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What was your most memorable big game hunt / kill?

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by dragonsden73, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. dragonsden73

    dragonsden73 Salem, Oregun Active Member

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    Mine was back in 1991. Hunting Heppner for bull elk with my old man. Opening day, we hunted the morning and came back for lunch. Went back out, and as we were heading to "our spot" we came around a corner, I saw some deer. Dad backed up so we could get a better look, there was a nice buck with 3 does as I recall. They finally wandered off, so Dad drove ahead. About 40 yards down was the next corner. As we came out of it, the right side timber shot off leaving a large "meadowy" area open. There he was.....I saw nothing but the snow sparkling off his rack as he was trotting through the open headed for the Timber. I couldn't spit out "ELK!" or nothing....so I just bailed out the passenger side as he was still driving. I was using a Remington 270. I started firing off shots, and I knew I was hitting him because after every pull of the trigger, he slowed down. But he was still heading for the timber. I think I popped off 3 or 4 shots, so I ripped out my extra ammo from my coat pocket, shaking like mad trying to reload. Live shells were flying everywhere into the deep snow, but I managed to get a few more loaded into the rifle. I remember running through the deep snow off to the right, thinking I would try and cut him off. My Dad was yelling, "What are you doing? You'll NEVER find him!" I just kept hauling butt...determined to kill this bull! As I got deeper into the timber, I saw him standing there broadside. I could only see from his neck to about half way back. I knelt down, took aim, and heard Dad say...."You have one chance kid....otherwise I'm gonna drop him!" I touched off, the bull's front end collapsed, then he rolled over to his side. Done deal! Nice 5X4 :) Thanks for the memories old man!

    ....It was a bitter-sweet hunt. The next day, OSP tracked me down. My Grandmother had passed away, and my step-dad planned on flying his Stinson in to pick me up for the funeral. He couldn't make it in due to weather, and we got snowed in at camp. Missed her funeral.

  2. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    I took my first deer on Hayden Island in what is now the wildlife sanctuary. My grandfather owned West Coast Training and my dad was the lead instructor at the heavy equipment site. We leased the land from PGE. All of the land west of the railroad bridge. It was an amazing thing to have that big a back yard, even though I lived in NE Portland. Shortly after my 9th birthday(1987), we came over a little hill and there was a doe down in the bottom. I fired first with a Winchester 92 in .25-20, then my dad fired with his .303 and dad's friend Jeff, who used to be an auctioneer at the auto auction dow there, fired last with whatever he had. My bullet smacked the back of the head, but too far back to kill it. My dad blew off the bottom jaw. Jeff hit it in the front left knee. Thank God there were three of us, because if just one of us had shot, we would have probably lost it, as the knee shot was the last. It fell, started to get up and I put another round through its neck from 10 yards. It was a sloppy kill. I shot first, as it was my first deer, missing terribly due to nerves. I was aiming for behind the shoulder and hit her in the back of the head, broadside. She jerked after my shot, causing dad's .303 to take off the bottom jaw. Again, I am thankful for that knee shot. The thought of that deer running off without a bottom jaw and a little .25-20 in the back of her head would have been a bad way to start a hunting career. Still, I learned alot that day. I'll never shoot at a deer with a rabbit gun again. Kip.
  3. westcoastal

    westcoastal north coast of oregon Active Member

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    I've had alot of great hunts both on the coast and central and eastern oregon. and when I saw this post it really jogged my memory .
    and I couldn.t think of any one hunt that really tops the list. first muley or blacktail, rocky mntn and coast elk.
    but I did realize that my final top three, I didn't fire a shot. so i'll thow those three up.
    my wifes family doesn't hunt so it was a new thing for her, when we got together.
    she'd gotten a couple little forks n spikes when I first started taking her wuth me. but one particular fork she got stood out. we'd hunted all weekend and about 3 in the afternoon we were a couple miles from the rig, while we were working our way back we jumped a buck not 60 yards up the ridge.
    it bolted, and I started grunting and a little stomp n rattle. and he answers me, and I can hear him sneaking back to us. I got us behind this big cedar stump and continue the grunting. I was so into calling and watching this big buck sneak up on us. It took the wife some nudging me to get it thru my head she couldn't see the buck at all.
    by this time he's 20 yards out and still coming. so I wispered in her ear that when I tapped her should, she was to lean out and shoot him. so when he went out of site around the stump. I tapped her, she leaned out and bang. he was 6 feet from tne muzzle, when she shot. dropped in his tracks.
    she got hurt at work te next spring, and now she can't get out like that.
  4. westcoastal

    westcoastal north coast of oregon Active Member

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    the next of the top three, went like this. the last day of first coast elk season, I was trailing a great bull, south of hwy 18, but just couldn't get a good shot at him. so I slowed down my stalk n he slowed down as well. just before it got too dark, got close enough again to know he was feeding n would be bedded soon.
    that was wednesday. so opening day second season, I took my boys, 12 & 14, back in there. got to where I left him, just as it was getting light. it took about an hour to get him up, but we could hear it going across the hillside above us.
    I got him pretty worked up with calls n rattling vineys together. he came tearing down the hill and stopped at 40 feet from us. both boys shot and he died right there.
    first time i'd ever saved a bull for later. then went back and actually harvested it.
  5. Ron Eagle Elk

