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)
Getting permission to hunt a parcel of land is just like being a salesperson. If you don’t ask for the sale, most customers don’t think you care… You won’t get the Sale!
2017 is know ahead for all of us to hunt. The 2nd Amendment is safe. Most states have the 2017 Hunting Regulations out. Doing your research early, before having to put your applications can lead to success. Scouting prior to application deadline and or long before your chosen hunt unit is critical for success. I write and talk about onXmaps HUNT all the time about being one of the great keys to un-lock hunting success. It is all true! To be one of the 10% that take 90% of the game, then you have to absorb the positive and proven tips that are given to to by the successful 10%…
I want you to think about this scenario, you have been driving by a ranch, vineyard, farm, tree farm or just some private harvested timber land. There are No Trespassing Signs and No Hunting posted on fence posts and trees, with game animals abounding and you notice a number of Coyotes working the area. The signs have no phone numbers or names. What to do you ask yourself, there is no way I am gaining access to hunt…
There are many ways to get it done and as great salesperson you can make it happen in many cases. First off I would purchased onXmaps HUNT and have it on your Smart phone, I suggest to have a Garmin GPS (colored screen-micro SD chip slot) also.
Working the different parcels of privately own properties your interested in, you will know the land owner’s name/names and in some cases the Trustee because you have onXmaps HUNT. Now via Whitepages, and other public knowledge websites, you can get the phone number. Relax, take a breath and be sure you have a smile on your face when talk on the phone…
So many times over the course of life, I meet people while in the field, so asking who owns the land when you see a neighbor, should be no big deal. Even going so far asking the neighbor how can I get a hold of the landowner is not out of the question. Many times in the remote area, there might b an old cafe or gas station. Another great way to gather information.
For many years I drove by a large piece of rural land that was growing wild radishes. I thought they were weeds. I would see a couple of B&C and many P&Y Willamette Blacktails. Finally when I got my first sample of HUNTINGGPSMAPS (onXmaps HUNT) from the company, I was able to dial in the future vineyard owner’s name. I did a little background on the owner to make sure I had the correct person. I called and told the owner that I drove by his place almost everyday. That I would love to be able to take pictures of the deer on the property. I asked permission to be able to photograph first. It was early May, within couple of months noticing the Coyotes and that he had chickens and geese free ranging, I called him again, I told him I could help reduce the Coyote population. Finally in early August I asked for permission to bow for the deer. I was informed by Michael (owner) that he intended to raise grapes. In the State of Oregon to have venue events, you need a vineyard… The following year with a rifle tag and bow tag, I asked if I could hunt deer with a rifle. That privilege was also granted. It also help to have a common bond. Micheal was a Combat Engineer in Nam and I was a Navy Spook attached to the Marines in Nam. Brothers…
You have to remember that not all ranchers, farmers, and landowners are in it monetary when it comes to hunting. I would bet that if a landowner is approached in the proper mindset, permission would be granted more times than rejected.
Over the years, hunters that I have met and talked to about the subject, give me back positive feedback. Yes sometimes they mend fences, bring a bottle, bring Salmon, ride a fence line, give a knife, buy dinner in town, but that is from the heart to a new friend. Myself, I have hunted more ranches and farms than I can count. Many have border public land that I primarily hunt or fish during my lifespan! I have never paid cash for access, yet at certain times of the year, they might have something on their doorstep…
Use onXmaps HUNT products to gain the knowledge to gain access to private land. It also will be the tool to know the landowners that border public land and vice versa.
This is one of five Cougars spotted near a town, working within the same proximity of each other. One might not find this to be a factual statement, but in reality it is becoming increasing reality. It may not be in every state in the Union, but it surely is in on the Pacific Coast, which includes Washington, Oregon and even into California. As for the other states in CONUS, I can’t give thoughts on the subject of predators taking a front row seat on the taking of Elk, Deer, Pronghorns and even Bighorn Sheep.
In Oregon the management of all wildlife and fish are managed by O.D.F.W. or better known as the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. There are 7 members that are part of the commission and they are selected by the Governor of Oregon. In my opinion for a long time, I do not feel that the Governors of Oregon since 1991 have not had much thought on the importance of hunting, fishing, shooting or any other sport related to the outdoors in Oregon.
