Source: Camouflage Won’t Help IF…….
Source: Tips For More Grouse
It was another Saturday morning at the bike shop, coffee brewing, the smell of donuts and gasoline in the air, and the phone ringing. Only this call was not from a customer but a friend. My friend Lannie explained to me that the helicopter pilot Keith had shot and killed a nice wild hog on one of his properties, and they were checking to see if I wanted it. Well not being one to turn down free food (especially if it includes a wet and muddy recovery effort) I agreed that I would recover the pig and salvage the meat.
Needless to say, the bike shop closed a bit early and I set about getting my atv’s ready. By the time I got loaded and gassed up it was already afternoon. I took one of my employee’s with me for backup just in case I got stuck in the 2+ miles of mud I would have to get through and set off.
Allen and I arrive at the property a short while later and found a place near the hiway to park the truck. I nearly got stuck in the mud just pulling off the pavement. The weather here in central Oregon has been cold and very wet for the last month. We have had snow and frozen ground, followed by many days of rain and temps near 50. This in combination with the fact that the antelope area is known for it’s deep sticky mud, means we are in for an adventure.
We offloaded the atv’s, and gathered our things. It was spitting rain and to the south was a black wall of misery, that was surely headed strait for us so we had rain gear, necessary supplies for dressing out the swine, a tow strap to hook to the winch if one of us sank, and a six pack of Budweiser for luck.
We were using my ATV’s, two older Polaris. One a big boss 6×6 and the other a sportsman 4×4 so I was confident we would have no problems.
Finally ready we set out. When we were within sight of the area we stopped and scanned with binoculars, but no sign of more pigs. I had brought along my Sam Yang big bore air rifle just in case we got a chance at a second hog. There were cows grazing all through the area, but no wild pigs.
We proceeded into the meadow and noticed that the entire valley was running about an inch deep in water, which meant that the areas that would normally have water were a couple feet deep. We did our best to stay on the high ground as we made our way to the lower end of the meadow where we were told the pig would be and after about a mile of dodging deep spots we found it.
Now the work begins. The hog was a boar with impressive tusks for this area and a live weight approaching 300 lbs. We parked the ATV’s nearby and got to work dressing out and loading the pig on the 6X6.
The ride out went much as the ride in had. Dodging deep spots and mud holes. The damage the hogs had been doing was obvious to see, large patches of ground overturned, bushes bent and broken from rubbing and chewing. What a mess, and some of those holes they had rooted up were more than a foot deep. That should be fun to drive through with a tractor come summer when the ground is dry and hard.
When we got back to the truck we loaded the ATV’s and tied everything down, then enjoyed a well earned beer before heading back to town.
When we finally got the pig skinned and hung up headless, it weighed in at 128 lbs. Not huge but a good pig and well worth the effort.
When I cook up some pulled pork from him, I will let you know how it was.
Until then, thanks for reading, and I hope to see you in the field one day soon.
Okay, technically rabbits have no season in oregon but I like to wait until the showshoes start to turn white before I start hunting them.
So today I decided to check and see if they had begun to turn, unfortunately for them, they have.
Snowshoe rabbits, or technically hares are classified as unprotected mammals in oregon and are therefore huntable all year around and with any weapon, so they are perfect airgun quarry. I like them best during cold weather when they change their color from gray to white.
The change in color is triggered by the amount of light they are exposed to rather than the color of the environment they live in, so this time of year (just before the snow falls) you get a few of what I call earlybirds. Some of the rabbits go white before the snow, which makes them much easier to see.
Today I was hunting cedar thickets near Mt. Hood in the national forest. Snowshoe hares live at altitudes higher than 4000 ft. Although I have seen them lower in places, generally they are up pretty high in the mountains.
My stratagy for today was to find a likely looking patch and scout for signs of rabbit activity, then if I think they are there, wait for them to come out just before dark.
Well I waited as long as I could, then started stalking around the edges of the thicket. I never could sit still for very long. So after spooking 3 hares without getting a shot (they were still gray and very hard to see in the shadows), I came across a white one sitting under some brush 20yrds away. I had to aim a little low as my Hatsan AT44S long is sighted in a 50yrds, but I squeezed the trigger and Mr. bunny is in the bag.
I continued this tactic until dark then headed back to the truck. I spooked two more gray rabbits with the same results as earlier, and near the truck another white one, but this one was headed for Canada, he took off and never stopped. Smart bunny!
Well at least I got one for the pot, and I know where to look for more once the weather turns. I can’t wait to hunt them in the snow. Then it will be more tracking and spotting as they are nearly impossible to see in the snow.
Well again archery season is nearly here and I have not practiced nearly as much as I should have. I have gone out a few times to check the sights, and the flight of the new arrows I bought for this year, but as always work has kept me from really doing it up right.
I did get a chance Sunday to go scout an area which is new to me. It was recomended by a customer who like me is an avid airgunner, and has, over the last year or so become a friend as well. He told me the area was home to a good sized heard of elk, and also had a good population of badgers. Well I had to check that out didn’t I?
