Tag Archives: Oregon Hunts Archery

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Saving Big Game Hunting

Predators taking the place of big game animals

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.

There is a large area in the 2017 ODFW Game Regulations this year on Cougars. This is the map that showing what ODFW feels is the key area. I do believe there are more areas than on the map…

LINK:  O.D.F.W. Cougar Agenda

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…  
Let us not forget about the resilient Coyote that roams all of North American. Ever thought about asking a chicken or duck farmer to hunt the Coy Dogs that will lay in wait free roaming egg layers…

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…  

Attached link for:  Predator Defense

“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:

 

The Warner Unit in Oregon, known for Pronghorn, Deer and even Elk. A key spot for removal of Cougars.
A great deal of B.L.M. in the Steen’s Mountains, near Diamond, Oregon. Elk, Deer and Pronghorn roam these hills. This area was well now for big Mulies…
This is the east slope of the Steen’s Mountains. Big Horn Sheep, Deer and Pronghorn work this area from the valley floor to 10,000 feet. Cougars have been working all of the Steen’s for a long time.
This map is of an area in the Rogue Unit in Oregon. The Cougars have worked close to Willow Lake RV Resort. The Blacktail population is down from previous years.


Frank Biggs aka Bwana Bubba

2013 Successful Hunter’s Pictures – Mostly!

The following are just pictures, that might or might not have a story to go with!

Grizzly Unit

    Grizzly Unit
One should have a camera that will take a picture in low light!
One should have a camera that will take a picture in low light!
David K and his Applegate Muzzleloader Blacktail!
David K and his Applegate Muzzleloader Blacktail!
Mike a. Applegate Muzzleloader Hunt!
Mike a. Applegate Muzzleloader Hunt!
Donnie! First deer-Blacktail Buck-Redland, Oregon
Donnie! First deer-Blacktail Buck-Redland, Oregon
Mark D's Archery Blacktail Molalla, Oregon
Mark D’s Archery Blacktail
Molalla, Oregon
Mark D's old time friend and his buck from Mark's Place.
Mark D’s old time friend and his buck from Mark’s Place.
Bwana Bubba 615 Tag Filled!
Bwana Bubba 615 Tag Filled!
Warner Unit 2013 Archery
Warner Unit 2013 Archery
Warner Unit Archery 2013
Warner Unit Archery 2013
Ace with his 2013 Pronghorn from the Juniper Hunt Unit in Oregon. A well earned dandy Lope!
Ace with his 2013 Pronghorn from the Juniper Hunt Unit in Oregon. A well earned dandy Lope!
Dandy Buck Lope from the South Wagontire Unit in Oregon!
Dandy Buck Lope from the South Wagontire Unit in Oregon!
Mark with his P & Y Buck! First bow kill of big game!
Mark with his P & Y Buck! First bow kill of big game!
Frankie with his first bow buck kill with the bow and arrow!
Frankie with his first bow buck kill with the bow and arrow!
A great picture of what looks to be one of Oregon's Benchleg Bucks from the Cascades! Mike's Opening Dad Buck 2013
A great picture of what looks to be one of Oregon’s Benchleg Bucks from the Cascades! Mike’s Opening Dad Buck 2013
Whitehorse Lope 2013! First time shooter1
Whitehorse Lope 2013! First time shooter!
Willamette Valley Blacktail 2013 Archery
Willamette Valley Blacktail 2013 Archery
Lope Down! South Wagontire1
Lope Down! South Wagontire1

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Game Calling 21st Century

iHUNT by RUGER

iHunt by Ruger Icon_v3

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.

Home Screen, easy to navigate through. Have fun!
Home Screen, easy to navigate through. Have fun!

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).

Setup the speaker away from you have the game or varmint come in closer!
iHUNT by RUGER Bluetooth speaker that gets an amazing 50 + yards and 110dB of power. The speaker automatically unlocks the App when you connect it to your phone.

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
Touch the Hunting calls and it goes to this screen to choose.
Touch the Hunting calls and it goes to this screen to choose.
Once you open the animal, bird, or other you get to the calls.
Once you open the animal, bird, or other you get to the calls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Your pictures can be upload and you can see other's pictures and who they are.
Your pictures can be upload and you can see other’s pictures and who they are.

