E. Beaty Butte Goat

Jgill19

Member
Messages
92
Headed out this weekend to see what we can find. Good friend drew the tag and I am lucky enough to get to go along. A family friend of his who had the tag a few years ago will be there Sat/Sun. Have two plans of attack, one starting out a handful of miles from Fields (how family friend hunted it), and another (tip from a different previous tag holder) down south. I've done a little antelope hunting so have a decent idea on what were looking at. I think we'll be shooting the first goat that's mid 70's or better, although I'd love to find one 78"+. Were a little limited on time so we may have to drop standards as the hunt progresses. Gonna be a great time in some great country. Can't wait to catch another desert sunset!!

Cheers!
 

PRCnut

Active Member
Messages
289
Headed out this weekend to see what we can find. Good friend drew the tag and I am lucky enough to get to go along. A family friend of his who had the tag a few years ago will be there Sat/Sun. Have two plans of attack, one starting out a handful of miles from Fields (how family friend hunted it), and another (tip from a different previous tag holder) down south. I've done a little antelope hunting so have a decent idea on what were looking at. I think we'll be shooting the first goat that's mid 70's or better, although I'd love to find one 78"+. Were a little limited on time so we may have to drop standards as the hunt progresses. Gonna be a great time in some great country. Can't wait to catch another desert sunset!!

Cheers!
Does your unit go from Frenchglen south and west of the hwy to the Nevada border?
 

Jgill19

Member
Messages
92
Little past French Glen but yes. West of 205, and east of 140, excluding the refuge. Thats not the exact but its a general description.
 

ricochet

Active Member
Messages
251
I have a muzzy tag for that unit, leave me a good one. ;) Bio told me 'lope numbers are better than last year, (when I turned the tag back) but still only about half the normal count.
 

ricochet

Active Member
Messages
251
I forgot to mention that a bio in Hines told me that particular pronghorn hunt is being eliminated, to be replaced by a muzzy hunt in the Steens unit next year. Whether the change will impact the number of points needed to draw is anyone's guess.
 

ricochet

Active Member
Messages
251
Any success yet?
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Jgill19

Member
Messages
92
We got it punched. The rest is a story of the hunt mixed with a bit of philosophical babble that probably ain't for everyone.

To say the last 3 weeks have been a whirl wind for my friend would be an understatement. His Dad who was his hunting partner passed away somewhat unexpectedly in late July. He was contemplating punting on the tag, and had even reached out to ODFW to see if he could turn it in and get his points back. He was feeling overwhelmed and unprepared, and now didn't have anyone lined up to go with him. I told him unless he didn't think he could go for reasons that weren't logistic, if it was more a matter of planning and camping that all he needed to do was pack a bag and jump in when I pulled into the driveway. At the celebration of life one of his Dad's hunting buddy's said he too could make it for a couple days, and had hunted the same tag a few years prior. The hunt was on! I think all three of us felt we were there to punch one more tag for his Dad.