In 1994 in the State of Oregon voters, voted on Measure 18 on the banning of dogs for the hunting of Bears and Cougars. 43,501 votes more votes lead to the ban. At the time the Governor was Barbara Roberts a Democrat. A great influence of outsiders (lobbyists – protesters) from the Great State of California came and created havoc and fear into the already changing demographics of from what Oregon use to be. Oregon use to be much like Idaho in thought and action, but Oregon has changed over the years, becoming a state that the folks from the Golden State could sell their homes and come to Oregon and buy the same home for half price and less congestion in life…
The Black Bear is not Smokey the Bear or a playful toy and the Cougar is one hungry predator that will take a deer a week. They all might look cute as cub or kitten, but once they get bigger that is not the case. Since there is no hunting with dogs any longer, these two predators go un-checked for the most part. As for Wolves, it all started in Yellowstone and has escalated too many other states. My thoughts are that Wolves hunt to kill and rarely eat the complete animal; it said the other predators will handle the remaining carcass. Oregon has about 60 Moose (Shiras) scattered throughout the N.E. part of the state. With the increase in Wolf population, just how long will it take for the reduction in Moose? One other little notes about Wolves in Oregon, many have been released by so-call do-gooders that breed or breed hybrids. Many years ago, I had a customer tell me she did… From the information I get, there are more Wolves than reported. Such is the case in the Mt. Hood National Forest with reports of sporadic with sightings from persons that do know the difference between a wolf and a dog…
Washington State does not allow the use of dogs to hunt for Cougars or Bears also. This came about in 2001 I believe. Only under conditions deemed by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife can dogs be used to harvest a Cougar or Bear that are causing problems with humans or livestock.
In the State of Oregon, through my sources with the government, hired government hunters as we call them can hunt year round to reduce Cougars or Bears in troubled areas. With the used of dogs by the public that hunt, there would be little need for government hunters. Just think about the revenue that the state would take in, plus the amount of sales at sporting goods stores, guides would be able to guide again. Oregon has quotes on the amount of Cougars that can be taken in zones and once it met, then the year round hunting stops. Going onto the ODFW back pages and looking at expected quotes on Cougars, the inside reports via contacts tell a different story.
A hunter should make contact with a Game Biologist. In the State of Oregon, these biologist are very happy to help. As one biologist that I have know for more than 30 years once told me “my job is to help and without hunters, I would not have a job”
ODFW has a major budget deficit and last year came up with idea of special tags big game tags, creating some cash flow revenue. Those that got one of the special tags through a drawing might just have a chance to hunt most anywhere and with a rifle even hunt during a bow season or extended season. Many older hunters have just given up hunting, as their old haunts just don’t have the game as it was prior to 2000. Other than the old boys in the hunting culture, I do not believe that the younger generation has caught up with the problem of predators.
Seems all great, but we have a real problem with the big game population in this state. I spend much of my time from April to August taking wildlife pictures and working areas at key times of the day looking for big game. In just 4 short years many of the great haunts are void of the great bucks that I would find. The Cougars especially have worked over the area well. I won’t waste my time to hunt these areas anymore. I have move into the rural areas closer to the city to find game… The Cougars use to follow the game coming down from the mountains during the winter months. Now with the shortage of game to eat, they are now showing up in the lower valleys in the summer months. It may seem to those reading that I am bias, but I am not. It is about what is more important, the chance for someone to see a Cougar, Wolf or even a Bear in the wild or preserving the big game that you can see anytime. Once the game is gone from the area the predators with move to new feeding grounds. It takes the depleted area a fairly long time to recover the mature bucks and bulls in the area.
Bear season Oregon is a bit different and not all year long. The draw tag season from April 1st, to May 31st normally. The general season opens August 1st and ends December 31st on the west side of the Cascades and November 30th on the east side of the Cascades. So one has to glass and find bears, a bit tougher to do, than getting a do to tree a bear. Government hunters can do whatever to get a problem area done. Special tags are issued for timber companies to handle bears in Oregon…
I believe that anyone that is hunting in Oregon should have a Cougar tag and Bear tag on their person. Many times hunters have run into the overabundance of Cougars in a particular area and shot a Cougar, did not have a tag. You will be ticketed and in some cases it could have been life and dead encounter, you might or might not get out of the ticket if caught.
In Closing: I will give a few instances for 2016 from some of hunting buddies, plus I will put out a few key areas with onXmaps HUNT map pictures for those that want to challenger their talents to find a Cougars. Bear season is just about over, but send me and email and I can direct you to spots in the future.
2016 Owyhee Deer Hunt: MJ and BO drew the tags for the great Owyhees in Oregon. In the day as I remember the Owyhees, the bucks were big and plentiful, sort of a pick and choose hunt for big Mulies. MJ and BO have private land to hunt on breaks of the Oregon/Idaho border on the Oregon side. Having done a great deal of planning and making calls, they truly thought they had it dialed in. The land was in prime condition for Mule deer habitat. During their week hunt, only a few small bucks were seen, remembering they had made an early scouting trip in August 2016, with the same results. The local ODFW biologist told them they hit at the wrong time… Very experience hunters that in the past were used to finding big Mulies. The hunters over on the Idaho side still have the Mulies of size, as they control the Cougars still with dogs.
