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Let’s get real about paper maps, most are outdated, and boundaries change all the time.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.
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:
“Public lands belong to everyone in the U.S. Often, though, your public lands are surrounded by a fortress of private property, making them inaccessible. Sometimes you have to go to extremes to hunt your public land.”
This is the first feature film ever done for onXmaps and features Randy Newberg (Renown Big Game Hunter) and Matthew Seidel (onXmaps Staff) hunting an area that Randy tends to go to every year. If you watch his show you will know the area in question.
Landlocked Public Land – A Good Trade or Bad Trade?
When plans of a great hunt goes bad after doing your in depth homework on a hunting unit and finding it is too much work to make it fun and give up. The great State of Oregon, as well as other western states in CONUS has a great amount of public land, whether it is National Forest, State Lands, and Bureau of Land Management lands. Those that spend a great deal of their off time in the field hunting, fishing, hiking or whatever else takes them in to the field have found that there is a great deal landlocked public land that is very difficult to access.
In my younger days, with my hunting partners we challenged the access every year. Having worked with paper maps in my early stages of my hunting life, too figure out how to get into the public lands was very time consuming. Early on we would find the touching points and jump the line, though Wyoming was the first to make that illegal to do so. Unless the government changes the use of satellites’, I will trust the modern day GPS or mobile device and my mapping software 100% as many paper maps and some mapping software are not accurate with all the changes going on. How many still have 20+ year old National Forest maps and Rams maps? Funny I just threw way in my recycle container all of my paper maps from the last 40 years… That included the map of a certain hunt unit in Oregon that had more than 200 elk harvest from the circle of acquaintances’ over the years. The other day after posting an old article about a land trade that was in the making back some years ago, I took some heavy hits from a rancher. I understand where he was coming from and his comments were well said. My feeling still did not wavier on the subject of that particular B.L.M. and private land trade, to free up B.L.M. that was encompassed with the private lands. Reading the government/private land proposal, I personally and others that opposed it, knew that much of the public land would still only be used few and the private sector would still get the better deal. The majority felt the only road into the new setup would be control by the private sector… That would have been by a very big organization and not the ranchers.
As I am writing this article, I venture up in the hills outside of Molalla, Oregon looking for Blacktails to do a photo op. I wanted to work around some old haunts in the upper area; low and behold I find that some of the BLM has been swapped out to a private timber company. Weyerhaeuser property touches some of the property and the companies warning signs were in full view. One has to love the BLM No Shooting Signs on posted on the BLM, and no residential structures in the area. I feel it is an attempt to keep hunters from even going on the BLM, since there is private and timber company properties close by.
If the public (outdoor enthusiast) would look at computer or mobile device with mapping software such as the best being onXmaps HUNT , you’re going to be very surprise to see how much public land that is tied up and almost impossible to have access to. The ranchers, farmers, and landowners have the access and it basically like an extension to their own land. With money one can find a way in, such as being dropped in by a helicopter, parachute or even an ultralight… You have to weigh the cost and still know you’re going to have to come back out the public landlocked land, without setting foot on private.
In this paragraph I am attaching number pictures of BLM land that the private land makes it basically landlocked. There is a BLM Right-Away, yet the public can’t use it. The land has caretakers or ranch hands that besides using it for their personnel use, act as if they own it, since the owner is not living on the property. There are always two sides to the story of course, giving access to the public on the Right-Away and the public take advantage of it using the private land as well as the public land. I do know that opposite side of the river in this attached map, the Right-Away is open for about 4 miles. For the most part the public does adhere to the only using the public land.
There was a major poaching problem as far as I am concerned in 2016 prior to the opening hunt for Oregon with local Natives being able to have access year round to hunt when it necessary to do so based on treaties, even if they are trespassing. It would not have been so bad if they had not cut the heads off and only took the backstraps only on the elk and deer they took on private land. In this case the Right-Away is problem since they can drive and kill on both the public and private lands… We have to remember that the land owners are not landlocked. They can have easements with the B.L.M., in many cases they have the lease on public land.
Many years ago I had open access to a parcel of land in eastern Oregon, what a great deal it was for archery deer and elk hunting. Most of the time in the gang, there were 4 of us. In those days working in the sporting goods business, to buy a 4 way rifle which was an inexpensive way to give a gratuity to a rancher. Many years later after the rancher sold-out, I went into the back country with my Garmin GPS and onXmaps HUNT software loaded on the GPS, low and behold much of the land that we travel through his fences to get to where all Federal lands (BLM/NF). To access this land all one had to do was travel on another access point on federal lands.
If I was a private land owner; I would want all my lands in one parcel overall, as long as it has a good water source. Saying this there are the ranchers that have the summer range and the winter range and that is important to them, and rightly so. The public should never lose access to public land in any state, and we (public) should never give up or lose the river or water rights to private, unless private land is already deeded with their water source and have the land to the navigational line in the sand so to speak. The B.L.M., should never be allowed to take away land and the ranchers lose their water, a necessary commodity of life to a ranch. The trades need to be even as they can, so both the public and the private benefit from the trade.