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!!!
I have mentioned this before, but most laugh about the shear though of wearing sunglasses while hunting Pronghorn – Antelope or any other game animal.
A funny thing when a customer of mine told me about his Pronghorn hunt in Wyoming with a bow. The buck was coming in close to his blind. Like most humans he blinked and the startled Lope jump and head to the distant hills. By my experiences I have learned to know that especially Pronghorn have better sight than me and can see my eyes above all else. It they can’t see your eyes, they can’t tell your human! Take heed on this! Bwana Bubba
I have found great pleasure in finding new companies that have innovation, proving that entrepreneurs can make a difference… TrophyStickers is an outstanding example!
How many times have you gone into a Sporting Goods Store and noticed decals or stickers that were of Elk, Deer, Pronghorn and other big game? They are very popular with hunters and you see them on the back of pickups and SUVs windows quite often. The decals are always of a big recorded class big game animals that a company had an artist make up. So is it a dream or reality of the hunter when he or she displays it in the back window? Why not have a reality sticker showing the real antler or horn configuration.
I have found a company by the name of TrophyStickers, which can make it a reality for the hunter or even the non-hunter. It is very simple process to get it done. You simply take great pictures of your harvested animal, which means straight on frontal and side profiles would be great also.
Why not take great pictures of your once in a Lifetime Mule deer, Whitetail deer, Rocky Mountain bull, Roosevelt bull, Tule bull, Pronghorn or another big game that you harvested and make it a real sticker that represents the actual animal?
Many hunters love to take pictures while scouting, what if you found the monster buck during the scouting-photo op, or even off of your trail cam, why not have it made into a TrophySticker?
What a great present to give your son, daughter or grandchild on their first big game animal harvest.
You can find and get a hold of Trophy Stickers at the following sites:
The most frustrating hunt I have ever had! Left early Friday morning and after shredding a drive belt on the truck in Madras, Oregon made it to The Narrows south of Burns by 11:00 to start scouting. The plan was to ask landowners to hunt the pivots in Princeton. After talking to 3 owners I was informed that they had seen very few antelope this year, in the past there where 100’s and were considered pest.
They rack up the missing antelope to cougar problems. So that said went to 2nd spot Dry Lake just south. The lake was half full and had multiple camps around it. Talk to a few campers/hunters and said they too had seen only a few antelope in the area. My son and I only saw 1 herd of Lopes that were staying around the Round Barn in Diamond on private land with only a very small buck in the herd.
The week before I had talk to O.D.F.W. & B.L.M., Burns, Oregon and all had said the same thing, very good water year and the antelope were spread out everywhere making them difficult to find.
We moved south to New Moon Rd. Check out the waypoints I was given from Bwana Bubba based on using onXmaps HUNT and my Garmin GPS and did stop at all overlooks and canyons to spot. Saw nothing, 3 hours later we were at the end of the road at Fish Lake. Went to the top of Kiger Gorge and talked with a few camps that we set up on the road leaving the view point. Again no one had seen Antelope. Frustrated we headed back down and to the HHH road, above Fish Lake to get away from the main road. Had a very hard time finding a place to set a tent, thought we might have to set it on the edge of the road at one point. Found a meadow on a spring head right above Fish Lake on edge of private ground. With the lots of batches of Aspen trees were surprise at the lack of any animal signs. The Steens seems to be a dead zone with very little wildlife left…
Started opening morning glassing the open basins to no a fail, only a lonely doe across the Blitzen Canyon. Decide to break camp around 10:30, and headed back to main road. Came around the last corner and 20ft in front of the truck are 2 doe Lopes and seconds later 40 more crest the ridge in front of use. I jump out of the truck and go to the back of the truck and the Lopes all cross in front of use at 50ft away; there was 1 very nice buck in the middle of the herd. They see a fence in front of them and panic and turn around and pass us again, yet the buck is buried in the middle of the group. As they crest over the ridge he almost gives me a parting shot, but gone. We run up the road only to see they are circling the ridge above us heading back towards Fish Lake. We run up the road and rush to the ridge line were I get an open shot at 150yds, but cannot take it as I knew they were on the wrong side of the fence on private land. We watch the herds for over 10 minutes, traveling miles to the top of Kiger Gorge where they were fired on by the hunters camping on top.