2011 Archery Elk/Deer Hunt: Another hunting partner from my past went to a new haunt near an old haunt. This is an area that the government hunter has taken out more Cougars than 4 times the quota of the Cascades, which are 271. ST has during bow season taken a Cougar and on the same day could have taken another one. 2016 he had two Cougars at 100 yards from him at this ground blind. His 1911 could not get the job done at 100 yards in the timber. I also feel they are braver and human scent or the fact Cougars are keen on knowing, fear little. Deer were very scarce, though the elk were in good numbers. The Heppner Unit has been known as an elk breeding area…
My son this year (2106) during a rifle deer hunt near an RV Park outside of a rural town jumped two mature Cougars. He did not have a tag and knew what would happen if he had killed them. The deer population was way down and the team only got one 2 year old deer about 2 miles from the sighting…
Another comment is from my buddy Mark D., who lives near Oregon City, Oregon on 90 acres. Five Cougars have been sighted during the month of August 2016 around this place. His place is within 15 minutes of a major city. The deer are way done on this place, as he has cameras out. Just recently he caught sight of one decent Blacktail buck. The elk have not been on his place for more than 6 months.
2016 Pronghorn hunt for one of my onXmaps HUNT hunters. I had suggested him talk to one of the ranchers in the flat lands in the Steen’s Mountains Unit. He was told by the rancher that the Pronghorn are scare, less than 5 years ago they were pest on the ranches and farming lands. The big C word (Cougars) came out. The hunters had to hunt very hard to find a good buck, not a monster. The Steen’s Mountains of Oregon once produced the #2 B & C Pronghorn… Those us that have hunted the Steen’s Mountains for big Mulies, which are gone now. No longer a pick and choose style of hunting there. The Steen’s at one time was 4X4 or better hunt…
So in reality the states that have a problem with predators are the same states (metropolitan cities) that were Blue in the recent election, giving the point that we know those that are the loudest and not using their common sense for the good of all…
“There is a place for predators, but they should not replace renewable resources in nature”
“The elected politicians of any state must take in account the outcome of a bad decision that they have made bowing down to a small load group of “Tree Huggers”, much like the Old Growth Spotted Owl farce”
A few photo from onXmaps HUNT IPAD Mobile Mapping:
I am always amazed by the advancement of technology and what can be done, so mentioning that fact; I am introducing a new mobile App from iHUNT by RUGER, that I have had the privilege to use and entertain myself (plus the crew at work) with the new App from iHUNT by RUGER. The App is free to load and some of the features are free.
The iHUNT by RUGER App is primarily a game call device that you can use with all IOS and Android mobile devices.
It has a number of other superb features such as Solunar Times for hunting, Weather, Compass, Ruger Handguns-Ruger Long Guns (Opens in your search engine), you can shop for Ruger products (Opens in your search engine) , Activity Log and a Place for User photos (Photos that are upload from all users).
As for Hunting Calls (they need to be purchased) the list is so long, it almost unbelievable.
Alright I will give you the list, not the full content of the calls within the within the call! Alligators-Crocs, Bears, Birds, Bobcats, Buffalo-Bison, Chickens, Chipmunks, Cows, Coyotes, Crows-Ravens, Deer, Donkeys, Ducks, Elk, Foxes, Geese, Goats, Hawks-Eagles, Jackal, Mice-Rats, Moose, Owls, Pheasants, Prairie Dogs, Quail, Rabbit-Hare, Raccoon, Sheep-Lambs, Snipe Birds, Squirrels, Turkeys, Wild Boar-Pigs, Wildebeest and Zebra. Quite the list to have! Not that we are going to use them all, but to know the sounds is amazing.
Just listen to the sampler sounds:
Top =Crow Distress Middle =Fallow Buck Bottom =Tom Gobble
Besides being able to use iHUNT by RUGER in the field, it is astonishing learning tool this App can be for the hunter to learn and understand the sounds that game animals, birds, and non-mammals make. I would check with your State, Province or Country that you can use an electronic call for game you wish to pursue. Quick and easy to use, it can also be used by children to randomly go through the long list. Can you imagine sitting by a creek side with you daughter or son, even a grandchildren and have them tell you that is a Raccoon or the allusive Snipe making the noise you’re all are hearing.
There are a number of options items that you can also purchase to your game calling experience even better.
Entertain the experience and download the iHUNT by RUGER App to your mobile device and gain proficiency in the art of calling in game or knowing the calls of the wild.
