Tod's Blog

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

Fall’s Bounty

Posted by todblog on December 6, 2010

November 14, 2010

The past few weeks have been very hectic in our house with school in full swing and kids with their busy daily activities. Combine that schedule with the busy fall hunting season happening all around us and it took some major planning and commitment to see things through. That meant putting activities on the calendar and saving the dates. If it ain’t on the calendar, it ain’t happening. So, what did that look like? Take the fat red pen and block out August 1 thru December 31 for Jacob’s Snake River youth cow elk hunt. Block out October 2 thru November 5 for Western Oregon Deer Season. Block out November 6 thru 14 for Jeanine’s Snake River cow elk hunt and block out weekends in November for Jacob’s late season black-tailed deer youth hunt. The calendar was then protected from anybody who might attempt to make any unauthorized changes.

Stepping back and looking at the calendar, I saw Jacob had five months to find a cow elk in the Snake River Unit (a mere 11 hr drive away), one month to find a Western Oregon buck, and four weekends to find a late season black-tailed deer (a 45 minute drive from home). The kid definitely scored some great youth hunts this year. I just hoped he would make the most of those opportunities as it would be his last year as a youth hunter (12-17 years old).

We got a jump on Jacob’s five month youth elk tag and made our annual Labor Day weekend trip to the Snake River Unit but, the elk had other plans and we returned home elkless. There would be one more chance to find an elk with Jeanine on her November elk hunt over Veteran’s Day weekend. Meanwhile, other events crept on the calendar and before we knew it October was flying by us and we needed to focus on the few days that were left in the Western Oregon deer season.

There were only a few grains of sand left in the hour glass and if Jacob was gonna go deer hunting it had to be someplace close to home for a few short hours. I got us permission to hunt a farmers field for a few hours after school. However, the deer would enter the field with just seconds of daylight left and were barely visible in the rifle scope. It came down to the last day of the season and I got permission to hunt on a neighbors property a few minutes from the house. It would be his favorite kind of hunting, walking around in poison oak patches! However, I received several reports from local hunters, that blacktail bucks in the valley were rutting and actively pursuing does. With that information, I took a pair of shed antlers along to try and rattle a buck in for Jacob.

We walked along a ridge top and tried rattling for about 15 minutes. I watched and listened intently for any indication of a deer approaching us. What I saw was Jacob looking down at the dirt between his legs. I could tell he thought we were wasting our time. I told him we should head down the trail and try rattling again. I told him, “You take the lead in case we see something”.

We walked about 30 yards and I saw Jacob’s body enter stealth mode as he shouldered his rifle. I could see a deer partially covered by a tree and some brush. It was a buck coming to the sound of our rattling antlers. When the buck saw us, he slowly walked away and over the side of the ridge. Jacob slipped over to an opening on the ridge and quickly sat down resting the rifle on his shooting sticks. The .260 Remington let out a CRACK and Jacob turned to me with a thumbs up sign! At 60 yards the forked horn buck crossed an open bowl below us and Jacob anchored him on the opposite hillside. Western Oregon Rifle Buck tag filled!

Buck rattled-in on the last day of the Western Oregon Deer Rifle Season.

 

Our next hunting adventure would be an 11 hour return trip to Bitsy Kelley’s Diamond Head Ranch in the Snake River Wildlife Management Unit. We’d be looking for a couple of cow elk willing to return home with Jacob and Jeanine’s tag on them. It would be the second weekend of the elk season for us. Reports from opening weekend hunters were very encouraging saying that a large number of elk were utilizing the area, at least up until a few days ago. Isn’t that how it usually goes, “shoulda been here yesterday…” We knew the conditions would certainly be different from the last visit during the Labor Day weekend- a lot colder and hopefully cold enough to move the elk down to a “knee-friendly” elevation.

When we got to the area, we had 30 minutes before dark and we spent every last second scanning the hillsides looking for elk. We saw nothing. We did get word that a small bull was seen on a hillside about an hour away. We thought it over that night and decided to stay low and hunt closer to the ranch.

The next morning found us listening intently for the sound of elk talking in the nearby fields just before daylight. It was silent. As the hillsides lightened-up, we glassed for any sign of elk. Still nothing. We quickly headed down river to inspect some other fields and hillsides in hopes of locating some elk somewhere. Still nothing. We were running out of options and decided to take a walk up an old ranch road that followed a small creek. This road has always been good to us in the past with deer, bears, and elk taken in that area. We slowly eased along not knowing what to expect but, anticipation mounted with each advancing step up that old road. The wet dirt and grass made for very quiet walking and the cold morning air gently whispered into our faces. Conditions were perfect for the hunters. We watched a whitetail doe walk ahead of us on the road and scamper off when she decided she had enough of us. Luckily she didn’t blow out of there in a fit and spook any potential game ahead of us.