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 from Bwana Bubba!

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Reaching Elk miles away.

Chasing down Elk from afar!


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.

This happens to be from the 2015 first season Rocky Mtn. Elk season in Oregon. It is an old haunt an my son and his cousin, knowing the area, but never running a GPS went hunting with the new Garmin 64's and onXmaps Hunt Plat map installed. As you can see he stayed legal. There is some access for the public near the river, that is grandfathered in for about 50 years or more. In this country it is about seeing the elk, deer and pronghorn and chasing after them. Open country with Junipers, sagebrush, rimrock, cheat grass and seed grazing grasses.
This happens to be from the 2015 first season Rocky Mtn. Elk season in Oregon. It is an old haunt that I have introduced my son too. So my son and his cousin, knowing the area had never used a GPS went hunting with the new Garmin 64’s and onXmaps Hunt Plat map installed (I demanded they have them to stay legal). As you can see he stayed legal. There is some access for the public near the river, that is grandfathered in for about 50 years or more. In this country it is about seeing the elk, deer and pronghorn and chasing after them. Open country with Junipers, sagebrush, rimrock, cheat grass and seeded grazing grasses (after range fires).

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 bull was spotted with another bull at about 2000 yards. I shot this bull at 50 yards. Both bulls were taken, one by myself and my partner, after we split up in the draw. We watched the bull at about 200 yards split up.
This bull was spotted with another bull at about 2000 yards. I shot this bull at 50 yards. Both bulls were taken, one by myself and my partner, after we split up in the draw. We watched the bull at about 200 yards split up.

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.

This bull was taken by my son. We all spotted the elk at a mile away. I decided with my son, Brian Henninger's brother John and a buddy of my son to go after him. I got my son within 50 feet of the bedded bull. In the picture if Brian Henninger PGA. On this hunt all the hunters got a bull within 2 hours of each other.
This bull was taken by my son. We all spotted the elk at a mile away. I decided with my son, Brian Henninger’s brother John and a buddy of my son to go after him. I got my son within 50 feet of the bedded bull. In the picture if Brian Henninger PGA. On this hunt all the hunters got a bull within 2 hours of each other.

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.

This bull was spotted at about 1/2 mile away. On this bull, I thought it was another bull seen earlier. Only had a side profile when I launched a 210 gr. Nosler Partition at 600 yards.
This bull was spotted at about 1/2 mile away. On this bull, I thought it was another bull seen earlier. Only had a side profile when I launched a 210 gr. Nosler Partition at 600 yards.

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.

This bull was called in to within 20 yards after being spotted about 1000 yards away. We covered ground to within 100 yards of the herd. A bit of small bull and cow call called him in. Plus we had cut off some of his cows.
This bull was called in to within 20 yards after being spotted about 1000 yards away. We covered ground to within 100 yards of the herd. A bit of small bull and cow call called him in. Plus we had cut off some of his cows.

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.

This bull was spotted from a mountain top a very long ways away. Michael Jame of Bend, OR took him out at 100 yards. Michael has always been a believer of getting in fast.
This bull was spotted from a mountain top a very long ways away. Michael Jame of Bend, OR took him out at 100 yards. Michael has always been a believer of getting in fast.

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.

Oregon Elk (7)
This bull was shot from long range, but spotted earlier in the evening along with another bull of the same size. Three bulls were taken within 10 minutes of each other. After my son’s bull was down and heading back, heard a shot in another basin. That shot was from Brian Henninger. Two bulls came out of the basin, one dropped from Brian’s close range shot. The other bull stopped, by that time I was on the hard deck in the prone position with By-Pod flipped down. Raised 4 feet over the back, pulled the trigger on the 340 Weatherby with 225 gr. Barnes X and the bull dropped in his tracks. “Never seen anyone shoot that far” (John Henninger). My comment was the Barnes X must have given it a heart attack. No time to chase this bull down, take the shot or let it go.

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.

