2019 Question about controlled hunt application


Ikijime

Member
I'm fairly new to the draw, and was wondering if there'd be any reason to apply for both the 119A West High Cascades and the 177 Fort Rock for blacktail buck.

They're both 100 series, and it looks like the Fort Rock has pretty good odds to be awarded, and 119 (if I understand correctly) is a given. I know that I can't hunt both, but would hunt either. I'm under the impression that I wouldn't be wasting the application fee, since I'd at the very least get a preference point.

Is this a sound strategy, or am I misunderstanding something in the process?

James
 

SiletzTroutKiller

Active member
James, if I was I would apply for a top notch mule deer unit as your first choice and either High Cascade or Fort Rock as your 2nd choice. That way you’ll most likely get a preference point from not drawing your first choice AND still draw your 2nd choice. If I was you I’d apply for High Cascade over Fort Rock because if you draw High Cascade you’ll be given the Western Oregon general season rifle tag as an addition to the High Cascade that is valid if you DO NOT fill your High Cascade tag.
I understand I just threw a lot of info at you so if you want feel free to PM me and we’ll talk. I have the draw system down pretty good so I can walk you through it
 

Chuter

Member
119a is a sure thing if it's your first choice but the 2nd choice pool of applicants is big. I'm guessing your odds as a third choice applicant would be slim. That data is probably available at ODFW?

If you're just getting into the points game be aware that those "trophy" units take so many points that, with point creep, you'll be a very old man by the time you have enough to get the tag. Will it still be a trophy unit then?

That's not to say you can't play the points game and make it work but from what I've seen it gets real complicated real quick. If you go that route you should definitely take up STK on his offer!
 

SiletzTroutKiller

Active member
Good call Chuter. I always forget how many people use 119A as a 2nd choice, that hunt gets hammered pretty hard. If I was lkijime I’d probably do Fort Rock as a 1st or 2nd choice. Fork Rock probably doesn’t have many “true” blacktails but there’s good bucks in every unit.
 

TheKnigit

Active member
What both @SiletzTroutKiller and @Chuter have said. If you have any points built up I would not put either of those two hunts as your first choice. Here is a handy website that I use to plan out my hunts and play the points game.


According to this persons math, who is a lot smarter than I am, you have a 54% chance for 119A and a 16% chance at 177 if they are your second choice draw, but a 0% chance as either for your third choice. I would find a more difficult hunt to get, but one that you still want to go on, as your first choice. Then place either of those 2 hunts as your second choice. That way if the draw odd gods smile on you and you end up in that magic pool of low point hunters that are allotted for each hunt, and you draw your first choice, then it is a hunt that you are still excited to go on.
 

Ikijime

Member
Wow, thank all of you for pitching in with your advice!

SiletzTroutKiller: In my initial post, I inadvertently typed “blacktail”, but I really meant mule deer. I’m still new enough to hunting that I seldom even see a blacktail buck (more than a spike or a doe). At my skill level, a top-notch unit draw would be a wasted opportunity. I’m still learning to glass, read maps, find sign and see deer from a distance. My strategy is to find a routine that I can count on drawing most years while I continue to learn the basics, but near enough that I can spend a lot of time camped and learning the area.

Chuter: Sounds like 119a is a good strategy for a reliable option nearby, with mule deer options. Until I get better, consistency is my priority over the trophy opportunities.

TheKnigit: Thanks for the site suggestion! I’ll check it out as I continue learning how to strategize. I still don’t know enough about how to learn a new unit that I want to try something complicated. I’m trying to get the fundamentals down first. The “West High Cascades” unit and Fort Rock overlap around the Odell Lake/ Crescent Lake area. I hiked into that area last year for the first time. I figured that it was close enough that I could scout that area through the year and try and find where the sign is, and between the two draws, have a good chance of getting one of the two every year. This would give me a chance at mulies and to learn to read the area. Also, from the little I’ve read online, it sounds like this area has had elk, so I’m thinking that I could buy an over the counter tag for that season also.

Can any of you see flaws in my reasoning with the details I’ve provided? I’m trying to learn how to plan hunts like someone with more experience would.
 

TheKnigit

Active member
No hunt is truly wasted if you end up learning something and make some memories. I think your plan is a good one, the only reason I would put a harder to get hunt as your first choice is it will allow you to start building preference points for a future hunt down the road. Who knows where you are going to be as a hunter in 5+ years.

If you spend enough time in a particular area you will start to learn the animal habits, where the feed is located, game trail use, etc. One of the pluses of the 119A hunt that @SiletzTroutKiller mentioned is that you can use that same tag as your general western Oregon deer tag if you don't get a deer during the week of the High Cascades hunt. Effectively giving you an extra week before general season to hunt the same area.

