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My Bucket List

By Bob Anderson

It never ceases to amaze me how fast life is flying by. It seemed as though it took forever to make it to my 21st birthday and then it was all downhill from there. The years seem to have flown by as I took the kids through Boy Scouts, ballet, dance team, football, and college, three deployments for my son and nursing school for my daughter. High stress and great satisfaction for dad, coupled with long hours and most of them away from home.

Now I am retired and a grandparent, so do you think I have any more time available…..NOT! Since I have retired, the demands on my time have increased many times over. Those of you who are retired know of what I speak. My time is precious and yet there are hunts that I would like to make. Some of them are a “Bridge Too Far”. Too much money and too much time.

Enter Clover Creek Ranch in central Oregon. They have many types of exotic game and more specifically, rams. I have always wanted a Dahl Sheep and arranged a package for three of us to hunt last November. We arrived at the ranch and met up with Jim and after proving that ur rifles were zeroed we left the ranch house and headed up into the hills. The ranch is what we call “on end”, meaning that there is steep country and deep canyons. Even though this a preserve, the game is not clustered around feed stations. They are wild and free to roam the whole place. It took us most of the day hiking and scanning hillsides to locate some rams, but because of the warm weather, they were molting and really not in the best of condition so we opted to come back in January.  One member of our group, April, was able to take a very nice Moreno ram with her bow.

While there I was able to talk to a couple of other hunters who were packing to leave and they had nothing but good to say about Jim and Clover Creek Ranch. They had each taken several animals over the years and being professionals, time was critical. One had brought his boys up to hunt pigs and introduce them to hunting. Russ and I had taken a pig two years ago and I had Gartner’s cure the ham and bacon. I took that ham to Montana for Bob’s 70th birthday hunt and everyone raved about it being the best ham they had ever tasted.

January came and two of us headed out for the ranch with great expectations. I wanted a Dahl, but was torn between that and a Corsican. Jack wanted a large, fluffy throw rug as he isn’t into heads on the wall. We arrived and met up with Jim and climbed into his Jeep, which was chained up on all four wheels. If you have never been to Eastern or Central Oregon, when the ground gets wet, it gets greasy and without chains you can’t get anywhere.

The ride up the hill was essentially straight up and when we arrived at the crest, I got out and began scanning the mountain sides across the canyon. I suppose locating a ram right away was too much to hope for and I didn’t see anything. Walking around the nob allowed me to scan other canyons without success, so we moved over to the next ridge and repeated the process of carefully scanning the timber and draws for any sign of a ram. Jim also elicited the aid of a young man on an ATV who was also ranging out further and scouting for an animal.

When we first arrived and were taking care of paper work, I had a chance to review trophies on the cabin wall and decided that a Corsican would be my first choice, but a Dahl would be fine also. Anyway, we continued to scan the countryside and in the middle of the afternoon I spotted a Corsican laying at the edge of the timber on the other side of the canyon. Jim glassed him and announced that he was a very nice ram and we should try to take him. I began my stalk and was carrying an early Remington 700 in 25-06. I was shooting 100 grain Hornady spire points loaded to a little over 3000 fps. This rifle was bedded and the trigger tuned by an old bench rest shooting friend and is capable of 3/8th groups and 100 yds. The scope is a newer Redfield 3x9 and its bright clear optics make it one of my favorites. As a matter of fact, I used this rifle to fire my Certified Oregon Master Hunter exam. At 100 yds, unsupported it shot 4 of 5 into 2”.

I was finally able to get to about 150 yds, but there was little cover and nothing to take a rest on, so I assumed a sitting position and began to take aim. The ram, however, was no longer laying down and had stood up and was beginning to get nervous. He was standing broadside to me, Jim whispered in my ear, “Don’t shoot his horns”. I placed the cross hairs behind his shoulder and squeezed. The shot hit him perfect as the 3lb trigger didn’t allow me to pull off my point of aim. He whirled around to his left and was facing away for maybe 2 seconds and then he just tipped over and didn’t move. One shot one kill and no suffering. We hiked over and checked him out and then packed him back to the Jeep.

We then set out to find Jack his ram. He wanted a rug, so the horns were not an issue but we needed a thick pelt. Jack has a bad knee and walking any distance is not in the cards. The scout radioed us and advised Jim that there was a nice looking Moreno that fit the bill a couple of canyons over. This time Jim was able to get to within 150 yds. and Jack got out and took a rest. He is also a Certified Oregon Master Hunter and made short work of his ram. Again, one shot one kill, except his just dropped where he was standing.

One of the advantages of Clover Creek is that they skin and process your game for you, so my ram was caped out, skinned and the meat bagged. Jack’s was skinned and our trophies were placed in the cooler to be picked up by the taxidermist. Jack’s rug and my mount will be ready in July, which seems to be faster than most.

You’ve probably picked up on my mentioning time in the beginning of this article. There are several reasons for choosing Clover Creek. If you a very busy individual and time is in short supply, you can be on the ranch within two hours of Redmond, Oregon or three hours from Portland. I would recommend coming in the night before and enjoy the amenities of their lodge and get a good night’s rest. If you want to shoot a ram or other exotic animal and cannot afford the cost of flying into Alaska or Africa or want to play Quigley and shoot a buffalo with your old 45-70, this is the place to come. They can make the hunt as easy or difficult as you are capable of.

This was my third hunt on the ranch and the experience has always been very good. There is no pressure to take an animal that you do not want and Jim goes out of his way to make your experience memorable.

So, if you have a bucket list and it involves hunting, you may want to contact Clover Creek.