Thoughts go back to my early days of hunting elk with a rifle and bow. I would rifle hunt in the eastern part of Oregon for Rocky Mountain bulls, while bow hunting was in the western part of Oregon for Roosevelt bulls. So those early hunts to the east were about going into the timber and waiting for elk to come by within shooting range. One thing I never did was to build a fire to keep warm, but my uncles all did it. I remember on one hunt Uncle Floyd was deep into the pines up near Texas Butte. You could hear him cough, as he was a smoker, plus he had his fire going. That was something that his sons and I would never do. Low and behold a nice respectable 5X5 came by his fire and he put him down… So in the western part of the state, we would go into our favorite spot and walk pockets listening for elk movement and try to get in close enough to get shot. They never seem to do the calling like Rocky Mtn. elk would do. This process of hunting worked for us in those days.
Getting to the basis of this article about chasing elk down as I would put it came about some years later when we were bowhunting the rimrock, juniper and sagebrush of central Oregon for big mule deer bucks on the B.L.M., National Forest that was bordered and encompassed with private land. One particular deer scouting trip prior to the opening archery season, glassing at a mile into a basin we could see from our observation point while looking for the famous bucks of the Big Muddy, we spotted elk, not just one elk, but about 12 bulls, all being branch bulls.
This launched our elk hunting in this country for more than 20 years and still to this day when I have time. Spotting elk from distance does give you an advantage; this has led to least at 85% average of getting elk this way for me, partners and others within the hunting circles. I will say that in the early days, GPS and mapping (software) was nil. Most of the guys I hunted with were all past military and few of us still in the military, so venturing into the so call unknown and reading the land was pretty easy going.
I have found glassing ridges, hillsides, shaded areas and even into basins on an afternoon after the average hunter has headed back to camp and settle down for the late afternoon and evening happens to be my favorite time to glass for elk. The country is vast with B.L.M. and National Forest for miles in all directions. You have been glassing for about 30 minutes and you spot a group of elk which you feel is about 2 miles away. You can see with your binoculars there are some pretty good bulls in the herd. They are just grazing, with a few bedded down. It is said by most that we have probably harvest more elk in the afternoon after 1PM, than ever in the morning hours.
It is now to setup a plan to get onto these elk, as it is about 1400 or 2PM in the afternoon with visibility of at least a mile.
Getting this plan underway in the 21st century is so much easier with Garmin GPS’s and onXmaps HUNT mapping software and being able to dial in the lay of the land with precision accuracy, sort of like getting 10X’s on a target during a shooting tournament…
First off, I would have my Garmin GPS, with the Montana being my favorite which is loaded with my onXmaps HUNT PLAT map. Seeing that there is a peak off in the distance between the elk and myself, I can judge the precise distance to the elk with the mapping and GPS. The maps are up to date and show the private, federal lands, state lands and other.
The second thing I am going to do is install a number of waypoints, such as the peak and the proximity of elk as I see it on the map.
Now I take a look at the topo aspect of the terrain with my GPS and my eyes, working on a quick plan to cover the distance to within a ¼ mile of the elk. The elk appear to be very comfortable were they are and I feel they will settle down in the area for part of the evening.
Personally I have always felt to cover the ground quickly, whether I am running, sliding down a hill, but always slowly down coming up on a rise. Many times I personally feel that mistakes are made by taking too much time getting in the zone of the elk.
During my pursuit I am mentally thinking how I am going ambush the elk. I also assume that the elk will be close to where I had made sight of them. If rifle hunting, the thought of the ambush will be different than if I am bowhunting the elk as to how close I close the distance. I am a loner, but if I have a partner, he is going to be in my shadows normally, but under the same game plan. I am in combat mode when working this scenario during the hunt.
Along the way I have checked my GPS and even put more waypoints, which gives me a mental picture, plus I have setup estimated time to get to my final observation point, whether a vantage point above or even level eyesight.
Now if I am rifle hunting, I will be on the ready and try to have a vantage point within my comfortable shooting distance. A great deal of time that doesn’t always happen, but I have set this stalk up the way it works for me. I know my weapon or rifle of choice that I use on elk and I also know the capabilities of its shooting distance and putting the elk down.
When it comes to archery, I am more of a stalker of elk too within shooting range, a great deal depends with the elk, being in the rut or not, but I always have cow call and a bugle if I am going to work the herd and bring a try bull in.
With the technology of GPS (Garmin) and onXmaps HUNT mapping software, the hunter can pinpoint the game. As said before, my thoughts have always been to move fast and not worry about being careful about foot noise, until I am within a ¼ mile. In reality this is one of the funniest ways to hunt down an elk in my opinion! My partners and I have taken many bulls over the years by hunting this way.