We walked about 100 yards up the dirt road and I caught movement up ahead and to the right side of the road. I threw my binoculars up and I could clearly see the yellow rump of an elk! This was an awesome find- a group of feeding elk that were clueless of our presence. I hunkered down and dropped back and had Jacob and Jeanine go ahead of me to set up for a shot if the elk decided to cross the dirt road and step out into the open. They both lay on the road and set up to shoot but, no elk showed up. I told them to leave their packs and ease up the road to locate the elk. They covered about 15 yards and hunkered down again to talk strategy. Seconds later, a cow elk stepped onto the road to have a look at all the commotion. Jacob flattened out on the ground and propped his bi-pod open. From 60 yards away, his Browning .30-06 roared and the cow spun around to head back for the safety of the creek bottom but, the 165 grain Nosler AccuBond did it’s job and she collapsed on the bank before crossing the creek. The other elk crossed the creek and walked up the open hillside. At 90 yards away, Jeanine squared off with a set of shooting sticks and filled her elk tag too. That old ranch road lived up to its reputation again. At 6:45am Jeanine and Jacob were both done with their Snake River elk hunt.

Jacob with his Snake River Cow Elk

Back at the ranch, all smiles, before all the work began…

The final fall big game hunt was Jacob’s late season black-tailed deer youth hunt held on private timberland owned by Giustina Resources. The hunt was held on weekends in November and designed to give youth hunters a chance to hunt bucks in rut that were chasing does around. We already missed the first two weekends and were going the third weekend of November. We were taking a special weapon with us, Michael Burrell, who knew the area well and his excitability always makes a hunt ten times more exciting. It also helps that Michael knows his stuff when it comes to deer hunting. The deer didn’t have a chance.

We pulled into the area with about a half hour before daylight and drove to a ridge with a road closure on it. This would ensure us of having a nice quiet walk on a dirt road with no other vehicles coming up behind us. It was an area with some benches just below the road and always held deer on them. We were eager to get to the spot and left the truck in a hurry. That was a big mistake. As we peered over the side of the road, we were being watched by a couple of does. They took off and so did a couple of other does and two large bucks. At 60 yards they disappeared over the edge of the bench and out of sight. Our hearts sank as we just gave up a golden opportunity first thing in the morning. I knew Jacob wondered if we’d ever get another chance that morning because I was having those same thoughts too.

We checked out a number of other clearcuts and saw more does but, no bucks with them. It was now getting late in the morning and the weather was too nice for deer hunting as the skies got clearer and warmer. We drove to another dirt spur road and Jacob and Michael walked down it to see if they couldn’t rattle a buck to them. I stayed at the truck and just took in the big views all around me and thought how fortunate we were to be here hunting. My radio crackled as I heard Michael calling me.

“Tod, we spotted a decent buck and Jacob is setting up for a shot. Can you come down and bring your range finder?”

I didn’t have to be asked twice. I grabbed my pack frame, fanny pack, and video camera and headed down the road to join them. The part about the rangefinder had me wondering just what kind of a shot it would be. When I got there I could see Jacob lying prone with his bi-pod extended and he was directing Michael to clear some grasses and brush that were obstructing his view of the buck and the bullet’s path. Michael gave me directions to find the buck on the far hillside. I found it in my binoculars and it was dozing off, occasionally dipping his head up and down. I was amazed that they actually spotted this deer. Jacob told me they were there less than a minute when Michael spotted it. “The guy is amazing dad!” {In other words- your eyes stink dad}.

I gave Michael my range finder and he found the buck to be 336 yards from us. This would be Jacob’s longest shot with the .260 Remington ever. I tried to remember the bullet drop calculations I made based on the hand-loaded ammunition and countless sessions at the gun range shooting through a chronograph. I told Jacob to hold a couple of inches higher than bullseye and he should be right on target. I was wrong.