#onxmaps #teamhunt #huntsmarter

Frank Biggs aka Bwana Bubba

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting Methods & Rates of Success

So what type of hunter are you?

The question is did you count all the points of the racks of these mule deer bucks, that you jumped, or did you react to the eye and engage?
The question is did you count all the points of the racks of these mule deer bucks, that you jumped, or did you react to the eye and engage?

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.

Old buddies that have hunted together for many years and know the area. Third from the left is the Harry Bane, who was the Weatherby Rep.! This was a successful elk hunt in Idaho, in the Selway Unit!
Old buddies that have hunted together for many years and know the area. Third from the left is the Harry Bane, who was the Weatherby Rep.! This was a successful elk hunt in Idaho, in the Selway Unit!

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.

It is the opening day of archery season, you got the jump on these bucks, have you released you arrow to the target buck, before they have reacted to finally knowing you are upon them?
It is the opening day of archery season, you got the jump on these bucks, have you released you arrow to the target buck, before they have reacted to finally knowing you are upon them?

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.

This Blacktail buck was on private property that I took the time to ask for permission to hunt.
This Blacktail buck was on private property that I took the time to ask for permission to hunt.

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.

Bwana Bubba

Oregon – Sleeper State – Pronghorn Hunting

Through time in the field, knowledge comes to all!

None us come out knowing everything.  So over the years I have absorbed a great deal of knowledge about hunting Pronghorn – Antelope that roam the high plains and arid lands of the United States. Pronghorns are one of the most magnificent mammals that has survived since the Ice Age.  It is one of the few living links to the Ice Age.  They are an ancient species dating back about 20 million years and are the lone survivors of a family of hoofed mammals found only in North America (Antilocapridae)  A little history class for hunters!

A nice heavy buck, maybe next year!
A nice heavy buck, maybe next year!

Oregon truly is a sleeper state for hunting Pronghorn – Antelope – Lope or Dinosaurs!  Problem is getting a tag for resident or even non-resident.   Many non-resident hunters put in for many states, with the hope of drawing.  As for those of use that live in Oregon, getting a tag runs from 8 to 25 years for a rifle tag and 1 to 3 years for archery.   Sometimes you might be lucky and draw a tag based on the hold back tags put in random draw.  As a biologist friend of mine once told me Oregon’s Pronghorn units all hold Boone & Crockett warrantable bucks. Biggest problem is holding out for the big buck, judging bucks, know the whereabouts and what unit has the best possible chance for a trophy buck.

This archery buck scored 78" 13 1/2" with 6 1/2" Prongs.
This archery buck scored 78″ 13 1/2″ with 6 1/2″ Prongs.

When I first started out with my first tag for an Oregon Pronghorn, I had help from a Naval Officer that I knew while on active duty in the Navy, he had great deal of knowledge, plus his friend a young BLM summer help student that knew the area.  His name was Rod Briece, who later became my Commanding Officer and was a long time hunting friend.

We did not go blindly into the hunt unit, as there was a game plan to check out many different areas of the unit in a short period of time.  We did get into the unit prior to the hunt by one full day to scout.   We had about 4 game plans with the A, B, C, and D plan changing with the sighting of bucks.  The final plan of the day became a A plan for the opening morning.   I was successful on my first Pronghorn hunt to get a buck that scored 85″.   He and his does had come into the same waterhole that we had seen them at, the evening before.  At about 0715 the buck came to the waterhole.  The rest is history at 250 yards from the rocks! Point being prepared and having options on the hunt.

This buck scored 85" after be on the fireplace mantel for a year.  He is 16 5/8" with 6" Prongs.  Prongs are high on the horn, a key element.
This buck scored 85″ after be on the fireplace mantel for a year. He is 16 5/8″ with 6″ Prongs. Prongs are high on the horn, a key element.

