Fish & Feathers
Hunter’s dream comes true

This “epic” whitetail deer was bagged in the middle of “muley country.”

Anyone who has ever been a deer hunter can attest to the fact that during the season, as we lay our head on the pillow and drift off to sleep, we see the buck of our dreams disappearing over the next ridge — or maybe not.

This story starts in north-central Washington near the town of Tonasket at Tanglewood Guide Service. This guide service is managed by Oren Jensen and his brother Todd, who were born on this property and grew up in this prime muley deer and whitetail country.

After arriving at the site, my son Rod Malast met the guides. They proceeded to sight–in their guns and then sat down to have a cool one and discuss strategy for the next day’s hunt. Rod was given the option of hunting the low farmland, where he was assured of seeing numerous deer, or the high country, where the terrain was steep but where the bigger bucks hung out. Ron chose the high country.

Orin says, “The country consists of about 30,000 acres, some of which is leased from neighboring landowners.” The main house is approximately 2,000 square feet and was a family home. But it has been renovated and furnished with rustic hunting-motif furniture, and is best described as a hunting lodge. Rod says, “Being with these guys is just like being part of the family. They are so personable, polite and straightforward that you truly enjoy yourself.”

The areas to be hunted are in the middle of the winter migration pattern starting in Canada and working its path south into Washington.

The first three days of the hunt were spent glassing and hiking the rugged terrain. While seeing many deer and several “shootable” bucks, Rod decided to pass on the shots waiting for “his deer.”

Fifteen minutes before the end of shooting time, they saw the buck they were looking for. It wasn’t a muley but an outstanding whitetail 4-year-old. At 120 yards, shooting his Winchester .300 ultra-mag with a 180-grain bullet, free hand, he dropped the buck with a shot just behind the shoulder and through both lungs, the deer staggered about three steps and dropped.

As the sun set, the work was just starting. Oren checked with Rod and started out for the two and one-half mile walk to get the vehicle, while Rod gutted the deer and started dragging it out to the road through heavy brush and brambles. He was about 10 yards from the road when he saw the lights of the truck.

Oren told me that, “The thousands of private land that we hunt here at Tanglewood Guides has been enhanced through farming, grazing and wildlife management. This has been a great benefit to the naturally occurring wildlife in our area. As a result we have some of the best deer habitat in the state.”

Orin also said that Rod was one of the better hunters he had ever hunted with and was proud that he got his deer, which would probably place at the lower end in Boone & Crockett.

The deer was a 4-point with eye guards 9 inches long.

If you would enjoy hunting one-on-one with a guide for big mule deer and whitetails, enjoy great hospitality, prime home-cooked meals and family surroundings, this is the place to go: or 509 869-3621 at 41 Sterling Lane, Tonasket, WA 98855.

Ron Malast can be reached at 665-3573 OR

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