There is an old saying by Sailors’, “is you’re “Ditty Bag” complete?” A sailor would rely on the “Ditty Bag” to have his most important items in it… No “Ditty Bag” with the essentials for the hunter, outdoor adventurer, fisherman or hiker is an incomplete tool bag. Today’s “Ditty Bag” will appear as a duffle bag or backpack of sorts.
I see it everywhere, the youth and now even the older generation using mobile devices. There are so many APPS out there; a mobile device can do just about anything imagined. APPS have made it easy for everyone to navigate through a daily routine.
“Ditty Bag” A major essential for the complete outdoor person would be an IPad or IPhone or Android Device and last not lest a Garmin GPS (Color Screen – Micro SD Slot). My mobile device is Apple IPad that seems to go everywhere with me and has the onXmaps APP. It is the great research tool that I have in my “Ditty Bag”, it’s like a talking encyclopedia, only it is visual and easy to understand. As simple as turning on the device, opening the onXmaps HUNT APP and then letting my fingers do the work.
There are three (3) ways to think of the essentials when it comes to mapping in my mind. The mobile device is for scouting and in the field use. The laptop (most common computer) is for scouting and the GPS is all about in the field and scouting secondary.
I have 18 layers of information that overlay the 12 available basemaps, also with 5 western states PLATS loaded on my IPad. The operator gets to decide which overlay or overlays, basemap or basemaps they want to use in their research or the use in the field. Many outdoor people use their phone such as an Android or one of the many Apple IPhones for everything. The onXmaps HUNT APP makes it quite easy to use in the course again of daily routine.
I would like to mention the number of layers that are available and what some of the key ones are, just to mention a few of them at this time.
USFS Recreational Sites
USFS Motor Vehicle Roads, Trail (MVUM)
Current Cloud Coverage
Current Nexrad Radar
Current Wind Conditions
App Plat Coverage Learn about private parcel coverage NATION:
Points of Interest
Forest Visitor Maps
Prairie Dogs (For Real) Where to find in the West
Current Wildfires STATE: My Active
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT Private Lands
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT Government Lands
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT Possible Access
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT (WMU’s) Wildlife Management Units
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT (OR) Access and Habitat Program
Then there is the BASEMAPS that you assign and many can be used offline.
The list is long, but each and every layer & basemap is a valuable tool to those that want to gain knowledge! One has to study the land and learn the habits of the game to be successful.
Many times I get emails, especially on Pronghorn for both Oregon and a number of the other known Pronghorn states in the West. The hunter’s statement and questions normally come in as such: “I have 15 preference points, what hunt unit can I harvest a recorded class Antelope?” It has been told to me by and old friend who happens to be an O.D.F.W. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) Biologist, “Every hunt unit in Oregon has at least one Boone & Crockett Pronghorn, and you just don’t want to shoot the first village idiot!” This statement means that most that wait a longtime for a tag sometimes shoot to fast without studying the animals. I have suggested too many hunters to go by a sporting goods store and study heads and look at pictures of big bucks. An example in the Portland Metro area in Oregon, Sportsmen’s Warehouse has two (2) Boone & Crockett Pronghorns on the wall. One is only 14 ½” in length and the other is 16 5/8” in length with the smaller scoring bigger… A hunter may not be able to harvest a Booner, but surely can find a good buck. This will lead into the next paragraph on the B & C (Boone & Crockett) layer.
So with the Boone & Crockett layer, W.M.U. layer, PLAT map and the Government layer the hunter can find where all the entries come from to help make the right decision when applying for the long awaited tag. So if you’re serious about becoming the 10% of the hunters that harvest 90% of the game, then don’t wait any longer to get the tools you need to be successful. What I have found out from my own experiences early on that, I had a mentor to guide me in my youth to become successful in harvesting good animals and some outstanding animals. The onXmaps HUNT APP has become a major mentor of technical knowledge.
One last layer (State Plat) I am going to talk about is the Private Lands. A scenario that comes all the time to hunters that have had a bleak day of hunting, you pull into the local service station or small store you get into a conversation with the attendant or the cashier about your day or they ask you about your day. I have had a number of hunters tell me that the attendant has given them a name of rancher that wants some game reduction done on his place. You can hit the magnifier on the screen and type in the name and guess what, the landowner’s place shows up majority of the time. Now if one is real smart about gathering INTEL, they will have the Whitepages booked mark on the mobile device. The name normally equals phone number in many cases. I will check out new Blacktail deer spots in the valley during the evenings, find the game and look up the landowner to get permission to hunt. The onXmaps Hunt mapping makes that possible.
