Columbia Black tail deer
Hunting the “pacific ghost” of southern Oregon, is a hunt I had looked forward to for over a year now since booking with outfitter Robbie Berg owner of DC Outfitters. It was finally time to climb on the plane headed for Portland, this trip was hopefully going to take me one step closer to the completion of my North American “deer slam”
After Arriving in Portland I boarded a small twin prop that took me down to Medford, where I was picked up by Robbie’s wife Sandy. We drove to the small town of Roseburg Oregon. The adrenaline and anticipation was running high as Sandy told me stories of the big bucks they had taken so far this year and of the monsters that were still out there.
The first night I was lucky enough to get to camp with about 2 hours of day light to spare. Robbie was patiently waiting for me and as I changed clothes quickly to go out Robbie was loading the Rhino up on the trailer. The first night we ended up seeing 3 deer one nice buck that really got me going and my trigger finger twitching. Robbie advised we pass on that buck as it was only the first night. As we hiked off the mountain in the dark Robbie had said the buck we passed was an average deer for this area. With this comment my mind started racing wondering how big a true shooter buck on this private ranch really is.
The next morning came early and with me still on a big buck high. There were now two other hunters in camp with me. As the other guides arrived I was introduced to my guide Brian, he was a true big buck hunter and we immediately hit it off. We took off to the other side of the ranch and glassed several deer and a few nice bucks. The weather was mild and cloudy, which I thought was great. Brian informed me the big boys really start running hard once the heavy rain starts which Oregon is known for. The first day closed with several deer and a few bucks. Day two brought heavy rain and high winds; I was really looking forward to getting out there. We saw a ton of deer and one really nice buck chasing some does across the valley form us. As this big buck worked his way down to us Brian said take a look in the spotting scope, he was a heavy 3 point on one side a one big fork on the other. Brian said it’s up to you if you want him. I decided to pass on this deer with mixed feelings as he faded away into the rain. The rain broke and the sun came out which only made me second guess my decision that much more.
As we set up for the evening, it wasn’t long before the does and a few smaller bucks started to filter out of the high timber. With about three minutes of legal shooting left Brian said to me MONSTER SHOOTER BUCK; I quickly deploy my bi-pod on my 300 WSM and start getting ready for the buck to filter down to us. We had him at 358 yards looking right at us. The sweat began to pour from my face and hands and my breathing and heart rate skyrocketed. I was ready all we need was for him to turn broadside. As daylight faded and I watched my cross hairs slowly disappear on this buck of a lifetime I wondered if we would ever see him again.
As we headed back to the ranch house I was speechless and I could tell it really rattled my guide as well. We both couldn’t believe what we had just seen fade into the mountain side. Talking about what could have been and trying to stay positive about tomorrow's hunt we decided to get up early and hit the same spot; hoping and praying the monster would show again. This was the longest sleepless night of my life as the alarm broke I couldn’t wait to get back out there. It was cold, rainy and windy but I just had a feeling the deer gods were going to be with us today.
Brian arrived early as planned and were on the spot before daylight, two minutes into legal shooting two does appeared, less than thirty seconds later I said to Brian there he is! As the emotional roller coaster took off again we just watched his rack slowly come over the hillside and here we were again looking eye to eye only this time at 90 yards. I was ready with the gun up and just waiting for Brian to say take em. The monster turned broadside and my bullet hit its mark. The buck dropped right in his tracks. We immediately cheered and couldn’t believe our good fortune. As we walked up on this deer he only got bigger, Brian took one good look and said congratulations you just killed a record book blacktail deer. I couldn’t believe it and was on a hunting high like no other. The buck ended up scoring 122 1/8 inches SCI. Truly a hunt and a deer of a lifetime.
By Brian Smith