Category Archives: Hunting Equipment

Mark D’s 2017 Oregon Spring Bear Hunt

Oregon Spring Bear

                       The tool  to know where you are always!

Frank, I am 58 years old now and hunted Spring Bear for about 8 yrs.

         Hmm! That boar was capable of tearing up Roar & Hayden…

I have been to Hell’s Canyon and hell canyons with no luck, though have seen them 2 miles at the bottom.   So I decided to stay close to home do an easy hunt.

We decided to put in for a unit that is only 125 miles away from our home base, which is a lot closer than 300 miles. 

                                                  The Boar & I
                       We got into 3 bears, with one harvest…

Scouting, the area we found fresh bear scat was everywhere. GREAT!  We will come back when the snow has receded a bit more.   At least bears have come out of hibernation.

                              A Black Bear can do some real damage to you and to trees…

So I my hunting buddy Roar and his son Hayden (the flat belly) always good to have a young flat belly along.  Hayden is 6’1″ and 190 lb. 20 yr. old fireman.  We hiked 4 miles into NoTellEm Canyon to a nice meadow split up to glass for a couple of hours.  I glassed down to where those two were sitting to see them scrambling to get in position for a shot. However they missed a beautiful reddish-brown big boar.

                                               Hayden lets, let you drag it back to the truck…

We decided to hike out.  All of sudden there goes the flat belly (Hayden).  We had to hold him back so he wasn’t so far ahead of us.  Some times its pays off to be the older, wiser and slower.  We were about a mile and a half from the truck when flat belly and his father rounded a corner ahead of me. As I came to the corner I couldn’t believe my eyes they had woke the bear up from an afternoon snooze. He stood up and looked their way about 50′ away from them.  I had my chance, scrambled to get my 300 Winchester off my back and my offhand shot was right on to put him down.  Down he went moaning and biting everything in his reach.

                                              Roar (Left) & Mark D. (Right)
                                        2018 all three of us will get Bears

I had spine him (boar).   As we approached he started in again, a little spooky to be that close.  Finished him with another shot.  Now the work begins.

                                                                   Old School – Davy Crockett Style

Yea flat belly offered to drag him all the way to the road.  OK! How to get him back to the truck.  In my infinite wisdom I left the cart back at home (we are not really going to get a bear)?

We call it a pig pole it worked to get him out,  but it was brutal.

ODFW Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife  took a tooth and aged him at 9 yrs. old.

What a great trip.  You bet we’re headed back to the same spot this season.

This time I will bring the cart…………Mark

Nevada Desert Bighorn – Randy R.

Frank here is a short story about my Nevada Sheep Hunt.  Feel Free to pass along!

                   Knowing, even when your on a guide hunt!

Randy R.

Desert Bighorn that I harvested this year in Nevada.

                                                                         Nevada Desert Bighorn
                                                                                November 2017

I have been trying to draw a Sheep tag since I was 18 years old.  And now at 61 years old, I figured it would never happen.

Being a Non-Resident, Nevada has been better to me than my home state of Washington in getting tags.  Much to my surprise, in June I couldn’t believe my eyes.  My name was listed in the successful column for Desert Bighorn in Nevada.  I also drew an Antelope tag for Nevada…   Thinking maybe I could Antelope hunt and have time to head south and do a scouting trip for Sheep, I found there just wasn’t enough time with my busy work schedule.

I thought it would be best to hire a guide, since this may be my only opportunity in my Lifetime to hunt Sheep.  After talking to several guides, I settled on Nevada Guide Service.   This being my first ever guided hunt, I checked out their referrals and felt good about my choice of guides.

                                                                               My One Shot Ram

This Ram Scored 163 which is a great Ram from this Unit

My son Travis would be joining me on the hunt and we could hardly wait for November.  We chose to hunt the second week, allowing us to spend time with our family over Thanksgiving.   Arriving at camp on the 28th of November around noon, we met with our guide Seth who had a Ram spotted; he thought was worth checking out.   After a long drive we me up with the other guide Jason who had been keeping eyes on the Sheep.   After looking through the spotting scope, I agreed it was a beautiful Ram, but passed as I had not waited this long to hunt Sheep and have it over the first afternoon.

