July/August 2013 EBJ (Issue 78) - Every year around the month of April I find myself poring over the Oregon big game synopsis trying to decide what hunts to apply for. Over the last 16 years I have been placing the number 199 (Point Saver) in the box next to "buck deer.” It seemed like every year saving points for this hunt was like having that special item on layaway and not being able pay it off or use it. I decided 2012 would be the year I cashed in my points, thus making my last payment on this special item.
When I found out the 2012 drawing results were posted online I couldn’t wait to find out what I had drawn. After what seemed like hours I finally managed to get onto the Oregon Fish and Wildlife website. Once there I navigated my way to the results page and there it was clear as day, outlined in big bold letters: Buck Deer – Successful . After 16 years of waiting I had finally drawn what many consider to be Oregon’s premier archery deer tag. I was overwhelmed by what possibilities lay ahead and immediately began structuring my plan of attack. After months of scouring maps, many phone calls to previous tag holders, and multiple trips over the mountain I felt I was as ready as I could be. Armed with the knowledge that this hunt was affected by weather and the mule deer rut I chose to take my chances the last three weeks of the season, November 7-30.
On the morning of November 7th I woke up early and eagerly packed my truck and soon I was on my way over the mountains. To say I was stoked would be an understatement. I have taken a few decent mule deer over the years but nothing I would call a true trophy. I was determined to do all I could to make the most of this opportunity.
I arrived at camp around noon, unpacked, and geared up for my first evening’s hunt. The weather was cool but sunny, not what I was hoping for, but I knew it could change any day. That first evening I chose to hunt lower in elevation and much closer to camp.
About two hours later I found myself on a perfect vantage point. I unloaded my pack, set up my tripod, and began to glass the surrounding areas. I saw lots of deer that evening, including 15-20 different bucks; however, none were what I would consider a shooter. As light faded I began the long hike back to camp. Staring into the sagebrush I couldn’t help but get the feeling that the larger bucks had not made their way out of the wilderness area. I made the decision that I would go higher in elevation the next day and much closer to the wilderness area.
The next morning I awoke, made some coffee, and was off. The day was filled with many deer sightings. I saw over 100 does and 20-30 bucks, some close and some through the spotter. Of those bucks I considered only two of them to be mature.
As the day went along it appeared that the weather was changing. Around 3 p.m. I walked out a long finger ridge to glass and after an hour into my glassing the temperature began to drop, the wind picked up, and it started to snow. This was just the change in weather I needed. I spent the rest of the day looking over country and formulating a game plan for the next day.
For a full account of Mark's adventure, go to page 34 in the July/August 2013 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.