    Ron Eagle Elk Outside Ft Lewis East Gate Active Member

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    Bow hunting for Jaguar in Panama back in the '60s with a Darien Indian as a guide. We were watching a watering hole when this huge cat padded down to drink. He was solid black, but the sunlight dappling through the trees would light his rosettes afire as he moved. He was the absolute master of the jungle. I came to full draw, then eased the string back down. My guide and I watched for a few more minutes then the cat heard us or smelled us, and took off so fast and silently it was like a dream. My guide smiled all the way back to his village. I guess not killing the cat was more impressive to them than killing it. I gave my recurve bow to my guide, along with a quiver of arrows as my thanks for my most memorable hunt.
  6. Bookmark Man

    Bookmark Man Grants Pass, Oregon Member

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    Someone asked about the most memerable deer. The funnest deer doesn’t mean the biggest trophy for me. In fact it was not even a buck.

    I changed the .223 Savage. It used to have a 26” heavy barrel, but now has a 22” light barrel so Donna, my daughter, can handle it. I decided on 60-grain Nosler solid base bullets. The velocity is barely over 3,000 feet per second at fifteen feet from the muzzle. When I took it to the range the other day, I fired three shots at 100 yards, 200 yards and 300 yards. There was a slight breeze. The group at 100 yards measured 9/16” and centered about one inch above the bull’s eye. The 200 yards group was 2” across about one inch low. When I was ready to shoot at 300 yards, the wind totally disappeared. The group measured 1 3/8”. It was eight and a half inches low and centered in the first mildot down. Obviously, it was accurate enough. I figured I would limit myself to about 200 yards, because the velocity dropped to about 2,200 feet per second at that range.

    On a Saturday in 2008 I took the .223 out for opening day of doe hunting season. Before I left, I spent about an hour pouring over a map of the tag area. I found a little chunk of BLM where I believed is hardly ever hunted. Maybe never. All the terrain goes steeply up from the road; some almost vertically. On the other side of the road is a river. Beyond that is a huge farm.

    When I found the place, I headed up the big ravine. The hill on either side looked attractive, though. I figured I would be able to see a whole lot more territory if I got up on one side or the other. There was abundant and encouraging deer sign.

    About an hour from the road, I saw a deer way down on the other side. It looked so small. It was about 150 feet below my position. I guessed it was about 200 to 250 yards away. Since it was below me, I knew the bullet would hit slightly higher than I aimed. The doe was leisurely feeding toward me on a trail. The shot should be easy. Should.

    Most of the time I could make this shot with ease by no more than sitting down or leaning against a tree. However, this time I had a terrible attak of buck fever. My breathing uncontrolled and heavy. My heart was pounding. I was shaking like a leaf in a windstorm. I was having so-o-o much fun. “I need a rest! ” I excitedly told myself. I looked around searching for something, anything to help support the rifle. A log! I flopped down on it to no avail. The deer was all over the place in the scope. “A branch! I need a branch to wrap my arm around to steady this thing!” I slid along the log. “Where’s the deer? I can’t see it from here. Where isit?! Keep moving along the log,” I told myself. “Will I be able to see the deer from there!? Just go,” I reminded myself. I couldn’t believe my own thoughts. I never get this excited. Maybe it was because I have not used the .223 before. I doubt it. It sure was fun. I slid over looking for a spot where I could wrap around a branch and still see the deer. “This will work,” I told myself. I wrapped my right arm around the branch and took a hold of the pistol grip. After pulling myself against the branch I sorta pushed down against the log.

    I put the cross hair of the Tasco 2 ½-10X40 Varmint/Target scope on the deer. It was much better. But again, I realized I could not hit it while shaking this badly. I turned away from the scope and took a few deep breaths. I looked in the scope and what do I see? An empty deer trail! Excitement welled up again. Wait! There it is coming out from under an overhanging tree. I settled the crosshair of the scope solidly on its head. I turned up the magnification from the 2 1/2X. On 10X I could easily see the eyes of the quarry. “Good,” I encouraged myself. I dropped the crosshair to the top of the chest where the neck starts up. I started squeezing trigger. (Most factory rifles have trigger pull weights in the five to eight pound range.) The gunsmith adjusted twenty-five ounce trigger seemed very hard. I kept concentrating on holding the crosshairs on the selected spot and continued struggling with what most would call nearly a hair trigger. Eventually the trigger broke. The Action Ears muffled the shot and allowed me to concentrate on the impact of the bullet. It was as if the deer was connected to the trigger. The trigger broke and the deer dropped. There was no problem checking the range where I shot it since it DDRT (dropped dead right there). Out came the Leica 1200: 222 yards

    I studied the surrounding terrain where it fell: “There is a single big fir among oaks and madrones below a rock cliff. Got it,” I told myself. The excitement did not stop there. I started down the very steep slope toward the nearly vertical area where the deer fell.