The next morning Travis and Jason headed south while Seth and I went north to find Sheep.  The morning spent with Seth, we looked over dozens of sheep with a handful of nice Rams.  Shortly later we got a call from Jason, saying they had a Ram spotted we needed to look over closer.  After driving many miles south we met up with Travis and Jason, only to find out that the Ram has disappeared in to one of the many folds of rugged terrain.

Glassing up several other Sheep we decided to split up again and glass our way back towards camp.  After stopping at a few spots and spotting several more Sheep, we stopped at one last place before camp.  Right away Seth spotted a group of young Rams.  Looking more to the south, I spotted a couple of ewes.   Telling Seth where they were he got excited and said “look what’s bedded between those two ewes.”   

I knew from the moment I laid the glass on the big Ram, I knew I would be thrilled to take him.  Wanting my son to be there, we called and told Travis and Jason, we’d found the one.

                                                        Family shot- Great mass on this Ram

After a short stalk and steep uphill 350 yards shot, my dream of taking a Sheep had finally come true.

                                                         A moment of solitude with the Ram…

My only regret was tagging out so early in the hunt.   Giving many thanks to Travis, Seth and Jason, I couldn’t have had a better group of hunting partners to share this experience with

                                                  Caped for mounting heading to the game room!

Randy R.

Average Joe’s – Dad’s Wyoming Lope

                     The typical environment of Wyoming Pronghorn…

This isn’t so much a hunting story as a story about family, the passage of years, the things that change, the things that never change, and what it all means to us.

                   The key to a successful D.I.Y. Hunt anywhere.

In 1972 during one of the Boeing busts my father had to leave Mom and the kids behind and go work in Ohio because there were no jobs in Seattle where we lived. Two years later things got better and he was able to come home. On the way back he stopped in Wyoming to hunt Antelope. For a farm boy from Pennsylvania, this was a real adventure. He shot a small buck (about 8 or 9 inch) with Grandfather’s Savage 99 in 358 Winchester and was totally thrilled. The horns and hide went into the basement chest freezer till there was enough money to pay a taxidermist. 4 months later the freezer croaked and everything in it was ruined. The picture was all that was left, hanging on the wall and fading over the years.

Dad’s first Antelope – You have to love the Savage 99 in a rare caliber…

Dad taught me and my brother to hunt and deer season was a family ritual with us. We hunted close to home, in places we knew well, with family and close friends. Many years went by, pictures accumulated on the walls and horns in the garage. Then mom got sick. Dad took care of her, seldom leaving her side, and for the next 7 years did not hunt. Mom passed away in the summer of 2016. Dad was 83 now and I asked him if he thought he had a few more hunting seasons left in him. He thought maybe he did, so I started planning a hunt.

I had enough preference points saved up to draw an antelope tag in a decent unit in Wyoming that had adequate public land access, so that was no problem. I told him we could likely find a bigger buck for him than the one he took back in 74, but he didn’t care much about that. He’d grown up dirt poor on a farm and had always been a meat hunter. That wasn’t likely to change now.

The tag wasn’t a problem, but his knee might be. Dad had a bad knee that he had put off getting repaired while he took care of mom. Time to get that fixed. He got in to the Doc and got the surgery scheduled. It would be done 8 months before the hunt, which would mean he would not be 100% recovered, but the Doc gave him a green light, with some limitations… he couldn’t kneel on that knee, and it probably would not have full range of motion yet. That would present some limitations on shooting position and he couldn’t walk more than a few miles a day, but we figured we could work that out.