We found a dang nice buck Sunday morning. We looped around to make a play and worked to within shooting range. We had to guess a little on the yardage. Anyone who's hunted the country has probably ran into the situation, a rolling hill where they see you the second you seen them and its nothing but sage and horizon. Getting a yardage is very tough. I think we had over estimated the distance. and the shooting was gonna happen off sticks and kneeling, a tough shot at 450yards. We barely missed him on that set up, just high. We couldn't turn him up the rest of the day. the next morning we glassed and glassed and turned up a lot of goats but couldn't find him. We knew he was still in there somewhere. Determined to turn him up, I started griding the whole hillside one scope ring at a time and finally found him bedded. I was so pumped to be able to turn him up for my friend, who was quietly beating himself up over the miss. Off we went, looping all the way around and gogin to drop right on top of him from the backside of the hill this time. It surely was gonna lead to a situation that could get western quickly. We made the trek around and climbed the elevation. His Dad's friend stayed on the glass keeping an eye peeled and letting us know where to peak over. We dropped right on him, I think he had winded us, as he started working away at more than a feeding pace but not a run or jog, just a purposeful walk. He turned and started working up the hill which was gonna give us an opportunity. We ended up getting a bit of an awkward shot squeezed off at 125-175 yards and missed. then missed two more running shots. He was gone. My friend was kicking himself pretty good and starting to get a little down and frustrated. We went out that next morning but couldn't turn him up. His Dad's friend had to leave at that point due to work obligations. After lunch and helping him break camp we went out that night and didn't turn up a single goat. The next day we hit one area we hadn't really hunted yet to allow the sun to get right for going back to where the target buck had been. We looked over 25 goats with only one buck. Once the sun was fully up we went back to the area we had been and started picking them out right away. They were all on their feat and feeding. Three goats dropped into an ravine where there was water, I knew this was a golden chance to get one in a position where he could shoot with a good solid base, and not a long shot. He worked into position and got there just as they were moving out the other side. A good goat, I'd guess mid 70's and possibly better was at 350. The gun goes off, I see dust and he doesn't look hit. Off he goes and it's clear he is not hit. The weight of punching one last tag for his Father and probably questioning his abilities behind the gun were all weighing on him at this point. I watched as my buddy sat in the middle of wide open hillside head in hand as the goat ran up and over the horizon. I didn't have words to comfort him and he wouldn't of wanted them anyways. I left him with his thoughts and did the only thing I could think to do, and that was try to find him another buck. Not knowing what his response was going to be I gave him time as I waited for the silence to break. After what felt like an eternity the radio's broke the whistling sound of the desert wind. He asked if there was anything else on the hillside, we need another buck. I responded with what I hoped would be encouragement and said give me a minute Ill find one. We found another buck on the same hillside and in a postion he could make a stalk. He worked that way and once he got close crawled from sage to sage to get in position. The buck, unlike the others, made a mistake. He drifted to the very back of the herd, the direction my buddy was working in from. He stood in an open spot and didn't move for what felt like an eternity. I could tell my friend getting ready to shoot. I crossed my fingers and held my breath waiting for the shot. In the spotter I saw the antelope lose his back end, then heard the report of the gun three to four seconds after. He was hit hard but was still alive. He got to his feet and was facing away. I waited for the hind legs to wobble and him to tip over. I radio'd to let him know he was hit hard and not going anywhere, that we had time. The buck then turned down hill stumbled and fell, but his head was up. I could tell he was laying behind a sage that woudln't allow my friend to see him. His head started to droop, then all the sudden he stood up. I was watching through the scope as the buck flopped over, then 3-4 seconds later, again and for the last time on that hunt heard the report of a rifle shot. It felt symbolic, like it had closed the book on more than just that hunt. It was the end of one chapter and a beginning of a new in my friends life. I was honored to have gotten to be apart of it, and would be lying if I said there wasn't a bit of mist in my eyes. I wiped that and three days of desert dust and dirt from my eyes as I worked my way towards my friend. We both really wish his Dad's friend could have been there for the harvest, I could tell that hunt meant a lot to him as well. That's the only thing that would have been better. Listening to him tell stories of them sharing camps and hunts was great. All of them laced with humor and that gave you visions of my friends Dad. The hunt wouldn't have been the same with out those stories and him being there. I don't know I've ever been on a hunt that felt quite like this one.

Sorry for the long write up. Once I started typing it just kept going
 

Jgill19

Member
Messages
92
little photo dump. Washing three days of dust and sweat off in that hot spring with that view makes the list as one of the best beers I’ve ever had! Can’t wait to get back down there!! Got three Quarters in that little 1200 kuiu day pack. He packed a 75-80lb quarter for me last year, I asked him if I packed his whole goat if we were even…. He’s pretty sure I still owe him a few miles and lb’s…. Lol

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ricochet

Active Member
Messages
251
Looks like a great buck! How much fun are antelope hunts??
I enjoyed it a lot more than my 2WD pickup did. Not hard to understand why most everyone I saw was riding around in a quad, my truck was a little shy on ground clearance.
Of all my antelope hunts, (I've had five Oregon pronghorn tags) this one had the lowest antelope numbers and, since it was a muzzleloader tag, I had decided that any representative buck would be good enough. Was extremely happy when this buck appeared on the horizon even though it took two days for the stars to align, and I got a 65 yard shot at him. He's 15 inches with 5 3/4 bases, my second best 'lope.
I understand and appreciate the memorial aspects of your hunt, thanks for sharing that. I'll be doing a bit of that myself as I'll be using my Dad's 30-06 on my Steens buck hunt this year. Just feel like I should shoot something with it before passing it on to my son and grandson.
Best of luck on the rest of your hunts.
 