Another thing you could do is look at setting up a couple of trail cameras. I have one I picked up on sale for about $80. It doesn't take amazing photos, but it certainly gets the job done. It also allows you to see animal activity in an area when you aren't there. You can also lay out a mineral block in the view of your camera. It won't bring new animals into the area, but what it will do is give the camera a longer chance to take photos. This will allow you to not only see what critters are in the area, but to also begin to try and find patterns in their behavior. Things you might want to look for while you are out scouting/hunting:

1. Are the animals/tracks all moving in the same direction?
A lot of times they won't use the same path coming in as they will going out.
2. Beds, bedding and feeding areas.
Is there a constant place that the animals go to every day for food/water/sleep? Or is there enough in the area that they simply mill around at will.
3. Do the animal tracks mix? Are there deer and elk tracks on the same trails or in the same areas? Or are the typically separated?
In my experience deer and elk don't like to use the same areas at the same time. Roosevelt elk tend to be rather territorial and don't like other critters hanging around.

Have you given any thought to a hunting buddy? I know that finding a good one is kind of hard, and you might have one already, but if you can find someone to learn with or from it makes it a little bit easier.

My brother and I are probably going to be getting the 119A hunt this year. Our camp is always open for anyone willing to share a campfire. We are going to be a little bit farther south than where you said you wanted to be though.
 

SiletzTroutKiller

Active member
Everything @TheKnigit said is good info.
Only thing I would add is shoot your rifle/bow (which ever you end up choosing) as much as you can! You’ll only become a better marksman. 2ndly invest in a good pair of binoculars! IMO I’d never use anything smaller than a 10x44 for glassing deer and elk, I personally use a 12x50 set of Vortex binos.
Getting into hunting can be challenging between cost, hunting buddies, and time availability but the rewards are worth it!
Lastly always feel free to PM guys like me and @TheKnigit we’rw probably the two most active guys on the hunt forum and we’re willing to help a new guy
 

Ikijime

Member
This is really good advice. I appreciate the input!

TheKnigit: I agree completely with your thought that learning is valuable, and I actually didn’t know that points could accumulate past one year. I’ll have to rethink my strategy.

I’m going to take notes on you and Siletz’s advice and start working on that. I actually had a group of coworkers that I was hunting with for the first couple of years that I got back into the lifestyle, but they’ve all retired or had health issues that prevented them from hunting like they did when we went as a group. My other family/ friends who hunt either road hunt exclusively, use a bow or already have established hunting partners and a routine for many years. I’m open to new influences, though. I’ll consider your offer with appreciation!

Siletz: I’ve been intending on shooting more (I’ve always just zeroed in my scope at 100 yards for few shots just to make sure it was on). I’ll follow your advice and try shooting from different distances and positions.

I’ll look into a stronger set of binoculars also. Probably won’t be Vortex for the first pair, but I can do decent quality and set some money aside for a game camera.

I’ll keep in mind both of your offers to PM for specifics without being a pain. Thank you.
 

Chuter

Member
Salt blocks and baiting are legal, no argument there. They are also perfect spots to congregate animals that wouldn't normally be in such close contact leading to the exchange of all sorts of diseases. We don't have CWD here...yet. They are also kind of unsightly and unnecessary. Especially in the Wilderness areas that most of the 119a hunt encompasses and specifically where you are talking about hunting. That area is HEAVILY used and will only become more heavily used as the upcoming permit system in 2020 will force dispersal of users into that area. They will eventually ruin the Diamond peak wilderness too. I've been using that area for 15+ years now and the increase in usage the last 5 years is astounding. It's only going to get busier.

Sorry to be a downer but can we also have a conversation about proper fire usage as well? Maybe TheKnigit was just using it as a turn of phrase so I'm not trying to bust your [email protected]#$ but I hope you guys aren't having campfires during the high cascade season. Please follow the burn ban that is ALWAYS in place that time of year. Starting a fire that gets out of control with the kind of fuel loads that are up there would be a horrible thing to have to live with. There are plenty of naturally started fires in the mountains to continue to create the type of habitat that ungulates like. Be responsible and be respectful of the everyone else please! (steps off soapbox)
 

TheKnigit

Active member
Salt blocks and baiting are legal, no argument there. They are also perfect spots to congregate animals that wouldn't normally be in such close contact leading to the exchange of all sorts of diseases. We don't have CWD here...yet. They are also kind of unsightly and unnecessary. Especially in the Wilderness areas that most of the 119a hunt encompasses and specifically where you are talking about hunting. That area is HEAVILY used and will only become more heavily used as the upcoming permit system in 2020 will force dispersal of users into that area. They will eventually ruin the Diamond peak wilderness too. I've been using that area for 15+ years now and the increase in usage the last 5 years is astounding. It's only going to get busier.

Sorry to be a downer but can we also have a conversation about proper fire usage as well? Maybe TheKnigit was just using it as a turn of phrase so I'm not trying to bust your [email protected]#$ but I hope you guys aren't having campfires during the high cascade season. Please follow the burn ban that is ALWAYS in place that time of year. Starting a fire that gets out of control with the kind of fuel loads that are up there would be a horrible thing to have to live with. There are plenty of naturally started fires in the mountains to continue to create the type of habitat that ungulates like. Be responsible and be respectful of the everyone else please! (steps off soapbox)
You will get no argument for me on either of these topics. I was simply listing the salt block as an option. There are several other ways to do it, that is just what came to mind quickly. As for the fires, I have had them during the High Cascades season before. But only when the fire danger has been low enough to allow it, always in a FS approved fire pit/ring, and always with the necessary tools and water close by.
 

