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Timberstalker
11-20-2012, 05:03 PM
My 2012 season was not what i was expecting. Oregon has been fairly good to me over the years as far as hunting goes. But as time goes on, I find it harder to find success. One would think that afte hunting some areas for over 20 years it would get easier?

I hunted deer a total of 18 days. I saw a total of 13 bucks most of those were one day when I ran into an area that held 9 bucks. None of them ever let me get into bow range.
I also hunted elk in the Cascades with a rifle, I have hunted this area for many years. I typicaly don't have a problem finding elk there. This year I hunted 7 straight days and never saw an elk.

I sometimes wonder if I am trying too hard, I hunt harder than most people I know, I always have. But lately it seems no matter how hard I hunt, I see less game now than I used to.

I have respect for the people on this site, I wonder what you think. I know I'm not a bad hunter, I've had too much success for a bad hunter. Should 18 days of deer hunting and 7 days elk hunting end up with tag soup? Do I need to start hunting out of state?

AKaviator
11-20-2012, 06:21 PM
I have several relatives on my wife's side of the family in Eastern Oregon. I deer hunted it once but I didn't see a buck, not even a spike. I read the Oregon hunters magazine and they almost always paint a dismal picture of their deer/elk herds. I drew a tag this year and didn't bother to even buy it, the hunting there isn't worth the cost of flying from Alaska and buying the tag.
I know at least 2 different guys there that admit to herding elk off of public land using airplanes and ATV's and onto land either owned or leased by them, many thousands of acres. They call and report anyone for trespassing that might try and pursue the elk.
I can still find some birds to hunt there and still get preference points in case I change my mind someday, but I sure won't be spending much of my money to hunt big game there, at least not anytime soon.

Fink
11-20-2012, 06:40 PM
Sometimes, I think a guy can get in a rut, and when you're continually not seeing game, you start getting down on yourself. Then, when you're hunting, you stop looking as hard (cause you're not gonna see anything anyways), which, or course means you're not gonna see anything.

Last year, I had a brutal year, going about 6 straight days of not seeing a deer, which is completely unheard of around here. Then my season hadn't been very good up until the point that I killed my nicest bow kill to date, with 2 days left in the season. The night before I killed my deer, I went back home and spent the evening with my wife, just to get my head back on straight. I got back in the woods with renewed energy, and a better view of what was really important, which is the time we get to spend in the outdoors. Then, while just enjoying the woods for what it is, I smoked a giant 8 point.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself, and enjoy the hunt for what it is.

Bitterroot Bulls
11-20-2012, 07:07 PM
Think of it this way:

You got 18 unsuccessful days out of the way to your next buck. You are 7 days closer to your next bull.

The poor times make the good times that much sweeter.

AKaviator
11-20-2012, 07:19 PM
Perfectly said Bitterroot, Thanks!

CrimsonArrow
11-20-2012, 07:23 PM
I think we all need some tough seasons to make us appreciate the good ones.

Eberle
11-20-2012, 09:47 PM
Every seasoned hunter goes through a tough year. Six years ago I was pumped about getting to take the whole week of muzzleloader off here in OK. My work schedule has never allowed that. It turned out extremely hot & windy most of the week. I saw very few deer seven consecutive days. On day 8, (day before it closed) I killed a nice 8 point right at sunrise. I was walking back to the house to get my truck & there was 5 does standing behind my shop. I snuck up there & shot the biggest doe she ran toward the house & died about 50 yards from my backdoor! If you stay hooked up it will pay off.

mav_7mm
11-20-2012, 09:49 PM
I hear ya stalker. My dad, brother and I hunted two weeks for elk this year and saw two cows. While my brothers boss road hunted the area around where we were hiking and shot a spike. We hunted hard and got nowhere. But Bitterroot said it best, we are that much closer (hopefully).

RUTTIN
11-21-2012, 07:34 AM
I look at it this way, any day out hunting is better than a good day at work. Sometimes the areas we know the best the animals are just not there that year. Some areas I have hunted for years that produce year after year just don't have game in them any more. I don't know why, so I have had to learn new areas. Maybe you just need to move a little and see where they have gone.