A nice grouping, and gets the job done…

Last problem was a rifle. Dad hunted with an old, beat up model 700 with a 4X fixed power scope. He always bragged on how accurate that rifle was, but with a low power scope and cheap factory ammo, how would you ever know? Not the ideal rig for antelope, but Dads shots had always been 100 yards and under, so it had never been a problem. He’s also a lefty, which meant I couldn’t loan him one of my rifles.

He came down to my place in September and brought the old rifle so we could give it makeover and see if we could get it set for the kind of longer shots you sometimes get in antelope country. I scrounged an old Weaver 3X9 I had sitting in the gun safe and we swapped scopes then we worked up some hand loads to test and headed to the range. With the load it liked best, allowing for a called flyer, that old beater of a rifle shot ¾ minute. He was right about that old rifle… and he could still shoot. Mission accomplished, we headed out to Tillamook bay to do some crabbing, which was another thing we hadn’t done in a while. We killed them. Best crab season they’ve had in ten years. There really are few things better than sitting in a lawn chair, eating fresh crab with a cold beer and watching the sunset over the ocean.

                                        Now that is a lot of fine eating…

In mid-October Dad came down to my place again. He had all the family camping gear in the back of his truck. I had called him the week prior and he had already started packing. In the end, he pretty much brought everything. Nothing had been used in at least 7 years, and some of that gear I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. Lot of memories there. We sorted through everything, weeded it down to what we thought we would actually use and stared driving.

We drove 16 hours straight through, with a stop in Boise to visit my niece who is going to school there. When my brother and I were little, Dad would load us in sleeping bags in the back of the truck with the gear and drive all night to eastern Washington to hunt. Now Dad got to sleep some while I drove. Lots of time to talk about family, old friends, and hunting seasons past. We arrived at Medicine Bow in the morning, gassed up, and headed into our hunt unit to look for lopes.

This late (mid-October) lopes would be forming up into bigger bands and the large bands are hard to get close to. We started looking for lopes in the foothills above the sage flats since the terrain often broke up the big herds into smaller groups and would give us some cover to work close.

Heading up into the hills we spotted a couple bucks that had broken off from a larger band. They were about 400 yards out and wary, but had not bolted. We piled out of the truck to see if the ground gave us any options for a stalk.

Hunting magazines will often give you advice about shooting in wind, but that advice is always about the effects of wind on a bullet. They never seem of offer advice on how to deal with the effect of wind on the shooter. I got out the Kestrel and it clocked wind gusting from 15 to 35mph in random gusts. It’s impossible to hold steady in that unless you can get prone and really hug the ground. It did not look like we’d be able to close the distance without being spotted. Decided to pass on these two.

Driving further up into the hills, we glassed a lone doe and buck in a basin sheltered from the wind. They saw us but did not looked spooked so we kept driving around the shoulder of the ridge and out of sight to where we could double back and try a sneak. Keeping low in the sage, we topped over the ridge looking down into the little basin and started to glass. We spotted our two animals about 300 yards out. Keeping low and moving only when they were looking away from us, we cut the distance to a little over 200 yards and found a big rock that Dad could shoot from without having to stress the knee too much. It was an awkward position, but best available under the circumstances. I got prone over my pack about 15 yards uphill so I could see Dad’s shot impact and provide a follow up if needed. The sound of the shot was whipped away by the wind almost instantly and there was an eruption of snow and dirt in front of the buck and both lopes took off. 200 yards is a long shot for Dad, and the buffeting wind and awkward position blew the shot. Dad was never a trophy hunter, any buck would do for him, and I was not fussy either as this hunt was about family, not inches of horn, but I started to get the idea that getting Dad a shot that was close enough, that he could take from a comfortable position, was going to be harder that I had thought.

            Though I have a real name of David, my callsign is Average Joe…

This was disappointing due to the miss, but here we were on morning of day 1 and we were already getting shot opportunities, so from that perspective, things were looking good. We decided to look for a place to set up camp. A BLM employee we met on the way in told us there was a BLM campground on the north end of the unit, in the foothills where prairie starts to turn to timbered draws. We headed north toward the campground and Dad insisted I take shotgun in case we ran across a band of lopes we could make a stalk on.

