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Published by Frank Biggs on 05 May 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Equipment – Bow Sights – Single vs Multiple

I like to start with humor in my storyline!

We all remember the Wild West movies of the past, with rifles & Six Shooters blazing away with very few Homo sapiens hitting the hard deck.   Maybe the rifles or six shooters weren’t very accurate or maybe the shooters weren’t focusing on the target at hand!  As we know though, most were accurate up the distance warranted.   Take a minute to think about the sights on most of those rifles and Six Shooters, even going into the 21st Century!  Rear V and Front Post!

Tell if this wouldn't make you focus!

Now you know you’re going to focus on the target with this setup!  Unless you’re shooting from the hip!

There are very few bow hunters or archers that don’t have a firearm in their arsenal of hunting or target shooting equipment.   In all shooting, it is about hitting the target or game with the utmost accuracy and being able to do that we have to be focus in depth on the target.  This is not always about the amount of time to do so, but the accuracy of having all coming together in the moment. Just think about any other sport that may include a single ball and getting the ball into the hoop, a hole in the ground or into the hands of a wide receiver.  The shooter has to focus mentally or have the natural talent to target the target…  

My mind comes to two instances!  I saw this happen, years ago with Brian Henninger hitting balls during a golf tournament practice session.  He was deliberately hitting a tent within inches of the same spot every time at about 260 yards.  One fellow said, “man” he is missing the pin”, little did he know that Brian was having fun.  Brain was quite focused on hitting the spot on the top of the meeting tent. 

What about this year (2014) with the Portland Trailblazer player with .6 tenths of a second to get an inbound shot off and doing so and making the 3 point throw and winning the game for the Trailerblazers.  There was nothing about luck, but a man that was in the zone of focus!

Over the years as I have said before I have had the privilege to shoot with many different bow sights and optics on rifles.   (What the heck, I have the privilege to use lots of hunting and shooting items over the last 40 years)

To this day I still have Duplex Crosshairs on all my rifles, forcing me to focus to the center.   Knowing your weapon of choice and how it shoots is most likely the most important thing.   With the speed of the modern day compound bow we have a greater advantage to make shots at greater distances with less drop of the arrow in flight.

As I write about optics – sights that attach to the rifle, guns, crossbow (legal states) and bows, there are so many that have multiple pins in the archery side and in the rifle or gun side we have tactical reticles and BDC Turrets (bullet drop compensator) which are all great.   I find the BDC and multiple dot reticles in the firearm side to be great when you have time to dial in the yardage out to great distances or a bench shooter working on fractions.   Otherwise most will have a favorite yardage to go by when setting up. 

As for bow sights I personally feel in the days of slower bows the multiple pins were my choice, yet I would have my 40 yard pin, the one pin that was different in color, it was my go to pin to get the job done when I was in the combat field mode of hunting for big game without the rangefinder.   I guess it is good thing I have played some golf in my life.

Those that have shot target bows at the 20 yards with 3 spot & 5 spot targets indoor normally always had a long adjustable bar (extension) with a head and globe sight with a single dot or pin.  We could fine tune the sight to make the X’s!

Martin Target 01 Martin Target 02 Martin Target 03

 This is how my Martin Scepter Pro was setup with a 2x globe sight!

In  my days of shooting small bore indoor rifles (22LR Caliber) at 50 feet competitively, it was all about the International or Olympic globe sights that usually had a circle aperture on the front sight you would have the bull (target bull) centered.   You learn to breath, focus and make sure before squeezing the trigger that the bull was perfectly centered so you could make an X.  

The sight on the front of my target rifle!

The sight on the front of my target rifle!

In 2013 I was introduced to the HHA Sports Optimizer Bow Sights and was I able to shoot the 5519 model after an old hunting buddy told me about the sights.   What is great about the sight, as I chose this particular model as it is a pendulum style adjustment, though HHA Sports has a dial style also, is that it is a single pin on a moveable pendulum and I can shoot accurately from 10 yards to 80 yards.   If I know the yardage I do not have to anything other than move the lever up or down to the marked yardage on the sight with my thumb, yet not lose my grip on the bow.  Otherwise I leave it at 40 yards in the field and 30 yards in a treestand.

The RDS TECHNOLOGY to setup the sight is made easy:

What is R.D.S. TECHNOLOGY

“R.D.S. is a patented sight in tape system that eliminates the need for multiple pins or crosshairs to shoot various distances with vertical bow, crossbow or firearm.  It allows you to focus on a single dot or reticule, dial to the distance of the target and shoot.  The clutter and confusion of 3, 5  and 7 pins on a bow or 5 or 6 lines in a scope are removed and replaced with one aiming point.  This results in increased accuracy and higher confidence in the field and on the range!”

HHA 01 HHA 02 HHA 03This is how my Martin Onza 3 is setup with the Optimizer system that works!

There is a reason why the Optimizer is Number 1

If I haven’t said it before it is always about the optics on any weapon or shooting device.  If the weapon or shooting device is sound, the only reasons not to be able to a hit a “shootable target” is the shooter or the sight for the most part in shootable conditions.

Take the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played”, you’ll see in the movie how the golf gallery disappears and the golfer sees only the ball in flight to the hole!  As one of my work buddies says “See it before it happens”.

Try one of the HHA Sports sight system on your bow, rifle, gun or crossbow and you won’t be sorry, you might even be able to make that shot you passed up the year before, if the occasion arises!   It will take the complexity of out of the picture and allowing you to focus to the target and accomplish your Mission!  Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 08 Apr 2014

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – How Not To Trespass!