Doe Nob
11-21-2012, 08:16 AM
Animals move around, weather patterns change, fires burn, every year is different. Could just be an off year, but if its getting worse year after year consistently, its time to move to some different areas.

Last year was my worst year ever, ate tag soup for all 4 non-resident tags in 4 different states. This year I only picked up 2, but have filled them and am itching to find something late season to go do next month. The droughts make it that much sweeter when you get back on a good stretch.

Timberstalker
11-21-2012, 08:29 AM
I agree that the worst day hunting is better than the best day working! I did hunt some new areas for deer, my old stomping grounds just don't produce well anymore, everything is overgrown now. Without any new logging the west Side of the Cacades its a jungle. The elk hunting, pressure is what messed up my elk hunt I believe. It just happend that this year more people decided to hunt the same are I was commited to. Most years "my spot" only gets a few people the first day or 2 then they move on. This year there were 10 other hunters that decided to hunt there the entire week too. One other hunter shot a 5 point 300 yrds in front of me opening day, it could have been me just as easy. On day 5 a herd moved in, but the other hunters ran them right out of the country as soon as they came in. I did have close encounters, I guess luck was not on my side this year. I am looking forward to 2013, I have enough points to draw some good tags. Hopefully luck is on my side next year. Thanks for all your words of wisdom.

Old Hunter
11-21-2012, 08:39 AM
When my dad was teaching me to hunt he always told me................"Son, the hunt is everything. Enjoy it more than the kill. The kill is just a bonus."


You need to relax, and enjoy the hunt more. To me, shooting a trophy doesn't mean I had a good hunt if it wasn't fun.

btw An easy hunt is never a good hunt for me.

Fish
11-21-2012, 08:40 AM
Timber,
I had the same kind of season as you up here in WA. I hunted 6 days of the reg season and 2 of the late whitetail with nothing to show for it. What made it even worse, I saw very few deer and just one buck in all those days. I was thinking my hunting MOJO was gone or old age, 62, has dulled my hunting skills. The hunting here in WA is getting worse every year. When I moved here in 1984 I had great success and killed a buck alsmost every year for 6 or so years in a row and thats with just my upstate NY whitetail skills. Never hunted the mts or big clear cuts or packed in any whare to hunt back there. This is the third year in a row with no deer in WA. I don't know why I'm so bumed not getting a piss poor little 3x3 in WA, but I am. The bright side is, I killed my tallest antelope in WY along with two does and I hope to fill a leftover cow tag in WY this Dec.
I hope this will renew my faith in myself as a hunter.

jenbickel
11-21-2012, 08:54 AM
I agree, I think we all occasionally go through a rut. This year I made a stupid mistake and didn't put in for my tags on time and have hunted general all year. I too hunt harder than most people. I'm not afraid to go above and beyond for what I want. I saw two elk this whole season. One was the bull that I shot and never found and the other was an injured calf right before I shot my bull. I never saw another elk and I hunted almost all month. It makes me frustrated as a hunter but as I look back on all my pictures from the hunt, it was a great time. I saw country I have never seen before and got in some AMAZING workouts! Lol. I heard a wolf howl which is an awesome thing to hear but also a little creepy. It was my first time of hearing a wolf howl in the wild and it's one of those things I will never forget. Kind of like the first time I had an elk bugle in my face. (Although as pretty as his howl was it would be much better to be getting him mounted right now.. Stupid wolves) I've learned that it really isn't the kill that makes the hunt.. It's everything that goes along with it and the kill is just an added bonus. This year I didn't get my bonus.. Lol but I know that if I ever have to hunt general area elk again, I know the area so much better and I will hopefully be successful in killing something.

Old Hunter
11-21-2012, 10:15 AM
I agree, I think we all occasionally go through a rut. This year I made a stupid mistake and didn't put in for my tags on time and have hunted general all year. I too hunt harder than most people. I'm not afraid to go above and beyond for what I want. I saw two elk this whole season. One was the bull that I shot and never found and the other was an injured calf right before I shot my bull. I never saw another elk and I hunted almost all month. It makes me frustrated as a hunter but as I look back on all my pictures from the hunt, it was a great time. I saw country I have never seen before and got in some AMAZING workouts! Lol. I heard a wolf howl which is an awesome thing to hear but also a little creepy. It was my first time of hearing a wolf howl in the wild and it's one of those things I will never forget. Kind of like the first time I had an elk bugle in my face. (Although as pretty as his howl was it would be much better to be getting him mounted right now.. Stupid wolves) I've learned that it really isn't the kill that makes the hunt.. It's everything that goes along with it and the kill is just an added bonus. This year I didn't get my bonus.. Lol but I know that if I ever have to hunt general area elk again, I know the area so much better and I will hopefully be successful in killing something.

