Jeff gets his first deer ever with borrowed 270 in the Willamette Valley of Oregon!
Frankie decide he would help out his cousin Zach’s buddy Jeff get a buck off of a small section of land he had access to in the Willamette Valley close to Oregon City, Oregon. It was the second weekend of the of the general Blacktail rifle hunt for western Oregon.
The two young men traipse all over the 100+ acres of land through the blackberry forest, vine maple tangs and thick reprod. Not a deer was spotted during this hunt. As we all know Blacktails aren’t just going to let you walk up them unusually. So both of the boys were a little upset with what daylight was left quickly going to leave them for the walk back to the truck parked on the opposite side of the property.
There is a section where the grapes are trying to make a start on the farm that you can work along and possibly catch a deer along the tree lines. Now there was only one (1) hunter with Frankie working hard to find Jeff a deer, so Jeff and Zach could have some winter meat and plus his first kill!
By now they were walking along the tree line and working their way to the access road out. Frankie, hey he got out his bino’s and scanned the distant tree line along the grass field. “There is a buck just coming out into the grassy area.” There just happen to be a stump and Jeff had the rifle resting on the stump. The distance was about 250 yards, light failing at this point, the buck turns broadside! There was the report from the rifle and Frankie with is glass still on the buck sees it drop in the same tracks it was standing in! “Whoa, outstanding shot Jeff.”
The boys quickly made their way to the buck via the tree line and catching the gravel access road. They were not allowed to shortcut through the grapes. The deer had already taken out a number of them, so having excited hunters running through the grapes was not a good idea. A few pictures with a camera phone were taken. One of these days I will get Frankie to carry a decent camera in the backpack!
When Jeff got back to his house, Zack and his family were home. They gave him a bad time for shooting a small forked horn buck. The question back from Jeff Brodie was “what did you guys get in Heppner?” Zip! Hmm!
Borrowed rifle, Borrowed Ammo, Borrowed Knife, Buddies Truck! Moral of the story, Jeff filled his freeze with nice tasting valley venison!
When a planned trip does not go the way it was expected after 11 years of waiting!
The following story was sent to me by a young man that had drawn a Pronghorn Tag for the Silvies #2 hunt for 2011. I like that way Joshua hunts and his thoughts about his hunt. As you can see from the pictures he is dedicated hunter and from the Blacktail buck pictured in this story, he likes to trophy hunt!
Dear Mr. Biggs,
Thank you for your patience regarding the timely delivery of the story of my Silvies Lope hunt. Unfortunately, it is a disappointing story to due circumstances out of my control but there is always something to be learned every time I go out and with that in mind, no trip has ever been a waste.
First of all, let me say that this was the first antelope tag I have ever drawn in Oregon. I have hunted them one other time in Wyoming, where the herds can be seen spotting every rolling hillside and public and private is virtually the same thing. I did not know what to expect on this hunt which is what caused me to begin researching on the internet and eventually stumble on your website which was the most amazing resource I have come across. Everyone’s story updates are pretty cool too. 🙂 Your website allowed an under-prepared outdoorsman feel like he had done a little bit of scouting. You gave me a point of reference to start from and also, I believe, an edge psychologically to know that I was not wandering around in vain.
The night before opening day, I made the 8 hour drive over to beautiful central Oregon from the towering pines of southern Oregon in an amazing heavenly lightening show as I passed through the vast alfalfa fields. Using the coordinates you gave me I was able to find a campsite quickly, near a waterhole southwest of the well. Pulling in the dark, right away on the other side of the oasis, a small black bear was stalking around. I watched it in the headlights for a while, excitement brewing for the hunt to come.