To Trespass Knowingly or Not To Trespass with Technology!

Without getting carried away with the past, I will say that in the day, in Oregon when the Bhagwan & his Cult ruled some 60,000 acres outside of Antelope, Oregon, that also had some 60,000 acres of B.L.M. within the boundary, with a vast majority of it being landlocked, I ran the line to hunt for the big Mule Deer and Rocky Mtn. Elk that roamed the land.  Later it was taken over by the Washington Family, who donated the land to Young Life.   The Bhagwan was pretty easy if you stayed on the B.L.M. via a public road access.   Young Life in the first year allowed access via Current Creek on the Big Muddy Rd.   That did not last long when the Management of the Young Life on the Big Muddy found there was real money with the hunting of big game.

Since this post, mobile technology from onX HUNT is in full swing. Your phone can now be the tool and you can even share waypoints to another user…

In 2002 I was stopped on B.L.M. on the Northeast Sector of the Grizzly Elk Hunt Unit in Oregon by Young Life Patrollers.   They demanded our Licenses, which in Oregon if on private you’re going to have to give it to them.   I told them we were on B.L.M. and I wasn’t going to give them anything.   They were packing handguns and demanded the licenses of all three of us.  I said are you going to shoot us if we don’t and they said” are you going to shoot us”, I said funny our rifles are on the Quads some 100 yards down the B.L.M. Road.  Standstill for a while and the other hunter (Young Life Donor & Doctor) who was with us gave up this license first, then without any more battle of words we all gave the Olsen Brothers our licenses.   Their words when they finally got their old technology GPS’s (old technology GPS didn’t work well in pockets) out of their front pockets and found a signal said the following “we are on B.L.M.” “Ah! We still know you were TRESPASSING!”  Let it be known that they had to cross B.L.M. to get to one small parcel in the middle of B.L.M.

When we go out of the B.L.M. via the same trail we took in via B.L.M., an OSP Game Officer was waiting for us on the Hwy 218 road access.  He asked the following “did you guys have an incident while hunting” I said of course we did, but we were on B.L.M. and showed him the maps that we had, which were made up of old technology and Garmin GPS to outline all of the B.L.M. and had it color coded, with our tracks going in and out.  We were carrying the first Topo mapping Garmin GPS that had come out in 2000.   We all thought it was over with the proof that we were legal.   Well 9 months later we get ticketed for Criminal Trespassing.  The same OSP (Oregon State Police) Game Officer from Bend, Oregon drove over to issue the tickets to us in Oregon City, Oregon.  I asked him why, since I had an OSP Game Officer as a neighbor and the Senior OSP Game Officer some 4 houses away.  His comment “was he had to do it, as Craig I., said he saw you Trespassing”.  Then the next comment was “you know you’ll get off on the Trespassing” and I said yes, but we have to hire 3 lawyers!

What the heck i will share the past. Remember only horses for human foot traffic in the area. Private Land Owners can change the demographics for all with the B.L.M...
What the heck I will share the past. Remember only horses for human foot traffic in the area. Private Land Owners can change the demographics for all with the B.L.M…

In conclusion:  The DA of Wasco County didn’t want anything to do with it, as we had the evidence that we were innocent of Trespassing on Young Life.

Comments made by the others hunting BLM, old combat veterans “why didn’t you have a firefight Frank?”  It was in jest, but reality we were held at bay with handguns, which should have been kidnapping!

The above story now leads into why a hunters or outdoor people should have a Garmin GPS and onX HUNT  Mapping Software.  The technology that I used back then took a great deal of time and resources to get it done.  Now it takes about 15 minutes to have the advance technology on your computer and your GPS to be 100% sure of where your hunting.

Many of my hunters have waited 10 to 20 years to draw a premium tag to hunt deer, elk and especially pronghorn.   I don’t put the sheep or goats in the picture as it might never happen and at least in the State of Oregon, the ODFW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will help you in locations of goats and sheep.   Funny though that many sheep and goats work between private and public land!

The mapping software can be used as a tool to find the private land owners when you see a herd of maybe a 100 Pronghorn in the Alfalfa and most likely get permission to hunt for free!

Many figure they don’t need this type of equipment that paper maps will work just fine for them!

I have given an example of government paper map in the below picture and a picture from onX HUNT so you can compare the difference.

Normal View at National Forest

This is what Brett thought he was hunting with National Forest cross fences and coming in from the 160 road working north.

Hunt onXmaps - Deer

What Brett ended up on was one of the south corner triangle pieces below the Ochoco Creek Rd. with no corner fences.   There were no signs either on the land and it was all open timber.   Brett was ticketed with a word from the Game Officer he could pay restitution of up to $6250.00 (For Real) to the landowner.  Brett offered to put of No Trespassing Signs, the landowner took the signs from Brett and he went to court.   He did show the Judge in that particular county a Government Map, which helped a little, but still paid a fine to the court.

I am now informed that landowners do not have to post their lands.  So in areas such as National Forest that has private mingle within and no fences, it is your responsibility to know the private (At least in Oregon).

onX HUNT has maps for almost every state in CONUS and the great state of Alaska has a map.

I recommend this product with utmost confidence that you’ll have memorial and successful hunts and trips without hassle. #huntsmarter #teamhunt #onxmaps #bwanabubbaadventurers

Knowing is everything!   Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 13 Dec 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 2013 Willamette Valley Archery Blacktail Hunt

The opportunity arose, take the shot or pass?