You've sort of got it, but why did you get frustrated? You should have had a smile on your face the whole time you were hunting. It's suppose to be fair chase hunting. The animals have a right to win too.

Some should get a job in a slaughter house if all you want to do is kill animals. (not pointed at you Jen)

Timberstalker
11-21-2012, 10:28 AM
Some should get a job in a slaughter house if all you want to do is kill animals. (not pointed at you Jen)

I'm not saying I didn't enjoy every day I got to hunt. Some of my best days hunting in my life I never squeezed the trigger. But I always strive to at least have an opotunity, that doesn't mean I will take it. I think I set my expectations a little to high for the areas I hunted. I did learn some new deer hunting for the future though which is something I was hoping to find. I will admit, I want to get a deer or elk when ever I have a tag, but I also want to hunt for it. I'm not all about the kill, but after working so hard I guess I get a little down on myself wondering what I did wrong to go without an oportunity.

Old Hunter
11-21-2012, 11:01 AM
I'm not saying I didn't enjoy every day I got to hunt. Some of my best days hunting in my life I never squeezed the trigger. But I always strive to at least have an opotunity, that doesn't mean I will take it. I think I set my expectations a little to high for the areas I hunted. I did learn some new deer hunting for the future though which is something I was hoping to find. I will admit, I want to get a deer or elk when ever I have a tag, but I also want to hunt for it. I'm not all about the kill, but after working so hard I guess I get a little down on myself wondering what I did wrong to go without an oportunity.

Just keep in mind the animals are trying harder than you to stay alive. They have more at stake.

When an elk/muley out smarts me. I give them a wave and a smile, and say....Good job. You win this time.

So, don't get down on yourself. Enjoy the whole experience.

Whisky
11-21-2012, 11:38 AM
Something I was reminded of again this year is to just try to have fun, enjoy the moment, keep a positive attitude as best you can, all that stuff. A guy can't control the weather. You can't control other hunting pressure. You can't control the rut. You can't control many things. But you can control your attitude, to a point. I've been down. This year we were down. Had a horrible week in Wyoming. Mid way through the trip my brother and I were ready to kill each other. Finally, enough was enough, and we tried to salvage the trip and changed our tune and tried to make the most of it. I was going to frame the tag as a reminder, but we went back 2 weeks later, with a positive attitude, and filled our tags.

Just because you hunt the hardest, hunt the longest, hunt the smartest, spend the money to hunt out of state, etc, you are NEVER guaranteed success. TOO HIGH OF EXPECTATIONS WILL RUIN A HUNT REAL QUICK!!! That's why it's hunting. Enjoy it for what it is.....Something I was, again, reminded of this year.

RUTTIN
11-21-2012, 12:21 PM
I learned a valuable lesson this year. My son was old enough to hunt this year, he chose to rifle hunt and I am a bowhunter. I took him to every spot that we ran into elk on the archery season and did not see a single elk in 10 days of hunting. He hiked my but off, going at least 10 miles a day. Elk were killed around us, but we never saw one. At the end of the hunt I told him I was sorry his old man couldn't find him an elk. He smiled at me and said dad I had the best time ever just getting to hunt and spend time with you. Sometimes it is the little things that remind you how much fun it is to just be out hunting. (still would have loved to kill something.)

Kevin Root
11-21-2012, 12:39 PM
We are trying to kill an animal in it's home and that's not always easy. Many times they win. They're outside in the rain 365 days of the year, trying to survive. While we are inside on couch or watching TV they're outside in the rain surviving and they're tough. If killing them was always easy they wouldn't call it hunting, they'd just call it killing.

I'm really thankful just to have the oppertunity and privlage when I'm able to just get out and try to hunt them.

