Wenaha the Dream


Active Member
Wondering if anybody has any thoughts on the rifle hunt versus the archery hunt. I have always planned on the archery, but this year I have a pretty heavy work schedule in September. I work in construction and will be paving a highway this year. Anyway, normally I am looking at the archery hunt, but last year I got really sick so that makes me think I should be pulling the pin and go on this hunt as soon as possible. I may not be able to draw but am close enough for there to be a chance. I think the rifle typically is even harder to draw, so maybe not yet. I am a non-resident.

Any thoughts on the rifle vs. the archery in Wenaha? Or the other Big Three?
I honestly think the walla walla and mt. Emily rifle are better hunts. I know of 2 people now that didn't even kill a bull during wenaha rifle.
How many points do you have?
Been debating the last few years on which hunt to go for. Was thinking of retiring by the end of this year, but this crappy economy got all my investments hard. Probably going to wait 2 years. Would really like to retire and spend 3 to 5 weeks scouting and hunting. Retirement would give me that luxury.
Wold says it will take 26 points for a NR to draw the rifle tag this year. so unless you have at least 25 forget it .

I'm hearing the numbers and quality are dropping but if I had the points I'd draw it or hold out if I was close.
With all the fires we seem to have every year, I would go rifle. It seems more and more guys are drawing the premium archery tags and then find out the National forest is shut down. Usually by rifle season everything is back open.
I hunted a Big 3 Unit last year during archery season. I strongly agree with a couple of the above replies.

1.) If archery hunting then YES do Wenaha archery. If rifle hunting then do Walla Walla or Mt Emily.

2.) My entire unit was closed the entire summer last year up until 8 days before opening day. I flew over for that weekend to do a quick scouting trip with the family. Fire danger is a real concern with any of those premier archery tags.

My advice would be that if you have enough points to pull any of the Big 3 for either archery or rifle then 100% do a rifle hunt. Either buy a wall tent or find someone and borrow one and you'll have the hunt of a lifetime.
Sorry I'm slow. I was away from the computer for a few days. Anyway, I have 26 points. Have not decided yet. Sure is nice hunting bugling bulls. But being able to pull out the .300 would be great if you are looking at a big one across a canyon. I also have to test my arm and shoulder for pulling my bow. Last year I had some serious health issues that included shoulders that felt like rotator cuff injury. They feel better now but have not tried bow yet.
My wife has 25 points as a resident and we decided to go Wenaha guided. She's 51 and this will likely be her only shot.

Man how I wish I could convince you to apply with my wife. I would try and make it worth your while. She has 16 for an average of 20 still 100% or close to it. I live over here and shot a 382 a few years ago in there.
My wife has 25 points as a resident and we decided to go Wenaha guided. She's 51 and this will likely be her only shot.

I would talk to Keith ( aka Deer ) he knows the unit very well, he lives in eastern oregon and has pack animals.
Plus he’s relentless with scouting.
It would be at least worth trying to work something out that is mutually beneficial.
Man how I wish I could convince you to apply with my wife. I would try and make it worth your while. She has 16 for an average of 20 still 100% or close to it. I live over here and shot a 382 a few years ago in there.
We should talk. I have 20 points and my wife has 24. I cannot go this year however.
I didn't draw this year, maybe next. Thinking about going out to scout a bit. Any thoughts on how valuable that would be? It's a long way.
Well, I finally have a tag, got the archery tag this year. despite applying for 28 years I have never been in the unit or the State for that matter. I've started looking at maps. There are a surprising amount of roads in the NF. Is it worth having an ATV or side by? Or can you basically get around with a truck? I assume the burn area is going to hold a lot of elk. Is that thick enough but not so thick that archery hunting is possible?

I've watched some of the U tube videos. It seems like most of the bulls guys are hunting are the 320-330 type. Those are great bulls, but for this long wait what are the possibilities of finding a bull another step up and close to 350? I think that would be my goal. I do know there are some monsters. I saw a video where a guy missed a big dream bull a couple of years ago. Will take a lot of luck for a bull like that.

Finally if you know of any packers that can get a bull out let me know please. Thanks for any replies.
Wow, way to stay the course and draw the tag! I quit Oregon 8 yrs ago. Still have 19 elk points. I hope your hunt proves it's still worth the effort. I hope that 350 bull comes true. Please keep us posted.
350 is definitely doable, but not as easy as it once was. you have one of the best elk units in the west so whatever you find it's as good as it gets.

I've been in the unit but I've never hunted it so I can't help you much. but most of the bulls I've scored for guys came out of the back country where they packed in. no doubt there will be decent bulls in the easier access areas as well.
It's mans country!! Archery they can be found up top a little more from what I've been told, I've never hunted it personally though. My friend has the rifle tag this year I'll PM you.
Not mine but the unit has potential pretty sure it was killed on the Washington side but was on the Oregon side during archery at least that was the rumor

Ya, that's a monster, kind of similar to that bull that was missed on the video I mentioned. It also had the extra points coming out the sides. Could even be the same bull. Looks like they earned this one too. Hunting in snow is physically a lot tougher. Thanks for sharing. Very inspirational.

If I locate a big bull it would be easy to pass the smaller ones, but if not and you get a 330ish up close its really tempting. 20 years ago I hunted 61 in Colorado. Found a 370 bull that i got within 40 yards one night but no shot. Hunted the rest of the season for him. Came home without a bull. Still regard that about the best hunts I ever had. Probably averaged seeing 10 bulls a day, some came within feet of me with crazy bugling. Would be great to repeat and get a nice bull.
That’s one large, crazy, and beautiful bull. Would really like to see the mount. I bet if you saw that thing in person and held those horns you would be amazed. And the beast came from Oregon.
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