An eternity passed by and Michael gave Jacob some last minute advice on taking the shot. The shot rang out across the draw and the buck was motionless. It was a clean miss. Michael couldn’t see where the bullet hit and told Jacob to aim higher and shoot again. The second shot was directly under the brisket and the buck stood up and was looking around. The third shot still was low and under the neck of the buck. It was now walking downhill and Michael cried out some cat calls to make it stop. It worked and the buck stood still long enough for Jacob to touch off a fourth shot aimed at the top of its back. The 130 grain Barnes bullet sailed over the draw and dropped 17 inches directly into the buck’s heart. It jumped up and ran 15 yards downhill and dropped like a rock. If not for the steady rest and Jacob’s cool-headed shooting skills, there would’ve been a different outcome.  We all breathed a deep sigh of relief and high fives were given all around. By filling this late season black-tailed buck tag, Jacob became a member of the “Triple Crown” Club. That’s where a hunter is able to get a buck antelope, 100 series buck, and a 600 series buck all in the same year. Good job Jacob!

Jacob’s Last Big Game Youth Hunt- 3pt black-tailed deer taken at 336yds

Something bigger happened on that hillside that day… I suddenly realized Jacob just filled his very last youth hunt tag forever. Next year he would no longer be hunting as a youth. The days of hunting big game with my “little boy” (who’s taller than me) had just come to an end. His experiences with the various youth hunts through the years have all been positive learning experiences for us together. It’s been a joy watching him develop his skills, knowledge and abilities as a hunter. He has certainly done well for himself and I’m so proud of his accomplishments and the good hunter ethics he has demonstrated along the way. I hope one day he looks back on these times with dad in the field as fondly as I know I do and perhaps share what he has learned with his kids one day.

God has truly Blessed me with such a wonderful young man and the awesome experiences we’ve shared in the great outdoors. Somehow I think I will always remember him as my little boy.

Jacob’s first Mauna Kea spring turkey hunt with dad at the age of 6.

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13 Responses to “Fall’s Bounty”

  1. Terri said

    Those early year photos are still the best! I’ve been reminiscing lots lately and was tickled to see the last photo. Can’t wait to see you guys!

    Like

  2. Steve said

    Congratulations to you, Jacob!!!!!
    It is so entertaining as well as educational to read all the fine detail in your description of the different hunts, Tod. thanks for the post

    Like

  3. Tamara said

    Great job Lum family. I love the picture of Jacob as a little boy with the turkey. Nice cow elks Jeanine and Jacob:) Happy holidays.

    Like

  4. brad said

    Wow. What an exciting year for Jeanine and Jacob. Congratulations Jacob on the Triple Crown Club.

    Like

  5. cindy shiraki said

    All I can say is WOW…… Looks like the Lums are having a great time.

    Like

  6. Donna Mah said

    Awesome. We will be looking forward to you guys coming here. Brandon wants to dive with Jacob. He’s been going with Dylan a lot. Oh, by the way, Brandon is applying to U of O. Hmmmm….

    Like

  7. Bob Hera said

    Aloha Guys,
    A long story with a happy ending. How time flies so quickly. It seems like yesterday when the Lum’s hunting saga started and now, this is Jacob’s last year. But you will reminisce as the years past. Take it from somebody who’s been there. Congrats to the family. You guys have a “Mele Kalikimaka” and a “Hauoli Makahiki Hou”, Bob..

    Like

  8. Bea Kikawa said

    Wow!!! Congratulations, Jacob. What an ending to your days as a Youth hunter.

    Congratulations, Tod. You are a real Dad!!

    Bea

    Like

  9. Scott said

    I can only imagine that the best is yet to come; someday, I will be reading about you and a grandchild walking along a wooded path in the early hours of a hunt and many of those cherished memories of you and your son will be made brand new!

    Like

  10. Keith shiroma said

    Mele Kalikimaka me ke hauoli maka hiki hou! Nice pics and story. Now you have to shape and mold your other youth hunter!!

    Like

  11. todblog said

    I’m trying. Jessy shows some interest at times. She has tagged along and kept me company on a walk in the woods, helped me call a turkey in, and gone bear hunting with me once. Maybe next year is the year for her. In Oregon, you can mentor a youth from age 9-14 without them having to have a hunting license. They can fill your tag for you. It’s like taking a car for a test drive before you buy it. That way kids with their busy schedules can find out if they like hunting enough before they go through a hunter education course for their own license. Maybe she’ll fill my turkey tag this year… we’ll see.

    Like

  12. Mark Adkins said

    Seeing your calendar made me smile as we have been blessed to have a similar one consisting of multi-game fall hunts! Hardly seems like you have been off island for 11 years…time flies as they say. Thanks for sharing your family hunts.

    Like

  13. Pam said

    Wonderful visiting with you, Jeanine, Jacob, and Jessy today. I love the last picture of Jacob with his turkey in this post. They will ALWAYS be our little boys! Love and blessings.

    Like

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