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With my new job as an electrician apprentice, I had to shorten my annual deer hunting trip. Normally I go up Thursday night after work and set up camp, but this year my friends had take over. Luckily they all had Friday off and went up that morning to secure our spot. John, Tyler, and I all had buck tags this year for the White River Unit # 141B. We like to hunt an area in the vicinity of Badger Lake (roughly 12 miles West of the town of Wamic, Oregon). It's mostly forested with noble fir, douglas fir, and pine trees with interspersed clearcuts that are slowly growing in. This year another friend, Ryan, joined us, although he did not hunt (he was just along to have fun).
Normally we stay a whole week, but I had to leave on Sunday, while John, Ryan, and Tyler stayed later into the week. John and I had cut and split firewood the week before, so that task was already out of the way when we set up camp. Normally I would bring my trailer, but for just two nights I decided it would be easier to sleep in a tent. The weather forecast called for chance of showers over the weekend and rain likely during the week. While not fun to be out in, rain often helps encourage deer to move around more during the day.
On Saturday morning we got up early, piled into my truck, and headed up the road toward a spot we had scouted out the past couple weeks. We arrived just as it was getting light and split up, heading off in different directions to cover more area. We sat around for a couple hours watching the sun rise and the clouds come in. It was rather windy and cool, the opposite of last year. We had radios and just before we planned to meet up, I heard Tyler ask if I saw the coyote run by. I hadn't at that point, but later saw him slowly running across an open area. We didn't spot any deer and decided to head back to the truck along different routes to try and flush one out.
It was a little more than a mile back to the truck, so we had plenty of area to cover. Tyler headed off in one direction and later ran into John. Ryan and I headed another direction, but none of us came across any deer. It was rather disappointing, but it was only the first day of the season. There was still plenty of time left even though the dozen or so shots we heard that morning from other hunters nearby didn't help our patience.
Back at camp, I prepared a feast, cooking over the fire in a dutch oven. I mixed together eggs, bacon, cheese, corn, chili, onion, and potatoes. It was fantastic and soon we had enough energy for a short afternoon hunt near camp. Tyler and John went off together while I cleaned up breakfast and Ryan took a nap. I set out shortly after, hunting older forest with little understory, but plenty of blow down. While it appeared to be a good area, again I didn't come across any deer. Tyler and John also had poor luck. Saturday's evening hunt near camp was the same story except that John managed to spot a couple does. Back at camp, Tyler's cousin Matt arrived to hunt with us Sunday before heading home back to work (he's also an electrician).
On Sunday morning, we awoke to the sounds of rain on our tents. Tyler and Matt woke up while John and I decided to sleep a little longer and let the rain stop. We got up a bit after 7 AM and headed off in search of an elusive buck. Eventually we ran into Matt, who told us he had spotted a spike deer, but it was too far away to get a shot with his rifle with open sights. We continued hunting until we ran into Tyler, who had also seen a few deer including a spike. It was too small for him, so he passed on a shot. We headed back to camp where I packed up said my goodbyes.
On Wednesday night, I received a text message from John with a picture of a 3x3 buck he had just shot. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. That's two years in a row now that he has been the only one to shoot a buck. I need stick by him whenever I hunt. He is a magnet for success!
While a fun trip, I am a little disappointed that I didn't get to shoot my new Tikka T3 Lite 7mm Remington Magnum rifle. Hopefully next year I can get some time off and finally get a buck. At least John killed a deer again, lucky guy.