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Published by Frank Biggs on 28 May 2016

BWANA BUBBA’S THOUGHTS – REACHING ELK MILES AWAY

Chasing down Elk from afar!


Thoughts go back to my early days of hunting elk with a rifle and bow.   I would rifle hunt in the eastern part of Oregon for Rocky Mountain bulls, while bow hunting was in the western part of Oregon for Roosevelt bulls.  So those early hunts to the east were about going into the timber and waiting for elk to come by within shooting range.   One thing I never did was to build a fire to keep warm, but my uncles all did it.  I remember on one hunt Uncle Floyd was deep into the pines up near Texas Butte.  You could hear him cough, as he was a smoker, plus he had his fire going.  That was something that his sons and I would never do.  Low and behold a nice respectable 5X5 came by his fire and he put him down…   So in the western part of the state, we would go into our favorite spot and walk pockets listening for elk movement and try to get in close enough to get shot.  They never seem to do the calling like Rocky Mtn. elk would do.  This process of hunting worked for us in those days.

This happens to be from the 2015 first season Rocky Mtn. Elk season in Oregon. It is an old haunt an my son and his cousin, knowing the area, but never running a GPS went hunting with the new Garmin 64's and onXmaps Hunt Plat map installed. As you can see he stayed legal. There is some access for the public near the river, that is grandfathered in for about 50 years or more. In this country it is about seeing the elk, deer and pronghorn and chasing after them. Open country with Junipers, sagebrush, rimrock, cheat grass and seed grazing grasses.

This happens to be from the 2015 first season Rocky Mtn. Elk season in Oregon. It is an old haunt that I have introduced my son too. So my son and his cousin, knowing the area had never used a GPS went hunting with the new Garmin 64’s and onXmaps Hunt Plat map installed (I demanded they have them to stay legal). As you can see he stayed legal. There is some access for the public near the river, that is grandfathered in for about 50 years or more. In this country it is about seeing the elk, deer and pronghorn and chasing after them. Open country with Junipers, sagebrush, rimrock, cheat grass and seeded grazing grasses (after range fires).

Getting to the basis of this article about chasing elk down as I would put it came about some years later when we were bowhunting the rimrock, juniper and sagebrush of central Oregon for big mule deer bucks on the B.L.M., National Forest that was bordered and encompassed with private land.  One particular deer scouting trip prior to the opening archery season, glassing at a mile into a basin we could see from our observation point while looking for the famous bucks of the Big Muddy, we spotted elk, not just one elk, but about 12 bulls, all being branch bulls.

This bull was spotted with another bull at about 2000 yards. I shot this bull at 50 yards. Both bulls were taken, one by myself and my partner, after we split up in the draw. We watched the bull at about 200 yards split up.

This bull was spotted with another bull at about 2000 yards. I shot this bull at 50 yards. Both bulls were taken, one by myself and my partner, after we split up in the draw. We watched the bull at about 200 yards split up.

This launched our elk hunting in this country for more than  20 years and still to this day when I have time.  Spotting elk from distance does give you an advantage; this has led to least at 85% average of getting elk this way for me, partners and others within the hunting circles.  I will say that in the early days, GPS and mapping (software) was nil.  Most of the guys I hunted with were all past military and few of us still in the military, so venturing into the so call unknown and reading the land was pretty easy going.

I have found glassing ridges, hillsides, shaded areas and even into basins on an afternoon after the average hunter has headed back to camp and settle down for the late afternoon and evening happens to be my favorite time to glass for elk.  The country is vast with B.L.M. and National Forest for miles in all directions.  You have been glassing for about 30 minutes and you spot a group of elk which you feel is about 2 miles away.  You can see with your binoculars there are some pretty good bulls in the herd.  They are just grazing, with a few bedded down.  It is said by most that we have probably harvest more elk in the afternoon after 1PM, than ever in the morning hours.

This bull was taken by my son. We all spotted the elk at a mile away. I decided with my son, Brian Henninger's brother John and a buddy of my son to go after him. I got my son within 50 feet of the bedded bull. In the picture if Brian Henninger PGA. On this hunt all the hunters got a bull within 2 hours of each other.

This bull was taken by my son. We all spotted the elk at a mile away. I decided with my son, Brian Henninger’s brother John and a buddy of my son to go after him. I got my son within 50 feet of the bedded bull. In the picture if Brian Henninger PGA. On this hunt all the hunters got a bull within 2 hours of each other.

It is now to setup a plan to get onto these elk, as it is about 1400 or 2PM in the afternoon with visibility of at least a mile.

Getting this plan underway in the 21st century is so much easier with Garmin GPS’s and onXmaps HUNT mapping software and being able to dial in the lay of the land with precision accuracy, sort of like getting 10X’s on a target during a shooting tournament…

First off, I would have my Garmin GPS, with the Montana being my favorite which is loaded with my onXmaps HUNT PLAT map.   Seeing that there is a peak off in the distance between the elk and myself, I can judge the precise distance to the elk with the mapping and GPS.  The maps are up to date and show the private, federal lands, state lands and other.

This bull was spotted at about 1/2 mile away. On this bull, I thought it was another bull seen earlier. Only had a side profile when I launched a 210 gr. Nosler Partition at 600 yards.

This bull was spotted at about 1/2 mile away. On this bull, I thought it was another bull seen earlier. Only had a side profile when I launched a 210 gr. Nosler Partition at 600 yards.

The second thing I am going to do is install a number of waypoints, such as the peak and the proximity of elk as I see it on the map.

Now I take a look at the topo aspect of the terrain with my GPS and my eyes, working on a quick plan to cover the distance to within a ¼ mile of the elk.   The elk appear to be very comfortable were they are and I feel they will settle down in the area for part of the evening.

Personally I have always felt to cover the ground quickly, whether I am running, sliding down a hill, but always slowly down coming up on a rise.   Many times I personally feel that mistakes are made by taking too much time getting in the zone of the elk.

This bull was called in to within 20 yards after being spotted about 1000 yards away. We covered ground to within 100 yards of the herd. A bit of small bull and cow call called him in. Plus we had cut off some of his cows.

This bull was called in to within 20 yards after being spotted about 1000 yards away. We covered ground to within 100 yards of the herd. A bit of small bull and cow call called him in. Plus we had cut off some of his cows.

During my pursuit I am mentally thinking how I am going ambush the elk.  I also assume that the elk will be close to where I had made sight of them.   If rifle hunting, the thought of the ambush will be different than if I am bowhunting the elk as to how close I close the distance.  I am a loner, but if I have a partner, he is going to be in my shadows normally, but under the same game plan.  I am in combat mode when working this scenario during the hunt.

Along the way I have checked my GPS and even put more waypoints, which gives me a mental picture, plus I have setup estimated time to get to my final observation point, whether a vantage point above or even level eyesight.