I hope you all have an awesome upcoming Thankgiving everyone. It's good to reflect and reflect often on all that we are thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! :)

Bugling Bull
11-21-2012, 01:03 PM
I'm with Whiskey, to me its more about expectations. Kinda like a kid at Christmas who wants something so bad but doesn't get it and is disappointed. He doesn't see all the new toys he got, just see's what he didn't get instead. Over time he gets over it and is back at the tree next year to open those presents just like we are back in the woods doing what we all LOVE to do.

Old Hunter
11-21-2012, 01:32 PM
The secret is to get excited, and look forward to the hunt instead of the kill. Impossible to be disappointed that way.

ivorytip
11-21-2012, 02:06 PM
amen. latey, unless archery hunting, while hunting i go with the mindset of looking for a good place for a solid bear bait. everything beyond that is a much added bonus. if im working my @$$ off for an elk and dont see any i end up real bummed. if i find a good place to hunt bear and cross some fresh game sign im on cloud heaven.

Tracker
11-21-2012, 02:21 PM
With the amount of dry weather we had here in Oregon at the end of the summer and the amount of timber property closed. It was not as productive of a year for animals as years past. I was once told "if I judge my hunt by the success of killing animals then I'm hunting for all the wrong reasons" . It was a very good year.

Umpqua Hunter
11-21-2012, 03:20 PM
Timberstalker, you are right, Oregon is a VERY tough state to hunt. As you mentioned, due to the environmental issues, there in very little logging on public land, and it was those clear cuts and the reprod that were the deer and elk factories. Now those areas are so overgrown, they are nearly unhuntable. Also our predator problem (cougar) is out of control. I had game cam pics of four different cougars behind my house. I don't think people who haven't hunted the west side of the Cascades have any idea how tough it is to hunt here. If you can be successful here, you can be successful anywhere.

I have lived here in Oregon for the past 30 years and I now do 90% of my hunting out of state. My thoughts are, my time is money, so I'd rather pay for an out of state license and have a great hunt, with success, than hunt weeks in Oregon.

As you may know blacktail deer success tends to run around 15-20% success here, and elk success tends to be closer to 10% in most units statewide. In Wyoming for instance, there are numerous units with two, three, or four times that success rate. I have a general rule of thumb, and that is I know I work harder then the average hunter and can usually have about twice the success on average.

I have very very few good spots here in Oregon, on the other hand, I can pull into a brand new area in Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Arizona or Colorado with no prior on the ground scouting and in a couple days have a fairly good handle on the area I am hunting and have a great hunt. In 25 years of out of state hunting, we have rarely not filled a tag, and when we do, it is usually because we held out too long for a trophy.

I would certainly look into hunting opportunities outside of Oregon, particularly in the better limited entry draw areas.

Rock 2.0
11-21-2012, 03:54 PM
It took me years to get my first buck. I learned so much, and more importantly got to spend time doing what I loved the most. Hunting is less about the kill than the whole experience to me. Seeing the sunrise over the mountains in the morning, finding a new spot to work over, the heart pounding that comes with seeing nice deer. All that and more. Since that first buck I haven't failed to fill at least one deer tag, I think those years of trying and failing taught me ALOT! And I am thankful for every day in the woods. So stick with it, analyze this year and what you could have done differently and get pumped for next year!

Timberstalker
11-21-2012, 04:17 PM
It took me years to get my first buck. I learned so much, and more importantly got to spend time doing what I loved the most. Hunting is less about the kill than the whole experience to me. Seeing the sunrise over the mountains in the morning, finding a new spot to work over, the heart pounding that comes with seeing nice deer. All that and more. Since that first buck I haven't failed to fill at least one deer tag, I think those years of trying and failing taught me ALOT! And I am thankful for every day in the woods. So stick with it, analyze this year and what you could have done differently and get pumped for next year!

My story is a little differant. I started out being very successful. I killed my first buck when I was 12, by the time I was 21 I stopped shooting small bucks, it was getting too easy. Now im 42 and way more experianced than I was even 10 years ago. I have a hard time finding any buck now days. I took my step daughter on her first hunt this year. She was able to get a tag for a unit that takes at least 3 years to draw though the "first time hunter" program. I hunted her for 5 days as hard as she could stand without it becoming a job, she really wanted a deer! We saw one buck that she never got a shot at. For a unit that takes 3 years to draw, it shouldn't be that hard.

