Archive for the 'Hunting Stories' Category

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Published by Frank Biggs on 18 Mar 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting Equipment – Blacktail Deer Hunt

Oregon needs to get in the 21st Century on Lighted Nocks & Expandable-Mechanical Broadheads

Sweet Baby James’s Oregon Blacktail Hunt of Woes!

Though this is not a long story about a successful so to speak Blacktail Buck hunt in the late season 2012 archery hunt in Oregon, it is about absurd hunting regulations on bow hunting brought upon by the minority to the majority.

When I get into the story you the reader will understand where I am coming from on my logic on hunting regulations that should be changed to improve the experience of hunting.  Much like taking away anchored putters from golfers as technology changes!  As I write that might not happen for pro-golfers…  In their case they still got to get it in the hole!

Sweet Baby James, as his peers called him in the days of his professional boxing is a very good friend of mine.   This past year I got permission for him and his brother to hunt a few days on a small place in rural Oregon in the Willamette Valley to bow hunt for Columbia Blacktail Deer on the late season archery hunt.   His brother was successful in getting a deer for meat and made a great 12 yard shot on the deer.  James would remain un-successful until the last week of the season.

Readers should know that the Columbia Blacktail deer is one of the hardest to hunt and I do believe they are even more nocturnal that the elusive Whitetail deer.  In the Pacific Northwest low light comes earlier than some areas with the heavy brush cover and deep canyons.   Oregon is a mountainous state and Blacktail deer range from 10,000 feet to sea level.  I sometimes feel that the canyons can range the same in footage.   Those that have never hunted in the habitat that Blacktail frequent with the creepers on the ground, blackberries, thistle and deadfall are in for an experience.

As I said before many know James as Sweet Baby James, the professional boxer from Oregon, who has fought clear to Madison Square Gardens, knowing the likes of Ali.  He came from a background, whose father was a world ranked Archer, who should have been in the Olympics 1968, but because took a prize of 73 bucks, he later would be turned away at the Olympic Trials thus not allowed to shoot for the United States of America.   Hmm!  A great deal has changed over the years in that aspect.  He was a good friend of Fred Bear and shot Fred Bear traditional bows before the compound came out.  So growing up with a father that expected the best from his son, James became a great fighter, archer and hunter himself.

It is now Tuesday evening and he is in the treestand about 2 ½ hours prior to the end of shooting time.  He had not been in the stand for very long when from the northern sector of the property he could see a big Blacktail Buck working its way through the maze of vine maple, blackberries and ferns, at 40 yards he could see the buck was the Odd 3 X 3 that seldom entered this area.   Over the course of 6 months I would say the Odd 3 X 3 has been on camera about 20 times in this area.  The buck seems to be on a mission and a direction he was heading for in hindsight would be the deep canyon leading to another property.  The buck did not stop; thou he was walking down the trail to the flat, James made the decision to take the shot at 18 yards with focus and direct eye contact on the boiler room.   The arrow tipped with a 100 grain Thunderhead hit the buck hard a bit back from the heart, which appeared to be in upper lung area.   He could see the arrow hanging out on the opposite side of the buck.  The buck in an instance dug with his hooves and vaulted into forward motion with head down and not missing a step.

James could hear the noise of the buck on the gravel road and anticipated the buck would come around his backside and he would see movement in the trees…

James waited some 30 minutes before leaving the treestand to look for the buck with about an hour of light left to find his trophy Blacktail Buck.   He finds one speck of blood in the dirt, but nothing in the gravel.   There are no tracks to follow as from both sides of the road there is nothing but blackberries and heavy brush.  He felt the buck had entered back behind him and headed into another creek bottom to the east.

I get phone call James while I am down at the coast asking for help, “sorry James but I am long ways away” “did you check to the west of the road”.   Of course it started to rain when he got out of the treestand and there is not going to be any trace of blood to follow.  With no tracks or blood trail and heavy cover James still continues to look for three hours with a flashlight and no help.  Without an extra set of eyes it most difficult on your own to find a downed animal while in panic mode.   If it was legal in Oregon to have a lighted nock on your arrow, James might have seen the travel of the deer through the brush.   More likely if the arrow had fallen out he could see the arrow from an elevated point near the area if he could have used a lighted nock in Oregon.

The next day James looks for more than four hours, but if there was any blood it would be washed away by the rain.   A very distraught hunter not being able to find a big buck that should have gone a very short distance from the hit! If it had been legal in Oregon, an expandable-mechanical broadhead might have help greatly on stopping the buck or leaving a blood trail at the gravel road.

Over the course of months and going out to the farm, this included me to look for the buck’s remains, along with looking for drops we never could find the buck, but still knowing he went down on the property since he was hit hard.

Just recently after going through the winter and the deer moving through the farms or lands in the area, they have made many worn trails.   So this past week in March 2013, I told my son that James’s buck headed to the west canyon a normal route for him to escape.  So with our minds intent on finding the remains, we ventured out.   In know less than 100 yards from the treestand Jr., finds the arrow.  Noted the brush is bare foliage and the blackberries have no leaves on them.   The arrow is completely intact right along the game trail.   Next thing was to scan and split up with me working the lower eastern edge of the canyon and Jr. going to the flat on the western edge of the canyon.  He spots something about 150 yards away, then loses sight and said it must have been a deer.  I tell him to continue to the spot as it is probably what we wanted to find. Low and behold it is the Odd 3 X 3 Blacktail buck.   The coyotes had taken care of the deer and closure was made for all that have hunted the place.

Recovery of the rack is illegal in Oregon, so it will stay until it skull denigrates or grows into a tree ornament as it mends into the V of a tree. Thus only pictures are taken for remembrance of the hunt.

I know myself if I had been shooting an expandable-mechanical broadhead, I might have made a fatal hit on the buck I shot with the arrow passing through the buck and not hitting a vital in front shoulders.  Ok!  He has survived the winter and will be bigger next year as I have vendetta to harvest him.

From my understanding OPS Game Officers have talked and feel that there would be greater recovery on big game with expandable-mechanical broadheads and lighted nocks.   Over 44 other states allow lighted nocks.  All but three states allow the use of expandable-mechanical broadheads.  Oregon, Washington and Idaho have an issue, it is said by some that crossbow users are the problem, but in Oregon they are not allowed…

Did I mention that in Oregon you can use any arrow or broadhead for Game Birds though?  It is said that light nocks and expandable-mechanical broadheads will lead to poaching!  Give me a break, only the stupid would poach at night, thinking they might get away with it.  Poachers are going to do what they do until they get caught.  In Oregon the O.S.P. Game Officers are very talented and educated.  It may take a while but they run a high successful rate on catching the big game poachers.  Poachers should have a clue by now because there are so many trail cams on private and public property out there that the bucks and bulls have names.

Just watch the Outdoor Channel and you see that on every program.

Sort of funny while looking for the buck, we see the landowner and talk about who has access.  She had told us she allow a couple of guys that do business with her they could come out and get some ornamental plants, but said to them “oh we have cameras all over the property”, one of them said “Hmm, I hope you didn’t catch us by a tree..”  They were surprised that the land had surveillance…

Technology in archery or bow hunting has been improved, but the principal of archery and bow hunting remains the same.  You have to be able to hit the target with your talents.  The recovery of game should be in the balance for the hunter, thus I feel that using light nocks and expandable-mechanical broadheads with lead to greater recovery of game.  I am all for a change here in Oregon, as well as everyone that are known in my circles.

Oregon, Washington and Idaho should get out of the dark ages and move forward to the betterment of the sport.

I did do a quick P & Y field measurement on the buck.  To bad he was odd!  He netted out at 92 after setting in the brush for 4 months.  He had 15 inches of penalty with the odd rack.  He has nice symmetry when viewing straight on, most interesting buck…  You would need 95 to make P & Y for Columbia Blacktail!

In closing how many of us can shoot out to 40-50 yards and hit the target, yet miss an easy 20 yard shot?

This is a picture of the Odd 3 X 3 in the velvet.  He would be arrowed within 5 yards of this spot!
This is a picture of the Odd 3 X 3 in the velvet. He would be arrowed within 5 yards of this spot!
This is how the buck was found some 300 yards line of sight from the target area
This is how the buck was found some 300 yards line of sight from the target area

Bwana Bubba aka Cobra

Here he is after rubbing off his velvet in the area!
Here he is after rubbing off his velvet in the area!

 

 

 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 11 Feb 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 1987 Rancho Rajneesh Deer Hunt

Me and my pink vanes! This is how I found the buck!

Me and my pink vanes! This is how I found the buck!

It was extremely hard for the team to stop hunting the Rancho Rajneesh, it was an addiction!

It is about time that I share this story with my readers and friends with all the facts.   It happen a few years back, lets say some 25 years ago, (which feels yesterday), during an opening day bow hunt in Central Oregon in the Grizzly Hunt Unit for Mule deer.

The story is of humor, comedy of errors, or just plain hunting!

We would be hunting the Rancho Rajneesh again or better known to the locals as “The Big Muddy” we spent a great deal of time over there, glassing, scouting and taking pictures of the deer and elk that thrived in the area.   On this hunt I would be accompanied by one of my hardcore hunting partners Dave Brill who is a very accomplish bow and rifle hunter.   On this trip I actually let someone else drive their truck.   This would work out greatly for me at the end of the hunt. “Dave it looks like I won the toss, so I get first shot at a Mulie buck” “Ok! Bubba, even if it is my truck and all!”   “Ya! Dave, like you would let me drive your truck?”  That was a great line to use, but the next day, I would have his truck while he hunted…  I needed to get the deer meat into cold storage in Madras, Oregon.  One of the grocery stores in town had a separate locker for game meat!