The next morning I headed out before daylight and hiked through some of the canyons that were noted on the map you gave as I tried to get my bearings and a feel for the land. Sure enough, around ten o’clock, I was sitting at the base of a canyon taking a breather as the sun had began to heat up past the 75 degree mark, and I saw a lone buck tearing across the plain about a mile off. I watched him as he passed behind a small ridgeline out of site. I decided I was going to sneak up and over the face of that ridge and hopefully pop up directly above him thinking he might have slowed his pace after reaching the safety of the canyon walls. I started putting the sneak on him down across the plain, crossing a deep creek bed and up and over the ridge. Just as I hoped, I crawled slowly over the ridgeline through the sage and there he was standing broadside not more than 75 yards away!!! Here is the complicated part of the story. As I climbed up the ridge and reached the higher elevation, a ranch house came into view a couple miles off to my left and 100 or so head of cattle a half mile off to my right. As, I stared at the small buck in my scope (but the biggest I’d ever seen) the thoughts and voices of my mentors over the years raced through my mind and even as the Lope began to sense my presence and EVEN COME CLOSER, I couldn’t find the peace to pull the trigger. I knew I’d get another chance with 10 days left and decided I needed to really make sure I knew the public land boundaries. Later that evening I received a telephone call from work stating that I was needed for an emergency and that I had to return by Sunday.
In the remaining time I had there, I only saw one other group of females as far as I could tell, as they were too far off even with the spotting scope. I was disappointed that I could not finish the hunt as I felt like things were heating up and I was enjoying the challenge of a new species and a different terrain. That’s how life rolls sometimes I guess and I’m thankful for all the memories I had anyway.
BTW, I saw the biggest Muley I’ve EVER seen just bedded in the shade next to the road, an easy 35in wide with velvet hanging.
I wonder if that is a 30-30 or 32 Win Special?
Thank you so much for your help. I am not one to use a gps but I am definitely reconsidering it as I could have found precise spots that you told me about quickly and accurately. I look forward to trading information in the future. Again, thank you for your wealth of knowledge and your willingness to share it and your patience as I finished out the hunting year. I had a chance to guide a hunt in Chesnimus and finished out the year in Grants Pass where I reside. Here are a few pictures of this year other hunts. JOSH
I get a great deal of inquiries where to hunt every year and sometime I am just another lead to the hunter along with the rest of the information they get from others. It is good that when it comes to hunting that hunters try to gather as much information as they can, including getting information from the local biologist for the area they plan to hunt. Many biologist are hunters themselves and want to see hunters successful. In Oregon the ODFW have some very good biologist and a couple I have know for many years.
Getting on with Linda’s hunt, she made contact with me early on about getting a Trout Creek Mule Deer tag. Tough unit to draw for, as it takes at least 10 points to get drawn. The Trout Creek Hunt is in the Whitehorse Hunt Unit, bordering Nevada. There are some monster bucks that live in the arrid country, but hard to find.
I gave Linda some waypoints that were given to me by an old hunter that I had known for more than 20 years that hunted the Trout Creek Mountain and harvest many a big monster buck. Bud Lucas was his name and he lived in Klamath Falls, OR. He shared his stories and pictures of the bucks that he harvest of the years.
I was Mule Deer hunting in the Trout Creek Mountains. Got my buck day 2 of the hunt. It was great! I wish I could hunt there every year. I went several days early and put bucks to bed. Found them in the morning. It was good I got my deer early as it began snowing a couple of days later. What a great experience I will never forget. I saved points for 10 years and wanted a tag before I was 50 (next year), now I think I may get another one before I am 60!
Thanks for the interest and encouragement!
Philip got a hold of me prior to the season on anything I could come up with on the Warner Unit for Lopes. Philip had a buddy that knew area, plus he spent a great deal of time talking with the Area Biologist. Funny the biologist told him he would not have a problem in the Warner Unit harvesting an Antelope. Recently I talked with Garrett at Artistic Taxidermy and he told the average buck coming was about 14 1/2″. Philip’s buck is a really dandy and I am sure when he has it on the wall in the trophy room he will be glad he decided to have the trophy mounted.
HI Frank, Here’s my story from the Warner unit. We ended up hunting an area that my buddy had previously hunted which also happened to be near one of the waypoints you gave me. Thanks for all of your help.
