Doing quite a bit of editing work, both photography and video, right now…very pleased with it so far. Heres a couple for Cameron Hanes, the BEAST MODE bowhunter, and champion archer Levi Morgan; as well as a great deer from Tyler Abert and black bear from Jeremy Johnson!
Trailer for the upcoming short, “The Opportunists”, by Mountain Made Media (M3). This is going to be a real special one, cant wait to share it with everyone!
3 tags punched in 4 days, public land, Oregon
Thoroughly enjoying my GoPro
Part II, continuing on from the time after Steph shot his buck, making him “tagged out”.
A little history; coming into this season, I had decided to hold out for a “good buck”. “Good buck” has a lot of different interpretations…it could be a 170″ buck, it could be a 24″ buck, it could be a three point or better…to me, I wanted something I could be proud of. Not like thats different from years past, but I wanted to be able to whack a buck that would make me happy.
Steph and I loaded his buck into the truck, looked at each other and shared a laugh. “Well, I guess that means I’m tagged out,” he chuckled, “lets go see if we can find you a buck!”
We hopped in the Toyota, and headed up to a basin that had a few small seeps and a big aspen draw. We quickly glassed up a couple deer, which we decided were does and headed further up the draw. Steph and I both were focused on the ridge adjacent to us, and looking 200-600 yards away; after meticulously picking through the draws and shadows, we hadn’t turned anything up…then I noticed something down in the dry creek bed below us.
“Right there Steph,” I said, pointing down at the creek. From what I could see, there was three deer, but all we could see were the hind ends…I scanned further to the right, and saw a forked horn buck looking up at us.
“Buck! Right there!” I “calmly” hissed at Steph.
As soon as we saw him, he dropped into the creek with the does and fawns; Steph and I made our move down the hill. I quickly nocked an arrow and Steph got the camera ready to go.I ranged where the buck had been standing, 74 yards…within me effective and comfortable range…then, as my heart raced, and my arrow danced with nerves, I got to thinking…
Was this the buck I really wanted? I knew he was just a small fork, but I was nervous and excited as if it was my first time hunting. Would I have loved to have hammered the 160″ plus 3×4, I missed two days prior? Absolutely…but that opportunity had passed. I thought about it…Steph probably wanted to hold out for a “good” buck after shooting an elk on the second day, but with a baby and wife at home, he did the right thing and made good on his opportunity. He eagerly sat behind me, with the video camera in hand to catch the whole thing…what more could I ask for; to have that opportunity, in God’s country, with my huntin’ buddy?
My best friend was at home, waiting for me, my beautiful fiancé…ever supportive of my hunts and expeditions; would it be fair to say to her, “As much as I would have loved to come home and see your beautiful smile, that buck just wasn’t what I wanted,” that surely wasn’t a phone call I wanted to make. She has sacrificed a bunch for me to chase my dreams.
To my family and grandmother, who have never missed a beat in supporting my endeavors…I owed it to everyone who have supported me, to make good on this opportunity. I had already shot a big antelope with my bow, on video…and this would leave me with a couple weeks to chase elk; aside from all that, I was envisioning a freezer full of meat.
I worked all year for an opportunity, and if this buck presented me with such, I would make good on it.
Just as I finished the conversation with myself, in my head….the buck walked up onto the bank of the closer side of the creek, and started feeding on a bitterbrush. I looked back at Steph and gave him a head nod upward (“Got him?”) which was returned by a head nod downward (“Yup”). I turned my attention back to the buck, and slowly pulled the rangefinder to my eye…55 yards. I moved my Montana Black Gold sight down to my mark, clenched my release and pulled back my bow.
If you would have told me prior to the hunt I’d shoot a “small buck”, I wouldn’t have agreed…but in that moment there was no better buck on the mountain, than the one standing broadside in front of me.
I aimed, as the pin danced around the shoulder, and came to a stop right behind the crease, and just high of center (for the downhill shot). The buck stared at me, and kept staring as I watched the arrow arc and drop right to where my pin had been. He jumped up, hopped the creek and made a quick 60 yard dash. It was all over in a few seconds.
Watching the shot, the hit, and the buck quickly expire…there wasn’t a happier guy on the hill. Sure, I wasn’t going to have to make a run to the taxidermist, but in the big picture of things, that doesn’t matter. What matters is that, on that sage covered hill in eastern Oregon, on the 28th of August, I was presented an opportunity….for which, I couldn’t be more grateful!
Being able to make those calls to my fiancé and family, and share the excitement, is what it’s all about. We took care of our two bucks, and headed into town with a cooler plum full of venison, two happy bowhunters.
I learned a very important lesson on the hill that day; this life I’m living, and the things it in (loved ones, family and friends) matter so much more than how many inches of antler you bring home. Having a good relationship with your significant other, family and friends is far more important spending weeks on end away from them chasing a “good buck”. Be thankful for everything you have, cherish it, and never take it for granted…take advantage of every opportunity life presents you with.
As I embark on a new journey in life, which will be getting married in October, I couldn’t be more thankful for the lessons bowhunting has taught me and I couldn’t be more blessed, as I get to marry my best friend.
Life is good, God is good!
“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