“We’ve shot bucks on opening day. We’ve shot them back to back days. Heck, about the only thing we haven’t done is shoot two in a day.” -Me
Four days later….
Tuesday of the first week of Oregon’s archery season, my hunting partner Steph and I, awoke before the rising sun. We readied ourselves in head to toe camo; Steph fired up the water for coffee, as I made sure all the cameras, batteries and memory cards were in place.
The sounds tell me its hunting camp, in August…there is a certain still that comes over a landscape, just before the sun crests the horizon; where the cricket chirps start to dwindle, along with the squawks of night owls overhead. The last coyote yips fade, as a chickadee’s peeps announce the new day; the water boils, the silverware clanks against the metal mugs, the sopping of a pop-tart into fresh coffee…it’s all familiar to me, a place and time I wait for all year.
Conversations aren’t exactly earth-shaking at five in the morning; they usually start or finish with a yawn.
“Damn, I slept like shit,” I said to Steph, “I think I slept about 45 minutes all night. Cold too.”
“Really? I slept pretty good, but man you snored like a grizzly bear.”
“I dont know why we got this instant coffee…eh, at least we have creamer.”
“I swear I heard something walking outside the tent…I think.”
“Alright, so, pshht, acccht, DAMN, that coffee is still hot! Anyway, where do you think we should go?”
“Um, I dont know, what were you thinking?”
“Up to you man, you’re shooting.”
“Well yeah, but what do you think is our best bet?”
“Well…we do have a couple good options, hit up high where we have been seeing those bucks, or go down low were we saw those bucks…”
Well, on the fourth day of the season, we decided to head down towards the creek bottoms, where’d we had been catching bucks feeding, in the early mornings. We hopped into the Toyota, and headed off our pocket of ridge top timber, and down into the willow-filled creek bottoms below. The moonlight was shining brightly enough that we drove without headlights, bouncing our way down towards where we wanted to glass from. We saw a handful of does along the way; quite grubby looking, half shed out of their red summer coats.
We stopped, and began to scour the lush lowlands; above, on the high, bald ridges, the sun began to shoot an orange blanket of light across the the landscape. For the first morning, our warm breath wafted up, and fogged our binos…always a good sign fall is near.
Almost immediately Steph said, “There’s 3 does down there next to the willows,”…which was followed by “, and there’s two bucks, both forkies,” with much more excitement in his voice. They were around 200 yards away, with not much surrounding them, other than a small rise which had a couple small scrub junipers. He quickly grabbed his bow, and I readied the camera gear; we made a plan that we would we loop around to the left, and try and get the trees between us and the deer and wait for them to walk up or down the creek.
It seems that when you finally find an animal you want to harvest, and you start “trying” to be quiet, every rocky crunch and every dry stick pop sounds as if they’re amplified over a loud speaker. That said; we marched our way around the ridge above the deer, and got to within 100 yards pretty quickly. We’d move up five yards, stop, glass…repeat…trying to get to the trees, which would put us within 60 yards of the bucks. However, when we got to 80 yards, the bigger of the two bucks threw his head up, looked right at us and took off bounding up the creek bottom. Not knowing what happened, the other deer scattered; the smaller buck walked right out into the open, and I ranged him at 83 yards. With a little coaxing he stopped, and as I steadied the camera, Steph aimed, and shot. We both watched as the arrow dropped into his shoulder and made that distinct, “hollow box” sound. He jumped up, bucked like a bronco, made a quick forty yard dash, and expired on film.
Steph looked at me with disbelief, it wasn’t even 6:30 on the fourth day of season and he was tagged out…he was so stoked to have a pile of awesome venison headed to the butcher! I couldn’t have been happier to be there, and be able to get both his bull and buck on video…and make memories we’ll never forget!
During a morning like this, it is so apparent to me that God provides us with opportunities now how we expect them to happen, but rather, how they are supposed to. Setting out, to notch our tags, we had two punched and it was early on the fourth morning…pretty awesome.
But there was still time left to do some more glassing, and hopefully locate another buck