I began preparing for my first ever antelope hunt shortly my hunting buddy and I were drawn. My buddy loaded several rounds of 130 grain Nosler ballistic tips for my .270 until we finally settled on a load that produced a muzzle velocity of roughly 3,050 fps. We shot several times at the practice range until I felt relatively comfortable out to 300 yards. I had my gun zeroed at 200 yards with a 6 inch drop at 300 yards. I purchased some Stoney Point shooting sticks, open country Camo shirts, knee pads from Salvation Army, and some leather gloves in case I needed to crawl.
The day for our departure finally arrived, and we got up early the Sunday morning before the Wednesday opener, loaded up my truck with all of our gear including a spare ice chest loaded with block ice and hit the road. We made it to the first area that we wanted to scout and did some evening scouting. For the next two days, we scouted some areas that were recommended to us, as well as, an area my buddy had hunted previously.
On opening day, we ended up settling on the area that my buddy had previously hunted. We got up early on opening day and decided to split up and set up in a couple of areas that we had seen antelope the day before. I had several does come down off a ridge along with one nice buck. I was set up on the other side of a Juniper tree because of the sun direction and could not get a decent shot at about 250 yds. They started to head away on the other side of small depressions. I tried to put a quick sneak on them by using Juniper trees as cover but got busted. No other opportunities on opening day.
That evening I walked several ridges and plateaus to get to know the area better. I saw several antelope. The next day I set up in a different spot. I tried to put the sneak on a nice buck with 8 does. I made a big loop to get around where they were loafing. Unfortunately, by the time I made it to where they were by using Junipers as cover, they had moved and decided to mosey to another area and was now out of range and heading away from me. I spotted another large group about a ¾ of a mile away and began another sneak. For some reason, they spooked when I was well over 1,000 yards away. I thought this was strange as I was being very careful to hide behind Junipers.
I decided to continue on anyway to see if there were any others left in the area. I got set up and was glassing and noticed another hunter hiding under another Juniper about 150 yds. Away (he probably spooked the antelope that I was trying to put the sneak on). I waved to him and left to go back to the truck as it was now about 12:30. My buddy radioed me on the GPS that he was ready to come in and head back to camp for a break. He said there was a nice buck bedded down between him and the truck. He said if I could position myself between him and the truck he would try to “push” the antelope towards me. I thought what the heck, we might get lucky so I positioned myself under a Juniper in the shadows and set up my shooting sticks. After about 20 minutes I saw my buddy on the top of the ridge about a half mile away. He headed down and about 10 minutes later I saw a nice buck headed my way about 800 yards out. I was amazed that he kept on heading for my position. I glassed him at about 400 yards and he looked pretty nice. I decided that I would take him if the opportunity presented itself. He kept on walking briskly towards me. I finally ranged him at 248 yards and knew he was in “the zone”. There was a very brisk wind so I waited as long as I could for him to come broadside and almost dead down wind. He stopped for a brief moment. I swung my rifle from left to right through him just like a duck. I centered on his front shoulder and moved it back an inch or two. I sensed he was about to step forward and pulled the trigger. He folded like a sack of potatoes at 227 yds.
We played cat and mouse with the antelope for the next three days until we finally got my buddy a nice buck on day 5. We had a great steak dinner at the Adel store on Saturday night and hit the hot springs on Hart Mt. in the afternoon after my buddy got his antelope.
The folks at the Adel Store are super friendly (Al and Marcie Prom, Debbie, and Ben). They let hunters use their walk in cooler to store the antelope. We purchased ice, gas, and had refreshing cold tap beers for $2 after we brought in my antelope. They were exceptionally friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, Al and Marcie have their store and home up for sale so who knows how the set up will be in the future. For now, I would encourage anyone to patronize them if they are in the area. Based on my conversation with the taxidermist who was stationed at the Adel store, I decided to have my antelope mounted. He measured one side at 15 3/8, but did not measure the other side. The only downside to the trip was that we saw more hunters than we anticipated for the first three days of the season. After the third day however, all but one of the hunting camps had left and on the fourth day we had the area to ourselves Unfortunately, several of the hunters on days 1-3 were hunting like the cavalry out of ATV’s, jeeps, etc. and spooking every antelope in sight. I don’t mind people using ATV’s to retrieve their game, but in my opinion, too many people hunt out of them and screw up the hunting for others in the process. All in all it was a great trip. We saw many antelope, sage grouse, mule deer and some wonderful scenery. I look forward to the next time in another 10 years or so when I will be the ripe old age of 59.
