of it. I stopped the truck, Dad piled out, and I got out the binoculars to watch. He kept low in the road cut and got a bit closer as the lopes filed out of the creek bed. The herd just piled up there, about 100 yards away from him, and milled around, seeming not sure what to do. There was one good buck in the bunch, about 10 does and maybe 5 yearlings. Trouble was there was a doe standing right in front of the buck and a doe and yearling right behind him. There was no shot with the does and fawns in the way, and if the herd bolted and ran he’d never get a shot. Dad settled the rifle on the sticks and waited. I watched through the binos for what was probably a minute or two but seemed like much longer. I won’t say I heard angels sing… but the wind died down and the buck took two steps forward. Only the bucks front quarters and neck were in the clear, but Dad was under 100 yards and had good position. I heard the report of the rifle and the buck dropped like a puppet with the strings cut. Dad had his second lope on the ground, 43 years after the first one.
Nolan had contacted Bwana Bubba in the spring time of 2017, asking if I knew a place in central Oregon, that he might have chance to harvest a elk during the archery season. I had an old haunt that, my partners and I had hunted with great success. I was willing to share, but I wanted him to use technology, in order to give him a better idea and also stay legal on the hunt…
Last Chance Bull
Oregon Archery Hunt
The day before the end of the 2017 season, I’d driven out to a new place I’d never seen before as a last ditch effort to try and kill an elk. I’d scouted, prepared, & hunted so hard all season long to make it happen on a D.I.Y. over the counter elk tag, public land, archery elk. After my blunder on opening day when I missed a cow at 44 yards, I figured my 2017 season was over. I blew my shot opportunity for the year and it was going to be a long 12 months until I’d get another one.
As soon as I got out of the truck that morning I heard a bugle, then another bugle, and another. It was too dark to see the ridge that I was hearing the bulls from, but I grabbed my gear and took off. After about 10 minutes I glassed up the shape of an elk about half a mile uphill from me. I knew if I had any chance at cutting him off, I had to hustle. I ran up the drainage to the West of him and when I reached the top I could hear it wasn’t just a lone bull. It was a whole heard, I peered around the corner and saw close to 60 elk working up the draw. Bulls screaming, pushing cows, the whole herd was going nuts.
As I was trying to decide what to do I turned around and saw there was another hunter about 60 yards behind me. I thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding me”. I busted my ass to get up here and I’m going to have to compete with this guy. As frustrated as I was, I walked down to him and said “Hey, there’s a big herd of elk up here”. “What’s your plan”? “I don’t want to screw up your hunt”. I fully expected him to tell me to take a hike. Instead what he said next blew me away. He said “We need to cut them off, and get in front of them, let’s go!” I asked him what he wanted me to do, and he said “Come with me” and we took off!
I’m not a tall guy, 5’6”. But this newly met hunting partner of mine is at least a foot taller than I and subsequently covers ground much faster than I can. Before I know it I’m out of breath and desperately trying to keep up with him. As we follow the fence line between the public and private land, we keep getting glances of the herd about 250 yards away in the draw to the east of us. We dropped our packs a ways back to be as quick and low profile as we could. The herd can see us, but we keep pressing on to try and cut them off, in the valley 1/4 mile ahead of us. I keep thinking to myself “I can’t believe this is happening”. We paused at this little knoll and heard some elk coming up to where we were as they headed to cross in to the private, so we set up. I sat behind and told this guy “I’ll range for you” and before we knew it, there was a group of 15 cows being pushed by a big 6×6 up the hill in front of us. I keep ranging him, 124, 117, 111, and 110. He’s not going to get any closer. There are no trees or brush that we can get closer to either. We wait for them to cross the fence so we can keep pushing forward to where the rest of the herd is headed and all of the sudden this piercing bugle rings out no more than 100 yards from where we sat. This massive 7×7 was pushing another group of cows through the same spot! My partner slid down the hill 20 yards, but the bull stayed just out of range and wouldn’t stop. He was on a mission, away from us. We wait for them to clear and then we’re booking it to the next draw, “if we can get to it there’s a good chance they’ll be there waiting.”
