By: Tom McGinniss


I get a deer tag in Eastern Oregon every three years and an Elk tag every four years.  I always fill them because I know where to go.  I do not have to buy a hunting or fishing licenses in Oregon because I am 65 and have lived in Oregon for more than 55 years.  I got one of my ATVs going because a brother has cancer and bought one for his wife, but did not want to go alone.  I bought a battery, charged it up, then worked on it most of the week but finally got it going. 

I had just painted and put a deck on my fourteen foot trailer. The one I use to haul things on all of the time for the rentals.  I hooked it onto the truck and I had some 12ft rams that I got to put the ATV into the pickup.  This is a story I have to tell you. 

I was in Eastern Oregon hunting Elk in 2008 and it was a three day season and I had hunted hard and seen nothing but cows.  I was on top of a mountain and called Muriel (my wife) and told her I was going to check one spot -- then if nothing was there I was going home.  I was way out in the desert and went down into a hole on the side of a canyon where I knew that there was water.  I got down there about 6PM and the ground had tracks everywhere and places where the Elk had ripped up the ground and it had just happened.  I was sneaking through the sage brush towards a large stand of Juniper trees ... then a hundred elk stood up right in the edge of the trees and I could not see one head.  They started running though the trees and I knew that if I ran forty yards uphill I could see for five hundred yards.  I did and the last one was a five point. 

I got a rest on my knee and shot.  I hit him the first and second shot and missed the third as he ran over the hill.  It took me a lot longer to get there than it took the elk!  I found a few drops of blood where he started down hill, then could not find more because the cows had milled around.  I worked down the canyon about 1,000 yards where I would go if I was an elk ... then I saw the tip of a horn then the whole elk.  He was dead. 

I was all alone so I decided to go back to camp 36 miles away and get the ropes, clothes to wrap the meat in and the meat saw.  I decided that I would take my ATV as I did not want to tear up my pickup trying to get down to the Elk.  I got back to the edge of the canyon and the ATV died.  I could not get it started.  I took the clothes down to the Elk and cut him up, then I packed all of the meat up out of the canyon to the ATV.  I still could not get it started and there is no one in the country to be found, so I hid my rifle and the pack and started to walk. 

I walked all night long and got my trailer at a little after dawn.  I got some food and water and a winch and headed back.  I got the truck to where the ATV was and loaded up all the gear and meat.  Then I asked myself:  How was I going to get the ATV into the pickup? 

I have a lumber rack on the truck above the canopy so I hooked the winch on the back and rigged up a pulley in the truck.  With the aid of a six foot ladder I had in the truck, I got it headed in ... and several hours and a lot of sweat later ... I had it in. 

I got back to the trailer at three in the afternoon.  I was going to sleep but was too wound up.  I loaded up the ATV's and all the rest of my gear and headed for home.  I got to Bend and a homeless guy stepped out into my lane to cross and I had to lock up everything to not hit me.  In the process the ATV in the truck broke loose and went through the window, and I blew two tires on the trailer and one on the truck. 

I went to the Tire Warehouse in Bend and they gave me a great deal to replace my tires.  I got home that night at midnight.  What a couple of wild days. 


Dad and I were in the Blue Mountains of Idaho and had taken a Lady and her daughter that Dad grew up with - up six miles into a lake and almost to the lake. but she fell and broke her ankle.  We packed her into the lake and it was almost dark when we got there.  I fixed up a shelter for her and Dad went hunting.  he shot a porcupine, skinned it out and tried to tell us it was a rabbit. 

We had no food no blankets and the only shelter was what I fixed.  I cut pine limbs and covered everyone with them.  I then kept the fire going all night with Dads help.  The next morning we tried to pull in some trout but they would not bite on anything, so dad said for me to get ready to swim.  I stripped off my clothes and there was ice on the edge of the stream.  Dad shot a trout and I went and got it.  We got eight trout.  There was some people camped there and Dad got some foil, butter, and bread from them.  We buttered them up and but them in the foil and scraped back the fire and but them into the coals for 30 minutes.  You never tasted anything so good until you have not eaten for a long time.  We made a litter and carried Mrs. Ford out that day and got her into the Hospital in Council that day then took her back to Emmet, Idaho that night.