This bull was spotted from a mountain top a very long ways away. Michael Jame of Bend, OR took him out at 100 yards. Michael has always been a believer of getting in fast.

This bull was spotted from a mountain top a very long ways away. Michael Jame of Bend, OR took him out at 100 yards. Michael has always been a believer of getting in fast.

Now if I am rifle hunting, I will be on the ready and try to have a vantage point within my comfortable shooting distance.  A great deal of time that doesn’t always happen, but I have set this stalk up the way it works for me.   I know my weapon or rifle of choice that I use on elk and I also know the capabilities of its shooting distance and putting the elk down.

Oregon Elk (7)

This bull was shot from long range, but spotted earlier in the evening along with another bull of the same size. Three bulls were taken within 10 minutes of each other. After my son’s bull was down and heading back, heard a shot in another basin. That shot was from Brian Henninger. Two bulls came out of the basin, one dropped from Brian’s close range shot. The other bull stopped, by that time I was on the hard deck in the prone position with By-Pod flipped down. Raised 4 feet over the back, pulled the trigger on the 340 Weatherby with 225 gr. Barnes X and the bull dropped in his tracks. “Never seen anyone shoot that far” (John Henninger). My comment was the Barnes X must have given it a heart attack. No time to chase this bull down, take the shot or let it go.

When it comes to archery, I am more of a stalker of elk too within shooting range, a great deal depends with the elk, being in the rut or not, but I always have cow call and a bugle if I am going to work the herd and bring a try bull in.

With the technology of GPS (Garmin) and onXmaps HUNT mapping software, the hunter can pinpoint the game.   As said before, my thoughts have always been to move fast and not worry about being careful about foot noise, until I am within a ¼ mile.   In reality this is one of the funniest ways to hunt down an elk in my opinion!  My partners and I have taken many bulls over the years by hunting this way.

#onxmaps #teamhunt #huntsmarter

Frank Biggs aka Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 22 Apr 2016

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – – Mobile Devices – – onXmaps HUNT


There is an old saying by Sailors’, “is you’re “Ditty Bag” complete?”   A sailor would rely on the “Ditty Bag” to have his most important items in it…   No “Ditty Bag” with the essentials for the hunter, outdoor adventurer, fisherman or hiker is an incomplete tool bag.   Today’s “Ditty Bag” will appear as a duffle bag or backpack of sorts.

I see it everywhere, the youth and now even the older generation using mobile devices.  There are so many APPS out there; a mobile device can do just about anything imagined.   APPS have made it easy for everyone to navigate through a daily routine.


“Ditty Bag” A major essential for the complete outdoor person would be an IPad or IPhone or Android Device and last not lest a Garmin GPS (Color Screen – Micro SD Slot).   My mobile device is Apple IPad that seems to go everywhere with me and has the onXmaps APP.   It is the great research tool that I have in my “Ditty Bag”, it’s like a talking encyclopedia, only it is visual and easy to understand.  As simple as turning on the device, opening the onXmaps HUNT APP and then letting my fingers do the work.

There are three (3) ways to think of the essentials when it comes to mapping in my mind.  The mobile device is for scouting and in the field use.  The laptop (most common computer) is for scouting and the GPS is all about in the field and scouting secondary.

I have 18 layers of information that overlay the 12 available basemaps, also with 5 western states PLATS loaded on my IPad.   The operator gets to decide which overlay or overlays, basemap or basemaps they want to use in their research or the use in the field.   Many outdoor people use their phone such as an Android or one of the many Apple IPhones for everything.   The onXmaps HUNT APP makes it quite easy to use in the course again of daily routine.

onXmaps HUNT  - So easy to use!

onXmaps HUNT – So easy to use!

I would like to mention the number of layers that are available and what some of the key ones are, just to mention a few of them at this time.

The List:

COMPLEMENTARY:
USFS Roads
USFS Recreational Sites
USFS Motor Vehicle Roads, Trail (MVUM)
Current Cloud Coverage
Current Nexrad Radar
Current Wind Conditions
App Plat Coverage Learn about private parcel coverage
NATION:
USA Trail
Points of Interest
Forest Visitor Maps
Prairie Dogs (For Real) Where to find in the West
Current Wildfires
STATE:  My Active
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT Private Lands
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT Government Lands
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT Possible Access
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT (WMU’s) Wildlife Management Units
OR-WA-ID-WY-MT (OR) Access and Habitat Program

Then there is the BASEMAPS that you assign and many can be used offline.

The list is long, but each and every layer & basemap is a valuable tool to those that want to gain knowledge!  One has to study the land and learn the habits of the game to be successful.

This what one of my website hunters might get given to them.

This what one of my website hunters might get given to them.

Many times I get emails, especially on Pronghorn for both Oregon and a number of the other known Pronghorn states in the West.   The hunter’s statement and questions normally come in as such:  “I have 15 preference points, what hunt unit can I harvest a recorded class Antelope?”   It has been told to me by and old friend who happens to be an O.D.F.W. (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) Biologist, “Every hunt unit in Oregon has at least one Boone & Crockett Pronghorn, and you just don’t want to shoot the first village idiot!”   This statement means that most that wait a longtime for a tag sometimes shoot to fast without studying the animals.   I have suggested too many hunters to go by a sporting goods store and study heads and look at pictures of big bucks.  An example in the Portland Metro area in Oregon, Sportsmen’s Warehouse has two (2) Boone & Crockett Pronghorns on the wall.  One is only 14 ½” in length and the other is 16 5/8” in length with the smaller scoring bigger…   A hunter may not be able to harvest a Booner, but surely can find a good buck.  This will lead into the next paragraph on the B & C (Boone & Crockett) layer.

When you touch the area on the B & C Layer this is what you will see.

When you touch the area on the B & C Layer this is what you will see.

So with the Boone & Crockett layer, W.M.U. layer, PLAT map and the Government layer the hunter can find where all the entries come from to help make the right decision when applying for the long awaited tag.  So if you’re serious about becoming the 10% of the hunters that harvest 90% of the game, then don’t wait any longer to get the tools you need to be successful.  What I have found out from my own experiences early on that, I had a mentor to guide me in my youth to become successful in harvesting good animals and some outstanding animals.  The onXmaps HUNT APP has become a major mentor of technical knowledge.

