Let’s just say that Brian McCord caught this winter-run steelhead somewhere in this solar system, which is to say, it came out of a small river he’d like to keep quiet. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)
The 13th time he put in was the lucky one for Barrett Prock, who made good on his once-in-a-lifetime East Hurricane mountain goat tag in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Hunting with his dad and friends, and packed in 8 miles by outfitter Mark Moncrief, Prock made a 300-yard heart shot to harvest this billy, which sported 10-inch horns. Proud friend Carl Lewallen sent the pic. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)
New Year’s Day was especially notable for Melissa Little. She harvested her first elk that day while hunting on the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve of Northeast Oregon, under the tutelage of her brother, Matt Little. (BROWNING PHOTO CONTEST)
On a day that some Americans still remember as a harvest celebration, Cody Dobbins, 13, of the Tri-Cities made good on a once-in-a-lifetime permit to take a bighorn ram. He was hunting with his stepfather, Jeremy Johnson, above Lake Chelan. He got plenty of local help in his effort, and was transported up the fjord by Jeff Witkowski of Darrell & Dad’s Guide Service.
First hunt, first day, first shot, first buck! Claymore McAllister, a 14-year-old from Oso, Wash., bagged this nice muley in Okanogan County on the opener while hunting with his family. “He is a quiet, polite, and dedicated young man who truly deserved this big kill,” says proud cousin, Susannah Hall.
The Poires of Tri-Cities enjoyed a pretty good 2014. Dad, Steve, who owns Northwest Marine and Sport, harvested a huge 8×6 elk over in Montana (and his hunting partner’s bull wasn’t too shabby either), but young hunter might have stolen the show. He followed up an estimated 300-pound Blue Mountains spring black bear from the Wenaha Unit and which had a skull measuring 18 6/8 inches with this 7×5 Hanford bull in late September. He had been drawn for the Silver Dollar permit. Note that the elk’s antlers are still in velvet.
His email might alude to being a track star, but shooting star might also be appropriate. After his brother-in-law spooked this buck out of the woods, Chad Smith had only “a matter of seconds” to make a 100-yard shot, dropping the nontypical 6×6 counting eyeguards, dead as a doornail. They were hunting in Okanogan County.
Brenna Blankenship continues to shine with her bow. A champion archer, the upper Rogue River valley lass added to an already impressive resume when she bagged this 4×5 blacktail very, very late in 2014’s season. “She drew her bow and gave a little grunt,” her father, Alan, says of Brenna’s cold, Dec.30 afternoon hunt. “The buck stopped but immediately started to spin around. She released, hitting behind the shoulder. It was the first time she missed the heart, but did catch the lung and liver. I then got that wonderful text, ‘BBD.’ She waited till 5:20, now dark and very cold, to follow the blood trail. She followed about 100 yards. I convinced her to back out since she was by herself, it was dark and we shouldn’t push the deer, She agreed. The next day we went back and with a little hands-and-knee blood trailing we found him, about another 100 yards. A great end to her final youth hunt.”
During 2013’s season, Trask Applegate had a heckuva year, bagging bucks in his home state of Oregon and over in Idaho, But last fall, with his grandfather Larry announcing it would be his final deer hunt, the youth’s goal was to put the family patriarch into a big one. On the sixth and final morning of their hunt near Dworshak Reservoir, this wide-hatted whitetail came through the timber, and with a 368-yard heart shot, Trask had given Larry a “walk off buck.”