Jgill19

Member
Messages
92
Speaking of antelope numbers. I could draw a tag next year with avg points with my F.I.L. With numbers being low, how fast can they rebound? Would waiting a year or possibly two be worth it? If it happens to be a good year and the numbers get better, would it be drastic or does it take 3+ years to really notice any rebound, if weather even allows it?
 

ricochet

Active Member
Messages
251
The problem with East Beatty is when it gets dry, the pronghorns leave, heading into West Beatty and Hart Mountain refuge. The East Beatty muzzleloader hunt is history, don't know if that means only a single any weapon hunt next season or if they'll split up the low tag numbers into two hunts. I would think the antelope would move back in fairly fast if conditions improve since it's not strictly a matter of breeding more antelope. 2022 census numbers in East Beatty were 50% higher than in 2021 so I think it could improve a lot if it would just rain a normal amount this coming winter and spring. I don't think any other units suffered the big drop in pronghorn numbers that East Beatty did last year. To be honest, I only applied there because of the muzzleloader hunt. Since I'll be 70 on my next birthday, I didn't feel like waiting another eight years to hunt antelope again and the muzzy hunts are much easier to draw. My previous antelope have been taken in the Warner or Wagontire units and if I had enough points to draw a rifle tag, I'd go back there.
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,812
I'm hearing from everyone quality was down this year because of the dry spring. we had good rains in June but it was too late. if you found decent goats you did good.

One thing to remember on pronghorn is unlike deer and elk they don't need age to be big, a lot of book goats are 3 years old. so quantity can take a while buy quality can rebound fast.
 

ricochet

Active Member
Messages
251
Reading the commission decisions from Burns, it appears that they are eliminating the East and West hunts and future hunts will be for the entire Beatty Butte unit.
Right, it doesn't take long to grow big horned pronghorns but it takes water. Until we get some normal snowpack and spring rains, it's going to be hit or miss for finding good bucks. Had a friend draw the Juniper unit several years ago, during a dry year, and although we saw lots of antelope, he never did find anything worthy of all the points he used. Several of the bucks were heavy, with good prongs, but barely 12 inches long. Of the hundreds of antelope we saw, not a single buck was over 13 inches. He ate his tag. Pray for rain.
 

desperatehills

Very Active Member
Messages
1,319
I had a warner tag the last two years (I know, lucky). Horn growth was smaller this year in my opinion. Someone once told me the spring rains hurt horn growth. They feed on grass that has less of what they need to grow big horns. The brush they eat when there is little grass grows bigger bucks. I do not know if this is true, just food for thought
 

JB48

Active Member
Messages
217
I had a warner tag the last two years (I know, lucky). Horn growth was smaller this year in my opinion. Someone once told me the spring rains hurt horn growth. They feed on grass that has less of what they need to grow big horns. The brush they eat when there is little grass grows bigger bucks. I do not know if this is true, just food for thought
I have been told the sage brush has more protein. Thus we need spring rain, but need it to stop and dry up so the antelope hit the sage during the growing period.
 

ricochet

Active Member
Messages
251
East Beatty had a total of 57 tags last year, (35 rifle, 22 muzzleloader). West Beatty had two hunts with 40 each. Next year it will be two hunts with 77 each. So, yeah, west Beatty is going to be crowded.
 

Togwotee

Long Time Member
Messages
5,812
Well west is going to be a clustershag for sure. guess I'll burn my points elsewhere . ODFW never misses a chance to make a bad situation worse.

Looking at their proposals no mule deer units are above population objective but tag numbers stay the same. follow the money and you'll see how ODFW manages game.
 
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