Again we would be hunting one of our favorite spots in Central Oregon, which would be outside of Donnybrook, Oregon on the south side of the Rancho Rajneesh.   There was a couple of parcels we found ourselves going back too every year, as it was B.L.M., yet tied to a couple of ranches that we could pass through and sometimes hunt.   Ah!  You are wondering of the spot, well I will give you the spot of big bucks as near Hinkle Butte!  Old man Crowley (Raymond) was a great man to know in the area!  You could find him on his front porch at his home in Donnybrook along Gosner Rd.   He had a number of parcels that bordered the BLM in the “Big Muddy Ranch.”  This gave a save access into the BLM without being noticed.   We were able to keep are secret spots to ourselves for over a 20 year time frame.

This land is now owned by Young Life and a real estate broker in three separate parcels.

We had spotted a number of bucks during our trip into the area for the evening hunt.  The morning hunt was a bust for both of us!  I love to hunt the evening, as most everyone else has settled back down into their camps.  It does not bother me to hike out in the dark when I am deep into the interior of B.L.M.; usually the evening is from about 1330 on.   If I look back over the years I have probably harvest more game from 1300 until dusk!  Figuring that big bulls and big bucks need to stretch a bit after their mid-day nap!

Let’s get back to the story, as I stated earlier, we had seen a number of bucks on the way in.  As we were approaching the honey spot, I notice a real dandy buck up on the hill with what I figured at about a 29” outside spread and heavy racked.   Hunt on, as I roll out the truck and took off with my pack, pack frame, crackers, light sweater, Leupold binoculars, camera, new Martin Onza bow, and Kershaw knives!   Oh! Did I mention that I forgot water in my pack?  The buck is working up the hillside and not knowing that I am behind him I figured.  So quiet that I am in the stalk of this “Big Muddy” buck.   He is working up in front of me through the Junipers, rocks and Sagebrush still in view at about 90 yards.  I feel that I am closing the distance quickly and when I get within 40 yards I will just let him have it when I grunt at him and get him to swing broadside. As I turn the corner of the ridge I was working up he has disappeared, “what no way he is gone.”  The wind was coming down the ridge into my face; I just missed seeing him turn into the draw…

Got over that little trip in the mind and decide to continue the hunt at a place we called the swamp.  

As I approach the swamp, I see a lone buck standing at the edge of the water with lots of cover to work into him.   The buck is not very wide, but tall and extremely heavy with abnormal points.   As I get ready to drill him at 35 yards (he has no clue I am behind him), out of the corner of my left eye, I see about 25 bucks starting to get up in another part of the swamp in the cattails at about 45 yards.  They were now in full line of sight.   I swung onto this buck that was pushing 30” who was just standing their broadside looking me, as were all the rest.   Easy shot and I took the shot, only to see it hit the only branch of Sagebrush sticking up at the boiler room.  The arrow of course deflected and cut the hair off the top of the buck’s back.  He gave me a smile and just walked off into the direction sun and they all stood out at 70 yards on the open hill side!  “A bird in the hand is worth how many birds in the bush?” I would have say that was pretty wild and not ever going to be repeated in my lifetime of so many bucks taking a bath together at one time.  I found a few empty Ivory Soap wrappers at the waters’ edge…

I am now over that experience also and moving on as I had more ground to cover and see what was out there.  

I move alone a Juniper tree line and spot 6 good bucks, one being swamper in a small basin at about ¼ mile away.  To run the game down to within 100 or so yards, then put the final stalk on was great enjoyment for me.  Mule deer with enough cover are pretty easy to sneak up on.  I get to Juniper and Sagebrush along a B.L.M. cross section fence line that was next to the small barren basin which is about 50 yards from the deer.   You wonder about the 50 yards and all!  I used my range finder the wheel type and it said 50 yards to the big buck.   I took a picture of the big boy also!  You’re saying how many big bucks can this guy find? Well it was un-real, but real.  The big bucks were there and everywhere around the area within a 50 mile circle.  Alright being skeptical of my dial a wheel range finder (just got it), I felt the buck was no more than 40 yards as I drew back and shot through the brush, I should have believed the range finder, as the buck must have been 50 yards, as I watch arrow past under his belly.

Almost!  Horseshoes anyone?

Now I am really bummed out about this whole hunt and rushing into the hunt and not believing first thoughts.   Well there was still some day light left and I never give up until it is illegal to shoot.

I am now up on the plateau glassing down into another basin.   All of a sudden I see a single buck at about 1000 yards out.  I figure he is about 25” to 26” wide and a pretty good looking buck, plus the fact it about time to get the job done.  He is feeding in the middle of the basin, but I could see that he was working towards the West.  In his path of travel it would lead him past a big pile of dead Juniper trees.

This is another reason we keep coming back. Michael James took this picture during the opening day of archery, but in another one of our spots. He was a rifle hunter, that love to scout when we were archery hunting...

This is another reason we keep coming back. Michael James took this picture during the opening day of archery, but in another one of our spots. He was a rifle hunter, that love to scout when we were archery hunting…

Hunt on, as I race to cover ground and get on the buck.  Getting within a quarter mile of the spot that I would ambush the buck, I drop my pack frame.   With only my Martin Onza (first run production Onza) I raced to the pile of dead junipers.  I was completely invisible (another words he had not clue I was standing in the open and waiting for him) from where I was standing, yet I could see his rack as he moved along the pile.  I went to full draw and had the 30 yard pin on the spot I figured he would come to once he cleared the pile.  It is great that he covered the distance in a short period of time as the Onza had a draw weight of #90.  It was mental thing in those days of bow hunting to have the biggest and baddest bow made! In the 21st Century my new Onza 3 with a draw weight of 72 is most likely about 100 fps faster than my first Onza and it was a hottest bow in the 20th Century! (Yes, I know believed the range finder and mentally plugged in points of yardage.)  As he cleared the pile and was broadside to me, yet was still feeding, I let my fingers do the work.   As the XX75 2317 26 1/2” with a 125 gr. Brute 3 in flight the buck look straight at me into my sunglasses (he heard the bow, but it was too late for him).  That was the last time I saw his eyes looking at me, as to my amazement the arrow hit him dead center in the mouth.   “You got to be kidding me”, as the buck jumped over the side of the rim that I didn’t know was even there.  I thought to myself as the light was fading, what I am going to do now?   I set my bow down on the rim and started to glass in to the bottom of the canyon.  It took me about 2 panic minutes to spot him hunkered up in the bottom (arrow went down this throat about 12 inches).   Ok! I have found him, but I don’t have my pack frame or camera.   I took off on a dead run to where I left my pack frame and ran right back to the rim.   It took me another 90 seconds to remember where I left my Martin Onza.  Finally I get myself down to the buck, take pictures as no one is going to believe this shot.   I give the buck my “Hawaiian Cut” which puts him in quarters with the removal of backstrap and tenderloins.   This is the only way I field dress big game, fast (30 minutes on a deer) and there is little blood!  I get as much as I can on the pack frame along with the head and cape.

Strange Rack on this buck, with a double left beam.

Strange Rack on this buck, with a double left beam.

I have to climb out of the bottom and head back to the truck that would be waiting for me I hoped.  It would be about 3 miles line of sight to get back and light was fading fast, real fast.   There was a great deal of cheat grass and it made it possible to see for a while.   I had decided to take a short cut to the road, which would be a mistake for me.  It was now dark and dark, as the thunder heads over the John Day River were settling in.  Thunder and Lighting now was everywhere, plus it started to rain.  When the sky would light up I would move towards the direction of my pickup spot.  I could see the micro wave tower light and that helped me for a while.  I then lost all the grass and got into just rocks.  I could no longer go forward in reaching the truck or Dave. I had lost the lighting as it would move further east towards Mitchell, Oregon.

I was going to have to spend the night out in the weather with only a light sweater on.   Did I mention that I had forgotten water, now I needed it for sure after eating the crackers?  The crackers were pretty dry.  It was a good thing that I trained in the desert on running missions with no water… The temperature had now dropped and my sweater was not enough at this point.   I hate DIRT, (did I say I hate dirt?) but knew the only way I was going to make until morning, was to hunker down under a low hanging Juniper and bury myself in the dirt (dust).  Though it was raining it would not last very long, as the storm had past.  That is just what I did; waking up about every two hours to see if light had come finally over the John Day River.   It was probably about 5:30 AM when I woke up again and could see a hint of sun coming over the hills above the John Day River.  There was not a cloud in the sky now with only the sun to show up for the day!

Later in the day the temperature reaches about 98 degrees, same the first day. I was now up and getting the pack frame on with most of the buck attached.   It was a good thing I did not try to venture further during the night; I surely would have found myself in the bottom of narrow rock crevice for life.  There was no way that I would have seen the edge and would have fallen to the bottom.  Making it out to the dirt road, out of no where, Dave and his truck appeared.  Dave had driven the dirt road hitting the horn once in a while until about midnight, and then parked off the road until morning; he figured I would be ok with my military background!

Dave's Buck from the last weekend!

Dave’s Buck from the last weekend!

I told Dave it was time for him to hunt the elk he had seen while he was coming up the road.  I could get the front quarters out later in the afternoon! Dave never got on the elk again, but at the end of the season we went back to our spot and he killed a great buck!  That will be another story, but I will let you see Dave’s buck from the last weekend of the archery season in 1987!

