Published by Frank Biggs on 13 Dec 2013
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!