Category Archives: Youth Hunts & Stories

I thought that there should be a category for the youth in fishing and hunting. The youth will be the future in this sport in years to come. It is important as parents that hunt, fish, hike or just enjoy the outdoors to include our children or other kids in our environment! Cobra

Oregon Blacktail Hunt – First Deer

It is not about size, but being able to harvesting a buck during the regular season and filling my freezer!

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.

Picture of Jeff's Buck taken during the Oregon archery season in August 2011

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!

As told to Bwana Bubba via Jeff and Frankie

2004 Grizzly Unit – Antelope & Pronghorn Hunt

Frank Jr.’s Oregon Grizzly Unit  Not a guaranteed kill!

Horse Heaven Area Antelope 2004

This particular hunt came about with wanting to hunt Antelope sooner than later again with a rifle, plus not waiting until we had 12 or more points for hunting old haunts from the past in S.E. Oregon.  My son Frank Jr. and I had 9 points saved up each.  This would be his first Antelope hunt as a shooter!  Getting very impatience with waiting for more points and looking out 4-6 years longer to hunt for Antelope maybe in the Wagontire, we decided since we had a couple of places to hunt in the Grizzly Unit in Oregon, that we would put in for the Grizzly Unit.  Past and present I have sent many hunters into the unit with very good success!

Permission to hunt Earl Smith’s Ranch was given to us by Earl for hunting on the properties that laid in the Grizzly Unit, one piece being the “Old Gomes Ranch” and the other land lay south of the Cold Camp of Hwy 218, which included the Maupin and Hasting Buttes.

We had found a great buck on the “Old Gomes Ranch” prior to the season and he would be our first choice to chase.  “Chase” Strange word with Pronghorn, as most of the time we like to ambush Lopes at water or crossings.  In the Grizzly Unit you will not find the waterholes that one would find in the S.E. part of Oregon, so spotting and working in on them is the normal in the Grizzly Unit.  We did not get to hunt the opener of the hunt coming in on Sunday late.  Little did we know that Earl forgot about us (this happened a lot) and he let a guide come onto the land and hunt the place with his client.  Having talked with the ranch foreman an old friend from the past, that particular hunt was very interesting to say the less.  The client had a number of buddies with him at the time.  It is hard to say who harvested the buck after all the shots that were taken with multiple rifles.  Scuttlebutt was that the guide finally had to finish the buck off as it was leaving the property boundary, but then again it is only scuttlebutt!  It did piss me off a lot on this one!

A little dog hunting with the Glock at Earl's

So the hunt had changed for the both us now.  This hunt was about Frankie getting his first Pronghorn in Oregon.   We would have to work old deer and elk haunts in the Grizzly Unit that carried a population of Antelope and put Earl’s places on the back burner.  We would work the area around Hay Creek as I had found a good buck over in B.L.M. area during another earlier scouting trip for deer.  There were the areas around Ashwood and the National Grasslands that we could concentrated on for Lopes also.  None of this worked out, even with all the glassing from observation points.   Water was scarce in these areas; the Lopes were not working the areas as expected.  We would work another area of the Grasslands later in the hunt!

A run into the Horse Heaven and Donnybrook area was warranted.   We found a couple of decent bucks that would be shooters for Frankie during the first day of the hunt, but light was fading.  The 2nd day of the hunt, Frankie got on a pretty good buck near Horse Heaven.  The wind was really blowing hard on the hill and the shot was at about 300 yards.  That was one lucky Antelope at that particular moment of the hunt in the Horse Heaven area outside of Donnybrook.

Later a number of good herds of Antelope were located in the Grasslands near Hwy 97, but all the bucks were small.  No mature bucks were hanging away from the herds that we spotted.  A little dishearten for me as I truly wanted to see a Big Buck. The Grizzly Unit had gone through a major poaching epidemic of Antelope, Deer and Elk some years back along the Hay Creek Ranch, Ashwood & Grizzly Mountain area.  The culprits (youth) were caught from what I understand (local rancher gossip) and given just punishment.

We finally took a run down into Clarno which is B.L.M., the Northeast boundary of the Grizzly Unit and were about to drop in on quads to get back into the basin about 3 miles were I knew some good bucks would be.  Just as we are unloading a lone hunter comes up to the road off of the well warn trail.  He told us he had not seen any Antelope and he had been in their whole day.  Hmm!  Here we have a long hunter that is working hard and walking in, who knows if he was getting into the area of the Lopes.  I did not want to just head off down the trail and over the knobs with him there.  He then told us he would be hunting back in there once he got some food, new socks and a little rest.  Disturbing his hunt was not in my nature!