Right as we crest the draw we see 25-35 elk pushing up and onto private, there’s still quite a few elk coming up the draw though. I start cow calling to try and bring the big bulls closer. There’s elk everywhere, bulls pushing cows, screaming, heads back and hot to trot. They just won’t come any closer than 120 yards. My new friend scoots down the draw another 10 yards and 6 elk bust out 30 yards below us, it’s so steep that we didn’t even known they were there. A bull stops at 60 yards, I hear “do you wanna shoot that bull?” without hesitation I said “Hell YES”. I pull out from the tree I’m behind, range him at 84 yards. I’ve been making this shot all year. I have flung thousands of arrows practicing for this moment. I can make the shot, I dial my sight to 84 yards, draw my bow, anchor, cow call to stop him, settle the pin on his lungs, and my arrow is gone.
I watch the glow of my green knock sail across the ravine. THWACK! He drops, barrel rolls 3 times to the bottom of the creek bed, stops, and it’s over. “He’s down”! I sat next to the tree beside me and cannot believe after all the work I put in, the ups and downs, the frustration, everything, that it all came together. It wasn’t over, because of how quickly he went down he didn’t spook any of the other elk, it’s time for me to try and call in a bull for my partner.
I cow call like nothing else to try and bring the 6×6 in from 150 yards but he just isn’t willing to leave his cows. My buddy takes off over the next ridge after him and I start hiking back to get our packs. While I was walking back I was overcome with emotion. It’d been 6 years since my last elk.
As any archery hunter knows, this is something that requires an immense amount of preparation, dedication, will power, and luck. But everything lined up that morning and I was beside myself. My arrow left my string at 7:32 am. By 8:30 I was notching my tag and taping it to his antlers. As I sat and looked at him I realized that I’m here alone. I have a 450-500 pound animal down in the bottom of a ravine, 1.5 miles from the truck and it’s just me. I snapped a few pictures and started the process, 6 hours later he was ready to be hauled out and I started the journey back to the truck with one of my most prized possessions, meat. It took me until 11 PM that night to get him back to the truck. My body was nearly broken, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t wait to do it again. And the phrase that kept resonating in my head stayed there until my head hit my pillow, “Never, ever give up”.
This is my story Nolan Lathrop – 2017 Central Oregon.
I thought it was about time I got out an article for 2017, as it has been a while.
How about an opening picture take from the my RV?
First note of the day is that I believe ground is finally moving up in Woodland, Washington on the new B Young RV Dealership. Taken a while to get the permits and of course get the complex plans all put together and signed off. The complex is going to be quite the RV Dealership and it will be great for our Washington customers, making it much easier getting their RV’s service and buying an RV. Of course our staff that lives in Washington will get an automatic pay raise in having not to pay the Oregon Income Tax for working in Oregon.
B Young RV just got done with the second Tiffin Rally in 7 years. This Rally was held in Salem, Oregon and was a very successful Rally for B Young RV, Tiffin RV, Sales Staff and that of the customers that drove away after a couple of days in their new Tiffin RV.
Since my last article B Young RV has added a couple more Sprinter chassis based motorhome companies, that being Winnebago with the Navion (Class B+) and Regency RV with the Exalta (Class B). Both companies are highly regarded in the industry.
Tiffin has come out with the Wayfarer Sprinter chassis Class B Motorhome. My feelings are that the Wayfarer is right up at the top. One of the standards from Tiffin is the diesel generator and solid hardwood cabinetry. The Chafee style door makes it easier for seniors to put their cargo in the holds.
Business wise at B Young RV, another recorded breaking year for the company, it is simply amazing how much traffic and the number of RV’s heading to destinations all over North America.
