Editors Blog

25 Reasons to Take an Out of State Deer Hunt

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.

25 REASONS:

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.

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 something that cannot be described unless you see it for yourself.

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.

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!

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?

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.

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!

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.

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.

It's all spot and stalk out West. Locals view sitting in a tree stand as mostly a waste of time. Or lunacy. Or both.

It’s all spot and stalk out West. Locals view sitting in a tree stand as mostly a waste of time. Or lunacy. Or both. Product highlight: Deer Behavior DVD

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.

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.

When you're hiking 6 to 12 miles a day, you have a built-in excuse to eat hardy ... and often.

When you’re hiking 6 to 12 miles a day, you have a built-in excuse to eat hardy … and often. Product highlight: Venison Wisdom Cookbook

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.

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.

OK, that's probably the overstatement of the blog thus far, but one would almost have to be crazy to sign up for this. These rock fields are murder on the feet, ankles and knees.

OK, that’s probably the overstatement of the blog thus far, but one would almost have to be crazy to sign up for this. These rock fields are murder on the feet, ankles and knees. Product highlight: How to Choose an Outfitter

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. John Vaca found that out in a big way on Day 2 of our trip.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 was 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.

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.

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.

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.

Mule deer bucks are big and blocky, which means you'll bring home 75 to 100 pounds of boneless venison if you play your cards right.

Mule deer bucks are big and blocky, which means you’ll bring home 75 to 100 pounds of boneless venison if you play your cards right. Product highlight: Gut It, Cut It, Cook It

23. Did I already mention bonus hunting opportunities?

Rio Grande turkeys are plentiful in eastern Oregon. Fall hunting can be a hoot if you can locate a flock of birds.

Rio Grande turkeys are plentiful in eastern Oregon. Fall hunting can be a hoot if you can locate a flock of birds. Product highlight: Turkey Hunting Tactics

24. To soak it all in one more time.

No street noises. No road traffic. Just peace and quiet.

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.

It’s time to go back to reality as the sun goes down on eastern Oregon’s 2014 deer season.

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One thought on “25 Reasons to Take an Out of State Deer Hunt

  1. Buckhuntr

    Unfortunately for most of us lue collar guys an out of state hunt is out of the question. $3500+tip plus expenses, for a 5 day deer hunt, and up, is a couple of months salary for a guy like me. A guided elk hunt is so cost prohibitive as to be off the list of possibilities. Because of the proliferation of the Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel etc and the Big Business of hunting and the advertised rise in leased properties, hunting is rapidly becoming a rich man’s sport again. Used to be I could knock on a farmers door and gain permission to hunt his property. That is, anymore, rarely the case. I have heard, locally, more time than not, that the local farmer is sorry but a cadre of guys has ought the right of exclusive access to his farm, to include something as simple as squirrel and mushroom hunting. I don’t blame a farmer the ability to augment his income by leasing access to his property but it slams the door in the face of a guy like me who cannot afford the ees. I have always been willing to trade labor, ie fence repair, help putting up hay, farm chores etc for access, but that is no longer a possibility. I am essentially done with the last passion in my life because all that is left to a guy like me is heavily pressured public access ground.

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