Morale of the story:  Be Prepared – Have a Trusting Friend

 

 

This is why we hunted the Grizzly Unit in the day! This is a great 37" buck taken!

This is why we hunted the Grizzly Unit in the day! This is a great 37″ buck taken!

 

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Published by admin on 08 Feb 2013

The coolest friend I never met…

 

Straight Shot

   with frank addington, jr.

 

Tony

 

The coolest friend I never met…
My phone would ring.  It may 10am or 10pm.  “Hey Pancho….” a voice would say.  From that point the conversation could go 100 different directions.   Tony Dukes was like that.  He may want to brag on some tacos he and Milo (Dave Milam) had just eaten, tell me his latest tall tale, or anything under the sun.  You never knew with Tony where the conversation was going.
I can’t remember just how Tony Dukes and I became friends. It seemed to happen all at once about ten or more years ago. He and I would talk on the phone and we had a lot of common friends. Ted Nugent was the main friend we shared but there were many more, including Jesse and Ginger Moorehead. Everyone seemed to know Tony. He was a wheeler dealer and always working on a deal, a trade, a hunt. He had gotten passionate about taking wounded warriors bowhunting upon their return from war. He had a big heart and was always soliciting gear for these hunts. He wrote articles and also appeared on a lot of hunting videos. He was a good promoter and was always thinking of ways to help wounded warriors.  That became his passion.  That and archery.  He loved them both, and he loved God.
He told me lots of stories over the years about famous people. You see Tony was a bass player. Evidently a talented bass player who had shared a stage with some of the 70’s and 80’s biggest names in the rock and roll world. He collected, bought and sold guitars and loved to play music. He is known as one of the last of the real blues players in Texas and I believe was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame.   Tony was weak when we first talked.  As a matter of fact he was terminally ill the entire time I knew him. Talking with one friend today he estimated Tony had been terminally ill more than 12 years. But Tony survived and always seemed to beat death. So often that his military friends started calling him old “Hard to Kill”. Tony took pride in that.
Tony was the kind of guy that would do favors for you “just because.”   He felt I should meet Dave Milam, Toby Keith’s road manager and one of Tony’s closest friends.  So Tony stepped in and made sure Milo and I met.  This lead to a great friendship and I have enjoyed this friendship for almost ten years now.   Every time Tony and I talked we usually got around to chatting about Milo.
I encouraged Tony to bowhunt for bear with Danny Dyer in New Brunswick, Canada. Danny really liked Tony and put Tony in his next season’s hunting brochure.   I also introduced Tony to my pal Butch Thompson at King Ranch via email/telephone and Butch was honored to help a wounded warrior with a hunt. Although I got tickled at Tony who called me upset because the guides at King stayed with him, he couldn’t just go hunting on his own.  I was laughing telling him no one got to just roam around the 825,000 acre ranch, they had rules and that was one of them.  You don’t just go roaming around that ranch.
Tony had a passion for archery.  I knew him to use a compound but he also took game with traditional equipment from time to time. Tony felt the late bowhunter Bill Negley belonged in the Archery Hall of Fame.  Negley took the African Big Five and was a legend in Texas with his bow and arrow.  The Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio features a prominant display on Negley.  Tony also told me a story about making the wooden arrows used in the movie Lonesome Dove. Tony always amazed me with his stories and who he knew and where he’d been. He was never boring, that’s for sure.
Tony would call out of the blue and hand the phone to a soldier and tell me to say howdy to them. He would also take them to WHATABURGER and tell them Addington had suggested it. He was always up to something.  He loved his friends, good times and the Lord. He was passionate about our troops. He also was loyal to all of his friends and often sent gifts to my son Gus from him. Just because. He had turned his life around from his wilder rock and roll days.
I got a call from Tony about a month ago. Seems he was dying. He had made a list of a few folks he wanted to chat with and was basically calling us all. I brushed it off because, after all, he’d been dying every time I talked to him.I somehow expected Tony to just keep beating death like he had a dozen times or more it seemed.  We had a great conversation and shared a laugh or two. He really liked my dad and asked about him. I’d hooked Pop and Tony up and they shared some time at an archery event. It was a good visit and I was sure we’d talk again soon.  When I hung up though I realized that call was different.  Tony’s tone was different.  He was in a hurry.  He kept the subject light and cheerful.  Looking back, maybe I knew it would be the last call but wouldn’t accept that.
Sadly that would be the last time I’d ever hear Tony’s voice. I got an email this morning from Dave Milam that Antonio was gone. Ole “Hard to Kill” went to Heaven around 5 PM on January 7, 2013. His physical pain and suffering here on earth done, he’s now up there with the other archery legends who went before him.  If he has access to a bass guitar I’ll gaurantee he’s playing music, telling jokes and making people laugh.  And of course shooting a bow and arrow.
News of Antonio’s death saddened me for two reasons.  First, I’d not share anymore crazy phone calls with him.  Second, I’d never get meet Tony Dukes in person. You see, Tony and I had never once met face to face. Although he had hung out with my dad, hunted with friends of mine, and we shared lots of mutual friends, I never once got to shake his hand. I called Dave (Milo) today and told him that fact and he was shocked. He didn’t know Tony and I had never met face to face.  Tony was perhaps the coolest friend I’d never met.

So long Antonio, your spirit, your sense of humor, your patriotism, your passion for archery and archers, your laugh and your bravery will be missed. I am sure Milo will eat some good tacos for you soon, Ted Nugent will shoot an animal of some kind, and I’ll bust a few baby aspirin from mid air for you amigo. Ted Nugent, Milo, and I join a lot of other people who will miss you but are glad you suffer no more. Your work here is done. Godspeed, and as Theo often says, “In the wind…”

 

You can visit Tony Duke’s Memorial site at:  http://memorialwebsites.legacy.com/dukes/MemorialSite.aspx

 

The photo is from Dave Milam.  That’s my first STRAIGHT SHOT Column for 2013.  As always, Adios and God Bless.
Shoot Straight,

Frank
www.frankaddingtonjr.com

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Published by admin on 16 Jan 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 1985 Rancho Rajneesh Hunt Hunting the Rancho Rajneesh

Bwana Bubba’s 1985 Rancho Rajneesh Hunt
Hunting the Rancho Rajneesh aka “The Big Muddy” Ranch #1

My best Mule Deer Buck!
Before we start the story of a lifetime, there is more to the story than just the harvesting of a monster Oregon Mulie (Mule Deer) buck, but more about time period of this great hunt.

“It is 1985, a time in Oregon‘s History that will never be duplicated!”

The following story might be hard for some to fathom, but is real and unless you’ve had the opportunity to experience even a part of it, it may appear to be something from a fictional book!
The Leader with his disciples (Idiots)!
During this era of time we would be hunting on and off of the original “The Big Muddy Ranch” located in Oregon close to Madras, Donnybrook (Historical), Ashwood (Post Office), Clarno (Historical) and the Famous Town of Antelope or better know at the time as Rajnesshpuram. The Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) came to America from India to be a teacher of his faith and culture. He would take up residence on the “Big Muddy Ranch” outside of Clarno, Oregon (Historical)! The main house would be at 3 miles line of sight to Clarno’s Grange Hall which sat along the John Day River! There would be more than 2000 disciples on the ranch!

The purchase of the ranch was made through lawyers, un-be known (as the local story goes) to the Rubin Evans as to who was actually buying the 64,000 acres of land that also encompassed a great deal of BLM and some State Lands. Rubin made a great deal of money (4.3M gross) on the sale of rimrock, sage and juniper trees that could not support any sizeable amount of cattle. The City of Antelope (97001 Zip) some 12 miles away from the main ranch was later taken over the Bhagwan and his followers, thus it was incorporated and called Rajneeshpuram.

Rajneeshpram (Antelope) and the Rancho Rajneesh now had its own Peace Force that carried Uzi’s and M-16’s. Traveling into the ranch on the county road (Cold Camp Rd) and once past the boundary of the Smith Ranch (cattle guard) were Security Huts with active machine gun toting Peace Force clear down to the numerous buildings and hotel! I can remember when Burns Bros., Travel Stops sold FM handheld radios to the Ranch. They were used to monitor people driving through the ranch on the county road. How much time it would take to travel in and out of the ranch. There were back doors into the BLM via Gosner and Muddy Creek Roads to the southeast, but you still would get stopped in remote areas. Questioned of course what your intent was, which we would say was traveling to Mitchell, Oregon. Once out of sight, you would get yourself deep into the BLM, such as Horse Heaven. It is hard for most to understand what this place became and how things were done. I would have to think it was one of the largest Commune’s of its type that has ever been established in the United States. There was even a Crematorium and Machine Gun Range on the ranch. If one ventured deep enough into the interior of the ranch, you found many un-expected buildings and sights! A great deal of land use laws were broken by the leaders of Rajneeshpuram and Rancho Rajneesh!

The people of Rancho Rajneesh even damned up Current Creek (dam is still there) and made a dandy lake with a floating lodge on the lake for the followers to sunbath. As said before they broke many land use laws and even made a paved road that was built in the center of the ranch and put in an airport. The paved road was built so the Bhagwan could exit without notice to Madras, Oregon in one of his many Rolls Royce’s. The road came out on Gosner Rd. on the south side of the ranch.

The Bhagwan did some improvements to the land with the planting of wheat, alfalfa and putting in small stick dams in the creeks plus the electric fence that surrounded more than 100 square miles of BLM and Private Land. It create a atmosphere for deer, elk and antelope to multiple, live longer and move into neighboring ranches in the area up to 10 – 15 miles away line of sight.