The opening weekend of the general bow (archery) season in Oregon had past by two weeks.  After the opening the bucks had become scarce.  Two of the other hunters Mark S. an Oregon State Trooper Game Division and my son Frankie had taken bucks on the opening morning with great one shot kills.  The bucks for both young men were their first bow kills for bucks and also the privilege of taking Blacktail Bucks, that are very difficult to harvest in the best conditions.

This was taken on 09-07-13 on the cam in the draw.    He only came around 3 times in 6 months!
This was taken on 09-07-13 on the cam in the draw. He only came around 3 times in 6 months!

I had gone out to the vineyard a 90 acre of un-fence land in rural Oregon City – Canby, Oregon area in Clackamas County, Oregon and had sat in the tree stand numerous times in vane.   The year prior it was common to see at least 2-4 bucks during the archery season any given morning or evening.  Even the crop of spikes and does were not coming anywhere near the draw, bewildering mind set.

Frankie my son came out to the vineyard a couple of times. On Monday the 9th of September he came out with me to hunt again.  He had also been lucky to draw the Oregon Willamette Valley 615 Deer Tag, which allows you to hunt from September 1st, through to February 28th, the following year.  On this Monday night I would work from the tree stand with Martin Onza 3 that has proven itself well the year before, but this year the bow sight would be the H H A Sports Optimizer with the single pin on the pendulum system.  A sight that forces one to focus on the pin and the target. With the speed of the bow, I usually leave it set for 40 yards when I am going to stalk and 30 yards when I am in three stand.  If I have time for a rangefinder, I can easy move the pin up or down on yardage with my thumb quickly.

Frankie would be packing his recently bought rifle in a 308 caliber.  He would work through the timber and see if he could drive a buck my way. If a buck were bust in a different journey then he might get a chance to get his 615 tag filled.
Both us seemed to get bored without the sighting of any deer during the evening hunt.  With about 15 minutes of light left Frankie came out of the blackberries on the northern sector of the vineyard and I would be working the tree line just west of the tree stand in the draw.

One should have a camera that will take a picture in low light!
One should have a camera that will take a picture in low light!

Frankie’s new rifle came with combo setup scope that would prove to be a problem! Should have taken out his Weatherby MK V with good optics!  You can have a rifle that is over the counter and inexpensive, but one should always have good optics for the conditions which includes the scope mounts!

He texts me that there is branch buck cutting through the grapes (12″ plants) and he just can’t get on him.  At that time I spot the buck, but he is 80 yards from me and just walking along.  I work in to get closer to him and when the buck was at 60 yards broadside, I decide it is to late to get a bow good shot.  Even with the greatness of the Optimizer and the Onza 3, I would have not gotten it done.
Both Frankie and I could not get on him and get a clean shot!

The positive of this, we did see a branched shooter buck, though the buck was not a resident buck to the area.  Thus ended the night of the 9th of September with the sighting of one shooter Blacktail Buck only!

On the Tuesday the 10th, I got off early from work and headed out to the vineyard. Again vineyard is a un-fenced 90 arce parcel of land that is just outside of Canby and Oregon City, Oregon. The deer come and go from many parcels of urual lands in Clackamas County.  I have seen the same bucks when scouting on lands that are about 1-2 miles line of sight feeding in the fields.
I decided to give the tree stand another go and within an hour I decided I need to do another spot and stalk. The deer just weren’t working the draw like they were the year before.

A different perspective of the this buck!
A different perspective of the this buck!

The taking of a buck in the draw during the opener and gutting the buck near the draw might have caused a problem?  I can’t see why as the coyotes and buzzards had cleaned the bones and any other evidence of the kill within days.
There was not much shooting light left so I decided to place myself next to the treeline that lead out into the grapes plants (young 1st year plants).  As I sat there, glassing, range finding spots that I though figured a buck might emerge from, I got this feeling that I had company and not of the human form.   Everyone has had the feeling that there is something close and in many instances we don’t take advantage of the sense!   In this case I moved my head and noticed a branched buck working almost in the same area that the buck the evening before.  In this case I had a bit more light and knew if I did blow the movement I could get a shot off.

In one fluid motion I move from my sitting position and swung around into the kneeling position.   The buck had his head down the whole time he was moving through the plants.   He never made notice to my movement and with ease I pull back my Martin Onza 3 at 72#, the  HHA Optimizer single pin sight was set at 40 yards and the pin focused just below the spine.   The buck did not jump at release as the Onza 3 very quiet!  His reaction when the arrow hit was that of a rock.  He just went down instantly and quivered for just a few moments.   The arrow had gone through his heart!   In my lifespan of hunting I have had this only happen twice before on bucks and both of them had been Blacktails also!  The Blacktail buck most likely didn’t even know he was dead at impact!  It doesn’t happen like this very often, but I will take it anytime I can.   One never likes to have to track game in the dense cover of Western Oregon during the evening into darkness.   A deer can go a little ways and disappear in the Blackberries, which make for difficult recovery on evening hunts.  I have to say when there is a spark of adrenalin, old bones can move without pain!He is a descendant of Stickers a big Blacktail that was harvest last year!

He is a descendant of Stickers a big Blacktail that was harvest last year!

Archery Buck 2013  Int

Though the buck was only a 3 x 4 with the single eyeguard and most likely three (3) year, I would do it again.   After opening day it had been tough and one should never have two legal tags.  It makes it tough when your trying for the local stud buck.   The rack is a very tight rack with the main beams almost touching.    His brother the other 4 X 3 with two (2) eyeguards still roams the property.   It appears that he will take up residency on this parcel and surrounding properties.  He is a bit bigger and will make a good buck in 2014!