As we climbed north toward the campsite I kept one eye out for lopes and the other on the GPS screen. This unit is about 50% private ground, checkerboarded in with the BLM and state land and you have to get that right. Learned that from Frank years ago and using onXmaps. The lopes seemed to know there were some areas where they would not be bothered. They tended to group up on private ground.

We spotted a group of lopes headed south, parallel to the road, about 400 yards out and on BLM ground. As they passed behind a little ridge, Dad had me bail out and he continued on up the road to where the lopes would see the truck move on. I worked down to a point where, if they continued their course, the herd would come out from behind the ridge and maybe give me a shot. Right on time they started to appear, first a few does and yearlings, then a decent buck. I already had my rear on the ground and the rifle settled on the sticks. The shot broke with the crosshairs just behind the shoulder at a bit over 200 yards.

Dad with his 2017 Wyoming Pronghorn and sharing the moment with his son…

Years ago, Frank introduced me to Mike Abel (a fine gentlemen and superb shooter) when Mike drew a South Wagontire tag in Oregon, a unit I had hunted with Franks advice the year before. Mike and I have had a few adventures since then (Blacktails, Bunnies, and Rockchucks, oh my!) and Mike coached me a lot on my shooting (thanks Mike and Frank both), so I had no doubt about the outcome of that shot. The buck ran about 40 yards and piled up.

Dad and I took pictures, field dressed the lope, hauled him to the truck, and followed the road 4 more miles to the campground. A couple other groups of hunters were also there (deer and elk hunters) and we found a site near a creek in a little stand of aspen. I did the heavy lifting as far as setting up camp, but as Dad remarked to some of the other hunters in camp, that was only fair since when I was little he got to do all the work.

The campsite had some elevation and was just a mile or two south of the unit boundary we had tags for. From camp, we could watch lopes through the spotting scope. Not our unit, but still really cool.

         Relaxing in our camp on a great day of sunshine and companionship.

Just setting up camp felt good. It felt great to be setting up worn old camp gear that I remembered from my childhood. The lantern we’d used for 40 years, digging out the old camp stove and kettle… every gouge and ding in that old gear was a reminder of hunts and time with family many years ago. When I opened up a can of stew to heat up for supper, it looked a bit odd though. I checked the bottom of the can and the stamp said “best if used by October 2010”. Some gear does not improve with age. Fortunately Dad had packed enough non-vintage food to keep us twice as long as we were likely to stay.

Next morning we were out glassing a couple big patches of public ground that seemed to attract lopes. We spotted a band grazing and bedding on a flat, just clear of the sage, about a half mile from the road and thought they might be stalkable given the terrain. Once the road passed behind a little hill, Dad bailed out and I drove on about ¼ mile and stopped to watch the show. Dad followed a little dry wash to close most of the distance and made a slow crouching approach through the sage. Wind was gusting at about 20. He kept getting closer, 200, 150, and I kept thinking “What are you waiting for? Shoot!”. Finally they busted him at about 75 yards and the whole band tore out of there at top speed and trailing dust. Turned out the issue was the knee again. The wind was too strong and gusty to take a standing shot, a kneeling shot was not an option due to the recent surgery, and a sitting or prone shot wasn’t possible due to the height of the sage he was using to cover his stalk. By the time he worked past the tall sage, they had spotted him. We decided that this spot was definitely a draw for lopes and we would try to find a way to ambush a band as they filed down from the hills to graze in the evening.

The afternoon we spend driving and glassing an area the BLM guy recommended on the other side of the highway. Lots of lopes, but they had obviously been hunted hard and the terrain there did not offer much in the way of cover for an approach. Found some really cool geodes and some jasper and agate for my sister the rock hound.

On the way back to camp for lunch and some rest, we stopped to check zero on Dad’s rifle. I dug out a cardboard box for a target and set it up at 200 yards. Dad shot across the truck hood over a folded up coat. Great group. The horizontal stringing was all due to the gusting wind, which almost never stopped in this country.

