July/August 2013 EBJ (Issue 78) - Being a self-employed contractor, trying to find the time to get out hunting is always a challenge. When I do get the time I am usually pursuing Roosevelt elk or the blacktail deer of western Oregon. I am an avid archery hunter and always choose my bow over a rifle. I just can’t get over that rush of drawing back my bow on a screaming bull elk or a rutting blacktail up close and personal. Hunting has been passed down our family through several generations.
I was just finishing up a job when I got a call from my younger brother, Trapper. He had been working out-ofstate for a while and was getting antsy to get out into the woods. He had already filled his rifle deer tag a few weeks earlier. Trapper has always been the type to help someone fill a tag, whether it is by calling or even scouting.
So when my brother called to tell me about some country he had in mind where I would have a good chance at filling my late archery season blacktail tag I could not pass it up. This is a spot where we had picked up some awesome blacktail sheds and had taken a few nice bucks in the past, one of which was a nice 4x4 with double drop tines. I was excited to say the least.
That evening I gathered my gear, waxed my bow string, and made sure everything was good to go. While putting my one-year-old son to bed I kissed him and told him Daddy was going to get a big buck for him tomorrow.
My brother arrived at my house at 5:00 that morning. We sat down over a map and cup of coffee and discussed our plan for the day. We looked over a few different options before choosing the spot we would like to try our luck. It was a long, timbered ridge with one side broken up by small side draws and some rocky terrain. That would be the spot.
We made the two-hour drive from my hometown, talking and reminiscing about hunting stories to kill the time. After turning up the road that would lead us to our hunting grounds we began to see deer as soon as light would allow. Seeing deer movement before we reached our spot was definitely a good sign.
We arrived at our spot about 20 minutes after light. The weather was perfect for any blacktail hunter. It was heavy rain on and off, a slight breeze, and damp ground to cover our noise. We geared up, sprayed down, and began our hunt into the big timber.
Right away the shredded cedars and firs assured us we were in the right spot. After about 30 minutes of slipping through the big open timber and picking up a couple of sheds we decided it was time to pick up the rattle horns and do our first setup. I walked up a heavily traveled game trail about 60 yards and set up behind a monster Douglas fir while my brother stayed behind with the rattle horns and grunt call in hand.
He began rattling with a grunt or two mixed in. He repeated this sequence a few times. I watched closely for any movement and listened even closer for any noise. There was just the sound of a few squirrels and the heavy drops of water off the tall trees.
We began side-hilling on a promising game trail. The deer sign stayed consistent as we made our way through the wet forest. I could not stop staring at the rubs and fresh sign in this area. We emerged in a small open area on the mountainside. My brother pointed ahead and told me to get behind that old fallen snag and he would stay back and rattle. I walked ahead, crouched down behind the old snag and nocked an arrow. I heard my brother grunt twice and then begin rattling.
For a full account of Ted's adventure, go to page 38 in the July/August 2013 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.