Since this writing I was a fortunate to harvest the Even 3 X 3 in November of this year!

Even 3 X 3 Blacktail - November 2013
Even 3 X 3 Blacktail – November 2013

Bwana Bubba aka Cobra

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Published by Frank Biggs on 10 Dec 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Old Friend Mark D’s Oregon Blacktail Hunt

First off I have known Mark for about 30 years, in the days of Burns Bros., Sportsmen’s Center and Burns Bros., Travel Stops.  Mark and I hunt a number of times in the coast range for elk in those days!   Mark use to make sure that during the days of the Travel Stops we would always have the day old Hostess Pastries for a hunting trip!

Mark now lives out in the country on a dandy piece of Blacktail and Roosevelt habitat land.   It is bordered by a number of timber companies, so there is little pressure from the public!

OK! BUBBA – HERE GOES!

I JUST COULDN’T PASS UP THIS STUD BUCK!

Not the best picture, but his neighbor shot one of the 7 bulls that came in and it scored 320 Net.  Roosevelt Elk1
Not the best picture, but his neighbor shot one of the 7 bulls that came in and it scored 320 Net. Roosevelt Elk!

                       

This has been Mark D's target buck for 2013!  He decided not to show!
This has been Mark D’s target buck for 2013! He decided not to show!
It was the most unbelievable sight ever for us!   After spending many many hours in the blind in hopes of the monster 4 x 4 Blacktail coming in (before dark) or after light in AM, the second biggest one that I’ve gotten on Trail Cam showed up with enough daylight to get a pin on him.  The waiting in tree stand has been a tough one with extreme global warming that we have here in Oregon in the temperature in the Teens!
Frontal Shot!
Frontal Shot!
My son in law was with me to watch and witness the unfolding of a one in a lifetime shot!
The buck went broadside at 30 yards and mentally I knew my next plan was going to be in milliseconds.
As I was already at full draw, I let my new Mathews Creed go, the arrow hit high and sounded like I hit a rock.  It seemed to pick that deer up off his feet and throw him down like someone body slammed him. Then he roared like a red stag!  Wow! I have killed many animals with a bow over the years but never have spine one until now.
I shifted into panic mode as he was roaring and trying to get up so, I as quick as I could loaded another arrow and with him thrashing, shot again.

Dandy 3 X 3 Columbia Blacktail buck from west Clackamas County.
Dandy 3 X 3 Columbia Blacktail buck from west Clackamas County.
Well he twisted as I released the arrow and got another spine shot, this time in top…  Crap!   Double panic! I run out of the blind and as I approach him to put one in at close range, he lunges at me!   Wow!  Do they have power!  I got as close as I could and got one through both lungs and he soon expired…  Who would ever think that I could have gotten gored by a deer?
Mark D's old time friend and his buck from Mark's Place.
Mark D’s old time friend and his buck from Mark’s Place.
I hope to never spine one again, I much prefer a double lung on the first arrow…………………….
 
Mark’s 125 grain Thunderhead Broadhead went completely through the buck and severed part of the spine.
The Thunderhead was completely intact!
Mark D
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Published by Frank Biggs on 29 Oct 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 2012 Oregon Blacktail Archery Hunt

Sunday Morning Hunt

Taking the Shot Buck!

Combat Mode! 

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.

Blacktail Deer - Even 2012
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!  He was harvested in 2013 on Opening Day!  Strange as it is, he not the first buck to take an arrow clear through and survive.

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.!

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!

This story has been posted in Bwana Bubba which is a big deal for me to get a story posted!

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Published by Frank Biggs on 27 Oct 2013

Bwana Bubba’s 2013 Archery Hunt – Boys get their first Blacktail Bucks!

The Oregon General Archery Season Opener proved to be a successful opening day hunt in the Willamette Valley for Blacktail Deer Bucks’.  Neither of the two young men had every taken a Blacktail Buck with the bow and arrow!

The anticipation of the 2013 Oregon Archery Season Opener had been a very exciting anxiety brain thought for me. 

Having myself wanting to target two (2) different bucks during the season, I was ready for the opener on August 24th, 2013.   There would be two (2) other hunters hunting the small parcel (90 acres) of un-fenced land in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in the Clackamas County zone outside of Oregon City, Oregon. Neither of the other two (2) young bucks (Frankie or Mark) had ever taken a buck deer with the bow and arrow.   Considering the Columbia Blacktail deer is one of the toughest to hunt, the odds are lowered.  One hunter was my son Frank Jr. who has been hunting since he was 12 years old and the other hunter Mark S. one of Oregon’s finest…

Both are experience hunters with the rifle and have taken Mule Deer, Blacktail Deer, Elk and Pronghorn. Mark would be hunting from his treestand at the far end of the property in which he can view the vineyard that the deer were still working over during the year.   Jr. would be in a ground blind in the same draw that I was in, though I would be in the treestand.  This year Jr. would be hunting for the first time with a 2013 Martin Rytrea Alien XT and also for the first time the HHA Sports 5519 Optimizer Bow Sight.  All of us would be using again for the second year the Slick Trick 100gr. Broadhead.

Mark's Blacktail in the velvet!
Mark’s Blacktail in the velvet!
WGI_0132
Frankie’s Blacktail in the velvet and how he saw him on opening day, but in the daylight!

