"I gave the Applegate Unit a try this past November during the late-season muzzleloader hunt. Rather than hire a guide, I opted to hunt on my own, based out of Applegate River Lodge in the town of Applegate just west of Medford. I waited until day eight of the 23-day season to begin my hunt, after most other hunters had gone home. I saw two record-class bucks and a button buck the first day. An hour after daybreak the second day, I rattled in a deer, but never saw it. Late in the morning, I spotted two deer in a canyon - a buck chasing a doe. I shot the buck at 80 yards. He is a tall 4 x 3, 16-1/2 inches wide and scoring in the 120-class SCI. (See photo in the Trophy Snapshots section of our web site.) The next morning, I went back out to take pictures and saw two more mature bucks, a three-point and a four-point.
"The Applegate Unit's three-year herd-composition average is 30 bucks per 100 does, well above the benchmark of 20. Harvest success ran 42 percent in 2008. Over the last three years, 22 percent of the bucks taken were four-point (Western count) or better. The average hunter spends 5.9 days in the field. Most hunters use spot-and-stalk tactics, but rattling and calling can bring in a buck too. Because this is a rut hunt, the normally cautious blacktail bucks might be less wary, making this an excellent trophy opportunity.
"The Applegate Unit is 57 percent public land, and with........(continued)