It was not an easy tasking for anyone to hunt the public land, as the Bhagwan thought the BLM also belong to HIM, his (followers-disciples) would do everything to keep hunters out of the public land that intertwined the ranch. I probably forgot tell you that there were hundreds of No Trespassing Signs put on the parameter of the ranch, which included the posting of all the BLM, even if it was not on Rancho Rajneesh. We use to joke that if we were ever caught, that are destiny would be left at the Crematorium!
Been there and it was big, even with bleachers to the north!
The challenge was on for myself and a few other fellows, such as “Stick”, “Baily”, “DB”, “MJ”, “Bennie” and “Bone” just to mention a few that I knew that would hunted for the monster Mule Deer bucks that harbored on the ranch! I did leave out the fact that in 1984 we discover Elk on the ranch while glassing for bucks in a basin below the tower via the county rd. I will leave that up to your imagination whether we hunt for elk, but then that is another story…

If one thought they would get away with trespassing on the private part of the ranch, they had something to look forward too, like 50 – 100 young people some with weapons in lines working down the ridges or draws where you might have been spotted from the “Tower” that had windows & maps with a 360 degrees layout! The “Tower” was put on the highest spot of the ranch that would allow the viewing of draws such as Gallagher Canyon, Fir Tree, Lyon Ridge and Vanderhoof Canyon. It was not only the Rajneesh patrollers (disciples) that could number in numbers, but the local law enforcement… I will never understand the alliance that was between the cult and government’s police forces’.
This sign was taken from B.L.M. Land near Mays Res., to the south in 1984!
Oh! It would have been great to have my BLM mapping program and a modern day Garmin GPS, which would leave no doubt to being legal! Then again BLM had great maps and I could read and visualize the land marks!

It was once told to “MJ” by an old Oregon State Police Game Officer of the time, “Go in on BLM and Come out on BLM”.

The cult would take the State of Oregon and other people to the cleaners over the years with Debt, above the law and trying to rid Wasco County of a good people.

In 1987 the Rajneeshpuram came to an end and not without controversy, such as Ma Anand Sheela setting up a Bio-Terrorism attempt in The Dallas with Salmonella Poisoning. She would later be deported back to the United States from Germany to stand trial. The Bhagwan would be deported (allowed to leave) back to India! He died in 1991 of Aids, so you might be able figure out what else went on in the ranch besides the spiritual teachings!

I would have to say it was like those that drank the Kool-Aid at thePeoples Temple Agricultural Project of Jonestown. People gave their wealth away to follow the Bhagwan’s radical teachings! I understand their standings in the cult were based on the money!

Now let’s get on with the story!

The Oregon Archery Season was coming to a close in three days. I’s passed up many smaller bucks during the early season, trying to find a P & Y Mule Deer.

Now it was performance time!

I made a quick call to Dave Brill because I knew I could count on him to go on a mission with me at the drop of a hat. I told him we could make a Saturday afternoon hunt over on the breaks of the John Day Rive rin Central Oregon.

The final weekend of the season also happened to be my drill weekend with the U.S. Naval Reserve. Luckily, I only had to spend half of Saturday and Captain’s Call was out at 1130. I made it to Dave’s place just past noon in east Clackamas County. There was an hour drive to the BLM, leaving us about 6 hours maximum for hunting.

On the way to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property, we spotted a small herd of mule deer, with five bucks located on Earl’s Smith’s property. All looked pretty nice, and I decided to take a few photos. They were in the 23 to 25 inch class with one respectable four point at about 28 inches. I did not have permission to hunt Earl’s Ranch, which would come later!
I took this picture on Father’s Day on a scouting trip with Dave Brill! I spotted the buck in the canyon and worked within 300 yards and let him come to me at 8 yards! He was very surprised!
At 3:00 p.m., we reached the B.L.M. land on the west side of theJohn DayRiver. There a mutual friend, MJ, met us. He wanted to show us where he had seen some big bucks. In the middle of the basin were four “swamper” Mulie bucks, two around 28” and two in the 30” neighborhood. I know, at this point you probably think I’m really pulling your leg. I did take a few pictures of these bucks also, as they were not hunt-able at this location also.

Then, it was time to put down the camera and get down to the business at hand. We split up and MJ headed over to his a ranch he would be hunting located along the John Day River to locate a Mulie he felt would easily go 36”. By the way M.J. took this buck during the rifle season and he was 36”. M.J. was a rifle hunter that we put up with as he was great with the game location logistics!
I would get a shot at the middle buck the following year!
With only about three hours of hunting time left in the day, finding a big Mulie was going to be even tougher. Just before dark, I located a buck that would be about 28” to 29”, but he wouldn’t cooperate as I just couldn’t get on him in the open terrain pushing to fast before fading light.

We departed the area as Mother Nature began to drown the junipers and sagebrush. The most difficult part of the trip was yet to come. As I told you earlier, this was supposed to be a Saturday afternoon hunt-only. Now, Dave and I would have to make phone calls to our respective wives. Both ended being most understanding, which meant they knew we would be calling. So we would have one more chance to get our big bucks before the rifle hunters came out of the woodwork in about 1 week. You wonder how they were most understanding, well we did stretch the truth and told them we had a buck down and tried locate it in the dark, but would have resume in the morning!

The next morning we awoke to 39 degrees, patchy fog and overcast skies in Madras, Oregon. We were working against the clock now, so crispy bacon and eggs at the Madras Truck Stop were out so a Coke Cola and Hershey Chocolate Bar were in order. Ok! Had a large jar of Jerky!

There is one smell in Oregon that really turns me on and that is the smell of wet sage at daybreak. You have to know the feeling you get from the smell, as this is an optimum time in space to kill a buck!

It was already light when we arrived at the main access road. Strangely, we saw nothing along the road going in. When turning down into the main access road the Muddy Rd., there were fresh tire tracks in the road as it was very muddy, that was the answer to not seeing any game! The roads in the area turn to slick clay like surfaces and deep ruts. In about two miles we caught up to a Black Bronco II in front of us and the driver climbed out with bow in hand. We pulled up for a brief conversation, and soon he couldn’t hold himself back. He said he’d already had taken shots at 2 big bucks and that he saw a 30” buck feeding. In the back of the rig was a respectable three-point his partner had taken with a 50-yard heart shot. We also told him that he was now on ranch property and he better not be here hunting! Oh! Don’t get out of the truck with your bow if stopped by the patrollers! He might get a chance to visit the Crematorium…

This 30” talk was something that should be investigated, I figured since it was located on BLM by the way he described the spot. David and I headed back, hustled out of my truck and I climbed up the draw where the hunter said he’d seen the buck! The draw would lead into a small basin with volunteer wheat. It was in the BLM near Currant Creek, one the great spots to hunt. There, at 45 yards, was a massive buck, feeding and completely unaware of my presence. He was a long tined four-point, with extremely long eyeguards. I felt he would be real close to 200 Pope and Young and real Oregon Record contender. (You can tell I already had him on the wall!) I did not have my bow with me, just my camera (I didn’t even take a picture).

I watched him for a few more minutes from behind a juniper grove, and then slowly backed away. I hurried back to the rig, told Dave what happened, and quickly returned to the spot with my bow. He was gone! The shot was there if I had taken my bow instead of the camera.

I returned to my truck, more than a bit upset with myself, but Dave quickly lifted my spirits.

“Frank,” he said, “I’ve located some more dandy bucks!”

As we stood there making our game plan up, there was a group with some twenty bucks in the distance, but immediately are plans to hunt ended quickly. It was incredibly exciting to watch them through the binoculars as they departed out of the tight draw in single file. The smallest buck of the group was no less than 24 inches wide. Seeing that group of bucks only made me a firm believer in “buck pastures”. I have to tell that over the years hunting here, it was always like that. Very few does were ever seen in the area during the archery season. It should be noted that the big buck in the back was at about 38” on the roll jabbing the other bucks to move along. He was a buck that one would never forget it if seen again.

Within a few moments we on a small out cropping of rocks, Dave and I located a good buck, bedded and chewing his cud. I put the spotting scope on him-not real wide, but great long tines with super eyeguards. I felt that he would score very well, a 180-plus. The hunt was on! I dropped into the canyon, using junipers for cover. The terrain wasn’t too rough and I was able to circle around the rim quickly without making noise. In these days I was running no less than 50 miles a week! The wind was coming straight at me, and a light mist of fog hung in the area. What more could I ask for? I slipped into the junipers between the buck and myself.

At 40 yards approximately I decided it was time and drew my bow back without thought, set the 40 yard pin on the lungs just in case I miss-judged the distance of the bedded buck. The 125 grain 3 blade broadhead was delivered to him right into the lungs behind the shoulder. He was up in a hurry, but soon collapsed down the draw.
Great Bucks of the B.L.M. in the Oregon Grizzly Hunt Unit!
Thanks to Dave’s help, we were able to drag him to the truck fairly easily. I couldn’t wait to put the tape to him. With a quick measuring, he went 27” wide, not counting the “cheater points” on each side of the main beam of the same length. I also did a quick P & Y score for a solid 198 green score. My net score on this tremendous buck was 190 P&Y. (After some 15 years I had him officially measured at Sportsmen’s Show and he would be set at 188 2/8, to bad I waited to long to put him in the Oregon Record Book). Just think he wasn’t even one of the real monster Mulies and my taxidermist felt the buck was only about 5 years old!

While leaving the area, Dave and I saw at least six more good bucks. I went back during the general rifle season to camera guide and saw two taken that went 32” and 38” wide.

