(St. Helens, Oregon)
I just arrived home last night from an eastern oregon deer hunt, one day early due to getting sick. I was hunting a new unit and had to learn new terrain. The terrain varied from thick lodge pole pines to open ponderosa pines to open high dessert. Needless to say things were very dry and walking anywhere was like walking with bags of potato chips strapped to your feet. Although we didn't get a deer it was an overall good week until I got sick and spent a day in the trailer and then headed home the next day (of corse the weather had finally turned cold and the animals were moving more). We did see plenty of does and just a couple of bucks that we were unable to get shots at.
Now to the elk. there was a loop we drove several times and had seen plenty of deer on it. Off the bottom of the loop was a spur road that was not drivable but pretty good road to walk. Opening day my son and I walked it quite a ways down and moved one deer. On wed afternoon we decided to walk it again only this time we figured we'd take my father down it too and have him sit where there was a very wide spot and you could see a lot from. Partway down I noticed the ground on the side of the road had been dug up by what looked like badgers, there were holes and some had been filled back in, I stepped over by it and could smell something dead. Figured Mr badger had buried some squirrel meat or something. We walked down the road about another 50 yards or so to the wide spot and I noticed something that wasn't there 4 days ago, a 5x5 bull elk, now this would be exciting had this bull been standing but he was down. An now there was a new stink to the air. His neck and face were half eaten his guts had been ripped open and the stomach contents smeared a bit, there was about a 6 inch wide hole where his bung hole should have been. I looked it over a bit and couldn't see an exit wound but with the carnage it may have not been visible anymore. We did inform the ranger station of our find and they figured it was probably shot but would go look into it.
Now my rant!!!!!! If you don't know the difference between an elk and a deer then stay in your house during hunting season!! If you just see antlers and pull the trigger, STAY HOME!!!! This was a real downer to see this majestic animal rotting in the wild due to somebodies ignorance and poor practices.
I started hunting when I was in my mid 20s I'm now in my mid 40s (ouch that hurt to say) after 20 years of hunting I still review shot placement charts and photos I like to keep things fresh in my brain as to when to pull the trigger, let the arrow fly, or pass on the shot.
KNOW YOUR TARGET!!
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