Frustrated we went for gas in Frenchglen. Talking to other hunters, all had the same story can’t find Lopes. Decided to skip going back to New Moon Rd and opted to head to the South Loop Rd south of Frenchglen. Drove and glassed for a couple hours. Lots of water holes and all were still wet. Saw A few other hunters driving and glassing. After only seeing herds of horses and cattle heading back towards highway 207, our goal was to find small spur round to get off on our own. At a junction I saw a rancher unloading his quad and hay bales. Stop and talked to him and was informed he had seen a small group of Lopes every day for the past week right above us working the area. He suggested a hunt strategy and told us about water holes up the old road he was using. We did the hunt the spot, saw no Lopes only horses so decided to make camp in the area. The area was more deer country with juniper trees and draws with open plains in between.
Next morning were up glassing before daylight on the plains above camp looking out towards Hart Mtn. Saw nothing, around 7:30 I get a buzz from my son who has locate the group in a draw find a mile above camp. 20 mins later I’m in the same area hugger under a Juniper tree watching the group in the draw. Saw 2 does and 4 yearlings mixed through the Juniper trees at 400yds, after 5 min I see a buck moving in the trees. My son decided he would move down the draw cross it and get to the other side. I was afraid they would see him and move up the draw out of range. The buck was now at 375yds. I decided I better make the shot as I probably will not see him again. I was getting ready to make the shot when I saw the does; they were closing their distance, walking right towards me up the old road. Told my son to stay put and turned the radios off. The does and yearlings passed to my right just 40yds away the buck was trailing, so ended up taking the shot at 60yds, dropping him in his tracks. There was 10 minutes of per thrill as he closed the distance to me on the road, thought for sure something would go wrong or the does would see me. Took care of the Lope and broke camp, was on the road by 11:00AM with the Lope in the rear seat of the truck and A/C on high.
What a great time to be in the RV business, seeing so many RV’s on the road and in the RV Parks! Now in 7th year with B Young RV, it only gets better. B Young RV has now move into being in the 10 Ten in the North America in the sales of Tiffin Motorhomes.
The company has expanded with a distribution center in another location. Inbound RV’s will go there first to get a Preliminary Pre-Delivery Inspection and any minor repairs that are needed from the travel time from the factories. We also have extra storage at the location that only has only technicians working there. A very important expansion as we do not have enough space at our main location for all the RV’s we have in inventory. We also have a full RV Body Repair and Paint facility at the location. Here at B Young RV, we are the RV Dealer to get all your needs taken care of.
Just after our June Expo show the wife and I hit the road with the intention to traveling into California along Hwy 101, I wanted to do photo ops on Roosevelt Elk. We headed down I-5 with the first stop being Seven Feathers RV Resort, spending a night and the next morning hitting Mac’s Diner in Shady Cove, Oregon, ordering the best Country Fried Steak, Eggs over medium and hash browns in the state.
Well plans changed and the wife asked me if I wanted to go to eastern Oregon and do some scouting… It does not take me more than 5 seconds to say are you sure about this and yes was my answer! So off we head towards the east, with the first stop at Collier State Park, capturing the last spot there. With not real direction and letting the motorhome take to where ever, we many side trips and even into the Owyhee’s in search of Pronghorns and Mule deer.
We stayed a couple nights that Crane Crystal Crane Hot Springs RV Park. The weather turned from warm sunny days to snow and freezing weather. As we did not have a set course to take, we headed back towards Seven Feathers RV Park, with it being full, though I know the management there; we were out of luck… Off the cuff, we did find another park after hitting the Oregon Coast at Bandon, Oregon. Just a note, the Oregon State Parks were full, my suggestion with the Oregon State Parks, is to use Reserve America and get your spot reserved. We stayed at Bandon by the Sea RV Park, a small RV Park that does have permanent residents and allows weary travelers to stay. It is very clean park to stay at. I was very fortunate that Bruce Young, allowed me to take the extended two weeks during the summer… P.S. We did go into California and saw Elk, in a spot that I have seen them every time we go that way. Interesting that we went through the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park. Hmm! Big and Dry Camping only. No one on the west coast beats Oregon State Parks…
Since my last RV Newsletter, B Young RV has added some new product lines to our inventory with Winnebago Travel Trailers (Micro Minnie – Hot small trailer) and Thor Class A motorhomes (Windsport) and Class C motorhomes (Quantum). The highly styled Dynamax Istata 3 Class B+ has been a top seller with it options and just overall great appearance.
