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January 05, 2019

Its called Hells Canyon, for good reason. The place where our Greengate Pack System was being developed starting in 2001, and for the following nine years. A place of harsh extremes, from a searing hot river-bottom laced with cactus, Rattlesnakes, Black Widow spiders, thorn-laden trees, and many poisonous plants.

In the first half of Oregon's archery season, the lower reaches of North America's deepest gorge, are typically 100-plus degrees. Actually, in two of my archery years, I've had more snow accumulate mid-September, than all of October and November hunts combined.

In 2005, It snowed a foot during archery season and then 2006, 18". I found myself pushing more than pedaling my bike in 2005.

 Hells Canyon September Snow

As one moves up to the middle elevations; Rose-Hips, and sheer cliffs give way to the rough weather on the tops. With the arrival of fall, the rains amount to a soaking and the upper reaches accumulate snow.

 Glassing Hells

Wolves now populate a portion of the landscape along with the usual other Predator-players. This years hunt was highlighted by a few small bulls and almost NO CALVES. wolves to blame? It sure seems like it when you read forums and talk to other hunters.

 Big vistas

I typically see few other hunters and in fact, six of my last seven hunts there, in various seasons, I haven't seen a soul for six straight days. Occasional horse people and very rarely a hunter.

 3 miles away

When hunting anywhere, the up before daylight, and back to camp by headlamp and bed long after after the sun as set, has to be the norm.

 In the Dark...

This year, another rifle tag--a draw of about every seven years. My last being 2011--the year I couldn't archery hunt due to a torn Bicep tendon--and my 71 year old friend, and Michigan-native  Russ, took his first bull elk in the fourteen years he'd lived in Oregon. See: the "Deadline Bull" on our Wordpress Blog:  https://oregonpackworks.wordpress.com/?s=deadline+bull (Picture Below)

 Hells 2011

Each year, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit!" This year was a bit different than all others. The cold came along with some snow, but the big bulls never showed.

 Scanning the Horizon

This year was a tough of hunt as I could have endured--not all ten days of the season, but only six. The last four days were a bust, of groups up to thirty head of cows and small bulls.


The scenery is always the best, however.

 Oregon's Hells Canyon

 Until next fall, adios my good friend.

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