Recently there was an article published in Field & Stream (October 2017) about a father and son hunting and getting lost in the rugged Siskiyou Mountains of Oregon. One never made it back… The other his son forgot his GPS and Phone when heading back out to find his dad, he was lost for a number of days… Searchers finally located him!
“From 1997-2016, 80 have been found dead and another 76 not found” In this region of Oregon
Some of those that were never found, could have had other issues, such as venturing into a spot they did not belong in…
I know this number could be a lot less, if one were well prepared to the venture into the rugged mountains of the North America. Most feel they know all the ways back to camp from any location. Think about being in the Snake River Canyon in the morning at 65 degrees and sunny chasing a herd of Elk and in the afternoon the weather changing to a blizzard with the temperature dropping to below freezing and your horse has been moved from where you tether him up on the trail, plus you must venture into dark timber and any hint of daylight is about gone…
There is no hiker, hunter or outdoor enthusiast that has not gotten mixed up while in the field… Today there is so much technology to keep you from staying mixed up, lost permanently, or dying in the outdoor from being lost…
So many time when trying to help hunters find places to hunt, I request them to have a Garmin GPS, onX HUNT mapping for both the Garmin GPS (colored – microchip capable) and mobile device, such as the smart phones which 90% of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts carry with them 24/7.
The Garmin GPS, at least in the 21st should have WAAS (Wide Area Augmentable System) Note: Global Positioning System GPS is made up of at least 24 satellites, working in all conditions 24 hours a day and is FREE.
I would say at least 40% tell me they are “Old School” and use paper maps and a compass (that is maybe on the compass).
Just one little note with onX HUNT on the mobile side there is a trail layer that features trails old and new (CONUS). Another tool that can help in many hunting areas.
Let’s get real about paper maps, most are outdated, and boundaries change all the time. I threw out all my paper maps, that I have had for more than 30 years with all the X’s on them, moving the X’s to my GPS. Paper maps are outdate in field use and lacking the ability to Zoom in. Even if you mark your map with routes, it surely isn’t going let you do an active route back to camp or truck as a GPS would do. As for the compass, it’s Okay, if your batteries go dead or enemy decides to use an electromagnetic pulse or EMP while you’re in the back country.
Beside the Garmin GPS, Mobile Phone with the onX HUNT APP and chip, there is the 2 Ways such as Motorola handheld communicators, and last but not lease is an Emergency Locator Beacon, just in case you’re in real trouble and are immobile…
We must remember to have them in our backpack or ditty bag (U.S. NAVY), along with the other tools used in the field. Frank Biggs
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.
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.
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:
Here you thought, I was going to write about a "Black Tent of Arabian Desert aka beit al-sha'r.
Many hunters as they get older like more comforts than a tent to spend a week or more while hunting in the elements. In the Pacific Northwest, there are more base camps that will use a Recreational Vehicle or better known as an RV. I remember a long time ago, I had a hunter come into the Burns Brothers Sportsmen's Center and tell me he and buddies rented a big diesel pusher to go hunting in Colorado, Wow, was what I said as he was leaving with hunting supplies. Now that was back in 1984… A great deal has changed and more and more are using RV's all year long. Think about being able to take a shower when get back from chasing deer during archery season. It is all about scent, right?
The following video and a slide presentation is the first of it kind in the RV world. Using a camera such as Google Earth uses, this video is possible.
Having recently talked with a ODFW Bio, the news is out that the Coyotes are eating well! There is an over abundance of Rodents and Rabbits in S.E. Oregon. Time for hunters to get out reduce the Coyote numbers if they want Pronghorn and Deer fawn survival in the future!
Keeping this short with an ending comment!
“If you can’t call in a Coy Dog, you don’t know how to call” (CF)