Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Mule Deer 2007
My friend Larry and I were hunting the Silver Lake unit in Central Oregon. Finally, we had drawn tags. The plan was to let most of the insanity of opening weekend, settle down a bit before we began our hunt. So we set up camp on Monday and started hunting on Tuesday. Larry had a great camping spot all picked out next to Thompson Reservoir. A beautiful little bay with our own assortment of waterfowl as well as hawks and owls.
Our first day was spent checking out the general lay of the land and deer tracks. There were lots of deer tracks and it seemed just about as many people tracks too. I wasn't thrilled with how many people and rigs there were driving around. We spent Wednesday trying to find the greatest distance between roads, then get out and hunt on foot for the rest of the day. By that night we knew, we had to get away from the roads and people if we were to have a chance in hell of seeing a buck. For me, I was becoming a bit disillusioned with the prospects of filling my tag. Seemed like a needle in a haystack. Larry reassured me and said we're doing the right thing. Being relatively new to big game hunting, I trusted him and did my best to stay positive. I know they can be right around the next bend, or draw or right in front of you when you least expect it. And with those thoughts the butterfly's in my belly returned every time.
We spent some time studying our maps and making a plan for Thursday. We had slept in on Thursday morning, and it was just what we both needed. Had a good breakfast, a quick "camp shower" and got our day packs ready for the afternoon and evening hunt. We got to a good looking draw and the road ended there. Perfect we said, so this is where our hunt began.
We dropped into this dry creek bed with rim rock and we each took a side and headed up. Eventually we came back together because it was to brushy to walk through. We got to some open ground with Mtn. Mahogany thickets and some fresh deer and elk tracks. Ummm, we say to one another. This is looking better, not to mention we haven't seen another person or rig since we started today. We are paralleling each other about 150 yards apart, when we both caught sight of movement ahead of us. We look to one another and Larry signals me to meet him. I move his way and he waves me to pick up my pace, so I do. He tells me he saw 5 deer, 2 bucks and a couple does. We split up and have our eyes peeled. We are dropping into the upper end of the creek that we started out in earlier in the day. I lose sight of Larry then I hear one loud 30-6 BOOM! I think to myself alright he got his Buck, and then I wonder which direction the rest of the deer are headed. I move faster to get into some cover and I see movement to my left. I drop to my right knee and hope it's a buck. It is, he stops at the edge of the trees before entering a small clearing to make sure it's safe. My heart is pounding in my ears, pupils fully dilated and then he steps out and begins to trot. A big 4 x 4 Muley Buck at 65 yards. Oh my god I can't believe this. I begin telling myself to be calm, don't miss, don't blow it, etc. etc. As I shouldered my gun he caught my movement, stops and looks right at me not knowing what to make of me.I think to myself for a split second "my camo is working". I steadied myself as best I could and squeezed off a round. He dropped to his chest and stumbled downhill and across the creek and piled up. Just as I heard a Jeep come round the corner below me. The fellow driving asked if it was a spike and I said "nope, a 4 point".
I told him the spike was with the does and he grunted something and drove off. Wow, Larry and I had our bucks, and within a minute of each other too. He passed on the 4 point, as it was leading and he wanted to do his best to keep them moving in my direction. So he anchored the 3 point and his plan worked flawlessly.
Well the work begins and it's getting dark fast. We get the
bucks gutted and we drag Larry's buck down to mine. He asks if I have fire starter materials and am o.k. staying with the Deer? Yep on both counts. He checks his GPS and makes a b-line for the truck. It's a little after 6:00p.m. and I have a quick snack and make sure I put my knife away. Then I find my headlamp and gather some material for building a small warming fire. It's about 8:00 now and I can see frost beginning to settle so I get a fire going. Ahh, the comforts of a fire. Especially when you have 2 dead deer and 2 fresh gut piles. This is Cougar country. Needless to say I didn't lay my rifle down for anything. Finally I hear some static on my radio and then I see headlights bouncing off the trees. Alright he found me. Not until we saw the fellow in the jeep did we realize there was a road here. It took Larry a bit to backtrack and play Let's Make A Deal . . . is it road #1 or 2 or 3?
We got the bucks back to camp around 10 p.m. and then spent several hours skinning and wiping them down. We were wired and tired and stayed up til 3 a.m. talking about our hunt. That is my first Mule Deer Buck and I owe Larry a big steak dinner for passing on him and taking the 3 point. What a great hunting partner and friend, thanks again Larry!
Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt