Archive for the 'Hunting Stories' Category

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Published by Frank Biggs on 24 Apr 2018

Bwana Bubba – Oregon Refuge Hunting

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge

Oregon

Great hunting opportunities are available at many of the State and Federal Refuges.   In Oregon we are very fortunate to have many of both.   The O.D.F.W. has setup the opportunity of applying for a tag for a specific hunt and refuge, such as Hart Mountain.   As I am directing this article of a specific Federal Refuge, the application process has to be done via the website of the refuge.   There are two (2) different O.D.F.W. tags that can be used for the hunting of elk at the refuge and the over-the-counter general elk tag for the area.

Though you can not shoot bulls, there are a great deal of them to look at and call for fun…

The Federal Refuge that is mentioned is the WILLIAM L. FINLEY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, located south of Corvallis, Oregon off of Highway 99.   The refuge is approximately 5400 acres, with many ponds, creeks and trails.  It is well known for the birds and waterfowl that live there and migrate through.  The Roosevelt Elk that dwell there -in good herd numbers- is unique, in that the majority of the land near the refuge is flat farm land to the east, south, and north, plus being close to a large city.

The hunting of Roosevelt Elk at William Finley is for cows only, mostly an archery hunt, though, in Zone 1 a shotgun can be used during certain time periods.   So there are two (2) zones for hunting the refuge with Zone 2 being the largest.   Zone 2 is intertwined with Scrub Oak trees, Douglas Fir, Cottonwoods, Beaked Hazelnut, Big Leaf Maples and grasslands.   Very diversified land profile for sure.

I believe it could be a great hunt for anyone that wants to work hard and do some pre-scouting, although the elk will travel many miles and even venture off the refuge into Weyerhaeuser properties that are to the west of Zone 1.  I have found the elk to be quite habit forming in movement.   Elk can work extremely large areas in their feeding routine.

In the past month, since we are now into April,  (Closed to foot traffic November 1st-March 31st) we allowed to go past the gates in most of the refuge, I have found the well-worn trails made by vast herds.  In my opinion, I would hunt Zone 2 since the area is so much larger with a greater opportunity to find Elk.

In a recent scouting trip, we spotted a very large herd of elk with at least 100 head.   It took me about an hour to close the distance of a mile out, give or take a few yards, getting to within 100 yards.  It took so long to get to them because I was wading in water from 2” to 20” over uneven terrain. When the herd finally decided to move out, there was a single file of elk that was about a ¼ miles long. It was simply an amazing sight and the camera did not do justice to what the eye saw.   There were still a couple of spikes with their antlers, and a few new-growth antlered bulls.   It was fun to use my onX HUNT mobile APP and Garmin GPS and mark waypoints of trails and sightings.

I have attached a link to WILLIAM L. FINLEY NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE  (Note: 2018 hunting applications will be available in May 2018. If you are interested in hunting for elk, there is still time to get an application in for the 2018 Hunting Season.   Make sure you have plenty of time to scout, have a good set of boots, and, just in case, a roll-up pair of stocking chest waders for crossing creeks.

Bedded down earlier in the Oaks… Roosevelt Elk

A small tidbit, Blacktail Deer hunting is also available at the refuge, either sex in this case.  One could maybe have a two (2) species hunt…

Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 10 Dec 2017

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Too Hunt and Never Come Back

Let’s try find our way out of here, some 5 miles from camp with a compass…

It may be hard to believe, but throughout the United States, it happens all the time…

You must go into the Known or Unknown,  prepared or face the worst…

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…

Touch screen GPS that works in deep timber.

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.

Emergency Beacon
Needs to be registered.

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.

Garmin Rino 755 has two way and your location is available to another user. This is one that I highly recommend.

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.

These can reach out many miles and reasonable in price in the pairs.

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 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 22 Oct 2017

Last Chance Oregon Archery Bull

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.

   Making hunting and finding game easier!

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!

Self portrait picture of my velvet Spike Bull.

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.”

Now the work starts, but it is so worth it…

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.

There is some rough terrain to navigate at night, plus forging a creek…

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”.

Nolin knows how important it was to stay legal in this area. They don’t take prisoners that trespass on their lands that hold big bulls…

Almost to the access road and the truck. Last load out, the rack…

This is my story Nolan Lathrop –  2017 Central Oregon. 

“The land of Rimrock and  Junipers”

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Published by Frank Biggs on 04 May 2017

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Oregon Hunting

2018 Oregon Big Game Hunting

Plus a few other western states

This was taken at 8 yards on Father’s Day. I had seen the buck deep in the canyon and figured his avenue he was going and laid in wait for him…

2018 Big Game Hunting in Oregon is in full swing with Elk coming up soon.  Western deer hunting and special hunts still going on.

Scott with an Oregon Pronghorn that he waited on the waterhole for more than 8 hours. Scott had a secret spot and has taken a number of Lopes with the bow & arrow.

Using onX HUNT is the best way to research a unit!

The following bucks have not shown up during the month of December. during the second season archery season.

A great shot at 2015 hour at about 60 yards. They were busy eating apples on a tree I did not know about. Oregon City area.

A great shot at 2015 hour at about 60 yards. They were busy eating apples on a tree I did not know about. Oregon City area.

This is one of the bucks in the above photo. Just that this photo was take in October. Both bucks of the other picture just happen to be in battle...

This is one of the bucks in the above photo. Just that this photo was take in October. Both bucks of the other picture just happen to be in battle…

On the Oregon Antelope-Pronghorn Hunters (Facebook), there was a statement that a hunter drew a Hart Mtn Lope Tag last year and used something like 25 points.  He drew again this year Go Figure!

#onXmaps_HUNT #huntsmarter #teamhunt #bwanabubbaadventurers @bwanabubba

LINK:   2017 Oregon Big Game Regulations

"Oregon Booner Bull"

“Oregon Booner Bull”

Facebook:   Oregon Antelope – Pronghorn Hunters

LINK:   Tips on Pronghorn Hunting 

Oregon is a great state to get a Pope & Young Pronghorn, so if you are bowhunter give me a jingle or email!  Got lots of spots for bow hunters for sure!  Why wait 12-25 years to get a rifle tag, though sometime we all like to pull the trigger on a Booner Lope!

I do believe he a keeper! High Cutters, so extra measurement! Shoot!

I do believe he  is a keeper! High Cutters, so extra measurement! Shoot!

You can also find me on:

U – Tube !     

Archery Talk with Bwana Bubba aka Frank Biggs

The deal has been I expect a short story and pictures, the information is FREE.    A 2015 Pronghorn hunter, asked for help to harvest a big Dinosaur in a limited area, not computer or GPS savvy, wanted a guide, whatever it took.  I got one of my group hunters (David was a 2010 Lope hunter in the area and Mike was 2011 hunter in the area) (my first Booner came from this spot) to overnight current maps and direction to spots with water from a May 2015 scouting.   All the details.  His picture was one with little to show and a 1 line comment, I shot the monster at 300 yards.  I would have expected more for all the effort put into getting him in on a big Lope…   Hell never got the official score either…

My suggestion is that you need a Garmin that has color screen, a slot for Micro SD Card and the mapping software from onX HUNT out of Montana.  I can be contacted via the following email addresses for any questions you might have for on first interview. Free. Intro of me: I am home base out of Oregon –

Oregon Born!  Contact: [email protected]

Thanks for viewing my site! Cobra Here are just a few pictures of friend and some heads mounted!

I can't see you, so you can't see me, I am safe here!

I can’t see you, so you can’t see me, I am safe here!

This is a buck from the S. Wagontire Unit in Oregon. The tag holder was from California and one of five to get drawn for the unit. Old stomping grounds for me.

This is a buck (2015 hunt) from the S. Wagontire Unit in Oregon. The tag holder was from California and one of five to get drawn for the unit. Old stomping grounds for me.

One of the hunters that used information. Great Archery buck from Oregon.

2015 – One of the hunters that used my information. Great Archery buck from Oregon.

The great Jimmy Duffield! This bull was taken near Dufur, Oregon

My biggest Lope from Oregon with a net of 86.

My biggest Lope from Oregon with a net of 86.

Brian Henninger - PGA Champion Player with his Grizzly Unit Bull. Brian has taken more than 3 bulls out of the Grizzly Unit.

Brian Henninger – PGA Champion Player with his Grizzly Unit Bull. Brian has taken more than 3 bulls out of the Grizzly Unit.

Friends of mine that I lined up the spot in the Silvies Hunt Unit of Oregon.

Early grouping of a big Roosevelt bulls with their harems. There no satellite bulls in the area.

August 2015 – Early grouping of a big Roosevelt bulls with their harems. There no satellite bulls in the area.

This was the first bull with about 50 cows. Picture was taken in August. Amazing getting this shot of him bugling. Only time he did. Not other bulls in the area at all. Strange timing.

August – 2015 This was the first bull with about 50 cows. Amazing getting this shot of him bugling. Only time he did. Not other bulls in the area at all. Strange timing.

The picture was taken 6-28-14 at 2030 Hour outside of Molalla, Oregon very close to Hwy 213. A dandy Blacktail buck that was running with another buck that was bigger. Just so fast on the camera and juggling around trees.

The picture was taken 6-28-14 at 2030 Hour outside of Molalla, Oregon very close to Hwy 213. A dandy Blacktail buck that was running with another buck that was bigger. Just so fast on the camera and juggling around trees.

This dandy 3X3 Blacktail that is typical of the bucks in Oregon City.

Archery Axis Deer taken on the island of Lanai. No Guide! I was stationed on Oahu for the Navy. Great trip in those days to go to Lanai and hunt for Axis.

ol-5519

This is the sight that I use and believe in how it works. Take aim and harvest the game. Number 1 bowsight in the World!

My biggest typical Rocky Mountain Elk, take off of the Big Muddy! Very heavy but lacks the length needed. 320 Net.

My biggest typical Rocky Mountain Elk, take off of the Big Muddy! Very heavy but lacks the length needed. 320 Net.

Holly had missed a buck early and got a second chance and took this great Archery Pronghorn at 42 Yards

Taken in the the days of the Rah, Big Muddy on the BLM. 190 Net buck! Archery Buck!

One should have seen the one that went into the draw, when I saw this bruiser coming out of the draw at 800 yards, I only had the side profile and saw mass. The rest is history!

This was suppose to be my target Blacktail this year. Did not get permission to hunt the property - 2015

This was suppose to be my target Blacktail this year. Did not get permission to hunt the property – 2015

This bull was my son’s first bull. Take at about 50 feet when we jumped the bull. Spotted at about 2000 yards and made the stalk. 340 Net Bull!

Brian Henninger the PGA Pro, now a top player on the PGA Champions Tour and his Big Muddy Bull. Brian a Weatherby shooter. Two bulls were taken that day and what a story there is behind the scenes on this hunt..

Not a bad Blacktail in the Willamette Valley of Oregon

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Published by Frank Biggs on 15 Dec 2016

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 onX 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 onX 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

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Published by Frank Biggs on 31 Oct 2016

Navy Family Hunt in Oregon

Thought this is not an archery hunt, there is more to the story than that, in that we should remember family gatherings and safety. Frank Biggs

                     NO EASY DAY!

It’s Saturday, October 1st, 4:30 AM. We are drinking coffee, standing around the fire and making plans where we’re going to hunt. It is opening morning and this will be our best chance to take down a nice buck.
It’s the first time we have our two sons, Dave and Scott together for a hunt. They have both been Navy SEALs for many years so we haven’t had this kind of opportunity, and we are all excited to get out in the woods.
Bill, my husband, has been hunting in this area for almost fifty years, so he is our coordinator. (not to mention, camp boss)
The boys will go together on one quad (one they borrowed from their sister, with bright pink lettering) with a boat seat attached to the back for a passenger seat. Real SEAL TEAM equipment! I promised not to post pictures on Facebook.

Do I see a Pink lettered Quad?

Do I see a Pink lettered Quad?

Bill and I will go a different direction on our quad with the boat seat on the back for me, which I love because I sit high and can see deer better.
We left at daybreak and hunted until 10:30 when we met back at camp for a big breakfast and a new strategy.

The boys had actually found a spot that looked untouched and rather promising, so with full bellies and a renewed determination, when we headed back out for the afternoon hunt, they went back to that same spot, which they dubbed “Delmer Pass” ( inside story ) for another look,  and Bill and I went the opposite direction.
Bill and I have been riding in this terrain for twenty years on quads without incident. We have been up and down some really rough trails and enjoyed every ride. We have spotted many deer and elk on our rides. But, this ride was different! We crossed a rocky creek and headed up the mountain, when we came to a crossroads. Do we go on the narrow right, or the rocky gully on the left? We chose the gully…began our left turn and the next thing I remember was Bill asking me if I was alright. He had asked me many times, but because our quad had turned over and I was knocked out on the rocks I didn’t hear him. But as I came to I was aware of a really bad pain in my foot and my head was bleeding like crazy. I asked Bill to please get the quad off me. The poor guy was trying but he couldn’t get his legs to move for several minutes. We could smell and feel gas spilling on us so we struggled together to get free. Somehow we did it and my foot came free. Pain gone!

Bill, and old Navy man and father of the Seals, doing some Marlin Spiking (knots)!

Bill, and old Navy man and father of the Seals, doing some Marlin Spiking (knots)!

He got the first aid kit and cleaned up my bleeding head and wrapped it in gauze, and I struggled to my feet. Together we set the quad upright, and realized our rifles had flown off about ten feet away. Believe it or not, when we sighted them in later, they were still right on
Bill insisted we go into the nearest town hospital and have me checked out, which we did and four hours later we were back at camp with our two concerned sons. No breaks, no stitches……just a small concussion and cuts and bruises. Lesson learned; getting too old to ride on my boat seat and maybe cut back on some of those really rough trails! I love that boat seat, but it has to go……
We all enjoyed a big fire that night and had a wonderful time just being together.

Well we do not see any of the elusive Navy Seals in this picture...

Well we do not see any of the elusive Navy Seals in this picture…

The next morning, those two NAVY SEALs were up and out early on that pink lettered quad, determined to come back with a nice big buck…….it didn’t happen….not for any of us. And that afternoon the oldest son, Dave and I walked through the woods together for about three hours and only saw the bald headed type deer.
They told me in the SEALs they were taught to think like the enemy, so we should think like the deer.( I agreed to do that, which I’m sure they got quite a laugh over) problem being, who the heck knows how a deer thinks? Instincts, instincts!
Well, maybe it worked for them because the next morning our younger son, Scott shot a real nice 3 by 3 on a hillside to their left. They were using the “field of fire” technique. Dave being left handed would be responsible for whatever showed up on the right side, and Scott being right handed would cover the left. They both got him in their sites however because his horns were hidden among the tree branches and hard to make out and they wanted to be sure. He turned his head just right and Scott said “buck!” and sent a perfect shot right through the heart…  By the time we reached them Dave had it all gutted out and they had it tied on the quad.( always team work with them ) We headed back to camp for the pole hanging, dressing out and bagging and bragging ritual……followed by a celebratory straight shot!
They didn’t get a chance to double their score because they had to leave the next day. It was hard to see them go, because we never know when we’ll get a chance to hunt together again. (OK I admit I cried a little)  Best hunting trip of our lives, with memories to last a lifetime.

Help me they are dragging me up the embankment!

Help me they are dragging me up the embankment!

For the next two days Bill and I hunted hard……we still rode the quad most of the time but one day it was down to nineteen degrees at night and really cold in the morning so we took the truck. We drove out to an area to find a place to get out and hunt, but as we are driving along I yelled at Bill to stop because there was two four point bucks right off the road on my side. Our dream scenario! Except for the fact that if I get out and put a round in the chamber those bucks will be gone. So, Bill gets out and goes around the back of the truck, but the deer are in front. He never saw them before they both walked off. We lamented over our lost opportunity as we drove on down the road.
After about four turns I yelled at Bill to stop again……there they were looking right at us, on my side of the road still. I still didn’t think I could get out without scaring them off so I sat still while Bill got out and went around the front of the pickup, off the road and nailed one, while the other ran off. (never to be seen again)
If we needed a bigger hint that we are getting older we got it in spades with this big buck. His body was really large, and a handsome 4×3 rack.
He was lying down in a deep ravine and we knew we weren’t going to be able to pull him up without help so we marked our spot and drove back and got the quad. So, now we have a dead deer, the quad with the winch on it and the pickup to put the deer in. Sounds pretty simple, right?  NOT!  We had to tie the quad to the pickup to keep it from going over, and then there wasn’t enough cable to reach the deer, so we had to keep adding rope and pull, then add more and pull. It took two hours to get it to the road.
Then, Bill gutted it out and we were ready to throw it in the back of the pickup, which was a great idea only the buck was too heavy and we couldn’t get him in there. So, next obvious answer was tying him on the quad, but we couldn’t lift his body up on it. By now we are sweating and exhausted and I sat on the tailgate and came up with a scathing, brilliant idea. Get that buck tied to the front of the quad the best we can, put the ramps down and drive it up into the truck and dump him in. We agreed that was the answer, however, I didn’t plan on me being the one to drive the quad up the ramp but Bill had to hold the bucks body up off the ramp, so I couldn’t get out of it. I said “I’m scared, I’m scared” all the way up that ramp, but I did it. (it was actually kinda fun) If you’re wondering why we didn’t just quarter it out, the answer is simply that we didn’t even think about it until that evening. Oh well!
We got back to camp and thank God the hunters in the camp next to ours were there to help hang it. It took us four hours from kill to camp…… As they say in the TEAMS,

                  “The only easy day was yesterday.”

Fran L.

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Published by Frank Biggs on 28 May 2016

BWANA BUBBA’S THOUGHTS – REACHING ELK MILES AWAY

Chasing down Elk from afar!

         So many ways to get to the public land!


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 onX 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 onX 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 onX 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.

#onxhunt #teamhunt #huntsmarter

Frank Biggs aka Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 13 Dec 2015

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Native American Hunting Rights Are Thinning The Herds

 

Native American Tribal members have the treaty rights to hunt on all public land anytime!
This is what a couple of poached bucks could look like in the back of a pickup!

This is what a couple of poached bucks could look like in the back of a pickup!

The hunter may be unaware of illegal activity, unless it happens in the area he or she is occupying.  Those of us who have spent a great deal of time in the field hunting, fishing, hiking and camping have chronic knowledge about big game poaching.   I never paid attention too, was the fact that the Native American has been subject to poaching for a long time on off-reservation public-private lands.   I thought poaching was done by outlaw hunters capitalizing on the opportunity of out of season, night hunting, closed lands, horn hunters or other illegal means to get it done.  There is an old saying in life “if the janitor talks about it”, usually is true, in this case law enforcement officers have talked about it, besides eye witness to the incidents.

My son during the 2015 Rocky Mountain Elk big game hunt in Oregon, in a hunt unit made up of B.L.M. land (limited road entry) and private land, he and his hunting partners, it came apparent that there is a problem with poaching of big game with Native American Tribal Members, hunting off-reservation involvement.   Opening day in this limited entry by road area along the John Day River, the group were stopped by Oregon State Police Game Officers.   They had just finished a hunt from hunting from the top fence line down to the river, when the OSP Game Officers confronted them.  They were asked numerus times about the poaching of a large bull elk and the wasting game meat, plus severing the rack off.   After three times of the direct accusations and rebuttal comments back, the OSP Officers backed off.   The hunters now had open dialogue with the OPS Game Officers’ of what they had encountered.

Knowing my son and how I have mentored him to hunt and visualize the out of place objects or situation’s, noticed that things had not been right all day in the hunting area.   His group was the only elk hunters that had made a camp in the area, but there were a couple of other vehicles that were in area, traveling all over the open roads and the hillsides (off-road).   JR took pictures of one particular pickup that had no good written all over it.   The OSP Game Officers thought it was strange that he had done this Intel, but later the tire tracks matched the tire tracks at the kill zone.  Since JR., has friends that live in Madras, Oregon he is well aware of the Tribal members and their appearance.

Cutting to the chase on the “elk hunt from hell” as my son would put it; there were 6 mule bucks and 1 bull elk that had been killed on private along the boundary fence.   A great deal of meat wasted, all the racks had been sawed off.  The MO was the same for all the game animals that were within 100 yards of each other.  The deer carcasses were stacked up on each other.   Plus the fact the animals were shot prior to opening morning.  A great way to have a hunt ruin with a special opening day for a selective group that the Federal Government has given special privileges too prior to the regulated Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife opening day.

There was a great discomfort with the poaching; the private lands around the B.L.M. were now being patrolled heavily, plus legal hunters being watched around the clock by the land owners that scanned the hills with spotting scopes and binoculars.  With all the activity, there was not going to be any elk harvested by legal hunters.  The elk had moved into non-road areas, deep into rim rock of the interior on the private land.

So have any of you ever read the Treaty of June 25, 1855 for Tribes and Bands of Middle Oregon. Treaty, you find that the Warm Springs Indians are subject to only their laws and rules when it comes to hunting?  The Game Commission is the tribal council and not the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Tribal members can get their tags from Human Resources free.  Then there are the ceremonial tags that they can get when a tribal member dies of 3 deer and 1 elk.   My understanding, though not in writing that I can find, the numbers might be greater.  In the treaty tribal members can hunt on any federal lands, basically anytime…   In thought, I suppose they have to kill 3 deer to make one, since they are only taking the choice meat, (blackstrap & hindquarters) sort of like the tendency of the Wolf when it comes to consuming.  You have to make note that Indian Reservations are a sovereign nation within the boundaries of the United States of America. Oregon State Police have not justifications on reservation lands.

“Cultural hunting” shall mean the exercise of traditional, ceremonial and subsistence tribal hunting rights.

I would like to make a comment, if it is about cultural hunting, then why not hunt in the cultural method of the past with bow-arrow or spear, this way at least the game has a chance.   Plus in their traditional ways of the past it would have been by canoe, horse or walking, not by a red Toyota Tacoma or white T100 Tundra pickup.  When you can hunt basically year-round, when the deer, elk and other big game are in the wintering grounds with little chance for escape, I truly have a major problem with a treaty that dates back to the 1900’s.  Times change and market hunting has long since left this country.  This is the 21st Century, no longer the 19th Century with misguided or outdated privileges.  Game populations cannot withstand over hunting and with little regard to the state’s big game laws.   Hunting tags are normally regulated by the ODFW in this state from census on game during the winter months and harvest counts.

Oregon State Police Game Division find it extremely difficult to control and prosecute the tribal members guilty in game & fish violations on non-reservation lands.  Public law enforcement cannot enter Tribal lands to catch the guilty.  I found a great comment that the federal government (enforcement) has little to do what goes on with the 326 land reservations in the United States of America.  In the State of Oregon there are 9 Federally-Recognized Tribes with 100 different sub-tribes within the 9 tribes.

For the most part the crimes within the Reservations are handled by Tribal Police.  My turn on this is in relationship to non-reservation lands:   “is a crazy quilt of jurisdiction that allows the government to ignore things.” “How did things get this way in a country that’s not only on but within our borders, and what is being done to fix them?” The answer is two words that come up as often as “with impunity.” Those words are, “It’s complicated.”

I have no problem with subsistence hunting at all, but why is it in the instance that all bucks were taken?   How does in the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife set the quota’s for hunting or even fishing the following years?   Oregon State Police Game Division have their hands tied and spend a great deal of wasted time, trying to find the culprits of the violations that are Tribal members.  This is about hunting off reservation at their leisure, a luxury that non-Tribal citizens do not have.

I have talked with un-disclosed Oregon State Police Game Officers Retired and this has been going on in their lifetimes.   Within the game unit non-reservation lands, those that border Tribal lands, it extremely tough, as tribal members can enter from their roads into these hunt units and exit.  From what I understand there are only few Tribal police on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, north of Madras, Oregon.

Over the years, I guess I was just blind to what I saw in the field at times or on the river banks, such as fishing net with 100 plus rotting salmon, 100 yards downstream from a hatchery… An eyewitness sees and hears that 30 undersize sturgeons are taken on the Columbia River by a Tribal Member, remembering other American citizens cannot fish for sturgeon on the Columbia River.  When asked by the OSP Officer why, the comment back was “they taste better when smaller.”  Another recent incident that was given to me by reliable sources, 2015 2nd season Rocky Mtn. Elk hunt in the Heppner Unit, Tribal members sell three branch bull elk to white hunters for 100 bucks each, using a pickup truck with hoist to load into the hunters trucks.  2015 1st season Rocky Mtn. Elk in the Heppner unit, hunter sees a pickup with a hoist in the back and wonders, what the heck is that for… If you want to read about game violations on the Oregon State Police Game Division section on their webpage, you’ll see that there seems to be no arrests on Tribal Members.  OSP Game Officer’s seem to have there hands tied in this great astoristy of Oregon’ big game animals being dwindle by blatant poaching by a few.

There are many incidents of poaching by Tribal members that the public is un-aware of, such as the 9 Roosevelt cow elk remains, with the heads left at the sight along the upper Siletz River on the Oregon coast off-reservation National Forest lands during the late archery season. They had been taken with a rifle.

One last incident of poaching by the Tribal members hunting off-reservation with the killing of 9 mule deer does out of a ranchers hay field.  This information is first hand from a rancher in the West Biggs Hunt unit when I called him last week about Tribal member poaching.  The Oregon State Police Game Officers were called in.   There was not much OSP could do to the Tribal members, other than criminal trespass on private land.  The rancher did not want to press those charges…

Most think that the Warm Springs Indian Reservation only encompasses the parcel off of Hwy 216 and Hwy 26 in Oregon.  Well this is a very large chunk of land on the east side of the John Day River that borders BLM and goes un-checked with access from tribal members.  The Warm Springs Indian Reservation has more than 1 Million Sq. Miles of land, making it the largest in the State of Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife is very lenient with tags that go to the Tribal Game Commission.  In the Siletz & Grand Ronde reservation area, 25% of the allotted tags for a hunt unit within or near the reservation go to the Tribal Game Commission.

Basically all the Tribes in Oregon have the same basic Treaty from the 19th Century.  The Klamath and Modoc Tribes and Yahooskin Band of Snake Indians even have a treaty.  From my readings they can hunt any land that might have encompassed the original lands, which is approximately 2.2 million acres that they roam for more than 14000 years.   All the years I spent hunting the B.L.M., National Forest and Sycan Marsh area for Pronghorn, I rarely saw deer in a deer rich environment.  I understand that within the 21st Century these tribes just might get their heritage lands back after the Federal Government force them to be vacated with a payoff.  In this case the descendants will be the winners.

I will give a defense for the Native American, it is said that the On-Reservation resident Tribal members are poor and have little.  Food for thought comes from a recent set of photos of a Deschutes River Bighorn Sheep that was harvested by a Tribal member.   What I saw in the pictures was a bit disturbing.  I saw no meat on packs in the pictures and I did see a full-curl broomed off ram, that the head was severed at the neck joint.   In point no meat (I am sure they boned out every bit of useable meat into tiny packs), but better yet, if so poor why would you have wasted a large full shoulder cape most likely worth at least a $1200.00 and a life size cape around $3000.00 to a taxidermist.  So for about 45 minutes to 2 hours of capping, one could make some fast cash.

In my opinion non Native American Tribal citizens of Oregon, plus the non-resident big game hunters, need to stay attuned to what happens in the field. I don’t believe, unless Tribal member poaching on off-reservation public land is stopped while in the field there is little that can be changed.

Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 06 Nov 2015

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.

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

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Published by Frank Biggs on 23 Apr 2015

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting of Dinosaurs

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.  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.  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 use 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 onX HUNT a few years ago 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!
        onX HUNT

BLM and the Private Food Plot via Google Earth and onXmaps HUNT

BLM and the Private Food Plot via Google Earth and onX  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 onX HUNT Viewer

onXmaps HUNT mapping from the computer.

onX HUNT mapping from the computer.

 

For those that Rifle hunt, the following are my thoughts:  

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 about the changes that can happen with the weather and other conditions.   Maybe a shot at 50 yards, or just maybe a 300 plus yard shot with the wind blowing at 30 knots.

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.

Bowhunting for Pronghorns can be the best hunt of a Liftime.

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 hunt-able numbers.  For archery hunters in many of the Western States you have a chance to hunt every year for Antelope.  Where as 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.  With less competition to hunt with the bow and arrow, plus the greater chance to get a tag, my suggestion is to take up bow hunting if you haven’t and get it done!  It easier than you think to harvest with the bow.  Pronghorns can be stalked pretty easy with cover, or you lay ambush in a ground blind.

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, but he missed.  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 there 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

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