Another thought is that we meet a lot of people in the field and most like to talk about their hunts or adventurers; I have found many to give road numbers, landmarks and whatever else embellishes the adventurer. End result is that I am going to absorb the information and it is loaded to my IPad, GPS and laptop.
As you note in my “Ditty Bag”, I also have my Garmin Montana GPS, this is also a must when in the field. Sometimes, in a deep dark canyon, you might not have mobile device reception and I rely on my Garmin to be accurate in tight areas…
The savvy hunter or outdoor persons will purchase the whole meal deal, everything for the mobile device and for the Garmin GPS (colored monitor-micro-chip slot) and or download to the computer to up-load to the GPS, then back to the computer. I back-up my waypoints and adventurers to my laptop.
I have only touched surface of what this great mapping tool can do for you, it is time for you to buy and check it.
My “Ditty Bag” has the following items in it, Garmin Montana GPS/onXmaps Hunt software, IPad/onXmaps Hunt APP, Benchmade Knives (2), 12×50 Bausch & Lomb Binoculars, Nikon SLR Camera, Oregon Hunt/Fish License/Tags, rubber gloves, matches, Leatherman, toilet paper and money! Everything else, I pack in my hands or on my body…
My lasting thought to all that read this is, with this technology, inertly trespassing is a thing of the past. In many states, it is the requirement of the trespasser to know where they are and law enforcement and landowner does not have to prove you were trespassing…
We all have a purpose to our hunt and our style of hunting, which is not always the same as others. It’s a cliché: 10% of the hunters may get 90% of the game but in my opinion that is really based on the how we hunt. This article includes some examples too make you think about your mistakes and successes. It may give you an idea as to how you stand vis-a-vis others in terms of methods of hunting and rate of success.
Yelling Out! Many years ago after coming home from overseas, I took my father hunting with me. We were hunting in western forest lands of Oregon with vine maple, underbrush, ferns and alders. The distance between us was no more than 100 feet. During this early morning hunt, I was jumping a number of Blacktail deer bucks at close range and would yell out “there’s one,” and Dad’s comment would be “where”? On that hunt, I could have very easily killed a buck, yet we did not get one. I wanted to see my Dad get a buck. As you might suspect the deer were on alert and took evasive moves.
A buddy known as MJ once yelled at my son because he did not tell him he was shooting at a deer, as he did not get a chance to kill one of the deer. I told MJ that I have taught my son to react to the situation. My son had jumped the small group of bucks in the draw. He took the shot and got his buck! Believe it or not deer do have great hearing. If my son had yelled, “there’s a buck”, they surely would have not gotten any of them. On this same hunt, I spotted a dandy 4X4 and said to MJ “there’s a big buck”, he said “where”? He did not get the buck, yet he had time if he had been paying attention.
Over the years, while hunting with groups of hunters situations I believe we create situations in which there are too many distractions.
Sharp Eyes and Sensitive Ears. Some years ago while on a Pronghorn scouting trip in eastern Oregon with a buddy that seemed to always fall asleep even on the roughest roads, I would catch sight of coyotes in the middle of an abandoned road or dry lake. I would say “there’s a dog”, he too would say “where” as he was trying to gain eyesight after dozing off. Coyotes can hear the voices within the truck. From then on, I just kept my mouth shut. When I saw dog (coyote), I would just push on the emergency brake (holding the release lever so it would not make noise), bail out and take the shot. My partner, still dozing, had no clue and would wake up and say “what the heck you shooting at?” I took 5 dogs on the trip, with him dozing off all the time. We still talk about that maneuver of mine.
Stopping to Count Points. Some years ago, an old hunting buddy had been successful getting a nice Rocky Mountain Elk bull off of the B.L.M. near the John Day River hunting by himself. MJ was pretty good about getting it done, with a partner or solo, but usually never hunting together, but taking routes in different canyons. On this particular hunt, he had run into my Commanding Officer in the Navy. MJ knew of Rod and had met him several times. Rod was hunting with an old friend of his. MJ said he would show them bulls in a basin he had spotted bulls earlier in the hunt. MJ lived up to his offer and put both of them on eight bulls at about 150 yards out. Well, Rod and his buddy saw the bulls and counted all the bulls’ points and finally decided (after the bulls took off running) to shoot! Moral of the story, be in combat mode and react to what the eyes see instantly and not over think! Game moves a lot faster than you can get setup.
Combat Mode. So let’s start off with the type a hunter, the person who seems to be always successful. He or she will have the hunt lined out the year before. Most of the time, the hunt is totally about them and getting it done. I like to call it the Combat mode of hunting. The mind is focused on the end result of getting the game down. In many cases they are solo hunting in the sense of immediate contact with other hunters. There might be a partner or partners, but rest assured they are in the field away from others. All of their senses are tuned into the surroundings within their space. The person that most likely can make the 300 yard running shot, or have his arrow clear a 12” opening in a tree and hit the 50 yard distance target… you can be sure he or she is totally focused!