Sometimes even I get to see something different! In all of my years of harvesting Lopes and chasing them, I have never seen a buck that looks like this great buck with sweeping forward horns. Truly a trophy buck that everyone would love to have hanging on their wall! Steve had contacted me earlier before the hunt and gave him some landmarks. Steve was able to find a place to hunt that he found this monster buck on. For the future if anyone has a friend or hunter that draws the Murderers Creek Antelope Tag, we can get you the information on the ranch!
Here are the pictures from my antelope hunt as promised.
I was hunting the Murderers Creek unit and near Seneca, Oregon. I saw this guy on opening morning pushing some does but at about 300 yards and moving.
It wasn’t a great shot and it was the first day so I passed. It was tough hunting as these antelope see you coming from far off and run away. I walked miles in pursuit only to have them spot me again and run half a mile or more. There isn’t much to hide behind for stalking in closer. I was within 600 yards on many occasions but couldn’t close the deal. I had been in the field every morning by 5:30 but on Tuesday I was out at 4:30 and headed to a lone tree where I had jumped them twice before. It was about 8:00 when I first saw him at 800 yards and coming my way. He was all alone this time and I had been told the big bucks will frequently be seen that way. At about 275 yards I realized he wasn’t going to get any closer so I dropped him.
This is my first antelope so I’m not an expert but I think he’s pretty good. (Great Buck! Bwana) I had trouble judging him due to his odd horn configuration; note the forward slant of his horns.
This was part of the reason I passed that first day. I have not had him scored but the length is about 16″s. I am anxious to have a pro measure him. Let me know what you think.
We had a great time and stayed at a perfect campsite with a nice creek and fire pit close by.
Roger had only got a hold of me this summer about the Steens Antelope Tag he had drawn. I gave Roger some waypoints and I believe even a jpg paper map. I had another fellow hunting the unit, but it is a large area to hunt, so I felt they would not cross paths which they didn’t! So here is Roger’s great story of his hunt, which I have enjoyed to read which all of you will!
Thanks so much for the advice provided for my Steens Mountain antelope hunt. Your advice was the difference between success and tag soup for me. As requested here is a short story and photo of my buck. A very small price to pay for the knowledge provided.
After 14 years I was finally able to draw my Oregon Antelope tag. My wife and I decided Steens Mountain would be a great spot to hunt due to the high success rate and legendary scenery. The trip and hunt, although a calamity from start to finish, did end nicely and we were not disappointed!
I reached out to you after discovering my work would allow no scouting before the trip. In addition, I would be traveling to Steens Mountain on opening morning instead of hunting. I was fretting to say the least. I obtained the hunting GPS maps you recommended and even got a new Garmin 62s GPS to use with them. This was an awesome GPS/map combo that did contribute to my success in the end. The waypoints you provided were great starting points for the search and put us square in the middle of good antelope territory.
My wife and I started out from Portland early Saturday morning with a lot of high hopes and anticipation. This bubble was soon burst however by a flat tire while crossing Mount Hood. This little delay cost us our Saturday and we were not able to reach Steens Mountain until Sunday afternoon. On Monday, the 3rd day of the hunt, a time when most hunters were finishing up, we found ourselves just getting started, with the antelope scattered and wary. It was Wednesday before things started to settle down and we were able to spot a few small herds, though some were now missing the buck.
Thursday morning things were looking up, we had a couple of herds to setup on and again anticipation was high. But again a problem… First thing in the morning, we had an axle issue that forced us to miss the whole days hunt and travel to Burns for repairs!