Over the following years in this particular unit it put out many trophy Pronghorns.  This does not include the ones that a few missed during the hunts and the hunter came up empty handed…

One of the greatest lessons that I learned with hunting Pronghorns is the use of the binoculars and patience. Finding vantage points and glassing over massive areas.   Pronghorns have always been the animal, you don’t see me now, but wait long enough I will be standing there.  Amazing creature that has intrigued me for many decades.  Even on that first hunt, we glassed from afar and it paid off.  I always look for mass from a side profile of the head.  If warranted, I have a spotting scope to do a better judgement of the buck.   Many times the heat waves in the high desert are so bad that there seems to be an illusion of what you see.  So seeing the side profile is most important.  Length is not always as important as mass and the high of the prongs (cutters) on the horn.

Mapping is very important for hunters, whether it is Pronghorn hunting or any other movement in the outdoors. I find it is almost as important as the optics and the weapon of choice.

Until recently, lets say 1998, most of us would have B.L.M. maps or other maps to find places to hunt.  The GPS came along and it was ok, to know where you were, but not much good to know where to go.  A few software companies tried back then, but were crude and not very accurate.  Along comes onXmaps HUNT (2008) and what a success story for the company and the people that use their products. It is a lot of fun to have knowledge of places to hunt (landmarks), take them and mark them in the mapping software on the computer and then move them to the GPS.   A great way to share information that is accurate.   Like having a snapshot of a hillside that you have seen, but now you get to remember where it is.  Better yet, at times when using the software and Google Earth via the laptop to Garmin GPS, it like watching TV…  Remember by using this software, you might even be able to find a rancher or farmer that dislike Dinosaurs and will give you permission.  For DIY you’ll find that you just might not need a guide for out of state hunts.  Many got it figured out how to hunt public land for Pronghorns!
        onXmaps HUNT

BLM and the Private Food Plot via Google Earth and onXmaps HUNT
BLM and the Private Food Plot via Google Earth and onXmaps HUNT
You figure it out how you want to hunt.  Find legal land and game! From onXmaps HUNT Viewer
You figure it out how you want to hunt. Find legal land and game! From onXmaps HUNT Viewer
onXmaps HUNT mapping from the computer.
onXmaps HUNT mapping from the computer.

 

We all have options on what caliber to hunt with for Pronghorns and my thoughts are no different.  Having many calibers to choose from, I am a firm believer to go big on this medium size mammal.   It is not the fact that a 243 Win, or 257 Weatherby won’t get the job done, but I don’t remember to many times that the wind was not howling after the sun comes up.   My favorite light caliber is the 257 Weatherby, but if I get one chance to get a tag in 15 years and I have to make that 500 yard shot due to not being able to crawl within 250 yards, I will take my 30cal to get the job done.  Shrugging your shoulders with that comment, just think about not getting there with the shot… There are many great calibers and my first was taken with a 7mm Remington Mag.  Overkill, ya it might be, but still a 30 cal 180 grain that is going to make a hole in and out most likely.   I do know I will have a kill shot and and not have to track the buck very far in most cases.   One has to be comfortable with the rifle and trust what it will do or what you can do.

This archery buck score 86" 14 1/2" with 8" Prongs.  Very heavy mass.
This archery buck score 86″ 14 1/2″ with 8″ Prongs. Very heavy mass.

This brings up another subject:   Making sure you have great shot placement and anchor the Pronghorn down.  Tracking for trying to find a Pronghorn in the sagebrush after a hit from afar, might just lead to not finding it.  Years ago one of my hunters that I gave waypoints to shot a monster lope in a large sagebrush flat.  It was late and darkness was fast approaching.  He decide to wait for morning!  A great mistake as one loses focus of what he or she might have seen with the shot.  With a Pronghorn left overnight, the coyotes have already taken are of it. You might be lucky to find the horns, but in many cases the horns have been taken care of also.  Anchor the animal as with any animal in it’s tracks or close proximity.