Knowing Your Area. There are the party hunters (hunters only) that love to hunt together and try to do it every year at a specific hunting area. It is about the gathering, though each and every one of them wants to be successful on the hunt. They know the area like they know their own yard. I find that they are fairly successful in getting game, as they know the routes of the game over the years. They all have their favorite stand they will be at on opening morning. In this case it reminds me of the Hurley’s that once hunted the Pilot Rock area in Oregon. They setup their camp near Foggy Knob or Four Corners up on East Birch Creek. They always had deer or elk hanging in their camp. I know they spent more than 25 years hunting the same spot.
Generations Matter. Now the following camp is an example of some of my first hunting experiences with family and friends. Again we were “party hunting,” but with the spouses that either hunted or not (mostly not), but adding the young grandkids to the mix as well. We would have three generations hunting. I remember talking with my cousin about the good old days that his dad hunted; little did I know at the time, we just lacked the experience the old boys had. We would see one of the old guys coming back with game, having sat around an isolated campfire during elk season to keep ourselves warm. We could not understand how they got it done, as most old boys would smoke. On these hunts it was all about the family and good times. You always wanted to be the one to have the bragging rights that year on getting a deer or elk of any size.
Giving Others the Shot. One of the best hunts is the father or mother that shows their children how to hunt and give them the chance to harvest an animal. This could also go for a mentor that shares all their knowledge with youth or another hunter. In this case, it would be the time we had spotted a monster bull on the B.L.M., I asked my buddy who was also glassing and spotted the bull, if he wanted to go after him. Knowing how to get to the area that was about a mile off, with my son and his non-hunting buddy following along we got into the spot that was close to the last appearances of the bull. I had checked up wind and the area was clear, coming back to the boys, I said he has to be close. I let my son quietly lead into the juniper and sagebrush. JR, jumped the bedded bull at 50 feet and made the shot. The bull was bedded under a Juniper tree. What was great he reacted without hesitation and took his first bull with a gross score of 340. If there had been any hesitation that bull would have made it out of there. JR got to have the bragging rights of the biggest bull taken on a very successful hunt for all.
Just recently on a bow hunt, being in a tree stand I could see the bucks coming into the draw, JR was in a ground blind in the draw. I sat there in a daze watching all un-folding, I had the shot, but something told me it was JR’s hunt and not mine. He could have taken the big buck at 15 yards, but in his mind he knew I was after this buck. He made movement in the blind and the all the deer, but one scattered in the opposite direction. The one buck that caused the others to react, just stood his ground. JR took the 8 yard shot on that buck. Each person on this hunt was thinking about the other person and did not react to the situation. I told him he should have arrowed the big buck! “Dad, he was yours to take”
Pay to Play. So many times we see these days with the social media great pictures of truly great animals taken by hunters. When digging a bit, they are hunting on private enclosed hunting lands. In many cases large sums of money have changed hands to make the success of the hunt happen. This is about how much money one has to be successful. There is little more to be said on this style of hunter. Some years back I got a picture sent to me of a 430” Rocky Mountain bull taken in Idaho. What a great bull that was taken at 100 yards while in his bed. It took a while to get to the bottom of the story, but the bull was harvested on an enclosed 8-foot fenced ranch that sells the bulls by the inch.
Guides Help. There are many that want to only hunt on private lands (non-enclosure) with guides. In conclusion many times the hunter makes great shots on the game and I would say their success rate is around 50% to 100%. Again money is involved in the hunt and the success of the hunter. Most hunters would love to be able to have one or more of these hunts. To have a chance to hunt on a ranch that has big game and is managed for hunting would be quite exciting, I believe sometimes. On these ranches the only fences are the 5 strand barbwire cattle fencing…
Just Ask! Lastly, though the good old boys (ranchers) are slowing riding into the sunset, there still are some ranches and farms a hunter can just ask to hunt and be surprised that they might just get a Yes! They are normally working ranches or farms, with livestock, crops, orchards, vineyards or all of the above. Over the years I have just done the asking and got permission to hunt. In time I found that I wanted to return the favor and would give gestures of my thanks for getting to hunt these places. There is never the guarantee of harvesting game.