Friday morning, we were back on the road but a whole week of hunting was fast disappearing. And I had not yet put my sights on a buck. I was starting to dread becoming a member of the “20 Percent Club”, that unfortunate group of Steens Mountain antelope hunters who fail to fill their tag. We tried some road hunting, to cover more ground and find a herd. We were finding them, but once these already fuzzed up antelope saw a truck, approaching them was all but impossible. We tried all the road tricks, like slowing down just enough to drop the hunter out the passenger door and then driving on, but no good, these antelope had seen it all.
Latter Friday morning, we spotted a herd of antelope from some distance, before they were able to spot us. This allowed for a spot and stalk. I was able to work my way to within 489 yards of the herd but could go no further as there was nothing but wide open space between the herd and me. So, I settled in between some small juniper scrubs and started eyeing the buck. He was BIG. After a few days of looking at bucks, once you see a good one, you know it. I was excited to say the least. I got a good shooting position with rifle and bipod and started to contemplate the risks/rewards and even sanity of a 489 yard shot. No wind… I had practiced at 400 yards and felt somewhat competent at that range, but 489 was another story. About then I noticed the herd was actually feeding toward me and a bit to my left. This was my best chance of the week. Now all I had to do was wait them out! But again it was not to be. The herd became very nervous and they were all looking in the direction of a road that I could not see, about 500 yards to my left. They then bolted, crossed under a fence on their side of the field and disappeared. I suspected another hunter had been stalking the same herd and spooked them. I picked up my gear and had started the hike back to the truck, when I heard it… Bang Clang Clang Bang Bang Bang Clang. The herd had been spooked by a rancher with a rattling horse trailer traveling up the road. The only other vehicle I saw the whole day! Such are the challenges of public land hunting I guess.
This is where the GPS/map combo came in handy. While back at the truck, we could see where the antelope had traveled almost full circle and were now visible on a far off rise. The rancher approached our truck on horseback. I explained what had happened and apologies were given and they explained they were in the area to round up some cattle they had grazing the BLM land. I replied, no worries, as the antelope could have just as well spooked my way, which would have been a very good thing. I discussed some property boundaries with the rancher, as the herd had seemed to go under the fence onto private land. I knew this because of the GPS maps. The rancher confirmed that the fence was the boundary between their land and BLM land. The rancher seemed somewhat relieved that I asked about and understood the property boundaries.
The rancher decided to help me get within range of the antelope again. With me hidden between the horses, the rancher attempted to approach the antelope on horseback. The antelope obviously knew this trick too and bolted to places unknown for the day. I spent the rest of the day finding a spot to setup that would allow a good shot, if the antelope returned the next day.
On Saturday morning, last day of my hunt, I walked to the setup spot with just enough light as to not require a headlamp, sat down beside a three foot juniper that was on a small rise overlooking the open field. This gave me a perfect 300 yard shot to where the antelope had crossed under the fence the previous day and also allowed me to cover the opposite side, if they showed up there as well. At 7:30am I saw a buck feeding down the BLM side of the fence line. The buck slowly grazed to about where the antelope had crossed under the fence yesterday. Unfortunately, he was not the same buck from the day before. He was smaller. I watched this buck for about 10 minutes, hoping that the rest of the herd might not be far behind, but no others showed. This buck seemed to be alone. Now I had a decision. Should I take this buck or wait for one that may never show? It was 7:30am, my last day, and some scattered clouds arrived that were beating back the sun. I knew that with the early morning air and clouds, I would be able to get the meat out in good shape. So, I took the buck with one shot from 280 yards with my 25-06. The buck was only 20 yards on the BLM side of the fence. I now have some good meat and stories for elk camp this year!
