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I shot the wrong buck!

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by Cogs, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Cogs

    Cogs Washougal, WA. Volunteer Coordinator Staff Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    What do you do when you make a mistake? This is what I did.

    Klickitat County, Washington, is 3 point or better for blacktail or mule deer. I shot a 2 point. He had 3 before I shot him. I swear! Plenty of time to glass him over and alternate between binoculars and scope. Even sat down, cranked the scope to 9 power. Then he turned his head just right and I counted 3 on one side. That's it. He's legal. Take him. And that I did.

    My heart sunk in disbelief when I reached him and saw only 2 on each side. No eye guard horns, nothing to make 3. Oh no. What do I do now? Leave it and pretend it wasn't me. No, get it home quick and don't get caught (any horn is legal in Clark County). No, Do the right thing, Bill... turn it in.

    I've been hunting that area, with no success, for two previous seasons with my son, who is now 15. This weekend, he didn't come with me because he had too much homework. Ha! A teenager choose homework over hunting! I was pleased at his show of responsibility, however, I could have used a second pair of eyes that day. Then again, he was to have the first shot and I hate to think it could have been him to take down an illegal buck. So, just as well. I've been trying my best to teach him good sportsmanship, be safe, do the guy bonding thing, and have a great time at it. I hope he learns, from this, that it's best to do the right thing.

    Loaded him up in the truck and headed for camp to get my cell phone so I could call Fish and Wildlife. No reception there. Headed down the hill 'till I got a couple bars and called two phone numbers from the regulations book. Saturday. No one answered. Press 1 to report a poacher. Press 2 to report sea urchants on your boat. I hung up. Drove to Lyle. No police agency. No police cars. Ten miles West is Bingen/White Salmon. Found the Sheriff's office. Closed.

    Gee, a few more miles I'd be in a county where forks are legal. Hmmmmm. No. My son will know. I will know. I'd have to lie to several people. Wait. Just wait for an officer. Two mins later, one showed up.

    He called Fish and Game for me and they sent a game officer. I explained what happened and he fully understood that mistakes happen. There had not been any reports of anyone poaching, so, he let me go for now. He took the deer and said worst case might be that I could get an infraction in the mail with possibly an $80 fine. Real appreciative that I turned it in and owned up to it.

    He called me back today and gave me his decision on what they plan to do with me. No fine. No infraction. I can hunt next year. Only a warning.

    The officer said he had taken the deer to 3 H Meats in Goldendale, where the owner, Hank, will process it and give it to the needy. He said "you don't have to do this, it's not a requirement, however, if you feel so inclined, send a check to Hank to pay for the processing". I called Hank right away and made the arrangements. After all, I pulled the trigger. He should not have to work for free because of me. He's a great guy for being willing to do donate his services like this, but, I was the one responsible for it and I'll take the hit.

    If I had tried to take it home, and got caught, I would have been labeled a poacher! Includes a $2000 fine, they would taken away my rifle AND they would taken my truck! Besides not being able to hunt for a few years.

    The best part of all this... My son learned a lesson. Do the right thing. You'll be better off when you do.


    Fish and Wildlife officer was Taylor Kimball. Very nice. Very helpful. I appreciate his understanding, communication skills and his service to our community. I'd invite him into camp any day!
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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    Bill, Congratulations on doing the right thing!! :thumbup:
  3. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    You're probably going to catch hell for not positively identifying your target. Don't beat yourself up. Spend enough time hunting and something like this is bound to happen sooner or later.
  4. saxon

    saxon springfield Active Member

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    my hat is off to you sir
  5. Brutus57

    Brutus57 Skagit County Well-Known Member

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    How much was processing? BTW

    Brutus Out
  6. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    The easy answer was just to leave it which you didn't do. You did obviously take a bad shot since you admit you thought the horns were legal and they weren't. In the long run the meat goes to a good cause, your son learns to do the right thing, and I'm betting you spend a lot more time glassing the next animal you shoot. Everybody screws up eventually, at least the animal wasn't wasted and you dealt with decent game officers.
    nwwoodsman and (deleted member) like this.
  7. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Way to be a man about it!! It's great hearing about someone with such good ethics and morals. What's the saying? A man is judged by what he does when no one is looking, I'd say you passed.
  8. sailorfej

    sailorfej Scappoose Silver Supporter Silver Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Thank you Cogs for renewing my faith in my fellow man.
  9. soberups

    soberups Newberg Well-Known Member

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    Well done.