One last layer (State Plat) I am going to talk about is the Private Lands.   A scenario that comes all the time to hunters that have had a bleak day of hunting, you pull into the local service station or small store you get into a conversation with the attendant or the cashier about your day or they ask you about your day.  I have had a number of hunters tell me that the attendant has given them a name of rancher that wants some game reduction done on his place.  You can hit the magnifier on the screen and type in the name and guess what, the landowner’s place shows up majority of the time.  Now if one is real smart about gathering INTEL, they will have the Whitepages booked mark on the mobile device.  The name normally equals phone number in many cases.  I will check out new Blacktail deer spots in the valley during the evenings, find the game and look up the landowner to get permission to hunt.  The onXmaps Hunt mapping makes that possible.

onXmaps - Taking paper maps and making it easy, no more laying them on the hood of your truck and trying to figure it out!

onXmaps – Taking paper maps and making it easy, no more laying them on the hood of your truck and trying to figure it out!

Another thought is that we meet a lot of people in the field and most like to talk about their hunts or adventurers; I have found many to give road numbers, landmarks and whatever else embellishes the adventurer.  End result is that I am going to absorb the information and it is loaded to my IPad, GPS and laptop.

As you note in my “Ditty Bag”, I also have my Garmin Montana GPS, this is also a must when in the field.  Sometimes, in a deep dark canyon, you might not have mobile device reception and I rely on my Garmin to be accurate in tight areas…

The savvy hunter or outdoor persons will purchase the whole meal deal, everything for the mobile device and for the Garmin GPS (colored monitor-micro-chip slot) and or download to the computer to up-load to the GPS, then back to the computer.  I back-up my waypoints and adventurers to my laptop.

I have only touched surface of what this great mapping tool can do for you, it is time for you to buy and check it.

My “Ditty Bag” has the following items in it, Garmin Montana GPS/onXmaps Hunt software, IPad/onXmaps Hunt APP, Benchmade Knives (2), 12×50 Bausch & Lomb Binoculars, Nikon SLR Camera, Oregon Hunt/Fish License/Tags, rubber gloves, matches, Leatherman, toilet paper and money! Everything else, I pack in my hands or on my body…

My lasting thought to all that read this is, with this technology, inertly trespassing is a thing of the past.  In many states, it is the requirement of the trespasser to know where they are and law enforcement and landowner does not have to prove you were trespassing…

Frank Biggs aka Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 13 Dec 2015

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bwana Bubba

I welcome comments back @ Bwana Bubba!

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Published by Frank Biggs on 06 Nov 2015

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting Methods & Rates of Success

So what type of hunter are you?

The question is did you count all the points of the racks of these mule deer bucks, that you jumped, or did you react to the eye and engage?

The question is did you count all the points of the racks of these mule deer bucks, that you jumped, or did you react to the eye and engage?

We all have a purpose to our hunt and our style of hunting, which is not always the same as others. It’s a cliché: 10% of the hunters may get 90% of the game but in my opinion that is really based on the how we hunt. This article includes some examples too make you think about your mistakes and successes. It may give you an idea as to how you stand vis-a-vis others in terms of methods of hunting and rate of success.

Yelling Out! Many years ago after coming home from overseas, I took my father hunting with me.  We were hunting in western forest lands of Oregon with vine maple, underbrush, ferns and alders.   The distance between us was no more than 100 feet.  During this early morning hunt, I was jumping a number of Blacktail deer bucks at close range and would yell out “there’s one,” and Dad’s comment would be “where”?  On that hunt, I could have very easily killed a buck, yet we did not get one.  I wanted to see my Dad get a buck.   As you might suspect the deer were on alert and took evasive moves.

A buddy known as MJ once yelled at my son because he did not tell him he was shooting at a deer, as he did not get a chance to kill one of the deer.  I told MJ that I have taught my son to react to the situation.  My son had jumped the small group of bucks in the draw.   He took the shot and got his buck!  Believe it or not deer do have great hearing.  If my son had yelled, “there’s a buck”, they surely would have not gotten any of them.  On this same hunt, I spotted a dandy 4X4 and said to MJ “there’s a big buck”, he said “where”?  He did not get the buck, yet he had time if he had been paying attention.

Over the years, while hunting with groups of hunters situations I believe we create situations in which there are too many distractions.

Sharp Eyes and Sensitive Ears. Some years ago while on a Pronghorn scouting trip in eastern Oregon with a buddy that seemed to always fall asleep even on the roughest roads,  I would catch sight of coyotes in the middle of an abandoned road or dry lake.   I would say “there’s a dog”, he too would say “where” as he was trying to gain eyesight after dozing off.  Coyotes can hear the voices within the truck.  From then on, I just kept my mouth shut.  When I saw dog (coyote), I would just push on the emergency brake (holding the release lever so it would not make noise), bail out and take the shot.  My partner, still dozing, had no clue and would wake up and say “what the heck you shooting at?” I took 5 dogs on the trip, with him dozing off all the time. We still talk about that maneuver of mine.

Stopping to Count Points. Some years ago, an old hunting buddy had been successful getting a nice Rocky Mountain Elk bull off of the B.L.M. near the John Day River hunting by himself.   MJ was pretty good about getting it done, with a partner or solo, but usually never hunting together, but taking routes in different canyons.   On this particular hunt, he had run into my Commanding Officer in the Navy.  MJ knew of Rod and had met him several times.  Rod was hunting with an old friend of his.  MJ said he would show them bulls in a basin he had spotted bulls earlier in the hunt.   MJ lived up to his offer and put both of them on eight bulls at about 150 yards out.   Well, Rod and his buddy saw the bulls and counted all the bulls’ points and finally decided (after the bulls took off running) to shoot!   Moral of the story, be in combat mode and react to what the eyes see instantly and not over think! Game moves a lot faster than you can get setup.

Combat Mode. So let’s start off with the type a hunter, the person who seems to be always successful.  He or she will have the hunt lined out the year before.  Most of the time, the hunt is totally about them and getting it done.  I like to call it the Combat mode of hunting.  The mind is focused on the end result of getting the game down.  In many cases they are solo hunting in the sense of immediate contact with other hunters.   There might be a partner or partners, but rest assured they are in the field away from others.   All of their senses are tuned into the surroundings within their space.   The person that most likely can make the 300 yard running shot, or have his arrow clear a 12” opening in a tree and hit the 50 yard distance target… you can be sure he or she is totally focused!

Knowing Your Area. There are the party hunters (hunters only) that love to hunt together and try to do it every year at a specific hunting area.   It is about the gathering, though each and every one of them wants to be successful on the hunt.  They know the area like they know their own yard.   I find that they are fairly successful in getting game, as they know the routes of the game over the years.   They all have their favorite stand they will be at on opening morning.  In this case it reminds me of the Hurley’s that once hunted the Pilot Rock area in Oregon.  They setup their camp near Foggy Knob or Four Corners up on East Birch Creek.   They always had deer or elk hanging in their camp.   I know they spent more than 25 years hunting the same spot.