    I was making some very good time going down the hill to recover the deer, but even though I am an old man I was like so many modern teenagers….totally out of control. “Please, Lord!” I more or less calmly ask as the ground under the deer trail collapsed beneath my feet. I always ask for help when I think there is a problem, whether small or large. Quickly I gained speed. When climbers start to fall, they yell out, “Falling” so their buddies can get ready. I was not climbing. I was just falling. “Please, Lord,” I exclaimed. This sliding was becoming a concern. “Please, Lord!” I earnestly cried out again. This falling thing was going on long enough for me to actually have time to think. I decided I better try to get my hands out or something. I was cradling the .223 Savage to protect it and the scope from damage. Thinking if I bounced just right, I could be impaled on the barrel so I tossed it away to my left as I was on my back. Yea, I had time to think. How does one sliding down a hill in the woods miss all the tress? Fortunately I did. Then I stopped.

    Amazement is the best thing to describe the feeling when I opened my eyes and looked around. I was on a small level. The rifle was right there beside me lying against a tree, but on the opposite side from where I thought I shoved it. Was this real? Yep! My Action Ears came rolling down the hill. I grabbed them as they came by. There were broken. Perhaps they saved my head from injury. Only the Lord knows. In fact, the only pain I had was the arthritis in my left shoulder immediately flared up.

    I thanked the Lord for no injuries.

    Meanwhile back to the deer hunt: Upon inspection of the entrance hole, I noticed the bullet hit barely to the right of the top of sternum. I thought I would recover the bullet. Not so. It exited low in the chest after breaking a couple ribs in front of the diaphragm on the left side before it exited. The lungs were devastated. Instead of having to drag it to the road I just shoved it off the trail. It went half way to the pickup. I tell you, this place is steep.

    I changed the .223 Savage again. It is not a .257 Weatherby sporting a 24" barrel with a really cool brake. I think I sent you a photo of the four point buck I shot with it last year. I replaced the Tasco 2 1/2-10X with a Bushnell 4200 4-16X. I gave the Tasco to a local kid who really liked it when he saw it at the range. Both of us got a better scope.
  7. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    12 years old and my best friend and me were walking a logging road in Deer Island. We came around a corner and there were 2 cow elk about 50 yards ahead of us. It was the first time I'd ever seen elk in the wild and I was really excited. Unfortunately it wasn't elk season. Besides that, I was carrying a Marlin .22 and he had a single shot 12 gauge. This was the moment when the obsession with hunting would begin. About 10 minutes later my buddy yells "squirrel" and without hesitation I automatically drew up on the little critter with one shot it fell from the tree. He was so upset that before he could even put a shell in his shotgun I'd already killed his prey. My first squirrel was just as exciting as anything I've hunted since.
  8. hermannr

    hermannr Okanogan Highlands Well-Known Member

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    A bad bet, and a lot of dumb luck...There was a small moose in the draw below one of my uncles fields. My uncle was always harassing me about my "pea shooter" (Rem 700 BDL in .264 Win Mag, verse his sporterized Mauser 8X57mm.) anyway he bet me a 6 pack that I could not get a clean 1 shot kill on that moose with my pea shooter, and he would have to clean up with his "real rifle". From his back deck to the fence was about 200 feet, the field was a 10 (660X660) so I knew that moose was over 400 yards away.

    I figured if I shot him in the neck, I could get a one shot kill, and I knew I could easly hit him..the only thing was, I misgaged the distance, and where the backbone in that moose neck should be...fortunately for me, the errors in judgement canceled each other out and I got a good hit smack in the middle of that huge neck.

    After hearing that nice satisfying "thump", the Moose just shook his head, and lay down. Boy did my uncle get on my poor "pea shooter". Anyway, after watching the moose not move for awhile, we got the tractor out and headed down to where the moose was lying. I was saying he's dead, and my uncle was packing his 8mm and laughing at my rifle. The moose was dead...38" rack...nothing to scream home about, but it vindicated my poor "pea shooter"
  9. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    Really enjoyed all of the stories folks, great thread! If I had to pick one for myself, well to be honest I'm having a real hard time with it. I think I'll just say "all of em" as they all were gifts to be remembered and treasured for a life time;)
    nwwoodsman and (deleted member) like this.