A very good hunt for Frankie! Grizzly Unit Lope

Finally Mike T., the ranch foreman for Earl Smith is located out in the hay fields on a tractor, see what glassing gets you. Mike says go ahead and hit it hard in the two ranch sections in the Grizzly Unit, I saw a number of bucks earlier in the morning on those sections.  The hunts know starts to get pretty exciting for both of us. This hunt was for Frankie and I wanted to make sure he got his Lope.  Since I do most of the glassing in the field and Frankie can spot them with the naked eye on the road, I was able to find a buck up on top of a draw along a fence-line at about 1000 yards.  Since I could only see the horns of the Lope, I told Frankie he was about to do some hiking to move in on the buck.  It was now very hot in the late afternoon, so this hike was a bit laboring!

We are able to close the distance to about 150 yards with little cover at this time. The buck was not a monster or even a big buck, but Frankie said he still wanted to harvest the buck and get one under his belt (youth and the wait).  The buck started to move out, but Frankie now had a rest on a fence post on the side of the hill.  He made the shot from his Browning BLR 270 loaded with 130gr. Nolser Ballistic Tips. The shot hit the buck in the chest cavity, a bit high in the lung at an angle, I would see later on.  The buck staggers and drops, but then all of a sudden he is up and heading out full tilt through the sagebrush and not stopping until he was a more than about 1/2 mile out in the rocks and sage.  I forgot to tell Frankie to shot if they move!  Now the chase was on for us without actually chasing the buck.  Using cover and moving quickly we were able to get within about 275 yards.  To my surprise Frankie stands up without any cover or rest and shots offhand at the buck as he starts to run again.  The buck drops and never moves a lick after that.  I was quite happy that Frankie got a Lope on this hunt and he made the final shot that counted.

Frankie really liked the 270 BLR, now he has to shoot the 257 Weatherby in the future!

I never did see a buck that I would take on the rest of the hunt.  The Grizzly Unit is not an easy hunt, as most areas of the Grizzly Unit are walk in area.  Now if one can hunt some of the private lands that hold Lopes, it could be a much easier hunt. Would I hunt the Grizzly Unit again, yes I would.  Though I want to go back to another haunt with Lopes that is going to take 12 points or better to draw.  There is something about hunting the S.E. part of the state, that only one that has hunted it would realize what draws you to it!


Max’s N. Grizzly Unit – Cow Hunt

Max's First Elk at 14 years old in the Grizzly Unit of Oregon

As I have said before many people come into our lives.  In the outdoor world of hunting and fishing, I feel that we connect with the land and those that are part of the land…

For me there have been many Ranchers that I have come in contact in regards to hunting, especially in the state of Oregon…

In the 80’s. 90’s, 2000’s, much of my time was spent in Central Oregon mostly on the west side of the John Day River in pursuit of deer, elk and free ranging exotics.   Through the years one might become infamous or notorious in relationship of the owners of the rimrock, sage and junipers.   This past summer my son and I visited one of the ranchers that I have known through others, as well as how he knew me, yet we have never sat down and had a fireside chat…   During the 4 or so hours we spent in a tent on his property, setting life straight and becoming friends of the mind, a common bond was made.   Life is not easy for Ranchers, especially in the hostile land of the John Day River.

So the following was able to happen because of the gathering of the past summer!

Hi Frank-

“I found your website after sending you a private message on Ifish after you responded to my post about my son needing a place to hunt for cow elk in the North Grizzly Unit.  If you have any contacts that would be great the season ends on November 30 and I am running out of options.  Any help you could provide for a 14 year old kid would be greatly appreciated!”  Jeff

Being able to come up with an area and the Rancher’s phone number, Jeff was able to get permission to hunt on this land.  

 Hey Frank-“Look at what we found! Ha-Ha….

Great hunting experience for my son we put in a long stalk in on Saturday morning after putting the elk to bed Friday night. We ended up walking the rim rock all the way to the end. We crawled to the edge where my son touched one off from the top clear down to the bottom. He hit her in the back leg with a stiff wind coming from left to right, very tough shot!

 The Wind always blows in the area!

They took off running she was hurt yet still ran for an extended period.  We caught up to her a couple of times but she ran off before he could settle in to shoot.  I finally spotted her bed down in front of a tree at a high vantage point. This time we cut a limb off a tree after he missed twice so he could get a good shot.  He connected while she was laying down right in the neck and died immediately…  Took us all day to finally get her out with the use of a 4 wheeler but we were both still beat after coming in and out of that Canyon a couple of times!  Finished skinning her out then cut her in half and headed for home about 6PM last night.”

