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Planning a hunt next year!

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by kibs45, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. kibs45

    kibs45 Portland Active Member

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    So I have been wanting to go hunting for a couple of years now, and it looks like I have a more experienced person who wants to go too. That's the good news, here's the problem. He hasn't hunted in years, and well, I haven't been hunting ever (as a hunter, anyway). I know this kind of question gets asked often, so I don't want to offend anyone, and honestly I understand why people get upset when they are asked where the "holes" are. But, here it goes, without getting into specific areas, are there any general recommendations for units to try and draw for? And, since the likelihood of drawing is slim next year, any suggestions for units that are general season? We are thinking either deer (probably not blacktail), or elk. Maybe both? We might also get some other tags depending on where we end up (I hear bear roast is tasty!). We are in the Portland area, and don't mind driving and camping. We are happy to put in our own scouting etc, so please don't think I am asking for specifics. Being completely honest we are somewhat worried about the Coast Range (can get pretty harry in season from what I understand), and would prefer to be in the Central to Northern part of the state. I genuinely would be grateful for any tips you guys would be willing pass along. Unfortunately all the hunters in my family passed away before I could learn from them, so I am a little on my own here.
     
  2. Brutus57

    Brutus57 Skagit County Well-Known Member

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    i think you can go on line and check what was being harvested in the past and where. Maybe talk to a Fish & Wildlife officer in the area you want to hunt.
    Go do some scouting before the season.
    Brutus Out
     
  3. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The only General Season Deer tags you can get are Western Oregon and you want to be in the Northern half of the state so your looking at Blacktail. All Eastern Oregon tags are by draw.

    You need to pickup a copy of the Game regs and read it cover to cover. The Mule Deer population is about 2/3's of what the state would like.

    There have been so many things working against Mule Deer in the last 20-30 years

    Changes on the landscape in the past few decades have resulted in less forage for mule deer:
    •Invasive plants like cheatgrass and medusahead rye have replaced bitterbrush, sage-brush and other forage
    •Less fire and less logging have led to fewer early succession forests and rangelands, which provide important browse, forbs, and grasses for deer
    •Junipers have encroached on shrub-steppe habitat, crowding out nutritious plants
    •Stands of aspen trees have declined
    •Some of the best mule deer habitat in Oregon has been permanently lost to development, particularly on low-elevation winter range

    Blacktail have had to deal with chronic wasting disease and other problems. Development and loss of Private timber land to hunting has had a big effect on hunter success. It seams there are more deer in town now then out in the countryside.
     
  4. kibs45

    kibs45 Portland Active Member

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    Thank you both. I appreciate the insight. I have been flipping through the last couple of editions of the big game regs, and it is beginning to make more sense. I have seen the reports showing hunter success by unit, and have had trouble really understanding them, but that is honestly due to my naivety more than anything. I have noticed that generally the more successful by percentage is usually a more restricted hunt, but again, I could be wrong. Thanks again for the insights, I will continue digging.
     
  5. Grizzly_A

    Grizzly_A Portland Metro Area Member

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    You first need to determine if you want to do Western General Buck, or eastern draw. Since you said no blacktail, that puts you in eastern draw for tags. I would look at the regs for units that the # of tags exceeds the number of applicants so you have a better chance of getting a 1st choice tag. The Hood Unit for example had more tags than 1st choice hunters last year. Otherwise, you're going to be in the lottery system and playing for preference points to go hunting in a specific unit. If you're wanting to gain experience, then getting feet on the trail and in the woods is going to be the most helpful, so I would take advantage of any opportunities to go hunting. (which hints at western general season buck)

    You also said hunting next year, so I'm assuming you're not wanting to go get a general western buck tag and hunt this year on public lands from the Pacific Ocean to the Pacific crest trail (approx) and Sandy River. (Obviously check unit boundaries in hunting regs for exact directions.)

    A big factor is time and money. Eastern hunting take more time and cost more money (generally speaking) while western deer/elk you can leave after work or go out on the weekends and it's only a couple hours from stump town to either the coastals or the cascades.

    Just some ideas for getting experience without a big investment. If you've got the bucks, you can pay a guide service to take you out and guide you to opportunities. You still have to pull the trigger though...
     
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Not to get too far OT, one thing you might seriously consider before going for big game as your first attempt at hunting is butchering. I had gone rabbit hunting more than a few times since first getting my license in my early 20's, butchering them is fairly easy and straightforward. However that whole process is greatly multiplied when dealing with a larger animal. Due to the medical training, and biology classes I took in high school and college I had a pretty good idea about mammal anatomy, and will say your first time out, go for the smallest animal you can find. You can take apart a rabbit with a pocketknife and a pair of EMT shears, for bigger animals just dumping the guts can take anywhere from half an hour to several hours if you don't have a good idea what you're doing. This is to say nothing of skinning and butchering. Another thing you need to consider is how you're going to pack out your kill.

    These are all mistakes I made on my first time going for big game... I also shot the animal on the wrong side of a big hill from the car. Which meant, gutting and dragging the carcass up and over the hill back to the vehicle. (I didn't want to quarter it on the spot, and didn't really have the tools to accomplish this)

    There really are no huge tricks to hunting, all you need is a chance encounter with an animal followed by solid marksmanship skills. The real work comes in once you're successful. Given the stories above about the hard time game is having, minimizing waste should be a principle concern if you are successful, and badly prepared game will likely end up spoiled and wasted.
     
  7. kibs45

    kibs45 Portland Active Member

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    Amp, I appreciate the thoughts. That's honestly been a huge part of my hesitation to go and figure it out in my own. We looked at things a bit more and are thinking about doing muzzleloader hunts. We were originally against blacktail mainly because we were nervous about the number of hunters out in general seasons. I looked into some easy draw hunts, but anything close enough to scout was crowded and suffered poor results. Looking at trying to draw 100M and 200M1. I have looked into result percentages and the ability to hunt both species at the same time, and narrowed it down to one unit. We'll see how it goes.
     
  8. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    If you hike in behind a locked gate you don't have to worry about nearly as many people. At 6:00am on opening morning we pulled up to a gate that is walk in only. Directly across the road there is a pretty popular main line where they open the gate. In the few minutes it took me to get my rain gear on I counted 12 trucks pull in on the other side of the road and I'm positive there were many many more on there way. In 7 hours of walk in hunting that day covering 8 miles round trip I encountered 4 people, three of which where in a group and the other one being a state trooper. The trooper said that the 4 of us he checked in there were the only ones he'd seen hunting that area.
     
  9. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    An hour and a half into our hunt, me and one of my sons bagged a forked-horn black tail buck @ 8:30am on opening day in the Santiam unit just about 5 miles North of Timothy Lake.

    There's a few deer running around there, and it's close enough that you can leave real early from town to get there in time, instead of going "hard-core" and sleeping in a two-man tent the night before during a raging wind/rain storm like we did!
     
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  10. kibs45

    kibs45 Portland Active Member

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    The more I read, the more it boils down to knowing an area. I imagine it's more abut going out and scouting; knowing the area, more than anything. So we'll start looking around.
     
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  11. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Exactly! I can't count how many times on a few hunting sites I've seen guys ask "Hey I've never been hunting before. I'm going tomorrow. Know any good areas?". The sooner you get to know your planned areas, the better. People can describe an area but you don't really know the lay of the land until you've set foot on it. You should also have a back up plan. I've been watching a dandy 3x4 buck. Planned on hunting my secret spot last weekend. I arrived there only to find that they had started logging on it literally the day before the season started.