Generations Matter. Now the following camp is an example of some of my first hunting experiences with family and friends.   Again we were “party hunting,” but with the spouses that either hunted or not (mostly not), but adding the young grandkids to the mix as well.  We would have three generations hunting.  I remember talking with my cousin about the good old days that his dad hunted; little did I know at the time, we just lacked the experience the old boys had.  We would see one of the old guys coming back with game, having sat around an isolated campfire during elk season to keep ourselves warm.  We could not understand how they got it done, as most old boys would smoke.  On these hunts it was all about the family and good times.  You always wanted to be the one to have the bragging rights that year on getting a deer or elk of any size.

It is the opening day of archery season, you got the jump on these bucks, have you released you arrow to the target buck, before they have reacted to finally knowing you are upon them?

It is the opening day of archery season, you got the jump on these bucks, have you released you arrow to the target buck, before they have reacted to finally knowing you are upon them?

Giving Others the Shot. One of the best hunts is the father or mother that shows their children how to hunt and give them the chance to harvest an animal.   This could also go for a mentor that shares all their knowledge with youth or another hunter.   In this case, it would be the time we had spotted a monster bull on the B.L.M., I asked my buddy who was also glassing and spotted the bull, if he wanted to go after him.  Knowing how to get to the area that was about a mile off, with my son and his non-hunting buddy following along we got into the spot that was close to the last appearances of the bull.   I had checked up wind and the area was clear, coming back to the boys, I said he has to be close.  I let my son quietly lead into the juniper and sagebrush.  JR, jumped the bedded bull at 50 feet and made the shot.  The bull was bedded under a Juniper tree.  What was great he reacted without hesitation and took his first bull with a gross score of 340.  If there had been any hesitation that bull would have made it out of there.   JR got to have the bragging rights of the biggest bull taken on a very successful hunt for all.

Just recently on a bow hunt, being in a tree stand I could see the bucks coming into the draw, JR was in a ground blind in the draw.  I sat there in a daze watching all un-folding, I had the shot, but something told me it was JR’s hunt and not mine.  He could have taken the big buck at 15 yards, but in his mind he knew I was after this buck.  He made movement in the blind and the all the deer, but one scattered in the opposite direction.  The one buck that caused the others to react, just stood his ground.  JR took the 8 yard shot on that buck.   Each person on this hunt was thinking about the other person and did not react to the situation.  I told him he should have arrowed the big buck!  “Dad, he was yours to take”

Pay to Play. So many times we see these days with the social media great pictures of truly great animals taken by hunters.   When digging a bit, they are hunting on private enclosed hunting lands.  In many cases large sums of money have changed hands to make the success of the hunt happen.   This is about how much money one has to be successful.  There is little more to be said on this style of hunter.  Some years back I got a picture sent to me of a 430” Rocky Mountain bull taken in Idaho.  What a great bull that was taken at 100 yards while in his bed.   It took a while to get to the bottom of the story, but the bull was harvested on an enclosed 8-foot fenced ranch that sells the bulls by the inch.

Guides Help. There are many that want to only hunt on private lands (non-enclosure) with guides.   In conclusion many times the hunter makes great shots on the game and I would say their success rate is around 50% to 100%.   Again money is involved in the hunt and the success of the hunter.  Most hunters would love to be able to have one or more of these hunts.   To have a chance to hunt on a ranch that has big game and is managed for hunting would be quite exciting, I believe sometimes.  On these ranches the only fences are the 5 strand barbwire cattle fencing…

Just Ask! Lastly, though the good old boys (ranchers) are slowing riding into the sunset, there still are some ranches and farms a hunter can just ask to hunt and be surprised that they might just get a Yes!   They are normally working ranches or farms, with livestock, crops, orchards, vineyards or all of the above.  Over the years I have just done the asking and got permission to hunt.  In time I found that I wanted to return the favor and would give gestures of my thanks for getting to hunt these places.  There is never the guarantee of harvesting game.

This Blacktail buck was on private property that I took the time to ask for permission to hunt.

This Blacktail buck was on private property that I took the time to ask for permission to hunt.

A funny and very true ending to the last paragraph was about 10 years ago.  I knew a rancher in the Steen’s Mountains of Oregon that would allow hunters to hunt Pronghorns.  So I helped out one of my vendors and lined up the permission.  I knew that the rancher drank soda pop and I told my vendor to get a couple of cases of pop and a new folding knife for the rancher.  “Ryan asked me, “why the knife” and I told him you’ll know when the timing is correct.   So Ryan gets to the ranch, met and talk with the rancher, the rancher was very busy and told him to go down the road a couple of miles and look for a cattle guard.  Ryan was a bit lost, and then he remembered what I said.  Quickly producing the knife to the rancher, he was then escorted to the place to hunt with ideas of how to hunt the area.  Ryan was successful in getting a trophy Pronghorn.   Ranchers and Farmers are not managing wildlife, yet they have a great influence on the survival of wildlife.

Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 14 Aug 2015

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Mapping Technology

onXmaps HUNT

The technology is here for all to enjoy accurate mapping in the field!

How many people know that Wyoming was the first to make jumping B.L.M. corners a trespassing violation?  It is the same in Oregon, as I have tested the waters on this one.

There is technology and mapping resources to keep you from unintentionally trespassing in the State of Oregon and many other states in the continental U.S. that has private land and public land in a mix of blocks with fences and without fences. In many cases a person can gain access to public land using the technology.

For many years I have been helping hunters find places to hunt for big game in the State of Oregon.  In the four years I have been involved with new mapping technology and giving coordinates or waypoints to hunters at NO COST monetarily, none of my hunters that use the technology have ever had an issue. I have expected them to buy a GPS (Garmin) (colored screen) (SD Micro Ready) that interfaces with the Topo Mapping Software from onXmaps HUNT. Recently I have extended free service for those that are using Android and Apple devices.  In this case with the onXmaps HUNT software loaded to the device, I can send them a Google Earth KLM file. This keeps it simple and fast for me to get them into the area, saving a great deal of time in the scouting of an area.

This is what you would see on an Mobile Device from a Google Earth from a KLM file download.

This is what you would see on an Mobile Device from a Google Earth from a KLM file download.

A bit of humor though, when checking back with the hunters after the hunt, I have asked where the pictures and short story are, some have told me “I didn’t find an antelope at the waypoint!” “But I did get kill one close to the spot!”

For those who are savvy with a computer to have the software on the computer and on a colored screen Garmin GPS there is limitless opportunity with the knowledge gained from using the technology.

The great thing about using onXmaps HUNT is that in many states you have the private, private timber lands, BLM, State Lands and National Forest lands distinctively marked for easy reference. In many counties you will see the blocks of private by land owner name.  The onXmaps HUNT Information Technology team is always updating the maps when needed!

