Hunting in Oregon 1994
I hadn't hunted with BlairDeshong since the Red
barn experience in 1985. The year is 1994 and I called him to
see if maybe the party, I am now hunting with, might come to Oregon
and do another hunt with him. He said that would be a good idea,
for he knew of a herd in the Beulah range, that had promise, and
he needed a few more in his party to make it a good hunt. I called
the rest of our party and asked them if they were game, in which
they seemed excited about it. The first thing they asked was !
Is there elk there? My reply was ! Blair said that if you didn't
get one it would be your fault. Meaning; they were there and it's
up to you to hit them.
We had already planned a hunt in Colorado, for that season, but
the Oregon season just happened to come in a couple days after
the close of the Colorado season, which I had already discovered.
So, what we did was plan to hunt both states in the same year.
We would pack up as quick a possible, from the Colorado hunt,
and beat it up to Oregon, which is about a 12 hour drive, if we
hot foot it. We go through another time change, which gives us
another hour, and we are now three hours behind the eastern time
we left in West Virginia. The time difference is not noticable
because the daylight runs concurrent with the time, as it does
in the east.
We were traveling from the Colorado hunt to Oregon, that trip,
when talk started about if there were any elk there, and so forth.
We were in the vicinity of Rock Springs Wyoming, at the time of
this conversation. Since I was the one that had made contact with
Blair, the questions seemed to be directed toward me. Questions
like: Do you really think we will find any elk there? What will
be the lay of the land? How many will be in the whole party? etc.
You can imagine what other questions were asked. Now bare in mind
that this is the first time for two of our group to go to Oregon.
Herb and I were there on the Red Barn Hunt in 1995. This is the
first that Don Sharp, A. C. Bohrer, Herb Bohrer, and myself, Dale
Truax had made this trip together to Oregon. I responded to their
questions with what I knew and that was only what Blair had told
me. A. C. said that everything that was being said sounded to
good to be true. We never had much luck in Colorado. I had been
there probably fifteen times and never got but two shots and they
were imposible ones.
We arrived at Blairs house at about 5:30 AM on Wednesday morning
and slept in the truck until some house lights came on later.
We were greeted and welcomed into their house where we talked,
drank coffee and played with the dog for awhile. We then all went
out for breakfast and fellowshiped for a couple of hours. The
rest of the day was filled with getting our licenses, food , filling
gas cans and propane tanks and other supplies that were needed
for the hunt. After a good rest, in comfortable beds, at their
house that night, we headed up to the hunting grounds where we
would set up camp, as it is called. Putting up tents and getting
everything inside out of the weather is not an easy job. I didn't
have the cooking trailer then. By dark we had enough accomplished
to get supper and get ready for bed. I always take along some
homemade vegetable soup, to have a quick heat up meal for that
night, knowing that sometimes there isn't time to make a complete
The next day, Friday, we finish choirs around camp and do some
scouting, not getting into the places where we actually hunt,
but looking for sign etc. Friday evening and night is time for
Blair to go over the next day's hunt and to talk and tell stories.
Before 6:00 AM on Saturday morning, first day of Oregon elk season,
we start up the mountian. We camped at about 4200 feet and will
be hunting at about 7500 to 8000 feet. Where we camp seems almost
like summer time compared to what the weather is on top of that
mountian. Blair has in mind where he wants each person as a stander
for the drive that will take place as soon as daylight comes.
He drops off standers all along one side of the portion in quest
and takes the drivers on to the top and around to the other side.
I am the last stander dropped off before he takes the drivers
on to the top. It is dark as pitch and I don't see anything more
then 20 feet away. I ask, as I jump out of the rig; where am I
supposed to be watching, because I have never seen this territory
before in my life. I don't know the lay of the land or where they
are driving from, or too.. He says: "Just watch around your
stand" . Like - Yea.- OK.
Well ! I waited till it was light enought to see all around and
picked a spot back off the trail (road) next to an old broken
off snag of a large tree. I kicked the snow away and set my gun
against it and done my thing. "I watched around me".
Now, I'm watching 360 for whatever and off to the south, of where
I am standing, which is back over across the trail where I just
came from, there is a backbone ridge that comes down off the mountian
to where the small growth trees are. Above that is big timber
and below are small trees and brush where a forest fire had burned
a few years earlier. As I am looking at this particular place,
I am thinking if I were a West Virginia White Tail Deer, that
is where I would come down because it is a natural sneak away
place for an escape. I turned my head to look around and right
back to that place and there, right where I thought would be the
right place for them to make a get away, were three mule deer
making there way down off the top. The drivers had pushed them
out and that was the first I knew where and what was happening.