Our lineup of Little Guy teardrop style T@B’s, T@G’s, T@G XL’s and regular Little Guys do not hang around very long. What a phenomena of who are buying these vintage perspective of the mind… It is simply amazing how many are sold and the fact we run out at a moment’s notice!
Recently, such as July 7th, we had a visit from Bob Tiffin, the owner of Tiffin Motorhomes. A man that believes in his company and the family he gains with customers that buy Tiffin. It is all about service and a long time relationship. It was very enlightening to have a round table discussion with Bob in the 36UA Bunkhouse Allegro Open Road motorhome, a number of us were able to make a few suggestions. Bob, pulled out folded over paper and made notes of the comments. Rest assured when he gets back to Red Bay, Alabama, he will review and make some small changes… Bob brought up the new Phaeton 44OH on the Powerglide Chassis and how it will be the new change in how RV’s will be built. The Phaeton 44OH has a flat floor throughout the motorhome. It is all about how the floor is built and how the walls are set. Come by B Young RV and learn all about it if you are interested why Tiffin leads the way!
Interesting thing about RV’s, they all have one thing in common to me, and that is to use to escape from the daily grind and the cluster of life. So, many like to hunt, fish, hike, explore unknown places and even venture to where just maybe no one has ever stepped foot before, so I am going to give you all a link to onXmaps HUNT. Just touch the following logo and let your mind take it all in. The product can be used on mobile devices, Garmin GPS’s (handheld or vehicle). It is not all about HUNT, but that is where it started, but it is an adventurer into the mountains, desert, beach, and life.
Native American Tribal members have the treaty rights to hunt on all public land anytime!
Since this article has raised a great deal of eyebrows from Native Americans, let it be written that the poachers are not the majority of Native Americans. This article is also based on Oregon and not other states. Since all that is written has backup from hunters, I will leave it written as it is. One other question, how many of the Native American Hunters are 100%?
The hunter may be unaware of illegal activity, unless it happens in the area he or she is occupying. Those of us who have spent a great deal of time in the field hunting, fishing, hiking and camping have chronic knowledge about big game poaching. I never paid attention too, was the fact that the Native American has been subject to poaching for a long time on off-reservation public-private lands. I thought poaching was done by outlaw hunters capitalizing on the opportunity of out of season, night hunting, closed lands, horn hunters or other illegal means to get it done. There is an old saying in life “if the janitor talks about it”, usually is true, in this case law enforcement officers have talked about it, besides eye witness to the incidents.
My son during the 2015 Rocky Mountain Elk big game hunt in Oregon, in a hunt unit made up of B.L.M. land (limited road entry) and private land, he and his hunting partners, it came apparent that there is a problem with poaching of big game with Native American Tribal Members, hunting off-reservation involvement. Opening day in this limited entry by road area along the John Day River, the group were stopped by Oregon State Police Game Officers. They had just finished a hunt from hunting from the top fence line down to the river, when the OSP Game Officers confronted them. They were asked numerus times about the poaching of a large bull elk and the wasting game meat, plus severing the rack off. After three times of the direct accusations and rebuttal comments back, the OSP Officers backed off. The hunters now had open dialogue with the OPS Game Officers’ of what they had encountered.
Knowing my son and how I have mentored him to hunt and visualize the out of place objects or situation’s, noticed that things had not been right all day in the hunting area. His group was the only elk hunters that had made a camp in the area, but there were a couple of other vehicles that were in area, traveling all over the open roads and the hillsides (off-road). JR took pictures of one particular pickup that had no good written all over it. The OSP Game Officers thought it was strange that he had done this Intel, but later the tire tracks matched the tire tracks at the kill zone. Since JR., has friends that live in Madras, Oregon he is well aware of the Tribal members and their appearance.