A funny and very true ending to the last paragraph was about 10 years ago. I knew a rancher in the Steen’s Mountains of Oregon that would allow hunters to hunt Pronghorns. So I helped out one of my vendors and lined up the permission. I knew that the rancher drank soda pop and I told my vendor to get a couple of cases of pop and a new folding knife for the rancher. “Ryan asked me, “why the knife” and I told him you’ll know when the timing is correct. So Ryan gets to the ranch, met and talk with the rancher, the rancher was very busy and told him to go down the road a couple of miles and look for a cattle guard. Ryan was a bit lost, and then he remembered what I said. Quickly producing the knife to the rancher, he was then escorted to the place to hunt with ideas of how to hunt the area. Ryan was successful in getting a trophy Pronghorn. Ranchers and Farmers are not managing wildlife, yet they have a great influence on the survival of wildlife.
The technology is here for all to enjoy accurate mapping in the field!
How many people know that Wyoming was the first to make jumping B.L.M. corners a trespassing violation? It is the same in Oregon, as I have tested the waters on this one. There is no need to trespass!
There is technology and mapping resources to keep you from unintentionally trespassing in the State of Oregon and many other states in the continental U.S. that has private land and public land in a mix of blocks with fences and without fences. In many cases hunters find the landowner and gain access to public land or even the private sector.
For many years I have been helping hunters find places to hunt for big game in the State of Oregon. In the four years I have been involved with new mapping technology and giving coordinates or waypoints to hunters at NO COST monetarily, none of my hunters that use the technology have ever had an issue. I have expected them to buy a GPS (Garmin) (colored screen) (SD Micro Ready) that interfaces with the Topo Mapping Software from onXmaps HUNT. Recently I have extended free service for those that are using Android and Apple devices. In this case with the onXmaps HUNT software loaded to the device, I can send them a Google Earth KLM file. This keeps it simple and fast for me to get them into the area, saving a great deal of time in the scouting of an area.
A bit of humor though, when checking back with the hunters after the hunt, I have asked where the pictures and short story are, some have told me “I didn’t find an antelope at the waypoint!” “But I did get kill one close to the spot!”
For those who are savvy with a computer to have the software on the computer and on a colored screen Garmin GPS there is limitless opportunity with the knowledge gained from using the technology.
The great thing about using onXmaps HUNT is that in many states you have the private, private timber lands, BLM, State Lands and National Forest lands distinctively marked for easy reference. In many counties you will see the blocks of private by land owner name. The onXmaps HUNT Information Technology team is always updating the maps when needed!
What does amaze me daily that many hunters who let’s say have waited 12-20 years for a pronghorn tag, still come back to me when they are using their computer to find me and my services and tell me they can’t afford a GPS or they tell me, “I have a paper map.” I don’t even carry paper maps in the field any longer.
The major problem with paper maps is that most are outdated and most will not show the small blocks of private land that are on Bureau of Land Management, State Lands (sometimes) or National Forest. Just one example is near Sumpter and Granite, Oregon where there are privately held mines on private land. Always interesting to see the names of the mines in some Oregon’s and other state’s remote locations. You won’t see that on most paper maps, little along on other mapping software. I can guarantee with a National Forest map or road map, you’re going to get a trespassing ticket if you rely on that source to keep you legal. A landowner up in this neck of the woods on an active mine, might not take too kindly to someone trespassing. Now if you had the onXmaps HUNT mapping, you might be able to find the landowner and get permission to hunt. Remember, asking is not that hard to do!
Yet to this day in a moment of compassion, I will print a map from my onXmaps HUNT program, scan it and send it to a person so they can hunt. It is just not the same doing this rather than to have the waypoints on a GPS and while at camp, look at them on a laptop for the next day’s hunt. You can make a route to get to that hard to reach spot. For those that don’t have a Garmin, they might only get txt files and try to figure them out on a map. Land ownership and boundaries change over the years, just look at the boundaries of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation today versus 15 years ago.
Having a local tell you, “Once you get to the store in Hampton, there is a road that goes to the north out of town, travel for about a mile, stop at the first tree on the left, turn then once you cross the stream on Grade 7 road, then travel about 1 mile, then turn right at the big boulder with class of 70 painted on it, then up the hill until you see the pine tree, then take the second dirt road to the left” is utterly confusing. Most of us get lost!
I hear of hunters or outdoor people getting ticketed every day for trespassing unknowingly. The fine alone, if they get a good judge with compassion, you could have bought a new Garmin Montana and onXmaps HUNT SD Micro Card, and many sporting goods stores have package deals!
The other amazing thing is that the GPS and the mapping software will give the hunter or outdoor person and insight into the unknown. You’ll find places you can go, that you never knew existed. These places aren’t advertised, but once you locate them by using the equipment, you can make the call or let’s say check with ODFW on private lands on which the public can hunt. Do you really think that timber companies advertise for the public to hunt their lands? They might have some lands open, but they also have some not opened to the public and yet both are posted the same way!