Just a couple minutes later and here come the elk. The first was
the old lead cow, followed by a small bull and some more cows.
That was at about 320 yards away, by range finder. I looked to
the right of them and there stood mister big. A nice 6x6 and he
had done spotted me. I had already readied the 700 BDL - 7mm and
was on him in an instant. I was intending to use the old snag
for a rest but had to pull away from it for a clear shot which
now I was completely off hand at 425 yards. The shot was not a
perfect shooting angle but was good enough. He was standing looking
at me at a quarter angle with his left side showing. I held just
above the point of his shoulder blade and tripped her. At least
that was my intention. At that distance and off hand requires
a lot of luck. After the shot he reversed himself and went back
up the mountian with several cows. That made me wonder if I even
hit him because a shot in the place I was aiming should have dropped
him. The bullett would have taken out the spinal cord.
I didn't go after him but stood my guard spot until the drive
was over. While standing there I could tell where the progress
in the drive was by the shots that I heard. There were shots from
the drivers, and the headers. I must have stood there most of
two hours before anybody came around with a pickup. Finally; Blair
showed up, rolling down the window and said. Where's he at? I
shrugged my shoulders and said, "I don't know". "He
went that-a-way". He told his brother-in-law, "Jack",
to jump out and help find him. We went to where he was when I
shot and there was no doubt that I hit him.There was plenty of
evidence and a heavy blood trail in the snow to follow. We climbed
to the top, about 600 to 700 yards, and found where he had stopped.
There was a pool of blood there the size of ten gallon hat. I
said, to Jack, "He won't be far now". We only went about
another 150 yards and found him. It was the biggest elk by far,
that gang had ever taken. When Jack saw that big rack, he yelled
and spewed language no one should ever hear. He was "almost"
as happy as I was. I discovered that my bullet had almost missed
because from the time I pulled the trigger and the time the bullet
got there he decided to get out of there. He had just started
to turn his head, to whirl away, when the bullet hit him right
in the throat, taken out his windpipe and all the main arteries.
Of the four of us that made the trip there to hunt with them,
three made a kill on the very first drive and one was A.C., the
one that wondered, on the way there, if it could be possible if
there were elk in Oregon. I harvested a real nice 6x6. A.C got
a 5x5 and Don got a cow. Herb got another cow the next day. Four
for four. A lot of meat.
The cow that Herb got was a story in itself that started quite
a stir within the gang. We were beyond the moonscape, that's a
place about a mile above where I shot the 6x6 the day before.
All the guys were on a hunt and concealed inside the woods. The
moonscape is bare ground, from a forest fire, and a clear round
knob about a mile across. Blair was coming back to join the rest
of us, after dropping off the drivers, when he was just about
50 yards from the woods, there came 2, 6x6 bulls across the top
of that moonscape. Now, Blair is a pretty good shot but somehow
he missed both of them. Herb was the top header, hearing the shooting,
stepped out to see what was a going on out on the moonscape. Blair
was telling him all about the happening when a cow came following
in their tracks. Herb, kneeling on one knee, started calling out
ranges on his rangefinder scope to Blair. 800 yards --700 yards--600yards--500yards--450yards.
It was about that time that Herb had a brain wave that said to
him. Hey ! Your on him. Why don't you shoot. With that, he tightened
up on the trigger of that old wartime, 270 Winchester and watched
that old cow go tumbling end over end in the snow and sliding
right up to the tailgate of Blairs rig, that sat down along the
road below.When the rest of the gang finally got the drive over
and heard about the happening, it was heard of one of the Oregon
gang members. Where the H_____ are these guys from, anyway. Tennessee?
We thought they would be bringing us out some more tags to fill
and here they are using ours. It seems that some had plans of
their own that we didn't know about.
Although we have naver had that kind of luck since that hunt,
we have brought home several tons of elk meat to put in the freezers
back here in West Virginia, from later hunts. And I can tell you
this. Not a scrap goes to waste. Because we all love the taste
of good elk.
Some pictures-- pic
#1 - pic #2
- pic #3