As the readers might find it hard to believe the amount of deer, I will close with this one comment.

In the mid 80’s and until about 2001, it was not uncommon to see as many as 100 plus bucks in a morning or evening drive!

The 38” buck that was mention earlier on my bow hunt was the same that one that Greg A. would take in the rifle season in 1985. The buck was 38” on the roll and would have a net score of 201 B & C. The buck was killed within a 2 miles of where he was spotted him during the archery season. He was taken on a piece of private land that bordered Rancho Rajneesh to the S.W.

You are probably wondering why I have not put down having any encounters with the disciples of Rancho Rajneesh, when you know the enemies’ habits you learn when to come and go! We did have some encounters, but then it also help to have a local rancher with you once in a while.

Michael was very close to this Shooter Buck!

Whether it was to get dropped off at the BLM corner or BLM Section by someone, bike ride or run the 12 miles back to Antelope to get the pickup vehicle, it was always a rush and an outstanding Clandestine Operation in Hunting.

Camo was worn to conceal from the enemy, not the game!

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Published by admin on 27 Sep 2012

Bwana Bubba’s 2012 Archery Deer Hunt

Bwana Bubba’s 2012 Archery Deer Hunt
Sunday Morning Hunt

Making the Shot Buck!

Though this story will end up with harvesting of a small Blacktail Buck from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, it is more about the principles and aspects of aging in the hunting scenario.

I would like to say this is the buck of harvest, but not! Right Handed Tree Stand in background!
Over the years, especially when I was younger I lived to hunt and fish. I was very selfish and would spend most of my time either at work or doing the great outdoors. It was a total escapement from reality after serving in the U.S. Navy and being In Country. I found great excitement with chasing and harvesting game. My fishing was about how many fish I could catch, later finding it was more fun to catch and release.

Now later in life I find I do not have as much time to hunt and fish with the reality of still working into my 60’s. Weekends are a thing of the past since I have been in the RV selling business. Hunts have now turned to hunting in the valley close to home for the elusive Blacktail Deer.

What started with getting permission to take pictures of Blacktail Bucks on a parcel of land outside of Oregon City & Canby, Oregon has turned into the place to have the opportunity to harvest a Blacktail. The landowner himself is a Vietnam Vet and I know he finds great peace to be able to walk his timbered land and in some places be able to escape the daily grind!

This year was different from the past years on the M & L Ranch as I call it. It is the first time other than a Blackberry thicket blind, that I have setup a real tree stand and fixed ground blind. My thoughts have always been to glass, spot and pursue the game, with an occasional wait at a nearby waterhole for Pronghorn.

I had past him up at 40 yards, but this is not what I saw from 40 yards through the Blackberries!
The 2012 Archery Season in Oregon was of great expectations in harvesting one of the Big Three Blacktail bucks that we all had captured on Trail Cams. With Odd 3 X 3 leading the pack, “Sticker” second and finally the P & Y buck Even 3 X 3. You do notice that I have never mentioned a 4 x 4! I have yet to see a 4 point buck western count in 2012. In the past I have seen a number of them and have put them on film!

I truly hate to say it, but many of the big bucks I have seen have been poached. I have heard rifle shots in the familiar sound of hunting situation before the archery season and during the season. Poaching has become a major issue in Oregon! It can’t be about the meat, but about the rack.

P & Y Buck at probably 110″ Maybe JR can get him!
So with the missed opportunity on the Even 3 X 3 in the first couple of days really took me back mentally. The easiest shots, can most often not work! I am sure most know that deal in hunting. Having hit the tree stand rail not once but twice on the 25 yard shot was embarrassing for sure. Small note: WHEN PUTTING UP A TREE STAND AND SETTING UP THE LINE OF THE ANIMAL TO BE POSITION, MAKE SURE YOU PUT UP YOUR STAND IN RELATIONSHIP TO BEING LEFT HANDED OR RIGHT HANDED. In this case for me being Left Handed I should have put it across the path to the opposite tree. It is definitely a Right Handed tree stand. Guess I will have to get another one and put it on the opposite tree 25 yards across the path! My partner’s JR (Frankie) and Mark are right-handed! They had decided what tree to put the stand up before I can to help! Pretty smart guys!

As most of you know that are in the circle, with two weeks into the archery season had a second chance with a 20 yard shot on a nice heavy 3 x 3 at 20 yards (No Hesitation Either).

The one that also got away and survives another day! Flesh Wound!
I shot through the Camo mesh of the ground blind, leading to a close Kill shot (3”) to a glancing arrow hitting the shoulder and ricocheting upward and out. I have had someone call me unethical for not making this one buck the one find and harvest. In this case give me a break with a Blacktail and the odds, especially with a bow! Mark and myself spent 3 hours looking for blood on the buck, which ended with one final drop about 300 yards away in the dark at 2200. The following morning I spent another 3 hours and found no more blood on the ferns and what appeared to be a buck with normal walk back into the forest (no broken limbs or down branches).

Great shot on a Blacktail Buck – Martin Onza 3 on display also!
So in the following weeks the buck has been on trail cams in good health. In fact when Mark was in his tree stand with his rifle (Willamette 615 anything tag) the buck came to within 12 yards of him in good health. As this is another story of Mark’s buck that he took at that time, all I can say is the buck might have been a vendetta for me to get him, but I was not worried about his health any longer. Just a bad hit!

It is now Sunday September 9th in the morning about 0430 and my wife wakes me up and says “aren’t you going hunting this morning!” Na! I got to work and need my sleep! I am now awake and say to myself, I am gone. In minutes without combing my hair I headed out the door and into the darkness. Looking at my cell found I see JR.; my son left me text messages (10) about the morning hunting. I text back are you awake as I am already heading to my secure parking spot! No return text, guess I got the place to myself today! It would have been great to have him with me!

It does not take me long to get ready once there and I head off to the stand about ¼ from the parking spot. Quickly get up in the stand with the anticipation of a good hunt, as it cooler this Sunday. I figured I might get the spike and of course plus the one doe with twin fawns in first, with maybe a big boy coming in before 0700. I patiently wait, which is a major problem for me as it super quite in the draw. The only noises are the wind rusting the trees and occasional Scrub Jay squawking in the distance. I should add the lone owl hooting in the canyon!

It is now approaching 0700 with no movement at all on the forest ground, I am extremely bored and need to get on feet and make a ground hunt. I lower my bow and day pack to the ground, check the trail cam and see that only 6 pictures from the 12 hour period. I thought about heading back to the house and catch a few winks before work, but I would not get any sleep. I dropped the pack and headed over to Mark’s stand near the edge of the western sector of the farm. No movement in the heavy grasses and I surely did not jump anything, as Mark’s stand borders the field and heavy timber. Hmm!

I pick up my day pack and talked to myself and ask the question to drive around to the eastern sector and hunt from there and see if I can jump a Blacktail Buck. I tell myself to go back to the stand and head up the trail that leads to the dry creek bed and the eastern sector of the farm (most of us old war dogs talk to ourselves a lot). I decide that I wanted to go light on this expedition with only my bino’s, range finder and bow! I am wearing a Camo long sleeve shirt and I have my booties on as it is very noisy place to walk and think you are quiet when making a good stalk.

Here I am only about 200 to 300 yards from my stand on the trail and spot a doe that had just come up out of the draw that leads down to the creek bed and the other side of the farm. It is a warn trail now and used by the game since Frankie (JR) and his cousin had taken a D-6 Cat through the property, it has given a game when not disturb a bit easier route to feeding areas. There are places near the creek bottom that are so thick; I would have to eat the deer there!

Ok! I spot the doe and she is a ways out there, I would put her at about 50 yards line of sight. Not sure if she has caught me as slither back into the Scott Broom. I decide to range her in and use my left hand, my release hand. Shaking a bit, I target to the left of her to a small bush and it says 48 yards. I got the area pretty well dialed in and will wait to see what come out of the draw. Finally a very smart move on Cobra’s part! Her fawns that no longer have spots doodle along and up. I can not see the doe at all during this time and I assume she did not see me! Then I see a deer coming up, it stops and see it has a rack, I can not tell the size it all seems to blend into the background of brown grasses and the fir trees. Knowing what my Martin Onza 3 can do for me, I am at instinct mode and without though of size or distance my eyes as they are looking through the peep side have the orange 40 yard pin set about 1-2 inches above the back bone. The release is very smooth and no hesitation on my part. I see the arrow in flight as the Norway Zeon Fusion (pink) vanes are evident in flight.

I love the way these beauties fly and glow for me!
The buck has moved forward during the short time of flight of the arrow. “Damn” is all I could say when I see the arrow hit the hind quarter forward. What surprised me was to see the deer drop like a sack of bricks and then he shook! Wow! Then to my further surprise the buck go back up and struggled into the Scott Broom. Out in the distance at about 100 yards there is a monster buck facing directly at me when I stepped out to lay the bow down! I quickly move up to the spot and find blood. I marked the spot with my bow and head back to the day pack to get what I needed. I call my JR and to my surprise he answers his phone! Hoorah! He is on his way with his truck that he can get back there and not be upset with the blackberries scrapping the side of his truck. I do check at my launching point and range find to the spot the buck was initially standing at and it hits 63 yards.

I have a head in this picture! Keep it clean! I still have the ability to shoot some distance!
I have to tell you that during the flight of the arrow, there seem to be little arch (trajectory) in the flight. What a strange feeling of watching the flight which was under a second, like out of a movie! The Martin Onza 3 is most likely pushing 330fps with my setup! Outstanding performance for me! Martin bows have never failed me on a hunt!