This is where the GPS/map combo really shined for me. In years past, I would not have hunted an area with such close public/private land boundaries. But the maps allowed me to hunt with confidence and I got my antelope, which I may not have gotten otherwise. I hope to hunt the Beulah unit next year. I know an area where some big mule deer hang out and it too is a patchwork of BLM and private land. I cannot wait…
Roy contacted me back in early summer that he had a Steens Antelope Tag. He also told me that he had hunted deer the Steens and knew that area well. He was wondering if I would share some extra info on places that he might get into Antelope in the Steens.
Just in case his spots did not work out that there were other avenues to work in the Steens. The spot that Roy hunted is a great area for lopes which his story tells the end result!
Frank, I got a great picture of some real nice rams in the area and sharing it with you and your readers.
I killed a nice buck on Thursday evening, 14 inch buck, nice ivory tips, and good size! I gave up on the long range shooting and sat at a water hole for hours and hours. I hunted in the area northeast of Moon Hill Road.
I had multiple Does bed down below me at the waterhole when I shot this buck. There were antelope everywhere, and the good thing was, when I got a shot it was a mere 186 yards. The buck didn’t even move, he just crumpled right there.
I was pumped, got him to the locker in less than 2 hours, and the meat tastes great.
Thanks Much, Roy Jackson
I really like this buck and he was definitly a shooter and will look great on the wall! Bwana
Brett and I have been emailing back and forth since the spring of 2009 and the Silvies Unit in Oregon. He had enough points to get drawn in 2009 I thought but he did not get drawn. So expecting him to draw in 2010 and forgot. Anyway in 2011 after hearing he got his tag and learning about the mapping software, which Brett bought, the hunt was on. Great they he took this hunt so serious and spent the time in the field. Brett wrote a great story that all of you are now reading!
In June 2011, I finally drew mySilvies #2 Antelope tag. I thought I was going to get it in 2009, and forgot to put in for it in 2010. Now the work begins. I took my first scouting trip the last weekend in June. I saw several billies, ones that I would’ve shot, had it been in season. There was lots of water this spring, and the creeks were high. When the dry lakes aren’t dry it seems like it keeps the antelope further out in the desert, and not as close to agricultural lands.
On July 17th, I got back out to do some more scouting. This time I was able to get into the areas that Frank sent me, and there were antelope exactly where Frank’s way points were. I ended up spraining my ankle pretty badly on this trip and had to cut short, but I saw several antelope and a couple more shooters. Unfortunately, I was unable to do any more scouting before the season started.
On August 24th , I set up camp on Nicoll creek. Once I was situated, I headed out on the desert to hunt. I only had the chance to scout one of the areas Frank gave me for about an hour. That afternoon, I decided to go check out the area where I saw the big billie in June. There was one billie there, but not big enough, so I decided to pass on it.
On August 25th, I decided to head north to the Paulina area. I was surprised that I didn’t see anything ,not even on the GI road. In the afternoon, I headed more towards Burns. I found another billie. It would’ve been an easy shot, however, it didn’t strike my fancy, so I passed.
On the morning of August 26th, I decided to go back and really work the areas Frank gave me. I got up to the Dry Lake around 8:30 and was glad to see no tracks up there other than mine from 2 days before. As I came out onto a big flat, I spotted some antelope about 400 to 500 yards out. I got out my binoculars and I saw a billie and some nannies. They were definitely watching me. There was a small rise ahead of me, so I got on my hands and knees and crawled far enough where I could get a better look. I saw he wasn’t a monster but I liked his curl and width. He satisfied me and that’s what mattered. I was still 350 plus yards out and had no rest, so I had to belly crawl another 100 or so yards across the desert, to a couple of trees which gave me a make shift rest and a good view. I was resting against the tree, watching the billie. He was out about 250 yards but had nannies all around him. I had to wait for what seemed like eternity (but in reality, was probably 10 to 15 minutes) until he was finally clear. He didn’t give me the best angle. I made the shot, and hit him. He ran about 100 yards and went down.
Frank was right on the money with his locations. He really helped make my hunt a success. When I went to the places I was thinking of going on my own, I had very little success but every time I went where Frank said the animals were, they were there!