 

Anticipation by all was at its highest with all of us to harvest a Blacktail buck, since we had many bucks working the area.  At times it would seem we would have an atmosphere of a buck pasture, as does working the area lacking! Just before shooting time, I get a silent text message from Mark, “they are all around my tree”.  My thoughts were of course those of jealousy with him getting first lick on a buck.  Legal shooting time was upon us and I get another text message from Mark “Elfi is down, I smoked him”.  Now I had a bit of relief that he did not take the Number 1 Blacktail on vineyard and there would still be a chance in the future.

Mark with his P & Y Buck!  First bow kill of big game!
Mark with his P & Y Buck! First bow kill of big game!

Mark text me again that he would stay in this stand for an hour to wait on the deer and give us a chance.

Now the story gets really interesting, as Mark’s last text comes in, I see a lone deer moving through the tree to my left at a good pace.  Thinking back the deer was running a bit erratic.  This would come into play in about an hour of this sighting! It is now about 30 minutes later and I spot from the treestand about 4-5 bucks in the Douglas Firs, just milling around across the gravel road from the draw.   I see they are moving to the North and there is an opening in the blackberries.  I knew at this time they deer were heading into the draw.  The bucks and a couple does go out of sight as they go around the blackberries, travel 30 yards down the gravel road and turn east into the draw. Quickly sending Jr. a text that they were coming towards him and too be on the ready. The action is about to start, as deer are under my stand coming from the South and I can see the bucks with does coming from the West into the draw.

Frankie with his first bow buck kill with the bow and arrow!
Frankie with his first bow buck kill with the bow and arrow!

I am just mesmerized by the movement and the amount of game upon us.  I have my Optimizer set at 30 yards in anticipation of the bucks coming into my open shooting zone. The deer are on top of Jr.’s ground blind and I just sit there watching the action and not wanting to standup and get ready.

He still lives and looks to have made it through the rifle season in Oregon.  No one is suppose to hunt this place with a rifle!
The Even 3 X 3 has been harvest on 11-22-13 and he had a rough score of 123.   Great buck for the area and since I took him after chasing him for two (2) years, he left his blood line going into the future bucks!

The big Even 3 X 3 is at 42 yards from me, if I were to shoot at the easy shot, the arrow’s flight would have to zoom between Douglas Fir branches and then over the top of Jr.’s blind.   All the deer just stop at this point which is 2 – 10 yards from the blind.  They know something is up at this point, but still wanting to move down the draw to the creek bottom.  All of a sudden one of the bucks looks into the only open window in the portable blind.  The buck has eye contact with Jr., (should have had sunglasses on) snorts and bulks.   With that movement Even 3 X 3 and all the other bucks and deer are gone in a flash.  I was mistaken since I could not see one of the bucks that remained.  A Forked Horn with Eyeguards (only buck that is still in velvet) stands his ground at 5 yards from Jr.’s blind.   In my mind I am saying shoot, what are you waiting for Frankie!  A split second later I hear the report of the arrow hitting the buck in the zone.  The buck walks off directly away from him, turns and jogs about 40 yards and the rest is history!

 

As for myself I am still stunned that I did not take the shot, but there was something in my mind that told me not do so it.  Reasoning or Mind Drift? Quickly I am out of the stand congratulating Frankie and he find his deer in minutes. You ask why Jr. didn’t take the Even 3 X 3, same question I asked him!  “Dad that is your buck that you have been chasing for 2 years, I wasn’t going to ruin that moment!”

A great hunt that I got to see the hunt un-fold from above!
A great hunt that I got to see the hunt un-fold from above!

After finding Frankie’s buck from a good blood trail within a couple of minutes, taking pictures and High Fiving, Frankie now tells me that we need to help Mark find his deer.  This happen to be a work day for me and want to get one deer Hawaiian Quartered and then worry about Mark’s buck secondly! We do go over to Mark who was coming back to the truck to get rid of his gear.  His buck had not dropped out in the vineyard.  We all went back to help him find his buck.  A most difficult venture at first as there was little sign of blood to track.   After about 15 minutes I told Mark we would be back, as we need to get the buck taken care of now! Mark informed me and Jr. that he had called his Dad, Dan to come and help.

Dad and Son teamed up to trace the buck!  4 eyes many times works better than 2!  Hoorah!
Dad and Son teamed up to trace the buck! 4 eyes many times works better than 2! Hoorah!

As you read this you wonder about Mark’s hit on the deer.  It will be another story once Mark gets it written, but from the video he had taken, it was a good hit and finding the buck would come. We get Frankie’s deer done in about 30 minutes Hawaiian style of quartering, taking only the meat out.

Get with Mark and Dan, as they found some more blood.  Telling him about the deer I had seen moving through the trees just after his shot, proved to be the positive outcome of finding his buck.  The deer have had the habit of escaping or when hit to travel down into a deep canyon on the farm, that I did not even know existed until January of this year.   As soon as Mark and Dan hit the deer trail at the top of the canyon the blood trail was very heavy, but not without the buck expiring in the in heavy cover.  The dandy Pope & Young Blacktail buck didn’t travel more than 300 yards from the stand, though he made an oval track circle to the right, then straight into the canyon.

Frankie’s buck was a really nice Velvet Forked Horn with Eyeguards, with great sylemtry.  Mark’s buck was a very tall 3 X 3 with Eyeguards and would make Pope & Young.  It also was the buck that I had put an arrow completely through in 2012 that did not affect the deer.  Strange as there were no signs once skinned he had ever been hit, yet we have pictures the day after in 2012 of wounds on left and right side.