I have pulled my rig near the stand, hoof back to the area with cameras and my Gerber’s. I did not have to go very far from the hit spot, the blood trail was extensive and the buck was stretched out about 80-100 yards from the impact area. I could see the buck is one that I had seen on camera and past up an evening before when I went to the stand and had him at 40 yards. He was a young 3 X 3 or better 3 X 2 with no eye guards.

I was in combat mode during this time period of spot and shoot. I truly love to spot, stalk and then kill! I have found that the times in the field with difficult shots and I go to combat instinct mode the job usually gets done. I do not think about anything, but the mind has allowed me to react! One can read a book call “Blink” and understand what I am saying. Thinking about a situation to much, I feel that you can make a dumb mistake! Let me tell you I have made mistakes and failed number of times. Being on the ready at all times makes for success.

The arrow did hit his hind quarter on the right side, failed to pass through. During the Hawaiian Field Dressing operation I could see what had happen and I am most surprised, as I have never seen this before. I failed to mention that JR had given me a package of new broadheads to try and just that morning I did put one on my arrow. The broadhead does not look like it could be as effective or un-effective as the Thunderheads I had on the rest of the arrows. The name of this broadhead is Slick Trick 100 gr. Magnum.

This is a picture of the Slick Trick 100 gr. Magnum after hitting the ball and socket!
So during the Hawaiian field dressing using one of my gifted Gerber Gator knives I find that if the arrow had passed through there would have been pumping out even great flow of blood, but what happen once the arrow hit the flesh it angled back and somewhat down hitting the knuckle in the hip joint pulverizing the ball joint. I have never seen this done to an animal with a Broadhead in all my years of bow hunting. I have seen ribs cracked or cut, but for the arrow to go through that much tissue and still do that at the range of 60 yards is simply amazing. As you know at this time I will be changing in the future to Slick Trick Broadhead. Another thing that arrow flew as straight as if I had shot at 10 yard target. My Onza 3 highly tuned, as all my Martin bows have been. Reminds when I tried Barnes X bullets 225 grain in my Weatherby 340 on an elk hunt and took out the bull at 1000 yards approx (testimonial proof) and he dropped in his tracks. I have never looked back on using the product. Knowing that the product will do the job, if there is a mistake it is usually the hunter! It can be equipment also if you don’t check and make sure it ready to shoot! So my deer hunting for 2012 has come to an end and I now can if time permits to focus on elk or help JR get his archery buck in the State of Oregon!

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Published by admin on 27 Aug 2012

UPDATE ON MAKING TEXAS AMERICA’S #1 BOWHUNTING STATE

UPDATE ON MAKING TEXAS AMERICA’S #1 BOWHUNTING STATE
by Ted Nugent

A top hunting TV show hostess had the gorgeous trophy buck dead to rights, broadside looking away at 15 yards. She couldn’t draw back her bow.
The #1 gal at the NRA had the big buck in the perfect position for the dumpshot of a lifetime. Couldn’t draw her bow.
Another big bad TV host had put in the hours for the ultimate ambush on a monster whitetail he had been after for years. Grunting and groaning and yanking maniacally with all his might, the bowstring simply wouldn’t come back.
Again this year while rocking across America on tour, more than twenty big strong guys with whom I met backstage to talk hunting and guns and stuff, winced as they struggled to lift their right arms over their heads, complaining how they probably wouldn’t be able to bowhunt this year due to shoulder pain and complications. All of them shoot 70# bows or thereabouts.
Are you kidding me? In 2012 the denial rages on as the vast majority of archery stores in America still have racks full of 70# bows that are much too heavy for 90% of archers, and too heavy and downright worthless for upwards of 99% of wanna be archer/bowhunters to even attempt to draw properly or gracefully or without causing serious shoulder, arm, muscle problems.
Are you kidding me?
I will not give up on fixing this self-inflicted, suicidal policy in my beloved sport of the mystical flight of the arrow.
I am well aware of the army of dedicated bowhunters who are more than happy with their heavy weight bows, and for those who can truly handle them, Godspeed to ya.
But know that amongst you there are many who would be way better off with a drastically reduced draw weight. I have witnessed it time and time again. To the man and woman, they instantly became better archers and much less susceptible to shoulder problems and the curse of quitting.
Again, for the record, Mrs. Nugent, and many, many other successful and pain free bowhunters, kill big deer, hogs, elk, antelope, caribou, bear, moose and all kinds of African planes game including big tough zebra, eland, gemsbok, oryx, waterbuck, wildebeest, kudu, hartebeest and more with bows pulling 35 to 40#.
We have youngsters every year at Sunrize Safaris who cleanly kill hogs and deer with ultra-lightweight bows in the 20# range.
Why this proven fact is so resisted and denied remains one of life’s great mysteries. Meanwhile, the world’s greatest sport fails to grow and the attrition rate goes unabated due to the insanity of the heavy draw bow myth.
Please help me fix this curse, won’t you?
The huge, hard, muscled African Scimitar horn oryx bull turned broadside at twenty yards after a long, patience testing wait. My svelte, dainty, 105 pound wife Shemane effortlessly pulled back the bowstring on her 35# pink Martin bow and sent a 400 grain arrow tipped with a razor sharp two blade broadhead dead square behind its shoulder.
The tenacious beast galloped and bucked madly for forty yards, stopped, turned around once and tipped over stone cold dead about seven seconds later, its lungs sliced to smithereens. Done. It’s over rover. Terminus Eldorado. Goodnight Ellouise. Bye bye baby. The beast is dead, long live the beast.
The big antelope did not have a chronograph in its possession, no kinetic energy meter, and no status quo bureaucrat on call with presumptions to spare.
We celebrated perfect, simple bowhunting by dining on the best dead venison on earth, thank you.
Fact is, no one on earth hears all the horror stories about not being able to find a bow they can shoot gracefully from as many bowhunters or wanna be bowhunters nonstop throughout the year for so many years than I do. Nobody.
I kid you not, for every new bowhunter that survives being sold a too powerful bow and remains a bowhunter there are hundreds and hundreds who give up because they simply don’t enjoy struggling with a heavy bow. Nationally, I am certain that number is in the tens of thousands.
Nah, the archery industry doesn’t want/need any of you wimps who can’t draw 60-70 pound bows. Buy golf clubs.
Are you kidding me?
And horror of horrors, planet earth’s #1 hunting state, Texas, rates dead last in the nation for bowhunters per hunting license sold, and it is all because of the curse described above.
The good news is that Texas is increasing bowhunter numbers at its fastest rate of growth ever, and I am so very glad to report that it is because more and more bowhunting shops are getting better and better at properly setting up bows and also offering slightly reduced draw weight bows. The word is getting out there.
Bottom line is, that I am convinced, that setup correctly with a smooth, graceful weight bow, 90+% of Texas deer hunters will fall in love with bowhunting if they just take their time, demand stealthy gear and put in the necessary practice, which is at least ten times the effort it takes to become proficient with a rifle.
So all you bowhunters out there that get it, please help me spread the goodword. Politely request your favorite bow shop stock lighter weight bows, and encourage the bow humpers out there to reduce their draw weight, and encourage newcomers to go smooth and graceful.
I’m shooting a deadly 48# these days, and the Nugent tribe ain’t eating chicken, I promise you that. Though if I see one, I will shoot it.

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Published by j_miller on 02 Aug 2012

First Duck Hunt

During duck season my dad and I had traveled 30 minutes to our blind. We got our shotguns set up and waited. Soon enough ducks came. Then when we started to pack up I spotted more ducks. I ended up with 2 mallards and I was very happy. Thank you I know this was short, but I only duck hunted once. I plan to do more this year. Thanks for reading and I promise I’ll make longer blogs in the future.

(If you have the time please check out my youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/multianimalhunter)

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Published by j_miller on 02 Aug 2012

Starting My Hunting Career

I sat in the cold, dark room. They were playing a hunting safety video. I had just begun my life as a hunter, this was the first step. 3 days had gone by and I waited, anxious to take the test of what I had learned in the past 3 days. The test was handed to me and I ZIPPED by! I went through the test so fast that I skipped  an entire 2 pages. But of course I finished it.

Anyways, my dad had said, “Let’s see who got the highest test score.”

We both got a 100% so that was pointless. Moving on, we moved along in our Lexus excited and relieved to start our careers as hunters (and yes a Lexus). Now, the real story begins with our first hunt, doves. And just so we’re clear my dad bought me a Remington 870 pump action 20 gauge. So we were both set with our shotguns and traveled 2 hours to the sunflower fields.

On September 15, 2012 a long day had passed and I settled with one dove. We didn’t have much luck that day, but it was loads of fun.

* * * * *

After about a month, I started my first deer hunt on the same property as the dove. It was the youth hunt and I was lucky to be selected to get a tag. I was using my Remington 870 pump action with slug barrel, Remington Optics Scope, and 2 3/4 in. slugs. The first two days we were set up in a blind and there was no activity. So the last day of the youth hunt we decided to go to a different property. We quickly set up and got into the blind with no activity so far. I started to lose hope, but with 30 minutes ’til sundown I looked up and out to field and saw a doe then more and more came. Unfortunately, none came into range so I left shorthanded and with a leftover tag.