What does amaze me daily that many hunters who let’s say have waited 12-20 years for a pronghorn tag, still come back to me when they are using their computer to find me and my services and tell me they can’t afford a GPS or they tell me, “I have a paper map.” I don’t even carry paper maps in the field any longer.

This is how my Garmin GPS and Google Earth looks with onXmaps HUNT with waypoints and tracks.  You decide if you want accuracy or gray zone!

This is how my Garmin GPS and Google Earth looks with onXmaps HUNT with waypoints and tracks. You decide if you want accuracy or gray zone!

The major problem with paper maps is that most are outdated and most will not show the small blocks of private land that are on Bureau of Land Management, State Lands (sometimes) or National Forest. Just one example is near Sumpter and Granite, Oregon where there are privately held mines on private land. Always interesting to see the names of the mines in some Oregon’s and other state’s remote locations.  You won’t see that on most paper maps, little along on other mapping software.  I can guarantee with a National Forest map or road map, you’re going to get a trespassing ticket if you rely on that source to keep you legal.  A landowner up in this neck of the woods on an active mine, might not take too kindly to someone trespassing.  Now if you had the onXmaps HUNT mapping, you might be able to find the landowner and get permission to hunt. Remember, asking is not that hard to do!

 

This would be the typical National Forest Map and other mapping companies software on a GPS Device.

This would be the typical National Forest Map and other mapping companies software on a GPS Device.

Yet to this day in a moment of compassion, I will print a map from my onXmaps HUNT program, scan it and send it to a person so they can hunt. It is just not the same doing this rather than to have the waypoints on a GPS and while at camp, look at them on a laptop for the next day’s hunt. You can make a route to get to that hard to reach spot.  For those that don’t have a Garmin, they might only get txt files and try to figure them out on a map.  Land ownership and boundaries change over the years, just look at the boundaries of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation today versus 15 years ago.

 

Now this is the view of the above National Forest   land with onXmaps HUNT software on a Garmin GPS.

Now this is the view of the above National Forest land with onXmaps HUNT software on a Garmin GPS.

Having a local tell you, “Once you get to the store in Hampton, there is a road that goes to the north out of town, travel for about a mile, stop at the first tree on the left, turn then once you cross the stream on Grade 7 road, then travel about 1 mile, then turn right at the big boulder with class of 70 painted on it, then up the hill until you see the pine tree, then take the second dirt road to the left” is utterly confusing. Most of us get lost!

I hear of hunters or outdoor people getting ticketed every day for trespassing unknowingly. The fine alone, if they get a good judge with compassion, you could have bought a new Garmin Montana and onXmaps HUNT SD Micro Card, and many sporting goods stores have package deals!

Garmin Montana with onXmaps HUNT software.  Actual hunting spot for Pronghorns.

Garmin Montana with onXmaps HUNT software. Actual hunting spot for Pronghorns.

The other amazing thing is that the GPS and the mapping software will give the hunter or outdoor person and insight into the unknown. You’ll find places you can go, that you never knew existed.  These places aren’t advertised, but once you locate them by using the equipment, you can make the call or let’s say check with ODFW on private lands on which the public can hunt. Do you really think that timber companies advertise for the public to hunt their lands?  They might have some lands open, but they also have some not opened to the public and yet both are posted the same way!

 

 

Bwana Bubba of Oregon

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Published by Frank Biggs on 23 Apr 2015

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Hunting of Dinosaurs

Through time in the field, knowledge comes to all!

None us come out knowing everything.  So over the years I have absorbed a great deal of knowledge about hunting Pronghorn – Antelope that roam the high plains and arid lands of the United States.  One of the most magnificent mammals that has survived since the Ice Age.  It is one of the few living links to the Ice Age.  They are an ancient species dating back about 20 million years and are the lone survivors of a family of hoofed mammals found only in North America (Antilocapridae)  A little history class for hunters!

A nice heavy buck, maybe next year!

A nice heavy buck, maybe next year!

Oregon truly is a sleeper state for hunting Pronghorn – Antelope – Lope or Dinosaurs!  Problem is getting a tag for resident or even non-resident.   Many non-resident hunters put in for many states, with the hope of drawing.  As for those of use that live in Oregon, getting a tag runs from 8 to 25 years for a rifle tag and 1 to 3 years for archery.   Sometimes you might be lucky and draw a tag based on the hold back tags put in random draw.  As a biologist friend of mine once told me Oregon’s Pronghorn units all hold Boone & Crockett warrantable bucks. Biggest problem is holding out for the big buck, judging bucks, know the whereabouts and what unit has the best possible chance for a trophy buck.

This archery buck scored 78" 13 1/2" with 6 1/2" Prongs.

This archery buck scored 78″ 13 1/2″ with 6 1/2″ Prongs.

When I first started out with my first tag for an Oregon Pronghorn, I had help from a Naval Officer that I knew while on active duty in the Navy, he had great deal of knowledge, plus his friend a young BLM summer help student that knew the area.  His name was Rod Briece, who later became my Commanding Officer and was a long time hunting friend.

We did not go blindly into the hunt unit, as there was a game plan to check out many different areas of the unit in a short period of time.  We did get into the unit prior to the hunt by one full day to scout.   We had about 4 game plans with the A, B, C, and D plan changing with the sighting of bucks.  The final plan of the day became a A plan for the opening morning.   I was successful on my first Pronghorn hunt to get a buck that scored 85″.   He and his does had come into the same waterhole that we had seen them at, the evening before.  At about 0715 the buck came to the waterhole.  Over the following years in this particular unit it put out many trophy Pronghorns.  This does not include the ones that a few missed during the hunts and the hunter came up empty handed…

One of the greatest lessons that I learned with hunting Pronghorns is the use of the binoculars and patience.  Finding vantage points and glassing over massive areas.   Pronghorns have always been the animal, you don’t see me now, but wait long enough I will be standing there.  Amazing creature that has intrigued me for many decades.  Even on that first hunt, we glassed from afar and it paid off.  I always look for mass from a side profile of the head.  If warranted, I have a spotting scope to do a better judgement of the buck.   Many times the heat waves in the high desert are so bad that there seems to be an illusion of what you see.  So seeing the side profile is most important. Length is not always as important as mass and the high of the prongs (cutters) on the horn.

Mapping is very important for hunters, whether it is Pronghorn hunting or any other movement in the outdoors.  I find it is almost as important as the optics and the weapon of choice.