At this writing Even 3 X 3 is still alive waiting for the rut to find him.   Since opening day he has only been seen 3 times, twice on cameras at the wee hours of the darkness in the morning and once during the general rifle season out in the open field!

It is great that the two young shooters found their marks on bucks to give them the confidence of the bow and arrow on big game. 

In the State of Oregon, bowhunters have greater amount of time and opportunities to hunt for big game.

Bwana Bubba

 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 08 Sep 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting Equipment – GPS & Mapping Systems

The following article are my opinions on the subject of GPS & Mapping Systems

Since this post, mobile technology from onX HUNT is in full swing. Your phone can now be the tool and you can even share waypoints to another user…

Private land in middle of National Forest!

Private land in middle of National Forest!

I would have to say my interested in the GPS (Global Positioning System) equipment started in or around 1998 after I started to work for a large Sporting Goods Company in the Portland Metro Area in Oregon.

This will be a two part (2) article about GPS Products and then about Topo (Topographical) mapping that is designed for hunters, hikers, walkers, fishermen and anyone else that might use a GPS in the great outdoors of the U.S.A.

Over the course of many years of working with GPS products I have come to the conclusion of what I feel is the best GPS products to use in the field. Now this is my opinion and may not be everyone’s opinion!

Having known many small private plane owner pilots, they all seem to have one GPS product system that they rely on.   I will tell you it is GARMIN and be truthful about it.

I have had the opportunity to try every large name GPS products out there that have Topo mapping that is their branded line of mapping.  There are many good GPS products out there, but they are not the best!

I want you to think about support, updates, ease of putting in waypoints, transferring waypoints to and from the computer!  Garmin is by far the easiest that I have worked with.  With Garmin one can zoom in to about 80’ and that is great when you have detail TOPO (Topographical) mapping to go with it.

As for support it is the best out there via the net or on-line, as I have used both and the last time when I could not get it done on my own, I called support and actually got tech support in my local state, which meant a lot when I was communicating my problem.

Another item of importance is that you need a GPS that has a high sensitivity internal antenna and WAAS system.   It also needs to be a colored screen vice black and white.  It should have capabilities for an SD Micro Card or have enough internal memory.  Much of our hunting, hiking or exploring is done in dense timber, or in areas that there might have a canopy.   My latest GPS Garmin Montana will work inside of my office building.

A well used Garmin Montana with lots of secret spots!
A well used Garmin Montana with lots of secret spots!

Most of my hunters that I help did not realize that Garmin has a free software download called Base Map (Computer interface program to GPS device).  This is a big deal to me and my hunters that are willing to get the proper mapping and GPS.

The mapping is from another company (Hunting GPS Maps) that is not a Garmin product, yet is able to be used with the Garmin Base Map and Garmin GPS products.

I believe that Garmin’s Blue Maps and City Streets mapping is great, but I am not a fan of the Garmin Topo Mapping.  There is not enough detail or no detail of private lands within National Forest and it does not show B.L.M. Lands.   Matter of fact there is only white (no way to know other public lands) for all other lands except National Forest which is green.

The inner face is easy and once you have the software load on both the computer and the GPS you have one of the greatest tools in the world.

If you are not computer sassy you can obtain a Hunting GPS Map on Micro Chip and install it in a Garmin GPS product.  The importance for those using the product is that you will know the public land (BLM, State, and Federal) private lands and in many cases the landowners name, then there are the private timber lands that are white with dots.  Much of the private timber lands in the west are open to the public.  The information regarding which timber lands that is open to the public should be listed with the most State Game Departments, which it is in Oregon.  Everything is color coded for the easy identifying of lands, National Forest is Green, State Lands are usually Blue, Private Lands are White, BLM is Yellow, City Properties can be purple or maroon, and the Private timber lands are White with Dots.

Just think about being out there hunting and crossing into a piece of this land thinking you are hunting National Forest and it is a Gold Mine in Eastern, Oregon or maybe a mine in Utah.   One might not like the experience they might have with an old miner.

A GPS is one of the most important pieces of equipment to have when you are hunting in areas of mixed land.

I will tell you since I first started to write this page, that my friends at onX HUNT have come out with a new product for those I Pad and I Phone users, such as my son.  You are now able to get the same mapping for their usage.  Hopefully you have a connection when out there, as least you can be legal when working the zones.

I tell my DIY Antelope-Pronghorn hunters that it is a must for them to have a product that gives the boundaries.  Just look at a place like the famous Steen’s Mountains in Southeastern, Oregon.  There are many parcels of private in the middle of BLM that is hard to tell what is what, since there is so much cross fencing.  Yes you can have a paper map from the BLM, which is fine for reference, but of course you’ve had the map for 20 years or got it from a buddy who had it for 20 yards and BLM had done land swaps.  Don’t get me wrong, I came from old school with paper BLM and N.F. maps.

I know from experience how important a GPS is with trespassing and these products can save a hunt.   How many times do hunters get stopped on B.L.M. or even N.F. by ranchers that might have cattle rights on the public land?  Telling the hunter they are trespassing!  Oh!  It happens a lot in the West!  The Foreman of the famous Hay Creek back in the day would stop hunters on public roads going along the ranch and into B.L.M. and the National Grasslands.  It is one thing to get stopped by law enforcement, but not by a private citizen on the public land!

Private land in the Steen's Mnts of Oregon that may not have a fence or may have a fence and you think it is BLM.
Private land in the Steen’s Mnts of Oregon that may not have a fence or may have a fence and you think it is BLM.