Cutting to the chase on the “elk hunt from hell” as my son would put it; there were 6 mule bucks and 1 bull elk that had been killed on private along the boundary fence. A great deal of meat wasted, all the racks had been sawed off. The MO was the same for all the game animals that were within 100 yards of each other. The deer carcasses were stacked up on each other. Plus the fact the animals were shot prior to opening morning. A great way to have a hunt ruin with a special opening day for a selective group that the Federal Government has given special privileges too prior to the regulated Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife opening day.
There was a great discomfort with the poaching; the private lands around the B.L.M. were now being patrolled heavily, plus legal hunters being watched around the clock by the land owners that scanned the hills with spotting scopes and binoculars. With all the activity, there was not going to be any elk harvested by legal hunters. The elk had moved into non-road areas, deep into rim rock of the interior on the private land.
So have any of you ever read the Treaty of June 25, 1855 for Tribes and Bands of Middle Oregon. Treaty, you find that the Warm Springs Indians are subject to only their laws and rules when it comes to hunting? The Game Commission is the tribal council and not the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Tribal members can get their tags from Human Resources free. Then there are the ceremonial tags that they can get when a tribal member dies of 3 deer and 1 elk. My understanding, though not in writing that I can find, the numbers might be greater. In the treaty tribal members can hunt on any federal lands, basically anytime… In thought, I suppose they have to kill 3 deer to make one, since they are only taking the choice meat, (blackstrap & hindquarters) sort of like the tendency of the Wolf when it comes to consuming. You have to make note that Indian Reservations are a sovereign nation within the boundaries of the United States of America. Oregon State Police have not justifications on reservation lands.
“Cultural hunting” shall mean the exercise of traditional, ceremonial and subsistence tribal hunting rights.
I would like to make a comment, if it is about cultural hunting, then why not hunt in the cultural method of the past with bow-arrow or spear, this way at least the game has a chance. Plus in their traditional ways of the past it would have been by canoe, horse or walking, not by a red Toyota Tacoma or white T100 Tundra pickup. When you can hunt basically year-round, when the deer, elk and other big game are in the wintering grounds with little chance for escape, I truly have a major problem with a treaty that dates back to the 1900’s. Times change and market hunting has long since left this country. This is the 21st Century, no longer the 19th Century with misguided or outdated privileges. Game populations cannot withstand over hunting and with little regard to the state’s big game laws. Hunting tags are normally regulated by the ODFW in this state from census on game during the winter months and harvest counts.
Oregon State Police Game Division find it extremely difficult to control and prosecute the tribal members guilty in game & fish violations on non-reservation lands. Public law enforcement cannot enter Tribal lands to catch the guilty. I found a great comment that the federal government (enforcement) has little to do what goes on with the 326 land reservations in the United States of America. In the State of Oregon there are 9 Federally-Recognized Tribes with 100 different sub-tribes within the 9 tribes.
For the most part the crimes within the Reservations are handled by Tribal Police. My turn on this is in relationship to non-reservation lands: “is a crazy quilt of jurisdiction that allows the government to ignore things.” “How did things get this way in a country that’s not only on but within our borders, and what is being done to fix them?” The answer is two words that come up as often as “with impunity.” Those words are, “It’s complicated.”
I have no problem with subsistence hunting at all, but why is it in the instance that all bucks were taken? How does in the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife set the quota’s for hunting or even fishing the following years? Oregon State Police Game Division have their hands tied and spend a great deal of wasted time, trying to find the culprits of the violations that are Tribal members. This is about hunting off reservation at their leisure, a luxury that non-Tribal citizens do not have.
I have talked with un-disclosed Oregon State Police Game Officers Retired and this has been going on in their lifetimes. Within the game unit non-reservation lands, those that border Tribal lands, it extremely tough, as tribal members can enter from their roads into these hunt units and exit. From what I understand there are only few Tribal police on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, north of Madras, Oregon.