Until recently, lets say 1998, most of use would have B.L.M. maps or other maps to find places to hunt.  The GPS came along and it was ok, to know where you were, but not much good to know where to go.  A few software companies tried back then, but were crude and not very accurate.  Along comes onXmaps HUNT a few years ago and what a success story for the company and the people that use their products. It is a lot of fun to have knowledge of places to hunt (landmarks), take them and mark them in the mapping software on the computer and then move them to the GPS.   A great way to share information that is accurate.   Like having a snapshot of a hillside that you have seen, but now you get to remember where it is.  Better yet, at times when using the software and Google Earth via the laptop to Garmin GPS, it like watching TV…  Remember by using this software, you might even be able to find a rancher or farmer that dislike Dinosaurs and will give you permission.  For DIY you’ll find that you just might not need a guide for out of state hunts.  Many got it figured out how to hunt public land for Pronghorns!
        onXmaps HUNT

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

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

You figure it out how you want to hunt.  Find legal land and game! From onXmaps HUNT Viewer

You figure it out how you want to hunt. Find legal land and game! From onXmaps HUNT Viewer

onXmaps HUNT mapping from the computer.

onXmaps HUNT mapping from the computer.

 

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

We all have options on what caliber to hunt with for Pronghorns and my thoughts are no different.  Having many calibers to choose from, I am a firm believer to go big on this medium size mammal.   It is about the changes that can happen with the weather and other conditions.   Maybe a shot at 50 yards, or just maybe a 300 plus yard shot with the wind blowing at 30 knots.

This archery buck score 86" 14 1/2" with 8" Prongs.  Very heavy mass.

This archery buck score 86″ 14 1/2″ with 8″ Prongs. Very heavy mass.

This brings up another subject:   Making sure you have great shot placement and anchor the Pronghorn down.  Tracking for trying to find a Pronghorn in the sagebrush after a hit from afar, might just lead to not finding it.  Years ago one of my hunters that I gave waypoints to shot a monster lope in a large sagebrush flat.  It was late and darkness was fast approaching.  He decide to wait for morning!  A great mistake as one loses focus of what he or she might have seen with the shot.  With a Pronghorn left overnight, the coyotes have already taken are of it. You might be lucky to find the horns, but in many cases the horns have been taken care of also.  Anchor the animal as with any animal in it’s tracks or close proximity.

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

In my time I have done a great deal of scouting and researching of Pronghorn or Antelope as most call this great animal from the past in Oregon and the rest of the Western States, where they roam in hunt-able numbers.  For archery hunters in many of the Western States you have a chance to hunt every year for Antelope.  Where as with a rifle you might have to wait some 8-25 years to draw a tag, at least in the Oregon.  I have hunters in Oregon that are now hunting almost every year with the bow.   A  great challenge to hunt with the bow, but what a rush and accomplishment to harvest up close and personal.  You’ll find hunting with the bow for Antelope a great sport that you won’t be able to stop doing.   I have been told by my hunters that they have had the best experience hunting Antelope over anything else they have hunted in North America.  It could be that they see a lot of Antelope while hunting them.   Since competition for tags is so great, some of use will wait the whatever years to get the rifle tag, get it done and the following years put in for a bow tag.   Not many years ago in Oregon and I am sure in other states, you put in for a rifle tag and make your second choice a bow tag.   I do believe that I did this at least 10 times over the years.   Very fortunate to have harvest a number of great bucks with the arrow.   Now I find that many are taking great bucks with the arrow in many hunt units in many states.  With less competition to hunt with the bow and arrow, plus the greater chance to get a tag, my suggestion is to take up bow hunting if you haven’t and get it done!  It easier than you think to harvest with the bow.  Pronghorns can be stalked pretty easy with cover, or you lay ambush in a ground blind.

This is a great buck, worthy of any wall! Didn’t have a tag, but hunting season was upon us. 100 foot photo op!

I one thing I have learned after all these years and not even being in some of my old haunts for many years, is that Pronghorn are animals of habit from generation to generation.   They cover the same ground and do the same things from one generation to another.  Most of the land in which they live never changes.   There was one buck that my friends & hunters chased for about three years and never got.  I really wanted him for myself is what all thought.  He would be located in the same spot within a 1/4 mile and escape basically the same way.  His escape route was not one you could cover and he knew it.  Now if we ambushed him in his normal spot he could have been taken.  He was one of the biggest Antelope I ever hunted.  I did get one hunter on him at very close range with a standing broadside, but he missed.  The only thing that had changed is the B.L.M. put a solar power water pump on a water hole in one of my favorite spots.   Even the old ranchers sign was still there and he had been gone for a long time.  The sign had stated in so many words that you were crossing into his lands.  This happen to be B.L.M. that he leased, but did not own. Now you know one of the reasons to have a mapping and gps system that lets you know your legal.  Many times my hunters tell me, “WOW”, you were right on the money for Lopes being there…

This is a great buck taken in Oregon also in a 2 season unit.

This is a great buck taken in Oregon also in a 2 season unit.

I have seen mature bucks standing in the middle of a back country road in B.L.M., marking the road.  No, not by scratching but by urinating in the middle of road.   Once someone knows some of the peculiar habits of Antelope, you can use it to your advantage.   Such is the case a couple of years ago when I spot a group of Antelope in a 5 tag unit.  I wanted the picture of the buck and just knew he would go around the mountain and want to get back into the hole.  He did just that and my son asked how did you know?

Not a big buck in a 5 tag unit, but it was nice to be able to read his mind! He cut my path at about 75 yards, trying to double back to the basin!

I have taken a great deal of Antelope with the bow and all but a rifle kill has been from stalking.   A great deal of the bow hunters I know do wait on water, but you have to have patience.  One of my GPS Hunters – Bowhunters sat for two (2) days for more than 12 hours.  He as been successful two (2) years in a row on the same waterhole.   I do love to stalk them and arrow them before they know I am there.  Antelope do lay in the sagebrush flats and with a lot of glassing from a vantage point you can find them and stalk within bow range easily.

Which one is the shooter in this crowd?

Note:  Then there is the issue with sunglasses, I will always wear sunglasses (favorite are Ray-Ban Wayfarer-easy to lift with bino’s with no bind) during the day and “Photo Grays” for the evening hunts.  I felt if the game, especially Antelope can’t see my eyes or movement then I could close the gap on them even easier once spotted.  I always wore a hat and a backpack with the spotting scope & tripod sticking out of the top.  It is what it is with habits and wearing the same pants on every hunt!

Most experience hunters have there ways to hunt game, whether it is from stalking, waiting, ambush or just being lucky and walking into a shoot-able animal.  It is whatever works for you, that makes the hunt!

You also have to be patient and let the smaller bucks (“VILLAGE IDIOTS”) go by, so you can harvest the trophy buck.

Just a short little video of a nice buck ( we had him set for the following year) in the Grizzly Hunt Unit in Oregon:  Pronghorn in the Big Muddy!

Bwana Bubba

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Published by Frank Biggs on 23 Feb 2015

Bwana Bubba’s Thoughts – Timber Companies Charging Access

This article is a two part article that has to do with

Public Land Access and Private Timber Land Access

Changing times are upon us!

