Tod's Blog

Adventures with family & friends and other things I'm passionate about…

Last Chance Bucks

Posted by todblog on November 6, 2007

November 2, 2007

Today marks the close of another Western Oregon Buck Season. It opened on Sept. 29th and was greeted with cool overcast drizzly weather. Perfect conditions for slipping around in the woods and finding active deer. It was shaping up to be a great deer season with many hunters reporting success or passing up multiple opportunities at deer. Having to operate deer and elk hunter check stations along with our recent trip to Wyoming for antelope, there didn’t seem to be much time to get out and find a deer. One of the problems with having a long 35 day season is putting it off your hunt until later… Later came down to the last day of the season.

I took the morning off from work and went out with a good friend Justin Hadwen who had already filled his buck tag during an earlier Eastern Oregon mule deer hunt. Justin was familiar with some country not too far from Roseburg and although he couldn’t promise me anything, he said of this spot, “I’ve had to work hard not to shoot bucks when going there…” Hmmm…now that sounded interesting. If there was any legal buck willing to go home in my truck, I wasn’t going to hesitate on the last day of the season. Besides, I signed out on the office board that I’d be coming to work after lunch.

The morning met us with a heavy blanket of fog and we waited for a while to see if it would lift. We would get periodic views of open hillsides and brush and then fog again. We decided to take our chances and head out along a trail and into the patchy fog. We glassed the hillside whenever the fog let us and suddenly Justin spotted a small buck about 50 yards below us. It appeared to be a spike [legal bucks must have at least a forked antler] and it was feeding parallel to the trail we were walking. Then 50 yards ahead on the ridgeline in front of us was a huge buck with tall and wide antlers. It was skylined and moving what looked to be toward us. I took a knee on the trail and chambered a round waiting to see if the buck was still there. The fog made visibility tough and we soon learned that the buck was actually heading away from us. We waited for the fog to give us more opportunity to see what was around us. Justin spotted a large buck below us at about 100 yards and it was barely visible to me. At times I could see antlers and its outline mixed with brush. It eventually walked over a ridge and out of sight. We waited for the fog again…

Justin spied a dark blob in some light colored grass way below us. The binoculars confirmed it to be a buck bedded down. Was it the big one or a different one? It didn’t matter to me, it was the last day and I was grateful to have one last opportunity. My rangefinder display said “low battery” and I muttered to myself, “That’s the story of my life..” I consoled myself with the thought that the rangefinder wouldn’t work with so much fog anyway. I opted to take a prone position on a small flat piece of ground below the trail and set-up for a long shot. We estimated the buck to be close to 300 yards away and all I had for a target was his head and neck as he lay in the grass. Once again, I found myself using Jacob’s .260 Remington. It is such a sweet shooter with mild recoil, flat trajectory and plenty of oomph. Everything felt good as I lined-up on the buck. The bipod gave me a rock solid rest and I waited for the fog to lift once more. As it did, I flicked the safety off and swallowed my pounding heart one last time. Everything looked perfect as I squeezed off a shot. The buck never got out of his bed.

Thanks to Justin, I was able to fill my tag and I was done buck hunting in Oregon for another year. I would even make it back to the office on time!

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Western Oregon Buck season ended for me on the last day at 9:15am

 

Justin was super generous and extended the same opportunity to Jacob the next day. As a juvenile, Jacob was able to hunt an additional 2 days after the regular season ended. It was Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s way of promoting hunting opportunities to youth hunters during the Western Oregon Buck season. We met Justin the next morning and it was totally socked in with fog as we drove into the hunting area. As the truck gained elevation the fog broke and revealed a clear mountain overlooking an ocean of fog below. It reminded me of hunting on the Big Island’s Mauna Kea in the early morning above the clouds. We had great visibility and glassed the slopes to find several bucks walking around below us. We spotted a flock of noisy crows and a large healthy coyote feeding on bones and flesh from the buck I collected the day before. Off in the distance we saw a decent buck and we opted to try and close the distance to him as he was about the same elevation but, over 1/2 a mile away. We slipped along a trail and tried to keep tabs on the buck that kept going in and out of the young fir trees. He finally disappeared from view but, we knew he wasn’t far away so we chose to wait and see what would happen next.

I glassed around the hillside and caught a glimpse of another buck feeding in the open and unaware of our presence. It was a forked horn busily feeding upslope and offered a broadside shot at 220 yds. We immediately went into stealth mode and hunkered down. Jacob tried to utilize a charred and pointed stump for a rest but, couldn’t get a steady hold on the buck. After wrestling with the stump and having no success, Jacob chose to belly crawl ahead another 5 yds. to a spot clear of tall grass. He propped his rifle up with the bipod fully extended and found the feeding buck in his steady crosshairs. He took off the safety and waited for the buck to turn broadside. The .260 Remington let out a CRACK and the buck walked off in a small circle and went down a few yards away. Jacob’s annual buck hunt was over at 9:10am.

 

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Jacob with his Last Chance Buck above the clouds with dad.

 

 

 

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Next day, cutting up the vennison into stew meat chunks, steaks, and…

 

 

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sliced 1/4″ thin for teriyaki steaks on the grill, some onolicious eatin!

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3 Responses to “Last Chance Bucks”

  1. Whoa, Nellie!

    I think Jacob is not only going to be bigger than you but better looking too! Check out my blog on Aloha Living for a Hawaiian-style brined turkey 🙂 Great hunts you two!

    Aloha,

    Bill

    Like

  2. Hanaleia said

    Way to go Jacob! You must be really glad to have gotten another buck!!!

    Like

  3. sandrar said

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

    Like

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