In my time I have done a great deal of scouting and researching of Pronghorn or Antelope as most call this great animal from the past in Oregon and the rest of the Western States, where they roam in huntable numbers.  For archery hunters in many of the Western States you have a chance to hunt every year for Antelope.  Whereas with a rifle you might have to wait some 8-25 years to draw a tag, at least in the Oregon.  I have hunters in Oregon that are now hunting almost every year with the bow.   A  great challenge to hunt with the bow, but what a rush and accomplishment to harvest up close and personal.  You’ll find hunting with the bow for Antelope a great sport that you won’t be able to stop doing.   I have been told by my hunters that they have had the best experience hunting Antelope over anything else they have hunted in North America.  It could be that they see a lot of Antelope while hunting them.   Since competition for tags is so great, some of use will wait the whatever years to get the rifle tag, get it done and the following years put in for a bow tag.   Not many years ago in Oregon and I am sure in other states, you put in for a rifle tag and make your second choice a bow tag.   I do believe that I did this at least 10 times over the years.   Very fortunate to have harvest a number of great bucks with the arrow.   Now I find that many are taking great bucks with the arrow in many hunt units in many states.

This is a great buck, worthy of any wall! Didn’t have a tag, but hunting season was upon us. 100 foot photo op!

I one thing I have learned after all these years and not even being in some of my old haunts for many years, is that Pronghorn are animals of habit from generation to generation.   They cover the same ground and do the same things from one generation to another.  Most of the land in which they live never changes.   There was one buck that my friends & hunters chased for about three years and never got.  I really wanted him for myself is what all thought.  He would be located in the same spot within a 1/4 mile and escape basically the same way.  His escape route was not one you could cover and he knew it.  Now if we ambushed him in his normal spot he could have been taken.  He was one of the biggest Antelope I ever hunted.  I did get one hunter on him at very close range with a standing broadside at 250 yards.  He missed the buck and the hunt was over for him!  The hunter who I knew well told me he had been a Marine Sniper…  A few years back I went back to a spot which I hunted and guided about 20 years ago.  The only thing that had changed is the B.L.M. put a solar power water pump on a water hole in one of my favorite spots.   Even the old ranchers sign was still there and he had been gone for a long time.  The sign had stated in so many words that you were crossing into his lands.  This happen to be B.L.M. that he leased, but did not own.  Now you know one of the reasons to have a mapping and gps system that lets you know your legal.  Many times my hunters tell me, “WOW”, you were right on the money for Lopes being there…

This is a great buck taken in Oregon also in a 2 season unit.
This is a great buck taken in Oregon also in a 2 season unit.

I have seen mature bucks standing in the middle of a back country road in B.L.M., marking the road.  No, not by scratching but by urinating in the middle of road.   Once someone knows some of the peculiar habits of Antelope, you can use it to your advantage.   Such is the case a couple of years ago when I spot a group of Antelope in a 5 tag unit.  I wanted the picture of the buck and just knew he would go around the mountain and want to get back into the hole.  He did just that and my son asked how did you know?

Not a big buck in a 5 tag unit, but it was nice to be able to read his mind! He cut my path at about 75 yards, trying to double back to the basin!

 

I have taken a great deal of Antelope with the bow and all but a rifle kill has been from stalking.   A great deal of the bow hunters I know do wait on water, but you have to have patience.  One of my GPS Hunters – Bowhunters sat for two (2) days for more than 12 hours.  He as been successful two (2) years in a row on the same waterhole.   I do love to stalk them and arrow them before they know I am there.  Antelope do lay in the sagebrush flats and with a lot of glassing from a vantage point you can find them and stalk within bow range easily.

Which one is the shooter in this crowd?

Note:  Then there is the issue with sunglasses, I will always wear sunglasses (favorite are Ray-Ban Wayfarer-easy to lift with bino’s with no bind) during the day and “Photo Grays” for the evening hunts.  I felt if the game, especially Antelope can’t see my eyes or movement then I could close the gap on them even easier once spotted.  I always wore a hat and a backpack with the spotting scope & tripod sticking out of the top.  It is what it is with habits and wearing the same pants on every hunt!

Most experience hunters have their ways to hunt game, whether it is from stalking, waiting, ambush or just being lucky and walking into a shoot-able animal.  It is whatever works for you, that makes the hunt!

You also have to be patient and let the smaller bucks (“VILLAGE IDIOTS”) go by, so you can harvest the trophy buck.

Just a short little video of a nice buck ( we had him set for the following year) in the Grizzly Hunt Unit in Oregon:  Pronghorn in the Big Muddy!

Bwana Bubba

Manuel Big Blacktail Buck Hunter

A man with the knowledge and habits of Blacktail Deer

Hey Frank’

Manny knows what Big Blackies are and I have seen a few of his bucks!
Manny knows what Big Blackies are and I have seen a few of his bucks!

I just wanted to give you a firsthand account of the late archery deer hunt for the Rogue Unit, this was my second year I participated in this hunt, last year was a charm seen tons of good buck and a few whoppers also.  This year was way different; you see I hunt down on the south slope of the SiQ’s (Siskiyou) near Agate Flats which is surrounded by the Soda Mountain National Monument.  I grew up round there so I am quite familiar with this deer herd.

It appears the word has gotten out, that there has been some great bucks coming from this area and I can tell you first hand by all the people who showed up to hunt this area, the word is truly out about the Soda Mountain Wilderness area.  

Sad Part is; this area will not and cannot sustain that kind of hunting pressure, the bucks I seen this year barely seemed to be rutting but more like running from the pressure, the monument is only a few thousand acres and there was approximately 25 to 30 people hunting it the whole late season, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife need to take a good hard look at this areas late season and put some restrictions on it otherwise we’ll have the same problem with the Blacktails we have with the Mulies

Thanx Manny G’

Mark D’s 2013 Oregon Archery Blacktail Hunt

First off I have known Mark for about 30 years, in the days of Burns Bros., Sportsmen’s Center and Burns Bros., Travel Stops.  Mark and I hunt a number of times in the coast range for elk in those days!   Mark use to make sure that during the days of the Travel Stops we would always have the day old Hostess Pastries for a hunting trip!

Mark now lives out in the country on a dandy piece of Blacktail and Roosevelt habitat land.   It is bordered by a number of timber companies, so there is little pressure from the public!

OK! BUBBA – HERE GOES!

Not the best picture, but his neighbor shot one of the 7 bulls that came in and it scored 320 Net.  Roosevelt Elk1
Not the best picture, but his neighbor shot one of the 7 bulls that came in and it scored 320 Net. Roosevelt Elk!

I JUST COULDN’T PASS UP THIS STUD BUCK!

                       

This has been Mark D's target buck for 2013!  He decided not to show!
This has been Mark D’s target buck for 2013! He decided not to show!
It was the most unbelievable sight ever for us!   After spending many many hours in the blind in hopes of the monster 4 x 4 Blacktail coming in (before dark) or after light in AM, the second biggest one that I’ve gotten on Trail Cam showed up with enough daylight to get a pin on him.  The waiting in tree stand has been a tough one with extreme global warming that we have here in Oregon in the temperature in the Teens!

Frontal Shot!
Frontal Shot!
My son in law was with me to watch and witness the unfolding of a one in a lifetime shot!
The buck went broadside at 30 yards and mentally I knew my next plan was going to be in milliseconds.
As I was already at full draw, I let my new Mathews Creed go, the arrow hit high and sounded like I hit a rock.  It seemed to pick that deer up off his feet and throw him down like someone body slammed him. Then he roared like a red stag!  Wow! I have killed many animals with a bow over the years but never have spine one until now.
I shifted into panic mode as he was roaring and trying to get up so, I as quick as I could loaded another arrow and with him thrashing, shot again.

Dandy 3 X 3 Columbia Blacktail buck from west Clackamas County.
Dandy 3 X 3 Columbia Blacktail buck from west Clackamas County.
Well he twisted as I released the arrow and got another spine shot, this time in top…  Crap!   Double panic! I run out of the blind and as I approach him to put one in at close range, he lunges at me!   Wow!  Do they have power!  I got as close as I could and got one through both lungs and he soon expired…  Who would ever think that I could have gotten gored by a deer?
Mark D's old time friend and his buck from Mark's Place.
Mark D’s old time friend and his buck from Mark’s Place.
I hope to never spine one again, I much prefer a double lung on the first arrow…………………….
Mark D!
Mark’s 125 grain Thunderhead Broadhead went completely through the buck and severed part of the spine.
The Thunderhead was still intact!