The following article are my thoughts and opinions on the subject public and private timber land use!
The new 21st Century Sign

The new 21st Century Sign

Like the wind, the environment of hunting changes without notice.  Over the many years of hunting and being able to hunt openly on State, Federal, B.L.M. and Timber company’s properties, plus horse trading to hunt private, it was pretty easy to find a place to hunt without hassle in Oregon.

Not too many years ago I or We were able to hunt a great parcel of BLM in central Oregon near Madras, Oregon.  Since the land was rugged we would use quads to get from point A to B, glass and then hunt the game down.   Prior to quads from the days of hunting the great Snake River for Rocky Mountain Elk, horses were the key to non-motorized entry for our team.

A number of years ago the neighboring landowners were able to get the rules changed with BLM; no quads or other motorized allowed.  Strange that there are many old ranch roads and BLM roads on the land, now closed to the public, yet the adjacent land owner can use quads…  Just as strange motorized is allow on another parcel BLM land very close by.  The BLM is connected actually by a county line to the south.   I will tell you it was not a rancher or farmer that lobbied to get it closed!

Wanting to find new lands on the west side of the Cascades Mountains in Oregon, using my Garmin Montana GPS and the fabulous onXmaps HUNT software a new world open when scouting, finding such lands as Weyerhaeuser, Port Blakely, Longview Fiber (NOW OWNED BY WEYERHAEUSER), BLM, State Lands, plus small parcels of National Forest.  Mainly interested in Blacktail Deer though Roosevelt Elk can be found on the same land, scouting during May, June and July before the Oregon Archery season, it was great to find many great Blacktail bucks.

As you can see there is BLM and Longview Fiber (owned by Weyerhaeuser now), one might not be able to hunt the BLM any longer.

As you can see there is BLM and Longview Fiber (owned by Weyerhaeuser now), one might not be able to hunt the BLM any longer.

With regular maps you would never know the private timber conglomerates, yet alone small parcels of state owned or National Forest lands without using the onXmaps HUNT software.  In many western states there are mining claim that the public can pass through, but there are many small land parcels (50 – 200 acres) of mines on BLM and National Forest that you’ll never see on a paper map. Miners don’t take to kindly to trespassing and they might not call the law to Enforce a trespassing law…

Port Blakely allows some free hunting, but one better know the phone number and check prior to the dates wanting to access the land.  I am going to give a Hoorah to PLUM CREEK, as they allow the public to use their land with NO CHARGES.
This is where it stops; recently I made a call to an old hunting buddy about his elk hunt during the archery season in Oregon.  I was informed he received a $350.00 fine for trespassing on Weyerhaeuser property during the season.  What!  An area he has hunted for more than 30+ years for elk and deer.
For years the Weyerhaeuser properties have been open to public access. Well things change and now you have to have a permit to hunt.  A number of ways to do it, open permits or bid on the total access to parcels.
Stop and think about it for a second, most likely these giant timber companies get tax breaks and I can tell you some it about public access.  In the N.W. Weyerhaeuser owns 6,000.000+ acres, the size of Rhode Island in the United States and controlling 12,000,000 acres in Canada on long term leases.
There is now great controversy about Weyerhaeuser charging for access to their lands.
If you go back far enough you’ll find some of the tainted realities of land grab, via the railroads, government and the buying and giving of our timberlands.”  I remember the term cut and pay as you go.”  Think about making revenue without paying first, well in the timber business it has been done.

For years I have vented my thoughts and anger about BLM and other public land trades, in which there might be blocks of separated lands. What I have seen and many others that fight for our public lands are normally bad changes, with the public getting short end of the stick.

There should be an easy fix on this one.

There should be an easy fix on this one.

There is one large section of BLM in Oregon in which some our most liberal politicians want to swap great elk and deer hunting land with a group.  In the rules of engagement of this particular land swap the two private land owners want to control the road, closing it off during the winter months. They want the county road to be vacated. The swap itself isn’t too bad, but the old wagon road from the 1800’s needs to be the dividing line with open access to the public. No one private individual should have the rights to stop the public from going into public land on a trade such as this.

We find that the National Forest wants to close thousands of miles of roads in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; the battle goes on with this subject!

So where is all of this leading, well it is leading into a fight for survival of hunting and public access to public land.  In the meantime it is very important for land users, whether fishing, hiking, hunting or evening just driving around to know the lay of the un-marked lands.  No matter who you are you need a Garmin GPS (colored-microchip capabilities-modern) and the onXmaps HUNT software loaded on the GPS and my personal recommendation on your laptop and your mobile device.  I have said since mapping GPS’s came out it is better to know where you are going then to know where you have been.  I love to search via onXmaps HUNT (APP) Google Earth and see new spots, thus adding them to my GPS for the next outing to investigate.

In Conclusion:  There are some private timber companies in the west and mountain states that allow the public to use their property for recreation.  It is important for everyone to know where they are and not take for granted they have access.  Use equipment that will keep you legal, safe and open new avenues in your outdoor ventures. Make your voice go forward about what is right!  Please remember that it is illegal to try and jump from corner to corner on public land that is encompassed with private…

I personally do not leave home without my Garmin Montana and my onXmaps HUNT updated for travels in Oregon!

Bwana Bubba

 

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Published by sportsmanoutfitters on 17 Feb 2015

Kansas Bowhunting With Sportsman Outfitters

Check out Sportsman Outfitters bowhunting in Cherryvale, KS!

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Published by Frank Biggs on 12 Jan 2015

Carter Reservoir Wild Horses Face Starvation – Part 2

First response from William Simpson to the Modoc Record Article:

Another picture from Laura Simpson and her wild herd of horses that free range on the their property.

Another picture from Laura Simpson and her wild herd of horses that free range on the their property.

First let me say that I always enjoy a good debate, so thanks for the reply.

In your response, you have digressed significantly from the ‘facts’ published by the Modoc Record, which you sent to me, and which is what we are supposedly talking about.

You originally sent me their article as the basis for what? An argument or reason that purports a pretense to support the removal all the horses from the lands that were set aside by a Congressional Act for their existence along with the local game animals?

Now that the Modoc Record article has been myth-busted, it seems you’re abandoning it, and moving-off to even shaky unsupported grounds for a further debate? That’s no fun… I can’t debate you while you’re sinking in quicksand.

Taking what the BLM has stated and which the Modoc Record has reported, as being ‘their’ (not mine) take on the situation over in Modoc County is more than adequate to prove the points I have made beyond any reasonable doubt. So why the further debate?  What’s the point? If you don’t like horses, then just say so! What might be more relevant would be telling us why you don’t like horses.