When I help hunters find places at this point for FREE, I expect it to be quick and easy on my part.  The idea of helping hunters in this hectic busy lifestyle we have to shorten the scouting time in land they know nothing about.  Get waypoints to them in good hunting areas and go from there.

There is some much one can learn about a spot that they might only get to hunt a few times in a lifetime, since most special tags take so long to get.   With a Garmin Colored GPS with SD Micro slot, Garmin Base Map (Computer), Hunting GPS Maps and Google Earth, you can go from Novice to Expert in a very short time prior to your outing.

Do you really want to get Coordinates and plug them into your GPS or Mobile Device, without knowing what you are looking at? 
Be smart and move up in technology and you’ll find new avenues to hunt and be confident in the hunt!

Frank aka Cobra

 

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Published by Frank Biggs on 30 Jun 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – On Being Field Prepared!

This article is about being prepared for the un-expected in the field.  

Then again on a well planned trip, you forget an important item that might just save your life!

Many years ago when I was leaving Vietnam after a tour with the 5th Marines and got into the back to the Duce and Half, which was supposed to be heading to the airbase in DaNang a not so funny thing happened.   As most know, since I was heading back to Naval Communications Station in the Philippines I turned in my M-16, 1911 and my M-3 Grease Gun.  The driver a young Marine Private, just In-Country forgot something very important, especially when you get lost and drive into enemy country.   Maybe he thought he was in CONUS and it was a trip into the countryside?   We came under fire, with the yelling and moving into the driver’s seat, we all survived.   His M-16 and bandoleers’ were still back at the command up on Hill 327!

In the modern day world I do not believe that anyone that goes out into the Great Outdoors should ever be in a situation of being lost and not being able to get back out on their own unless they are hurt and unable to move!  One can be lost of course, but one should be able to recover easily from being lost in the moment!

Yet so many times we hear of kids, hunters, hikers’, cross country skiers, snow mobile riders, and mountain climbers getting lost for days.   I wonder about the mine set of people, except the kids that should have help from guiding parents in the fundamentals of being in the outdoors.

Does one really feel that this mountain has any feeling about you? The fact that Mother Nature determines the out come of weather, one should always be on the ready for anything! Bwana Bubba

Does one really feel that this mountain has any feeling about you? The fact that Mother Nature determines the out come of weather, one should always be on the ready for anything! Bwana Bubba

Years ago mountain climbers were the direct cause of a National Guard Helicopter going down on Mt. Hood in Oregon, thus costing millions of dollars of equipment lose.

Just the recently there was a young man lost in the rugged Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.  His comment after being found was “I am going right back out”, note that it was raining hard and the area is very steep and heavy timbered with many deep canyons of no return.  Of course he did not have a GPS or any other type of communications that working in the field.  I do not think he had a clue as to the cost, plus the fact he was a flatlander (from the Midwest).

Another one lost on Mt. Hood this week had forgotten this locating beacon.  Everyone said he was a very experience mountain climber.  Mt. Hood as any other mountain doesn’t care how experience you are, as Mother Nature is not forgiving!  The Air National Guard in a Blackhawk Helicopter found his body!  Terrible as he might have fallen and died on impact, but if not maybe he would be telling the story of the climb today!

I am firm believer of modern day GPS products such as Garmin GPS’s that have high sensitive antennas that will work in deep cover.  Many do not realize that many GPS products that don’t have high sensitive antenna or WASS Enabled.  If a GPS does not these features it will not record tracks or even pick up the satellites in deep timber.

Since this post, mobile technology from onX HUNT is in full swing. Your phone can now be the tool and you can even share waypoints to another user…

Families that take their young children up in the mountains prior to Christmas to look for a tree for Christmas might think about having one of the Garmin GPS or similar products for dogs.  Funny!  Not really, as kids have a habit of moving fast and panic sets in.   Many years ago (1998) in Oregon on such a trip a young boy was lost.  I do not believe he was ever found, so the possibility of him being abducted might be there.  The instance that the parent could not see him, they could have located him quickly.

There are also hand-held 2 way radios that will reach with line of sight for 25+ miles.  Years ago there was a man lost in Oregon and the searchers were able to find him as he had a 2 way radio that he was sending out for help.  It was picked up some 50+ miles away.

Persons that are going mountain climbing on such treacherous places such  Mt. Hood, Mt. Lassen, Mt St. Helens or any other place with glaciers and changing weather at moment’s notice should have a locating beacon at all times with them.  You can rent them on most mountains or just buy one.  It is not required in the liberal state of Oregon.  A few mountain climbing organizations’ feel it infringes on one’s right.  Thou it is ok to bring out a team to find the lost souls and maybe lose a person in the search or equipment.

Have I forgotten about the cell phones, which have become so good with GPS and long lasting batteries?   One can always have a solar cell and recharge the phone when there is some sun.   I know it all about the weight when climbing, hunting or hiking right!?

For some it all about the money, yet how much does a pair of cross country skis cost, the outfit, the Weatherby rifle, and the mountain climbing goggles?   Yet again is about being macho or just knowing you are the best.   I feel the same way, but I know from being turned around a few times, that it better to be safe and make it back to camp then spend the night out.  I have spent the night out in bad weather, not due to being lost, but because the conditions would put me at risk in treacherous rimrock of the John Day River Canyon!