I got a late start as usual and drove halfway across oregon to get there, but by noon I was in the area recomended, the edge of the ochoco’s between Paulina and Burns. I had no idea where to go so I just sort of wandered about on the logging roads there.
I saw quite a few deer for that time of day, but the area was much dryer than I had hoped, and there was thick smoke in the air. I hope the fire is not too close as I would like to explore more of this area and perhaps hunt here.
As for the badgers, my friend was not lying. I saw several of them and as they are considered vermin here in oregon, I shot a couple for their hides. The hides are not worth much this time of year, but come winter when the fur is thicker they bring about $20.00 each. Still I was very please to have found such a populated spot, badgers are usually sparsely populated and spread over a very large area. Here however, there are badger holes every few hundred yards, and I’ll bet things really get rolling after dark as badgers are nocturnal.
I also spotted a cougar coming up from a small creek near Allison station, It was not a huge cougar, but a cougar none the less. I grabbed my rifle as I have a valid cougar tag and went after it to try and get a good shot. I went to where it entered the timber, but did not follow it in there. Instead I scanned the area using my scope and checked for it looking at me from some hide just inside the timberline. It may have kept going, but I doubt it. I was probably lurking just inside the cover of trees watching me. That’s the feeling I got anyway. So after scanning the hillside I went back to my truck.
As I was putting my rifle in the truck I saw movement a few yards away and guess what, another badger. This one was smaller than the last one, but really nice looking. Very clean and healthy considering the unrelenting heat we have had lately. Anyway, like I said. Jason wasn’t lying when he said there were a lot of badgers here.
He also said there were a lot of elk, but on this trip I did not see any. All in all some beautiful and very dry county here. There is water in the form of three creeks that I found and I am sure a few springs which I did not find, and there is a good sized lake with a campground nearby.
I will definately be back much earlier in the morning next time, and hopefully I will see some of the elk that are surely there. And I will be back when the weather gets cold enough the make the badger pelts thick.
Hunting season starts soon, time to refresh that memory…
There are plenty of hunters out in the field bringing home dinner and we figured we would share some great guides on the best cuts and how to get them from your harvest! Click on each picture to enlarge for greater detail 🙂
This diagram is the basic overview of the quarters and can be applied to deer, moose, elk and caribou.
This second diagram is a more in depth cut selection and is coded for the sections as well. Again, this can be applied to deer, moose, elk and caribou.
Ensure before you properly care for your game in all stages of meat preparation to give not only longevity to the meat, but reduce the risk of cross contamination of any bacteria that could not only spoil the meat but could also make you very sick.
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I have been so busy at work that I have been unable to update this blog. For that I apologize. Today I was able to get out for a quick scout of the BLM land near Gray Butte. (between Madras and Redmond, Oregon.) I have hunted rabbits and ground squirrels here in the past, but recently I have heard reports that the Mouflon Sheep from the Crooked River Gorge have expanded their range to include this area which lies east of the gorge.
This area gets quite a bit of attention this time of year from hikers and mountain bikers, and some of the local ranchers graze cattle here under permit. So with all the activity, especially in spring you would think this place devoid of wildlife. You would be wrong.
This whole area is inhabited by jackrabbits, ground squirrels, coyotes, deer and mountain lions.
I started late and decided to take my ATV so I could cover more ground, rather than hiking on foot. I unloaded the ATV in a parking area near the Gray Butte trailhead, then proceeded to upper Ketner springs at the head of Cougar canyon.
Moving further down, the canyon narrows substantially and becomes a bit rocky and narrow. There are several side canyons which warrant exploration, but today I have no time to explore them properly. I continue down what has become a bumpy but really nice ATV / Horse trail, taking in the scenery and having a general look around but by the time I get to the lower spring I have still not seen any major signs of wildlife.
I checked the water holes for tracks but all I find are a few sets of rabbit tracks and a single line of deer tracks heading up the hill away from the water hole.
A little farther down I came across the one thing I really did not expect, although I suppose I should have expected them. People that is, but not just people, people in an F-350 diesel pickup. Uh,,,yeah,, probably not a great idea to drive something that big down cougar canyon, but that is human behavior isn’t it?
They were wedged in at a narrow point in the trail, and were stacking rocks trying to improve the road enough to make it through the choke point.
After introductions I found that the average age of this group was about 68 years old, so I stayed to help and provide a motorized escape should someone need help. I didn’t get a shot of the wives, but they were stacking rocks too and it was about 75 degrees out there. I’ll bet that was not what they had in mind for Mothers Day, but there they were.
To their credit after about an hour of road building, they did make it through the choke and continued on their way.
Myself, I would have turned around and called it a day rather than risk damaging my truck or myself at the bottom of a canyon 5 miles from the nearest actual road.
The rest of my scout went without incident. I circled the butte and returned the the trailhead. I saw only jackrabbit tracks and people hiking.
No mouflons this time, but perhaps I just didn’t see them. I will definately return, though I will try not to do it on a weekend and in the middle of the day.