Over the years, I guess I was just blind to what I saw in the field at times or on the river banks, such as fishing net with 100 plus rotting salmon, 100 yards downstream from a hatchery… An eyewitness sees and hears that 30 undersize sturgeons are taken on the Columbia River by a Tribal Member, remembering other American citizens cannot fish for sturgeon on the Columbia River. When asked by the OSP Officer why, the comment back was “they taste better when smaller.” Another recent incident that was given to me by reliable sources, 2015 2nd season Rocky Mtn. Elk hunt in the Heppner Unit, Tribal members sell three branch bull elk to white hunters for 100 bucks each, using a pickup truck with hoist to load into the hunters trucks. 2015 1st season Rocky Mtn. Elk in the Heppner unit, hunter sees a pickup with a hoist in the back and wonders, what the heck is that for… If you want to read about game violations on the Oregon State Police Game Division section on their webpage, you’ll see that there seems to be no arrests on Tribal Members. OSP Game Officer’s seem to have there hands tied in this great astoristy of Oregon’ big game animals being dwindle by blatant poaching by a few.
There are many incidents of poaching by Tribal members that the public is un-aware of, such as the 9 Roosevelt cow elk remains, with the heads left at the sight along the upper Siletz River on the Oregon coast off-reservation National Forest lands during the late archery season. They had been taken with a rifle.
One last incident of poaching by the Tribal members hunting off-reservation with the killing of 9 mule deer does out of a ranchers hay field. This information is first hand from a rancher in the West Biggs Hunt unit when I called him last week about Tribal member poaching. The Oregon State Police Game Officers were called in. There was not much OSP could do to the Tribal members, other than criminal trespass on private land. The rancher did not want to press those charges…
Most think that the Warm Springs Indian Reservation only encompasses the parcel off of Hwy 216 and Hwy 26 in Oregon. Well this is a very large chunk of land on the east side of the John Day River that borders BLM and goes un-checked with access from tribal members. The Warm Springs Indian Reservation has more than 1 Million Sq. Miles of land, making it the largest in the State of Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife is very lenient with tags that go to the Tribal Game Commission. In the Siletz & Grand Ronde reservation area, 25% of the allotted tags for a hunt unit within or near the reservation go to the Tribal Game Commission.
Basically all the Tribes in Oregon have the same basic Treaty from the 19th Century. The Klamath and Modoc Tribes and Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians even have a treaty. From my readings they can hunt any land that might have encompassed the original lands, which is approximately 2.2 million acres that they roam for more than 14000 years. All the years I spent hunting the B.L.M., National Forest and Sycan Marsh area for Pronghorn, I rarely saw deer in a deer rich environment. I understand that within the 21st Century these tribes just might get their heritage lands back after the Federal Government force them to be vacated with a payoff. In this case the descendants will be the winners.
I will give a defense for the Native American, it is said that the On-Reservation resident Tribal members are poor and have little. Food for thought comes from a recent set of photos of a Deschutes River Bighorn Sheep that was harvested by a Tribal member. What I saw in the pictures was a bit disturbing. I saw no meat on packs in the pictures and I did see a full-curl broomed off ram, that the head was severed at the neck joint. In point no meat (I am sure they boned out every bit of useable meat into tiny packs), but better yet, if so poor why would you have wasted a large full shoulder cape most likely worth at least a $1200.00 and a life size cape around $3000.00 to a taxidermist. So for about 45 minutes to 2 hours of capping, one could make some fast cash.
In my opinion non Native American Tribal citizens of Oregon, plus the non-resident big game hunters, need to stay attuned to what happens in the field. I don’t believe, unless Tribal member poaching on off-reservation public land is stopped while in the field there is little that can be changed.
We all have a purpose to our hunt and our style of hunting, which is not always the same as others. It’s a cliché: 10% of the hunters may get 90% of the game but in my opinion that is really based on the how we hunt. This article includes some examples too make you think about your mistakes and successes. It may give you an idea as to how you stand vis-a-vis others in terms of methods of hunting and rate of success.