DryFlyGuy
11-21-2012, 09:19 PM
Based on the information you've provided, my opinion is that it should not be that hard. I would try hunting some different areas if I were you.

marcusvdk
11-28-2012, 09:10 PM
Well said bitterroot. I have also hunted much hard this year and been out hunting a lot more then normal and been unsuccessful so far getting close to the end of deer season out here in michigan. But my buddy goes out for 3 days gets 3 deer, his dad out for 2 days 2 deer and my dad out for 10 days and gets a deer (all but one was a doe). Sometimes its just not your year you just got to keep it up and keep trying you can't get something if your not out there. And being apart of other peoples success can help keep you encouraged to keep trying.

goatpoop
11-28-2012, 09:53 PM
This was a frustrating year for myself. I spent about 11 days during archery and did not hear a single bugle while hunting. I had gotten permission to hunt on limited public land for three days. On the first day I spotted about 30 elk in with a decent bull. The terrain was flat and there were some hills. I spent about an hour or two getting within two hundred yards. As I was crawling to close the distance, the ranchers came onto that section to gather their cattle. That caused the elk to spook out of there. I understand getting cattle out but that early in the day. The next I went into the timber area, ran into some elk and by the time I saw them it was too late. My scent was going towards them. The elk did not know what I was and walk out their. As soon as they were out sight I ran to slash pile and had elk cross in front of me. A 300' 6 point stepped out last as I pulled my bow back. As I looked at him through my pins, I realized he was too far away. 73 yards to be exact, way beyond my shooting abilities.
Luckily I was able to shoot a small bull during opening day of rifle. For some reason he was bugling all morning. I'm glad I could fill my freezer but I wanted to shoot an elk with bow. I will have to utilize my game cameras more and do more scouting this summer. I'm still looking for a new honey hole. Maybe I will check out all these new burns for game. Hopefully it will not be another smokey and hot fall again.

Jerry
11-28-2012, 10:33 PM
Where I live in NE Oregon there are literally 100's of deer within a mile of the city limits, because the wolves, bears and cougars have got them all pushed out of the mountains. It's almost a daily occurrence to see a 24" wide 4X4 walking thru town. But it's getting tough to find quality deer or elk in the mountains!

Timberstalker
11-29-2012, 08:44 AM
Where I live in NE Oregon there are literally 100's of deer within a mile of the city limits, because the wolves, bears and cougars have got them all pushed out of the mountains. It's almost a daily occurrence to see a 24" wide 4X4 walking thru town. But it's getting tough to find quality deer or elk in the mountains!

I know what you mean Jerry, same deal where I live . It doesn't have anything to do with wolves however. The deer feel safer in town than they do in the wild, you are just as likely to see a big buck in Bend than you will out side of town.

I spent 2 weeks on a sheep hunt not far from Joseph last year, I saw 2 nice bucks in that time frame. I acually was thinking about deer hunting there because thats more than I normally see in units closer to home. But that hunt takes 2 years to draw and its a 8.5 hr drive, then a 4 mile hike to where I saw the bucks.

I've decided to try Idaho for mule deer next year, I don't know where yet. Then Montana is 2014, I have a friend there that said to come on over. Oregon is becoming a waste of time, beside the fact that it takes at least 3 years to draw a Mule Deer tag anywhere I like to hunt. I have 3 step daughters that I'm trying to get involved in hunting. Its hard to keep them intersted when you have to wait 3 years to hunt for 13 days. Then when you do draw you have to work your butt off to find a deer. There's also too much pressure to be successful knowing you will have to wait 3 more years before you get another chance.

I am going to start building point in other states too, I have to do something differant. Wating 3 or more years for 13 days to hunt Mule deer isn't working for me. The way the points creep is It will be 4 years to draw a tag soon, and I'm just plain tired of hunting Blacktail in the thick stuff, which is the OTC alternative for rifle huning deer. I don't want to be the Non-resident that people don't want in their state, but I gotta do something!