Dan Schmidt, Deer & Deer Hunting’s Editor in Chief, just returned from his first deer hunt in Oregon. Although he was targeting mule deer on this trip, he did manage to see one whitetail and loads of other game. The adventure was documented on video and will be used as an episode of D&DH TV on NBC Sports in 2015.
by Daniel E. Schmidt
It seems as though I’ve talked with a lot of folks lately who are getting the itch to take an out-of-state deer hunt. A lot of guys and gals dream of taking these trips, but most think they can’t afford it. That’s simply not true. When you think about how much we all spend on hunting deer near our homes each fall, it’s easy to see that it adds up in a hurry. What’s more, it’s easy to realize how frustrating it can be when you go year after year without having much success and/or enjoyment.
With that in mind, I thought I’d use this blog installment to give you 25 reasons why you should consider an out-of-state hunt for your future. True, it’s not for everyone, but as evidenced here, it can be make for some once-in-a-lifetime memories.
1. To dream big.
We all dream of bagging that buck for the wall, and an out-of-state hunt offers that opportunity, especially in states like eastern Oregon where most deer have tens of thousands of acres of unbroken land to call home. Product highlight: Antler Addiction Video
2. To see the sights.
North America offers incredible deer hunting opportunities from coast to coast, but the scenery is so breathtaking that it must be experienced first-hand to have its true effect. Product highlight: Primos Trail Camera
3. To step outside your comfort zone.
Most deer hunters from the Midwest, North, Northeast and Southeast never have the opportunity to hunt deer at long-distance ranges. Western hunting provides ample opportunities to test out new rifles, cartridges and optics. For this hunt, we shot the new Federal Fusion ammo out of Savage rifles topped with Bushnell scopes. Product highlight: Federal Fusion Ammo
4. To shoot … a lot!
Few of us can just walk outside our back door and shoot our rifles whenever we please. That’s not the case here. After dialing in our Bushnell scopes at the 100-yard range, we stepped off the porch and had some fun shooting at metal gongs that were 300 to 350 yards away. No neighbors anywhere close who would complain! Product highlight: Match Your Ammo to Your Gun
5. To hunt for bonus game.
We traveled to Ritter, Oregon, to hunt for mule deer with antler scoring expert David Morris. The bonus was we all got over-the-counter mountain lion tags … just in case. How cool would that be to bring home one of these trophies? Product Highlight: Call in More Predators
6. To experience life in the slow lane.
Spotty cellphone coverage and no high-speed internet here. Nope, just another day in the life of ranch life in eastern Oregon.
7. To take in lots of fresh air.
My first morning in the journey. The smile was quickly replaced by beads of sweat on my forehead. Those hills sure are pretty, but they’re also quite steep! Product highlight: BUSHNELL BINOCULARS
8. Did I already mention the scenery?
There’s gold in them-thar hills … well, at least there was gold in them during the mid-1800s. There are lots of deer hiding behind those pines and junipers, as well. Product highlight: Primos Headlamp
9. To hunt deer — one on one.
10. To put a smile on your face at the end of the day.
My buddy Lee Hoots from Arizona (right) was one of the first hunters to punch his tag. We all spent time around the skinning shed that night listening to him re-tell the story of how it all came together. Product highlight: Antler Growth Download
11. To ditch your normal diet of 1 cup of Cheerios® for breakfast.
12. To get some exercise.
That previous mileage statement was no typo. In fact, over the course of four days, my guide Sam Wilkins estimated we logged nearly 40 miles while hiking this 13,000-acre property. Product highlight: How to Choose an Outfitter
13. To be a glutton for punishment.
14. To look forward to the pay off.
If you put in the time and effort, chances are high that you will score on most out-of-state deer hunts. Missouri’s John Vaca found that out in a big way on Day 2 of our trip. Product highlight: Bushnell Optics
15. To see animals you’ve never seen before.
I’ve seen pronghorn antelope from a vehicle once, but I’ve never seen them while hunting. This doe and fawn stood and watched as we walked within 75 yards of them. When they decided to flea, they ran so fast that they were out of sight within seconds.
16. To unwind at the end of the day.
Yeah, this is probably rubbing it in a little bit, isn’t it? Hey, tough hunting conditions call for serious therapy.
17. To enjoy watching others unwind with you.
These pups were my buddies for the entire week in Oregon. Not sure what they were daydreaming about while loafing in the midday sun here, but I’m sure it had something to do with a mountain lion, coyote or, possibly, black bear in their future. Product highlight: How to Train Your Dog
18. To go shopping.
You don’t see this in too many parts of America any more. What a cool, little town. This was the meeting place for hunters, ranchers and local residents.
19. To paint the town.
Ha. I wish I were that talented. Very cool mural on a store building near Long Creek, Oregon. Local artists used almost all of this town’s buildings to create these unique views into their local history.
20. To get three square meals a day.
Those biscuits and gravy were so 12 hours ago. This fresh elk burger is definitely needed to fuel up for the next day’s hunt. PS: Elk meat is amazing! Product highlight: Venison Cookbook
21. To finally get the chance to wear that stupid-happy grin for yourself.
It took four days, more than 40 miles and some highs and lows, but I got it done in time to get some photos and videos of my first Oregon mule deer. What a great memory. Product highlight: Gun Digest
22. To bring home a pile of meat.
23. Did I already mention bonus hunting opportunities?
24. To soak it all in one more time.
No street noises. No road traffic. Just peace and quiet.
25. And enjoy one more glorious sunset.
It’s time to go back to reality as the sun goes down on eastern Oregon’s 2014 deer season.
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