I decided to start my bowhunting career by slowly working my way up to the legal draw limit for whitetail. I was shooting and still are shooting a Youth Mathew’s Mission Menace. By the time I reached my goal it was late October. The night before my first bow hunt I sighted in my bow well at 20 yards , and would set off in the morning. Little did I know what lied ahead that morning, I sat patiently but anxiously during the 30 minute car ride. As we pulled in I got my gear ready to go. I said goodbye to my dad and started treking down the hill with my fellow hunting partner. It took me a bit, but I got situated into my treestand. I have a youtube account so I decided to do a First Person Shooter (FPS) video with my iKAM extreme. The man in the other stand had a doe walk by his stand and took a shot. He was high so he hit the spine. This was my first deer hunt where some action came into hand so I was sitting there wondering what was going on. Turns out I did get some of it on video, but it took him a while to get another good shot, but eventually I looked over and there was a doe lying on the ground. This was the first deer hunt with a kill in it, so I was a satisfied camper even if it wasn’t my harvest.

That same night I was invited to go over to a neighbor of the man I hunted with in the morning. Little did I know that that evening would start a great relationship. At around 2:30 in the afternoon we arrived at the neighbor’s house. We gathered our things together, and headed out for the woods. By the time I was at my treestand and all set up the sun started going down slowly but surely. No activity that night for me atleast. Now I could tell you about all my hunts, but I’m not going to bore you to death. Most of them were the same anyways maybe one or two deer. So with that said let’s move on.

It was the second to last day of bowhunting season, mildly cold temperatures, bits of snow on the ground, it seemed like a good night. I was totally right in the last sentence because it was the best night yet. We treked down to the elevated blind located just outside the perimeter of the major food plot. With an hour and a half left of time, we’d seen some does chased by bucks. They obviously scrammed off, but to our surprised were just drinking in the creek only about 30 yards away. Eventually, they started their way back, but they were not alone. More and more came by the numbers! I looked outside the camoflagued covered window, and I didn’t even get a chance to count to 5 seconds before the next deer came. We counted about 24-26 deer all at the same place at once. It was such a rare sighting that even the man I was hunting with was shocked! He’d been hunting that property for who knows how many years, and rarely has he EVER seen that. Back to the story, there were some nice 8-10 pointers. Old fellas too, they had nice browtines, and even had a droptine or two. So he had taken a shot at one (but rarely would do such a thing because of the lack of bucks on his property, but they were old so that’s why). It was about a 30-35 yard shot so it was a tough one. He obviously missed because rarely do you get a deer from 30-35 yards away,and the deer scrammed so I thought that this season was over and I wouldn’t fill my tag. Anyways, we were joking about how I’d bumped him when he took his shot. During the joking I asked if we could switch seats because I didn’t have much of a clear shot on–well nothing.

With about 45 minutes left a small fork buck came trotting in behind it, a doe. Now the doe was a little skeptical unlike the buck, but the doe was right to be that way. When the little buck closed in at about 17 yards I took a shot but was about an inch high (I know I said he doesn’t like dead bucks, but I think he really wanted me to get a deer). Luckily, I didn’t hit the spine, but unfortunately I didn’t hit the vitals. My excuse was that the kisser on my bow wasn’t lined up against the side of my lips right. But I was still a happy guy for now. Overall, I had met lots of great people. And I am excited to start a new season. Hopefully I’ll do better this year.

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Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012

Watching The Woods Change -By Randall Schwalbach

Archery World – October 1987
Watching The Woods Change
By Randall Schwalbach
The freedom of exploring wild places is one of the joys of hunting. There’s nothing like the anticipation of going out of state on the big hunt. New country, new faces, new challenges — that’s what turns on bowhunters like you and me. At the same time, however, many of us enjoy returning to a favorite hunting spot year after year. I enjoy roaming a woodlot in central Wisconsin where I started bowhunting whitetail deer 15 years ago. It has become sort of an annual pilgrimage, and come mid-September my thoughts converge on this chunk of heaven I call the Big Hoods.
The Big Woods
What I find most amazing about the Big Woods is that it is in a state of constant change. Not only does habitat evolution/ alteration affect deer movement on a year to year basis, but also new generations of deer acquire new patterns and survival techniques. In order for you to enjoy continuous success at your own “old faithful ,” I’m going to share some of my experiences with this evolution at my own tried and true Big Woods. Did you ever marvel at how fast a tree grows? Just look out your window at that maple you planted in the backyard when your irst son or daughter was born. Amazing, isn’t it! Now, consider that a tree is useful to deer for different reasons during the course of its life, and you’ll see why no woods can ever stay the same. When it is small, a tree is likely to be either (1) eaten or (2) used as cover – or quite possibly both. Toward the end of its sapling status, it serves as a good place to polish antlers and test brute strength. Between this and the fruit bearing stage, say, if it is an oak, the tree as an individual is not highly useful. The point is, the woods are a collection of many trees, either in a process of growth or death, and as a unit the woods are indeed constantly changing – right before your eyes.
When I first started hunting the Big Woods, the northern edge was well defined. It butted up against a 20 acre farm field that lay fallow and consisted of thick canary grass and tall goldenrod, with a few small aspen and birch scattered through. In the past 15 years, however, the oaks and maples of the Big Woods have grown out into the field, producing a “zone” rather than a strict delineation or “edge.” The deer used to cross the 20 acre field rather quickly to go between cornfields and the woods. They entered the woods at the corners and at a few select points along the edge. The sign they left was concentrated at these entrances. Now the deer actually “live” in the field and in the “zone” created by the advance of the Big Woods. The cover is much thicker and there are many more lanes of safe travel for deer. Individual trails, however, are not as prominent, and the sign is less concentrated. I think there are more deer now, but they make less impact.
How has my hunting strategy changed? For starters, I alarm too many deer if I walk
 through the zone between woods and field, which is where my old walking trail is. I now enter the woods from a different side. Because the deer come into the woods from any point along the north boundary, I now have better luck hunting farther into the woods itself, where main trails are still in use and sign is concentrated. For nostalgic reasons, I sometimes sit in my old stands along the “edge,” but my luck there is seldom good. It is important to understand that the Big Woods itself is used primarily for three things: (1) acorns, (2) a rutting area and (3) a lane for quick travel to a major swamp/bedding ground to the south. As the only major highland in the area, the Big Woods is strategic for the hunter with a discerning eye.
There is an annual adjustment in deer movement directly related to farm crop rotation. Although my woods are not bordered by any tilled land, there are fields in three different directions. The field to the west is 100 yards distant and is always planted in corn. Encompassing a half section of land, the corn planted there often becomes primary escape cover as well as a food lot. In alternate years, roughly, there is corn to the north and to the east, within a quarter to half mile of my woods. Because deer seem to enjoy variety just as much as we like to try out different restaurants, they will travel the extra distance between these fields and my woods. This is in favor of the deer, from a biologist’s point of view, for it decreases social pressure and interaction. From a hunter’s standpoint, deer sign spreads out and hot-spots become less of a factor. The deer are everywhere, and they approach the woods from all sides, complicating the matter of placing a stand, particularly in relation to wind direction.
The availability of natural food supplies also changes from year to year. During the fall, one of the most important deer foods to look for is the acorn, fruit of the oak tree Since one species of oak may produce more acorns than another in a given year, pay attention to the different groves of oak in any one woods. Furthermore, mast producing capabilities of individual trees within a species also vary. (See my article, “Acorn Time ’s the Time” in Archery World August, 1986, for the complete lowdown on oaks and acorns. Differences in food supply, remember, affect not only where the deer eat, but also where they bed and from which direction they approach the woods.
Natural events such as a violent windstorm can change deer patterns dramatically. Several summers ago one storm took more than 100 of our big oaks. The deer had formerly been accustomed to a clear view in the mature timber, which they traveled through at a quick walk. When the trees came down, it gave predators (like me) good places to hide. so the deer had to slow down and move through the area with greater caution. ln effect, this gave them more time to detect my presence.
In many instances, downed trees also obscured my vision, making it harder for me to spot deer approaching favorite stands. My father and I used to love one open glade in the late afternoon as the deer approached through the slanting rays of sunshine. This perennial stand suddenly became a poor hunting locale. It remained that way until we got in there with a chain saw and restored some order to the area. Shortly the deer returned to using their old trails with confidence. A further outcome of the windstorm was the creation of a new hunting strategy for me – the pit blind. In a nutshells, the upturned root end of a windblown oak created a natural hole for a hunter to crawl into. A little improvement with a spade, and I had a first-class blind that put me as close as I’ve ever been to wild deer. For example, six inches between my face and the antlered end of one whitetail buck was CLOSE!
Another kind of evolution that can force a hunter to revise his strategy is a change of land ownership. When my father first purchased the Big Woods in the early 60’s, all the adjacent lands were owned by farmers. As they subsequently sold off of small parcels (split off the big farms) to non-farmers, the result was a loss of hunting grounds for us and a decline in the hunting potential on our own land. One person put an old mobile home smack dab on the edge of our property, ruining one area totally. Another routinely invites more people to hunt his land than he actually has room for, producing the added headache of a trespass problem for us. We have made the necessary adjustments for these changes, however, and fortunately we still have excellent hunting at the Big Woods.
Possibly you are contemplating buying your own land for hunting. The best advice I
have for you is to locate an available parcel adjacent to a large tract of land that is least likely to be split up and sold off in small parcels. By the same token, don’t purchase hunting land with the idea that it will provide instant and easy access to other peoples’ lands. Neighbors may be willing to grant you hunting rights on their land, but don’t assume this. Acquire enough land of your own to provide for your sporting needs.
In addition to habitat evolution, food availability and change of land ownership, there is the possibility of new generations of deer acquiring new habits – that is, adapting new ways to avoid you. I believe that due to wide-spread use, the overall effectiveness of the tree stand has diminished significantly over the past 10 years. When I first started hunting out of trees for deer, the results were fabulous. Most of the stands I used were no more than 10 feet off the ground, and deer were always walking right underneath me. Rare indeed were the occasions the deer looked up out of natural curiosity, even after detecting a strange odor or hearing a sound that was out of place. I used one tree in particular over and over, year after year, with excellent success. Gradually, however, the deer became wise to my strategy, forcing me to become more of a specialist at the arboreal ambush. Indeed, trees were still good places to hide, but the deer were starting to check out the various trees as they went about their business. I learned to pay more attention to camouflaging myself with natural materials and shadows, whereas before I had relied upon sheer elevation.
Also, once the deer spotted me in a tree stand, it seemed to make a larger impact on their memory, and the effectiveness of any given tree stand diminished through usage. Today, I still use tree stands, but I change their locations more frequently, and I generally go much higher – 22 feet is about average. For all purposes, I have abandoned the permanent, wooden platform made of 2×4 lumber in favor of the portable, aluminum stand which I can backpack in and out of the woods. The latter are more effective as they can be put in almost any tree. They also create less of an eyesore when I leave, for I take them with me.
In addition to tree stands, I spend more time these days still-hunting and waiting in ground blinds. The end result of all this is a continuous, intensive scouting program to keep abreast of the natural changes in the woods as well as man-made-alterations. We always think to ourselves, “Wouldn’t it be nice if some things would just stay the same forever?” But the truth is, that old hunting spot of yours is bound to change; it changes a little bit every day. Spend some time revising your bowhunting strategies to suit the new conditions and it will pay you off with the one thing that doesn’t change – the satisfaction of making a kill with the bow and arrow.
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Published by archerchick on 25 Jul 2012