Great experience!

Hey Frank-Happy Black Friday!

We ended up on Dave’s property….he really took to the “kid” as he called him…..Ha-Ha.

He let us use his 4 wheeler to haul that thing out which really helped the cause!

He also enjoyed the whiskey, salmon, beer and tuna that I brought to him as Thanks.

Hell of a memory for a 14 yr old kid, made it even more special that we were able to do it together….

Thanks again for the connection, Max is very thankful and wanted me to say Thanks as well….

2009 Oregon Alsea Elk Hunt – Jr’s Hunt


Frankie and his 583 yard shot Coastal Bull 2009

I would like to say that I was down at Waldport for the 2nd Season Rifle Elk Season this year to watch Frankie, my son shoot his bull at long range, but I was not.

 My son Frankie, Jim N. and his hunting buddies down at the coast hunt for different reasons, one being filling the freezers, two for the pleasure of the hunt with friends.   It is not always about hunting for the big racks and at the coast, the hunting for large racks is not even close to the eastern and central part of the state.   So when these guys are out hunting, they are hunting hard for game to harvest and put in the freeze.   The coast can definitly be more difficult with the terrain and plant growth than the other parts of the state.frankie-2009-coast-03.jpg

Jim N. with his Retrival System for the Coast Elk

This has been a tradition of Frankie and Holly of hunting down at Jim & Cindy’s place down near Waldport off of the bay for about three years.   It is a great place for the two of them to go as they have a house to say in while down there during the course of the year and during the elk season.

I do believe that Frankie has grown accustom to hunting with the older locals around the area, they have taken a shine to him and know that he will get in there and work when an elk is down or he needs to do some game driving.

Linda and I gave Frankie and Holly the opening weekend to hunt together as we had Addison for the weekend and brought her down Sunday evening.

The weekend would have proven a winner for Frankie if trespassers had not driven into the private farm they were on.   Frankie was letting the cow elk pass in front of him at 40 yards expecting the rest of the herd with two (2) bulls in it to pass along also during his ambush of the elk coming out of the pasture into the timber.  This was not going to happen as the non-invited hunters drove their pickup into the long driveway and into the remaining herd.   The rest is history and they were left empty handed on what should have been a successful opening morning hunt.


John, Frankie and Jim during retrival and getting a rest.

Talked with Frankie on Tuesday and he was pretty depressed about hunting down at the coast and I told him maybe next year we can use the preference points and draw a great eastside tag for Oregon.  Sounds Great Dad!

I get a call on Wednesday early on and Frankie tells me he has a bull down in the same place that Jim had gotten his elk in 2007.   Wow!  Do you need some help in getting him out, from my past memory of getting Jim’s elk out of the marsh?    NO Dad, we will be all done by the time you get here.


Not a bad way to gut and skin your elk.

Later within about 1 ½ they had the bull out of the marsh area.   I did not remember that Jim had gotten a retrieval season down with a capstan style unit with 2500 feet of heavy rope.   Frankie took the line out the bull which was about 600 yards out direct line of sight.   Once he got the rope around the head, he made comment that he could not keep up with the speed of the removal.


View from the shooting spot to the elk.

From Frankie’s account of the kill, he had been in Jim’s front area of his property watching the timber across the way and watching to see if any game was going to move out and across the marsh.   One of his buddies was on the edge of the timber area moving or pushing the ghosts of the forest.   Frankie said that a really big Blacktail buck came out within 300 yards.   Within minutes he spots a lone elk at about 500 yards, takes a close look and could see that it was a bull (spike) and knew what to do.   The bull was moving right long and he takes the shot, hitting the elk unknown to him in the lower rear leg.  Having remembered from training never stop shooting until the elk goes down he makes another shot and this one is right on target in the boiler room.  The elk goes down within 15 yards and into the deep part of the marsh.   The 1980 vintage 340 Weatherby with 225 grain Barnes X bullets did the job.  The range for the shot was range finder at 583 yards.   Great shot!

During the rest of the week, Frankie was the brush or timber as beater (driver) and the group was able to get a couple more bulls and one cow elk.   So they went 5 for 7 during the Coast Elk Hunt.

I was informed that he had GPS some hotspots and added the waypoints to my Garmin GPS.  Maybe this next year I will check it out for archery on elk and hold onto our preference points.  Hmm!frankie-2009-coast-06.JPG

1/3 of the way back to the barn