That evening we were staked out at what we though was a logical funnel for lopes headed from some private land in the foothills to the flat we hunted that morning. With about 30 minutes of light left, we saw a lope headed down and it looked like we might be able to get out in front of him. We got closer, but at the last minute, he started to veer away. Dad took a standing shot over the sticks at about 150 yards, but the lope took off running. We watched him go flat out for half a mile and over a ridge. Did our due diligence and found no blood. Again, the inability to get a good position due to the knee and the gusting wind had blown the shot. Dad was starting to get frustrated, but this was only day 2. Lots of time left.

The next morning we decided to cover some new ground, an area east of Pine Creek that we thought might have a small band or two up some dry washes in the foothills. It had snowed the weekend before our hunt started and many of the bands we glassed every day were big groups. The big groups tend to stay on the flats and have way too many eyes on duty. They are very hard to get close to. Lopes tend to group in to larger herds and get more skittish as winter gets closer.

Following a little dirt 2-track up toward the hills we saw several groups, but all were down on the flats below the hills… private ground. Even these spooked and ran at the sight of the truck while still ½ mile away. Seemed like every day the herds were getting larger and harder to approach. We headed back toward the main (gravel) road to get some rest at camp and work out a plan for the evening hunt. It was only day 3, but the big herds, lateness of the season and that constant high wind had us feeling much less confident.

         Hate to leave this camp with Dad, as it has been a real blast…

As we were crossing several big blocks of private ground we approached a dry creek bed and saw a small band of lopes coming up out of it toward us. I glanced down at the GPS and was surprised to see there was an odd shaped ¼ square of BLM land right in the middle of the ranch land and we were right in the middle of it. I stopped the truck, Dad piled out, and I got out the binoculars to watch. He kept low in the road cut and got a bit closer as the lopes filed out of the creek bed. The herd just piled up there, about 100 yards away from him, and milled around, seeming not sure what to do. There was one good buck in the bunch, about 10 does and maybe 5 yearlings. Trouble was there was a doe standing right in front of the buck and a doe and yearling right behind him. There was no shot with the does and fawns in the way, and if the herd bolted and ran he’d never get a shot. Dad settled the rifle on the sticks and waited. I watched through the binos for what was probably a minute or two but seemed like much longer. I won’t say I heard angels sing… but the wind died down and the buck took two steps forward. Only the bucks front quarters and neck were in the clear, but Dad was under 100 yards and had good position. I heard the report of the rifle and the buck dropped like a puppet with the strings cut. Dad had his second lope on the ground, 43 years after the first one.

Written by David K. aka Average Joe

HUNTING & NOT COMING BACK!

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.

Emergency Beacon
Needs to be registered.

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.

Garmin Rino 755 has two way and your location is available to another user. This is one that I highly recommend.

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.

These can reach out many miles and reasonable in price in the pairs.

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 

 

Last Chance Bull

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. 

Nolin used both mobile onX HUNT and Garmin GPS with onX HUNT…

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!

Self portrait picture of my velvet Spike Bull.

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.”

Now the work starts, but it is so worth it…

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.

There is some rough terrain to navigate at night, plus forging a creek…

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”.

Almost to the access road and the truck. Last load out, the rack…

This is my story Nolan Lathrop –  2017 Central Oregon. 

“The land of Rimrock and  Junipers”

Randy R’s 2017 Nevada Pronghorn Hunt

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.”

 Hi Frank,

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.

Randy’s! Orignial target Lope in Nevada…

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.

Randy’s 2017 Nevada Buck down and posing for the pictures…

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.  

All Lope hunters would appreciate the symmetry of this Pronghorn!

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.  

Randy 

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Sunglasses

Wearing Sunglasses While Hunting

Non – Reflective

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 personally liked the green lens with brown frames. Bwana Bubb
Ray Ban Seafaer are easy to raise when glasses.