My “Dream” Buck by Michael Henson

Archery World – October 1987

My “Dream” Buck by – Michael Henson

 

Well concealed and silent, the westerner stalked his trophy steadily for more than three hours; like a magnet, it attracted more and more deer. Suddenly, his bowhunting partner appeared and spotted the deer, pulled his bow out of the truck and loosed the perfect arrow.

 

I refocused my rangefinder and looked at  the yardage indicator once again.   “Sixty-two yards. I don’t dare move any closer,” I said to myself. Glancing at my watch, I realized that three hours had gone by since I first spotted this record book mulie. My thoughts quickly faded though as my eyes again were drawn to the bedded-buck’s wide 5×5 rack, still in velvet. It moved periodically as he nibbled at the grass around him and methodically chewed his cud.

“He’s gotta be Pope and Young material ,” I thought. Feeding below this buck was a respectable 4×4, approximately 40 to 50 yards away. He was nice, but definitely not the quality of the bedded, larger one. Occasionally, I would also catch glimpses of a 3×3 and a doe who were also browsing a little further downhill. No matter what else was going on, my attention went quickly back to the big 5×5. What a nice animal! In 20 years of hunting deer, with both rifle and bow, I had never been this close to such a fine buck. This truly was a deer hunter’s “dream come true.” But could it come true for me?

 

 

Fallen Log?

 

This whole dream began in the fall of 1985 after I had moved to Aztec, New Mexico, which is located in the northwestern corner of the state. I relocated there on a job transfer from Minnesota, knowing full well I was leaving excellent whitetail country. However, I knew that I was headed for superb mule deer and elk hunting just north of Aztec, in the San Juan National Forest of southern Colorado. After moving there, it didn’t take long for me to meet the person responsible for my being on this particular mountain — his name — Peter Akins. It seems like the good Lord planned our introduction, so when Peter and I met we found out we talked the same language: archery hunting, specifically, the deer and elk dialect.

 

 

Peter himself, has never shot a big-game animal with a rifle. I don’t think he even owns one. However, with bow and arrow it’s a different story. He rarely fails to fill his elk and deer tags. I think he felt sorry for this Minnesota boy, subsequently inviting me to join him and his brothers, Russell and Mark, for the 1986 hunting season in Colorado. I was able to squeeze in my brother Jim, from back in Silver Bay, Minnesota, who ultimately plays a major role in this story. So now here I am, a little over 30 yards from a bedded-down, big 5×5 mulie.

 

Every time he moves a muscle or turns his head, my pulse quickens. Who would ever think a deer chewing it’s cud could get you so excited! I thought to myself, “Couldn’t I sneak my arrow by those broken trees, partially obscuring his body? This might be my best chance. The wind might change, or simply quit due to an approaching thunderstorm.” But a wee small voice said, “Patience. Just wait — let’s don’t blow it .” So I again relaxed, resting my 65 pound Golden Eagle compound in a small loop on my camouflaged pant leg.

 

Blow it?

I almost had already. Earlier, around 11:00 a.m. I was still hunting back toward camp, where I was to meet Jim for lunch at noon. It was a perfect day. A slight breeze in my face from below, and the aspen leaves overhead making a slight rustling noise in the background. During the preceding night a much needed rain shower made the walking almost noiseless. I had just moved out of some dense, dark spruce and pine trees into an area of open, mature aspen. I was slowly working my way down to a gravel road, where I would quickly walk back to camp. So far, this morning had been unproductive. I had seen neither elk nor deer, so when I looked downhill and saw a horizontal form approximately 100 yards away, I didn’t think too much about it. My first impression was that it was just another fallen log, but was it? There he was. Moving ever so slightly as he browsed on the lush green foliage. What a magnificent rack! My first thought was, “How in the world am I gonna get close enough in this open aspen for a decent shot?”

My problem compounded immediately when I noticed a 4×4 mulie bedded down a short distance away from this big one. He was a little closer and it was much more open for a possible shot. Then the 5×5 decided he wanted to lay down. “Great,” I thought, “two sets of eyes, open cover and considerable distance to make up. Tough odds.” Somehow though, step by step, using my small 8×35 binoculars, watching closely and keeping as many trees between us as possible, I closed to within about 60 yards. That was as close as I could go, and the only shot possible was at the 4×4. Instead of being patient, I attempted a shot, my arrow hitting a tree on the way. WHAM! I just new I had blown it. The deer jumped up, and trotted away. Then they stopped, looked around for what seemed forever and started feeding again. “I can’t believe it! Just be cool, Mike” , I told myself. Both bucks moved slowly away and got almost out of eye contact. Moving slowly in their direction about 40 yards, I realized there were now four deer. Here’s where they apparently picked up the 3×3 and the doe. Now four sets of eyes.
Moving ever so quietly, one step at a time, I was able once more close to about 60 yards. Then it happened again. First the big 5×5, then the 4×4 – they both lay down. By this time I had lost sight of the 3×3 and doe. Apparently, they both moved downhill toward the gravel road about 100 yards below me. After about 10 to 15 minutes, the 4×4 got up and began feeding away from me with the 5×5 still bedded down. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. With the 5×5 looking downhill at the other deer’s activity, I was able to move behind the big boy. I continuously checked the distance with my rangefinder just in case I needed a quick shot.
 Two broken trees, bent over almost touching each other, made it difficult to try a shot. I told myself, “Patience, Mike – just wait.” By now a little over three hours had elapsed. Jim, I knew, would be wondering where I was since I hadn’t made it to camp for lunch. What a surprise and shock when the sound of a diesel engine coming, turned out to be Jim driving my truck on the road below. “He must be looking for me,” I thought. “Now what’s he doing?” I couldn’t believe it, but my truck stopped. “There’s no way he can see me up here, and for all he knows, I could be six miles away.”
 I didn’t find out until later but here’s what took place…Driving around the corner, Jim saw the 3×3 buck standing about 10 yards off the mountain road about 75 yards away. Jim stopped the truck, slid over to the passenger side, got out and walked to the back of the truck, opened the topper and got out his Golden Eagle compound. Peeking around the corner of the truck, he couldn’t believe what he saw! The buck was still there trying to figure out what was going on. Guessing the distance at around 75 yards, and knowing he couldn’t get any closer without spooking him, Jim drew back. Releasing his 2117, XX75 arrow, the 140-grain, 4-blade Rocky Mountain broadhead flew perfectly, hitting behind the 3×3 buck’s front shoulder.
He ran 50 yards and then piled up. Now remember, I had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t hear or see anything except my truck way down there. The only thought in my mind was about my deer getting spooked – for both buck’s ears were up, as they looked downhill. Then it happened! Apparently when Jim’s deer took off after being solidly hit, the big 5×5 stood up. Still not knowing what just took place down below, I reacted instinctively and came to full draw. The 5×5 and 4×4 were now standing together, butl still didn’t have a shot because of four aspen. “Come on, make a move. I can’t hold it much longer,” I thought. Then, just as I was about to relax, the 5×5 moved just enough to give me a shot. Shaking as I released my arrow, it went just underneath him! But he didn’t move, and he was still looking downhill. I couldn’t believe it! In one motion I nocked another arrow; came to full draw, and sent my Rocky Mountain broadhead on its way. This time it was perfect.
The arrow hit him solidly behind the front leg, he barely moved. He managed to walk slowly though about 20 yards; then stopped; wobbled and fell; rolling over twice. I couldn’t believe it! But there he was – a trophy of a lifetime. Saying a quick prayer of thanks, I hurried down the mountain to see what Jim was up to. Was he surprised to see me coming! Each of us had quite a story. No way could either of us easily comprehend what had just happened. I didn’t know what he was doing, and he didn’t know what I was doing, nor even where I was. Unbelievable as it was, we both filled our deer tags within about 60 seconds of each other. Somehow, we each helped the other without even realizing it.
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