About 4 months ago I traded in my 3rd RV bought from B Young RV for another. Seems when they are about 1 ½ years old with 35K on them, it is time. As you all know it is all about the floorplan and the floorplans changed all the time. This one might have to last a while… It is the first one with a solar panel, factory installed inverter and the TUMA hot water heater system. My wife said she loves this RV and has done some interior decor, styled to the beach, this being the first time in any of our RVs’…
It is a phenomenon to see what is happening with Grand Design RV and the popularity of the many products they make with the Imagine, Reflection, Solitude and Momentum. Inventory is tough to keep and the factory is making more plants to keep up with the demand. Recently my neighbor, who has been looking for a travel trailer, bought an Imagine and did not mind waiting for a factory order.
The fall season camping season is about to start and many of the camp grounds now have openings. So many times the weather in the valley can be bad, and trying to go east can be tough with the weather in the mountains, but the Oregon or California coast can be great. The parks this summer were tough to get in with no or little openings, even during the middle of the week. Have you ever thought how lucky we are to have a coastline that we can see the ocean and get to the beach fairly easy?
Oregonians are very privileged to have so many Oregon State Parks to use. RVers’ come from all over North America to see and camp in Oregon, thus you’ll see many using these parks. The Californians come in groves during the fishing season using all the parks on the Oregon Coast.
I have seen during our travels south to the border that many of the State Parks are going through upgrades, such newly installed septic hookups at most campsite and best of all the clearing of the plants and brush in the campsites. This allows larger RV’s to use the sites. It is always said, “If it fits, then it is your campsite” FRB
There still are Whales working up the Oregon Coast as of this past week. To be truthful, almost every spot one could pull alongside the road, you could see Whales breaching. At Whales Cove, there were Cow’s with Calves working the bay. There is a trail that you can get close, but be careful about putting your weight on the tree on the edge overlooking the bay. It is a long ways down to the rocks below…
For all of B Young RV Customers and those that read this have a great fall and winter. Those heading south to AZ and S.E. California, have a great and safe trip.
Frank Biggs 503-737-9595B Young RV – firstname.lastname@example.org
First of all I want to say thank you very much for all the help…
Well I put in for a muzzleloader antelope tag down around Beatys Butte. I knew this hunt would be crazy hard being it was muzzleloader and it’s after rifle season if I even drew it.
I was at work helping dig and lay storm drain when my foreman got super excited and started yelling that he drew his dream hunt. Well of course I had to check my draw results. Holy smokes I drew my lope tag. Throughout the day I checked 4 or 5 times and each time the website said I drew it. So that night I started studying google maps and started researching field judging and just all sorts of things. I get a hold of Frank not knowing who he was and I picked his brain. Told him I was buying onX HUNT Oregon and pairing it up with a Garmin 64s.
Weekend before 4th of July (my anniversary weekend) we make the 9 hour trek to scout around some areas Frank gave me. We see a few goats but they were few and far between. A couple of decent bucks were spotted.
A month later after studying a ton on onX HUNT I decided to go look at an area that was behind some private property that had a few water holes. I see a ton of Antelope and 3 really good shooters.
I head down the day before season and meet up with a buddy named Jeff. We get camp all setup and we decided to take the Razor out for a cruise to scout. We see a few antelope nothing to spectacular but I’m in good spirits seeing some.
Next morning we head out before daylight out to where we see some goats the night before. Right at daylight we decided to give 2 smaller bucks a pass and we kept on heading out. We glass a few decent lopes that may have been shooters but they were so far away and we really didn’t have a good advantage point to get a real good idea if they were shooters or not.
We decided to head back towards where we see the smaller bucks. We look 600 yards in front of us and we see a bunch of Mulie does and one loner Lope together. We see he had good cutters and good mass and it was game on. We close within 120 or so yards take a look and liked his mass and cutters. Took the shot and down he goes I’m tagged out by 0715.
We take a few pics get him to the Razor and ride 6 or 7 miles back to camp. I get him caped out and put in the coolers. We tear down camp as fast as we can load up the Razor and I get to Sewell’s Taxidermy as fast as I could. Seeing a ton of Antelope on the way out with a huge smile on my face. I get to Sewell’s and they were very impressed with this buck being my first lope ever and with a muzzleloader at that. Well they tell me that he looks like he might be a book buck. He tapes it for a green score real quick and green he came out 74 inches.