    I saw a similar thing happen a few years back while elk hunting. A guy and his 16 year old son who were camped next to us got into some elk, and the 16 yr old got excited and made a perfect shot on a 4 point bull. The bull was legal and he had a tag for it....but his bullet went thru the bull and hit a cow that was standing behind it. The bull died immediately, but the cow was hit in the guts so for humane reasons they shot it again to put it down. 2 dead elk, one legal tag. They gutted both animals,tagged the bull, and then drove into LaGrande to call ODFW. Tbe officer came out and was very fair, he let the 16 yr old keep his bull (and his rifle, truck etc.) and only wrote them a citation with a fine for the cow. Honesty is always the best choice, for the cost of the ticket the 16 yr old had a clean conscience and a good life lesson.
  10. dmv9

    dmv9 Seattle, WA Member

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    Great story. Very well done!
  11. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Good job dude. And I just happen to know a very good teacher who can help you with your counting skills.
  12. Peteralexander78

    Peteralexander78 vancouver Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

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    This is what the human condition should be always, thanks Bill for being one of those that swims against the flow.
  13. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You list Portland Metro as your location but hunt in Washington? Curious
  14. mrblond

    mrblond Salem OR Well-Known Member

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    It's always good to do the right thing. It also is a very good example to your son. A honest man is a rare thing indeed.
  15. cowboygraphics

    cowboygraphics Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing the story and role modeling "do the right thing". I suspect you have some good Karma coming your way.
    I grew up in Glenwood and still spend a lot of time in that area. You can't imagine (maybe you can) the change/decrease of game from my days growing up. Great to hear someone of your caliber hunts in the area.
  16. Cogs

    Cogs Washougal, WA. Volunteer Coordinator Staff Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Well thank you all for your encouragement. I've been feeling pretty down about this and beginning to think perhaps I shouldn't be hunting. Your responses have put my thinking back in the right place. All I need now is a new eye glass prescription, better binoculars and a new scope! Oh, yes, a math tutor is a great suggestion!

    This was not supposed to be a "Hey look at me and how honest I am" type of story. My intention was to let others know that it's far better to report a mistake than to try and get away with it. I also wanted to stress the importance of the Father/Son bonding and life time memories that are created. It's also a good opportunity to salute our law enforcement and encourage others to have respect for their commitment. And, to point out good person who is willing to donate his service as a meat processor for a good cause.

    I realize now that I need to plan for mistakes and/or mishaps in the field. I thought I was well prepared with good gear, first aid and basic survival stuff, however, when I saw the problem I thought... "what's my plan? What am I supposed to do? Who do I call?" Now, I'll learn how to mute my cell phone and pack it with me. I'll also have phone numbers with me in the field and will know who I'm calling. The sheriff said I could have called 911, but I thought since it's not an emergency, I shouldn't do that.

    Mark W; I meant to change that location to Washougal. Thanks for reminding me. Other forums I'm on are more world wide and I use Portland Metro as a general area someone may recognize.

    Brutus; The meat processing fee cost me 76 bucks. (That's 75 American dollars and 1 forked horn buck!) :}

    Thanks again,

  17. 41Slinger

    41Slinger Harrisburg Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Hey Cogs. Nice goin, ya did great !! I taught Ore. Hunter Ed for a long time and my top 2 subjects were Ethics and Safety and you did all the right things in this situation. This was an on going question in every class and as instructors we were advised by O.S.P. officers to do just what you did. I got reports every year about these situations and generally they came out about like yours unless there was deception of some kind. Don't beat yourself up to bad, your not the first and you won't be the last, plus it sounds to me like you got a great kid. :cool:
  18. waglockfan

    waglockfan Puget Sound Well-Known Member

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    It's always better to make the hard right over the easy wrong. You and the game warden are really upstanding individuals and lend great credit to the sport of hunting
  19. Joe Link

    Joe Link Portland, OR Well-Known Member Staff Member Lifetime Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I love hearing stories about people doing the right thing.

    Enjoy your one year of Bronze Membership, on me :thumbup:
  20. kenboy

    kenboy salem, oregon GOD BLESS AMERICA Bronze Supporter

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