SiletzTroutKiller

Active member
@lkijime every time you apply for a 100 series deer, 600 series deer, 200 series elk, 400 series antelope, and 700 series spring bear and you DO NOT draw your first choice you are awarded 1 preference point for each series you applied for. If you DO NOT draw your 1st choice and you DO draw your 2nd choice you will still be awarded a point as long as you buy the tag for the 2nd choice hunt. The only way to gain more than one point per year is to turn in a poacher and that poacher get convicted.
 

SiletzTroutKiller

Active member
@lkijime every time you apply for a 100 series deer, 600 series deer, 200 series elk, 400 series antelope, and 700 series spring bear and you DO NOT draw your first choice you are awarded 1 preference point for each series you applied for. If you DO NOT draw your 1st choice and you DO draw your 2nd choice you will still be awarded a point as long as you buy the tag for the 2nd choice hunt.
 

Ikijime

Member
Salt blocks and baiting are legal, no argument there. They are also perfect spots to congregate animals that wouldn't normally be in such close contact leading to the exchange of all sorts of diseases. We don't have CWD here...yet. They are also kind of unsightly and unnecessary. Especially in the Wilderness areas that most of the 119a hunt encompasses and specifically where you are talking about hunting. That area is HEAVILY used and will only become more heavily used as the upcoming permit system in 2020 will force dispersal of users into that area. They will eventually ruin the Diamond peak wilderness too. I've been using that area for 15+ years now and the increase in usage the last 5 years is astounding. It's only going to get busier.

Sorry to be a downer but can we also have a conversation about proper fire usage as well? Maybe TheKnigit was just using it as a turn of phrase so I'm not trying to bust your [email protected]#$ but I hope you guys aren't having campfires during the high cascade season. Please follow the burn ban that is ALWAYS in place that time of year. Starting a fire that gets out of control with the kind of fuel loads that are up there would be a horrible thing to have to live with. There are plenty of naturally started fires in the mountains to continue to create the type of habitat that ungulates like. Be responsible and be respectful of the everyone else please! (steps off soapbox)
Thanks for the input, Chuter!

I'm just getting into reading up on salt and mineral blocks (alfalfa, etc) online and still haven't tried setting any out with a camera at this point. I still haven't found a spot where I'm satisfied with a lot of sign and low human traffic. I'm also still learning about regulations specific to wilderness area. I'll read up on potential diseases caused by setting out salt blocks and make sure I'm not going to take unnecessary risks on the environment. Your mention of disease (besides creating watering holes) is the first I've heard about that risk.

When I hunted Diamond Peak for the first time last year, I camped at the Odell Lake camp ground and had my fire there, then started hiking into the wilderness before sunrise. It was also during the fall (Fort Rock tag). The Upper NW corner of Ft. Rock unit includes that area of Diamond Peak Wilderness. I hiked in a few miles on the trail, and didn't see anyone else at that time. I also didn't see a lot of sign. I'm guessing you're talking about more people being present during the High Cascades season, when it's dryer and warmer? Are you talking about backpackers or hunters?

The reason I decided to try that area last year was because I wanted to get away from the road hunters that seem to be a constant with rifle hunting. I wanted motivation to get into better hiking shape and get away from the hordes of other hunters. If I picked the wrong area to sample, I'm open to better suggestions. I just picked a spot that I could supposedly find mule deer and elk both, once I learned it.
 

Ikijime

Member
@lkijime every time you apply for a 100 series deer, 600 series deer, 200 series elk, 400 series antelope, and 700 series spring bear and you DO NOT draw your first choice you are awarded 1 preference point for each series you applied for. If you DO NOT draw your 1st choice and you DO draw your 2nd choice you will still be awarded a point as long as you buy the tag for the 2nd choice hunt. The only way to gain more than one point per year is to turn in a poacher and that poacher get convicted.
Thanks, Siletz!

I have been strategizing preference points wrong then. I've been applying for a couple of 600 series a year, and last year both High Cascades and Ft. Rock, thinking that I'd get pref points for each that I didn't draw. Sounds like I was throwing away money by applying for more than I could get awarded.

Hunting poachers actually sounds like fun too, lol. A couple of years ago, I was hunting Siuslaw NF for my 600 tag and camped in my canopy overnight for several days. I was shocked at how many trucks drove through the woods in the middle of the night with spot lights blazing, and those were just the ones that I woke up to see! Before that, I had a hard time understanding the news articles I'd read that poaching was a lot more common that what we end up reading about because it made the news.

Still, I'll make sure that I keep the reporting number on my phone, even if arrest chances are slim.
 

Ikijime

Member
Chuter, I did a search on CWD (Chronic Waste Disease for any readers who might not know what that is) and salt blocks on another tab. I'll read into it and see if there's a right or wrong way of doing it, and if there are better options. Thanks for the input.
 

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