I would have gone in 100 percent blind if it wasn’t for frank helping me out with some waypoints. Yes I branched out and found my own little honey hole, but I would have went out to a couple of those spots if my morning hunt was a bust. Great guy and very knowledgeable. Thank you again!!!
First off I have known Randy, who lives in Washington for a number of years. He once drew an Oregon Pronghorn Tag and got a hold of me. He used Garmin and onXmaps HUNT back then and even found his own honey hole….
‘Yes Frank , We did use onX Maps. That’s how we found the honey hole when Travis had his tag a few years back. Just couldn’t find a mature one there this year. Have yet to see another hunter in that spot. I’m sure come rut time a big one will show. We have a friend in 033 now, looking for something mid 80’s. I’ll let you know how he does.”
Just got back from Nevada and thought I’d better share my story with you. Travis my son and I arrived in Mountain City on Sunday afternoon. Right away we wanted to check out an area we knew held numbers of antelope west of town. After locating several groups of animals that evening and the next morning we were not seeing much for mature bucks.
We decided to check out the unit to the east and look over some new country. After few miles it started looking like lope country. Soon I glassed up a few does a mile away . We drove a bit closer and snuck in to get a better look. Three or four soon materialized into 27 with one good-looking buck. We marked the location on the Garmin and pressed on. By now it was pushing late afternoon and in the upper 80’s we arrived in a massive area that looked like prime antelope habitat with several good water sources. Cruising and stopping to glass, I spotted the buck I knew was my #1 target.
I attached a picture we took with a phone scope. We left him alone and found a camp site a couple of miles away. This area was getting a lot of traffic and other hunters out scouting. Seeing this I figured we’d have competition in the morning.
We struck a plan and went to bed thinking about the big guy all night. Up at 5:00 and on the road by 5:15 we planned to hike up a ridge to a good vantage point. Sitting in the dark for 45 minutes we were finally able to pick things apart.
Soon I spotted 5 antelope high up the mountain on a sage flat. Getting the spotter on them I thought it was the big one. We made a plan and the stalk was on. It was a steep and noisy climb trying to use the lay of the terrain as cover. After and good hour we closed the distance to 500 yards.
Not feeling comfortable at that distance we moved to a pile of rocks and shorted it to 380 yards. Not pulling the spotter out again I readied for the shot. As I got settled in I told Travis I wasn’t sure it’s our buck. They were about to feed over the ridge top when I said I like him anyway. At the shot they all grouped up and I knew I had missed . They fled over the top not offering a follow-up shot. I figured we’d better go check, just to be sure it was a clean miss.
At this point we were nearly 7000 ft in elevation. Reaching the top Travis picked them up 3 – 400 yards out grouped in tall cover. They saw us and busted out of site. Since we were up there we decided to continue along glassing the vastness below. After another 45 min. of side hilling. Travis shouts “buck”! I looked directly downhill and 120 yards away was the buck I just missed staring at us. All I could see was his neck and head. I threw up my .280 and squeezed off a shot. He immediately flipped over backwards and disappeared.
Off went the Does crashing down the mountain stopping a 1000 yards away waiting for the buck. Getting down to him I very was thrilled with his symmetry and the nice backwards hook to his horns. After a few photos and tagging him I dressed him and down the mountain we went.
At the road we both knew we were a bit turned around the road and surroundings did not look familiar. Looking at the Garmin and onX HUNT we realized the truck was 3.5 miles away as the crow fly’s. Travis took off and I began boning out the buck and putting it into game bags.
After 1.5 hrs I was getting a bit worried when I seen a dust cloud in the distance and my grey Tacoma coming my way. He ended up climbing a high ridge and spotted a rig parked glassing. Meeting up with 2 older fellows from Reno they had seen our truck and gave him a ride to it. Still not sure where I was since he’d not marked my location. He looked at the map and thought I might be on the road heading south of our camp which we had not explored yet. Sure enough he guessed right and we got the meat iced up good and went back and broke camp.
Overall we had a great trip and was very happy with the buck I took. I feel very lucky to be able to still get out and enjoy what I love and to share it with my son.