If I didn’t know better, I would say you were practicing-up to be a politician  {;-) …. talking at length without staying on point. The article is what it is and says what is says… a re-report from the BLM… we don’t need to go beyond that with a boat-load of personal speculations and debates on any unfounded, unreported possibilities..

The points I have made are in fact fully supported by the article itself. I needn’t make any assumptions or speculations in support of the points I have made. It’s really as simple as; the article is a farce, and qualifies as good propaganda and nothing more. Don’t tell me that you drank the Kool Aid and now you’re defending it?

It’s not worthy of anyone’s time to debate a whole bunch of unfounded conjectures. I am taking the BLM report and the Modoc Record article on the report at its face…. and it’s just nonsensical.

The BLMs position is just so stupid! If the 23,000 acres of land cannot support 50 horses, how in God’s name can it support 1200+ cows, plus hundreds of big-game animals??? How?? And if that’s the case, and the land that was designated for the wild horses, has trouble supporting just the horses, then why would the BLM allow 1,278 cows plus calves to also graze the same land? Take about obtuse management practices! That’s one for the book!

As the article says, the area is called: “The 23,000 acre Carter Reservoir wild horse Herd Management Area” for a reason!  Note the keywords ‘wild horse’… it’s not called the ‘23,000 acre cattle grazing area'; nor is it called the ‘the 23,000 acre tribal food zone’. This land is public land that was set aside by a Congressional Act for the ‘wild horses’.

They (the BLM and the Modoc Record) have very clearly inferred that the 23-thousand acres of land at the Carter Reservoir cannot support 50 horses (they are ‘starving’ and ‘thirsty’)!  I have to say that if 23,000 acres works for grazing 1278 cows, calves and hundreds of big-game animals, it’s a scientific impossibility that the same land cannot support and allow 50 wild horses to winter-over; or, that somehow 50 horses are the reason why this vast area of land is over-grazed. Any such assertions, based upon the facts presented by the BLM themselves through the Modoc Record, amounts to a monumental pile of dung.

There is only TWO logical assumptions that can follow which are factually supported using the BLM/Modoc Record’s own facts:

1. The BLM is allowing the land to be severely overgrazed by permit ($) grazing (follow the money and you always find where the bad smell originates) to the point where the land cannot sustain a lousy 50 head of horses!  This IS total and complete mismanagement of the lands.

2. The BLM and the Cattlemen don’t care to have any horses on the land that was specifically set aside for them (remember the title of the land IS: “The 23,000 acre Carter Reservoir wild horse Herd Management Area”)… so this is how they deal with that; invent a situation where the horses must be removed. Again, mismanagement of the lands and the Protected horses by the BLM, and this may even amount to a fraud being perpetrated against the American trust; this is public land, not private cattle-ranchers land.

There is another very important fact that is often overlooked:

There are thousands of big-game animals that also live out there at Carter area (deer, elk, antelope) who also need grazing and water and the ability to winter-over. These animals are important to the recreational hunting businesses, which arguably provide a very significant amount of revenue to local and federal economies. If the 50 horses can’t hack it, these important big-game animals are also in trouble too! And that means hunters are being screwed-over by the over-grazing of the public land by commercial cattle! I don’t know about you, but I like hunting as does all of my family, and from that standpoint alone, the BLM is yet again, mismanaging the lands and assets!

There are no other logical conclusions that can be drawn using just the ‘facts’ that the BLM and the Modoc Record have published. None!  That is unless you want to begin your debate with ‘Once Upon A Time’.  And I really don’t have the time or desire to hear or debate any fairy tales.

The problem is crystal clear, and it’s not about 50 wild horses. 

Best Regards,

Bill
Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

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Published by Frank Biggs on 12 Jan 2015

Carter Reservoir Wild Horses Face Starvation – Part 1

This picture of Wild Horses was taken by Laura Simpson 2014

This picture of Wild Horses was taken by Laura Simpson 2014

 

I think that hunters are getting screwed by overgrazing of cattle by the industrial cattle ranchers… family ranchers have their own lands for the most part so they aren’t the culprits … and any hunter knows that if 50 lousy horses are being starved-out by over-grazing of cattle, then the big-game animals, the ones we pay big money to hunt, are having their numbers decimated along with the wild horses!  So we battle-on!  Cheers! Bill

 

 

TO: The Editor – Modoc County Record News
RE: Your article titled: “
Carter wild horses face starvation, thirst

I respectfully request that you publish my response to the aforementioned article as an OP-ED.

Let’s consider the so-called facts stated in your ‘report’, which is contained herein below in its entirety to keep my response in context: 

First:
The article states there are 1278 cows plus calves grazing on the Carter Reservoir horse management area that is shared with a mere 50 horses. Yet, 50 lousy horses are supposedly starving! Do the cows eat dirt and absorb water by osmosis from the atmosphere? Why would ranchers even want to graze 1278 cows on lands that cannot even support a lousy 50 head of horse? And what about all the hundreds of other animals who live on that same land;deer, elk, antelope, etc.?
Secondly:
If the grazing pressure on the ‘public’ lands by commercial cattlemen is mismanaged by the BLM to the point where the cattle eat everything, leaving nothing for a few horses, deer, elk and antelope to winter-over on, who’s fault is that? How does this impact the hundreds of game animals? And we have had some decent rains lately, so water over the past couple months shouldn’t have been an issue. Are the deer, elk and antelope also migrating by the droves onto private lands as well? And are they also being trapped and transported anywhere? If so, then where? If not, are they also starving and dehydrated as well? Could this be the ultimate result of ‘over-grazing’ of public lands?The BLM has some serious explaining to do on this one for sure! Logic says the problem clearly resides with the BLM; either they are simply misrepresenting what’s going on to the public, so protected horses, which produce no revenues or taxes can be removed and are subsequently destroyed by slaughter; or, they are mismanaging the public assets (the land and the horses are public assets); or, a combination of both of the foregoing.
Third:
The BLM knows exactly how many horses were removed due to the ‘reportedly’ austere starvation conditions (16 horses), yet they have no idea as to how many cows were removed?? (if any)… What?  Is that how you ‘manage’? You count one thing but not the other? Can you imagine the response of any small business owner if a cashier only counted the pennies and forgot to count the quarters in his till before he turned it in at the end of the shift. This is a much bigger deal!
Fourth:
If the Carter Reservoir management area is such a horrid area (lack of forage and water) why would any rancher ever want to graze any cattle and tender calves there? The report you have published is by its own stated facts highly contradictory and illogical.It’s a sad state of affairs in America when people are so propagandized by special interest groups that they will swallow almost anything at face value without applying even the slightest token of logical analysis. Isn’t that the job of a good journalist?In conclusion, the article as you have published it, is on its face a farce.

Respectfully,
Capt. William E. Simpson II – USMM Ret.
Semper Veritas / Semper Paratus

 

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