We put out the call last month for hunting stories and photos. Thanks to all the contributors whose stories and photos appear here.
Mia's first buck
By Clint Rust
My wife, Allison, and my middle son, Kane, 13, drew mule deer tags.
Allison decided that we would try to get my daughter, Mia, 10, her first buck via the youth mentor program. The four of us headed over the day before season to Beatty’s Butte Unit in southeast Oregon. My dad and a good friend had tags as well and had already been there a few days and had some bucks spotted.
In the afternoon the first day, my dad had spotted a large group of deer up on one of the many hillsides of the Pueblo mountain range. A nice 3-point was in the group. It was decided that Allison, I and Mia would try a stalk that most likely would end in failure due to the amount of deer we would have to try to avoid to get to the buck. It was worth a try.
Two hours later, after hundreds of yards of crawling, and much to my amazement, we were in range of the bedded buck and a band of does. Suddenly the does were up and headed out. Without any time to think about it, Mia was set up on her shooting sticks. Unlike the does, the buck hesitated, Mia put the crosshairs behind the shoulder and made an excellent shot at 285 yards.
Mia had her first buck and her mom and I couldn’t be prouder. The next day my son also connected on a nice forked horn.
(Clint Rust and his family live in Philomath. Mia is a fifth-grader at Philomath Elementary School. Kane is in the seventh grade at Philomath Middle School)
First in 50
By Bill Rompa
Jeff Stubbs of Mendocino, Calif., bagged this mature 3-point mule deer on the seventh day of the 2013 season in Eastern Oregon. “I didn’t have a tag , but acted as Jeff’s informal guide.
My partner Dave Johnson of Prescott, Ariz. (formerly of Astoria) and I have been hunting the same country near Burns for 30 years. We know the country well and Jeff, a college roommate of Dave at the University of California Berkeley, has been with us for about the last five years now.”
For Stubbs, an experienced hunter since the age of 14, this was his first deer in 50 years. “I guess I’ve just been too busy raising my family and doing a lot of international travel to do much hunting,” he said.
Jeff’s had his chances seeing, jumping and even getting in a few shots at deer but this is his first score. The deer yielded over 50 pounds of venison meat, sausage and burger after processing by his local butcher in Fort Bragg, Calif.
“Should fill my freezer for a better part of the year,” Stubbs said with a huge grin.
Bill Rompa lives in Albany
'Great first experience'
By Joe Chido
The picture I submitted is of my son, Joe, and my granddaughter, Haily Chido. We spent one week camping and deer hunting in the Imnaha Unit of the Wallowa Mountains about 35 miles from Joseph.
Haily was with her dad, Joe, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, when he shot a 3-point mule deer.
She had a great first experience learning about the whole hunting process and even helped her dad carry the dressed-out deer back to camp.
She also enjoyed camping out in the wilderness, as they had a nice wood-stove-warmed wall tent, new card games and books to read.
Joe Chido lives in Albany. His granddaughter, Haily, and her twin sister, Lexi, who did not go on the hunting trip, turned 11 on Nov. 11. They are in the fifth grade at Takena Elementary School in Albany.
And a first for Skyler
Skyler Minnick, 15, of Albany, shown with his dad, Rob Minnick, shot his first buck — a 3 by 2 — Oct. 15 in the Applegate Unit about 10 miles from Cave Junction.
“It was a 300-yard shot,” Rob said. “(The weather) was extremely nice and warm, which isn’t always good for deer hunting, but it was good for him.
Skyler is a West Albany High School sophomore, and arranged to take the day off from school for the hunting trip.
Tales to tell
Every day at Sewell’s Taxidermy is hunting season, but this time of year the shop is like Christmas for hunters. It’s early mornings, hot coffee and tales of the one that got away from first-time youth hunters to the granddad veterans.
But for the lucky owners of all these bucks from this season, that won’t be the case.
In just a few months, they’ll have a trophy on the wall to go with their repeatedly told story of success for generations to come.
-- LaurelLynne Sewell, Sewell’s Taxidermy, Lebanon
'Bryson's deer was bigger than my dad's'
By Aimee Gay
After my dad, Tracy Gay, got his deer--he took my boyfriend, Bryson Manaute, to his tree stand in hopes of him getting a deer. First day in the stand, he got his deer! We giggle a little bit in our house now because Bryson's deer was bigger than my dad's. I am grateful to my dad for taking him out hunting this season. It means a lot to me that he would do that. The photo was taken in our driveway when they stopped by to show me the deer before they took it to Bryson's house.
Aimee Gay lives in Albany