Years ago while hunting in the Snake River Canyon I came out on the ridge road two hours after dark fell upon the Snake River and wondering where my horse was located.  It was such a relief for me that Czar whinnied and I was able to get to him quickly.  I never carried a GPS in those days, as they were new and I only packed a compass.  I could have walked out as there was the ridge road, but how about Czar.  A GPS in hand I could have plugged in the waypoint where I left Czar while I was elk hunting.

My thoughts are the following and if one ever wanted to hunt with me and I don’t have many hunt with me as I do not want the responsibility of them!

The equipment with the following attached is required!

1)      Cell Phone – GPS capabilities if you not going to have a GPS.

2)      A two way handheld communications device, similar to Motorola’s.

3)      GPS – Colored with mapping capabilities – GARMIN is preferred.

4)      onX HUNT (onXmaps) to go with the Garmin GPS and a Mobile device

5)      If in treacherous mountainous areas a locating beacon is required.

6)      Some extra batteries for devices that are not using lithium batteries

7)      Your own toilet paper!

In closing with just the GPS, one can back track to their original starting place and if the GPS has Topographic mapping, one could possibly figure out a direct route back if the terrain is manageable.

Don’t leave home with just your clothes, the basics and your bow or rifle!

Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 03 Jun 2013

Bwana Bubba’s Last Minute Oregon Blacktail Buck

Blacktail Buck in the Unit in 2013!
Blacktail Buck in the Unit in 2013!

THE SHOULDA –WOULDA – I DID BUCK

This hunt took place on the last day of the archery season in Oregon and it was my last and final effort to harvest a Blacktail Buck after a great deal of hunting during the season.  It also would be the first time I exposed my young daughter to an animal of majestic qualities to her dead to look at and touch!

An extremely large buck just stood there looking at me, probably wondering why anyone would be down in a hole like this!   This deer hunt was the end of a long Oregon deer season for me.  Earlier that season, I spent four days at Hart Mountain in southeastern Oregon looking for one of the famous big mule deer bucks that dwell there.  My vacation time had been changed and I was not able to hunt the first part of the season with my group.  So getting that early jump on a big velvet buck was gone.  I’d seen as many as 14 bucks in a group at one time prior to the season.  Truly the big bucks had been stirred up by earlier hunters and were keeping their distance.

I found myself seeking a buck to take home on the last day of the late November hunt in the Santiam Hunt Unit in Western Oregon, just west of the National Forest Boundary in the BLM. It seems on the last day we (empty-handed) will do some strange things. The trip in itself was similar to my earlier trips in which I covered innumerable miles looking for greener pastures.  I must have traveled 800 miles in three days only to find myself hunting in dense forest 30 miles from Portland, Oregon my home. On this trip, I was by myself, my partners having had their fill of hunting for one season. With the heavy rain & wet snow coming and going, I’d just about had enough myself. Then by mid afternoon it started to snow and by 3 PM there was about 4 inches of fresh snow on the ground. I was glad I’d missed a 60-yard shot at a small buck I should have not taken with the wind blowing.  The small buck seemed to be playing king of the mountain standing on a ledge overlooking a deep canyon.  If I’d hit him, he surely would have taken to the canyon below – what a pack out that would have been.
So, like any other sane bowhunter, I went down into the canyon. I decided to walk the naked alders and fir trees, which seemed to surround the small creek that wound through the canyon. I noticed some large deer tracks in the snow and told myself they must belong to a big Blackie.  I hadn’t covered more than 100 yards when I just about stepped on a deer. I was so busy stepping over downed limbs and following the tracks that I didn’t even noticed the deer bedded under a fir tree.  The most beautiful Blacktail I’d ever seen jumped up and ran out 30 yards and turned broadside to me and gazed back at me. Not taking time to count points, I was already at full drew with my Martin Cougar Magnum, set the 30 yard pin on the buck’s chest, and let fly. One would have thought I was shooting with fingers, ah I was shooting with fingers.  The buck was no longer just standing, he’d flat busted out of there. He moved so fast I just shook my head and wondered if I’d missed. I went to the spot where the buck had been, no blood. Now the snow was really coming down and the wind had picked up in the canyon. My heart pounding in my chest, all I could do was follow the tracks in the direction he’d gone.  I started to notice some foamy blood spots and walked about 80 yards on the blood trail, stopped, and looked around. There, in the ferns just below me, was the butt of a deer.  He must have taken one last leap in this last breath! The broadhead had done its job; my shot was a bit high barely missing the heart. I was able to find a small road out of the canyon, thus was able to drive my truck with chains forward and aft down into the canyon.  The buck was a heavy load to pull up into the bed of the truck, especially since I was wet, tired and the snow being everywhere.
My Columbia Blacktail had one of the most beautiful basket sets of horns a person could want, a very symmetrical four point with eye guards. He scored officially at 129 7/8 P & Y Net (Pope & Young).  Never wait so long to get an animal scored!  If he had not had a small chip off of the G-4 on left side, it would have made the B & C (Boone & Crockett) book along with the P & Y book during that time frame. Now in B & C is at 135 to be listed.  I’ll bet that a great deal of hunters do not know that you can list your Archery harvested animals in Boone & Crockett also if it meets their standards.  Double the pleasure of being in both Books! Sometimes it pays to do the unexpected at the last minute.  

Hmm! Now I will check out the head!

You can see from the expression on my daughter’s about her thoughts of seeing a dead animal lying on the ground. In the future I found she would not want to harvest an animal, but would get involved with the field dressing of animals on trips that I took her on.  

Rebecca wondering what the heck dad!

Have fun hunting!  Bwana Bubba 

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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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