Yelling Out! Many years ago after coming home from overseas, I took my father hunting with me. We were hunting in western forest lands of Oregon with vine maple, underbrush, ferns and alders. The distance between us was no more than 100 feet. During this early morning hunt, I was jumping a number of Blacktail deer bucks at close range and would yell out “there’s one,” and Dad’s comment would be “where”? On that hunt, I could have very easily killed a buck, yet we did not get one. I wanted to see my Dad get a buck. As you might suspect the deer were on alert and took evasive moves.
A buddy known as MJ once yelled at my son because he did not tell him he was shooting at a deer, as he did not get a chance to kill one of the deer. I told MJ that I have taught my son to react to the situation. My son had jumped the small group of bucks in the draw. He took the shot and got his buck! Believe it or not deer do have great hearing. If my son had yelled, “there’s a buck”, they surely would have not gotten any of them. On this same hunt, I spotted a dandy 4X4 and said to MJ “there’s a big buck”, he said “where”? He did not get the buck, yet he had time if he had been paying attention.
Over the years, while hunting with groups of hunters situations I believe we create situations in which there are too many distractions.
Sharp Eyes and Sensitive Ears. Some years ago while on a Pronghorn scouting trip in eastern Oregon with a buddy that seemed to always fall asleep even on the roughest roads, I would catch sight of coyotes in the middle of an abandoned road or dry lake. I would say “there’s a dog”, he too would say “where” as he was trying to gain eyesight after dozing off. Coyotes can hear the voices within the truck. From then on, I just kept my mouth shut. When I saw dog (coyote), I would just push on the emergency brake (holding the release lever so it would not make noise), bail out and take the shot. My partner, still dozing, had no clue and would wake up and say “what the heck you shooting at?” I took 5 dogs on the trip, with him dozing off all the time. We still talk about that maneuver of mine.
Stopping to Count Points. Some years ago, an old hunting buddy had been successful getting a nice Rocky Mountain Elk bull off of the B.L.M. near the John Day River hunting by himself. MJ was pretty good about getting it done, with a partner or solo, but usually never hunting together, but taking routes in different canyons. On this particular hunt, he had run into my Commanding Officer in the Navy. MJ knew of Rod and had met him several times. Rod was hunting with an old friend of his. MJ said he would show them bulls in a basin he had spotted bulls earlier in the hunt. MJ lived up to his offer and put both of them on eight bulls at about 150 yards out. Well, Rod and his buddy saw the bulls and counted all the bulls’ points and finally decided (after the bulls took off running) to shoot! Moral of the story, be in combat mode and react to what the eyes see instantly and not over think! Game moves a lot faster than you can get setup.
Combat Mode. So let’s start off with the type a hunter, the person who seems to be always successful. He or she will have the hunt lined out the year before. Most of the time, the hunt is totally about them and getting it done. I like to call it the Combat mode of hunting. The mind is focused on the end result of getting the game down. In many cases they are solo hunting in the sense of immediate contact with other hunters. There might be a partner or partners, but rest assured they are in the field away from others. All of their senses are tuned into the surroundings within their space. The person that most likely can make the 300 yard running shot, or have his arrow clear a 12” opening in a tree and hit the 50 yard distance target… you can be sure he or she is totally focused!
Knowing Your Area. There are the party hunters (hunters only) that love to hunt together and try to do it every year at a specific hunting area. It is about the gathering, though each and every one of them wants to be successful on the hunt. They know the area like they know their own yard. I find that they are fairly successful in getting game, as they know the routes of the game over the years. They all have their favorite stand they will be at on opening morning. In this case it reminds me of the Hurley’s that once hunted the Pilot Rock area in Oregon. They setup their camp near Foggy Knob or Four Corners up on East Birch Creek. They always had deer or elk hanging in their camp. I know they spent more than 25 years hunting the same spot.
Generations Matter. Now the following camp is an example of some of my first hunting experiences with family and friends. Again we were “party hunting,” but with the spouses that either hunted or not (mostly not), but adding the young grandkids to the mix as well. We would have three generations hunting. I remember talking with my cousin about the good old days that his dad hunted; little did I know at the time, we just lacked the experience the old boys had. We would see one of the old guys coming back with game, having sat around an isolated campfire during elk season to keep ourselves warm. We could not understand how they got it done, as most old boys would smoke. On these hunts it was all about the family and good times. You always wanted to be the one to have the bragging rights that year on getting a deer or elk of any size.
Giving Others the Shot. One of the best hunts is the father or mother that shows their children how to hunt and give them the chance to harvest an animal. This could also go for a mentor that shares all their knowledge with youth or another hunter. In this case, it would be the time we had spotted a monster bull on the B.L.M., I asked my buddy who was also glassing and spotted the bull, if he wanted to go after him. Knowing how to get to the area that was about a mile off, with my son and his non-hunting buddy following along we got into the spot that was close to the last appearances of the bull. I had checked up wind and the area was clear, coming back to the boys, I said he has to be close. I let my son quietly lead into the juniper and sagebrush. JR, jumped the bedded bull at 50 feet and made the shot. The bull was bedded under a Juniper tree. What was great he reacted without hesitation and took his first bull with a gross score of 340. If there had been any hesitation that bull would have made it out of there. JR got to have the bragging rights of the biggest bull taken on a very successful hunt for all.
Just recently on a bow hunt, being in a tree stand I could see the bucks coming into the draw, JR was in a ground blind in the draw. I sat there in a daze watching all un-folding, I had the shot, but something told me it was JR’s hunt and not mine. He could have taken the big buck at 15 yards, but in his mind he knew I was after this buck. He made movement in the blind and the all the deer, but one scattered in the opposite direction. The one buck that caused the others to react, just stood his ground. JR took the 8 yard shot on that buck. Each person on this hunt was thinking about the other person and did not react to the situation. I told him he should have arrowed the big buck! “Dad, he was yours to take”
Pay to Play. So many times we see these days with the social media great pictures of truly great animals taken by hunters. When digging a bit, they are hunting on private enclosed hunting lands. In many cases large sums of money have changed hands to make the success of the hunt happen. This is about how much money one has to be successful. There is little more to be said on this style of hunter. Some years back I got a picture sent to me of a 430” Rocky Mountain bull taken in Idaho. What a great bull that was taken at 100 yards while in his bed. It took a while to get to the bottom of the story, but the bull was harvested on an enclosed 8-foot fenced ranch that sells the bulls by the inch.
Guides Help. There are many that want to only hunt on private lands (non-enclosure) with guides. In conclusion many times the hunter makes great shots on the game and I would say their success rate is around 50% to 100%. Again money is involved in the hunt and the success of the hunter. Most hunters would love to be able to have one or more of these hunts. To have a chance to hunt on a ranch that has big game and is managed for hunting would be quite exciting, I believe sometimes. On these ranches the only fences are the 5 strand barbwire cattle fencing…
Just Ask! Lastly, though the good old boys (ranchers) are slowing riding into the sunset, there still are some ranches and farms a hunter can just ask to hunt and be surprised that they might just get a Yes! They are normally working ranches or farms, with livestock, crops, orchards, vineyards or all of the above. Over the years I have just done the asking and got permission to hunt. In time I found that I wanted to return the favor and would give gestures of my thanks for getting to hunt these places. There is never the guarantee of harvesting game.
A funny and very true ending to the last paragraph was about 10 years ago. I knew a rancher in the Steen’s Mountains of Oregon that would allow hunters to hunt Pronghorns. So I helped out one of my vendors and lined up the permission. I knew that the rancher drank soda pop and I told my vendor to get a couple of cases of pop and a new folding knife for the rancher. “Ryan asked me, “why the knife” and I told him you’ll know when the timing is correct. So Ryan gets to the ranch, met and talk with the rancher, the rancher was very busy and told him to go down the road a couple of miles and look for a cattle guard. Ryan was a bit lost, and then he remembered what I said. Quickly producing the knife to the rancher, he was then escorted to the place to hunt with ideas of how to hunt the area. Ryan was successful in getting a trophy Pronghorn. Ranchers and Farmers are not managing wildlife, yet they have a great influence on the survival of wildlife.