“My heart is beating like we just won a Bowl Game,” said Nate Costa, Oregon Duck QB, just after tagging his first deer on Sunday.
Cam & Costa - Nate Scores Deer Hunting
Well, on Sunday, when many of the Oregon Duck players and fans were relaxing, watching football and getting tuned into to the poll results for this week, me and Oregon QB Nate Costa were out looking for deer, with the goal of him notching his first ever big game tag. Coach Kelly gave the players the weekend off after their Thursday night prime time blowout of UCLA and while most here in town spent Sunday afternoon cussing the BCS and applauding the “human polls” which still have the undefeated high-octane Ducks #1, Nate and I were hammering it pretty hard in pouring rain, hail, high winds and ultimately some pretty decent hunting weather. In my opinion it was the perfect way to spend an October “off day” from football heading towards the big ESPN Game Day meeting with USC this coming Saturday.
All morning, while we saw a number of deer in between storms, the bucks were laying low. We were seeing some pretty dang big Roosevelt bulls though, another unique experience Nate hadn’t lived. Finally, around 2:30 p.m.(it had already been a long day as we met at my house at 4 a.m., yeah that meant we got up in the 3s!), we glassed up a nice young blacktail buck on the other side of a large clear cut. After a perfect stalk, Nate and I eased to the top of a finger ridge directly across from the buck. As I filmed, Nate settled in for a solid shot 256 yards away from the buck with the camera rolling in its high def glory. He asked, "You ready?", I whispered, "Yup, anytime." As the buck fed, completely unaware of our presence and the brisk wind pushed clouds across the sky at a rapid pace, Nate got a steady rest on a black, burnt stump, held fast then slowly squeezed the trigger. His rifle bucked and with a perfect shot, he’d joined a special fraternity.....Nate was now a successful deer hunter.
Here is a link to a good article by Ken Goe of the Oregonian wrote recently about Nate’s football talents and his hunting passion….
I am really happy to have shared the experience of Nate tagging his first buck. You can learn a lot about a person in a short amount of time in the mountains and from our day spent in the field I have a good feeling about Nate…he’s a quality guy. I know Coach Kelly wouldn’t have been real excited to see Nate staggering down that steep grade, tripping over logs and slipping on mud as he packed his deer out. Conversely, I suspect Nate wouldn’t trade for anything the feeling he had after finally achieving a goal he’d been working towards for the last three years in the hunting woods or the feeling of satisfaction he’ll have when sitting down to a dinner of backstraps earned with some good old fashioned sweat equity. In between all the football practices, commitments and of course games of a BCS national title contender, Nate entered the woods with the goal of killing his deer and came out loaded down with his buck draped over his shoulders. And, the best part, you all can share in this unique experience which I will include on my soon to be released blacktail DVD and potentially on an upcoming episode of RMEF’s Elk Chronicles on the Outdoor Channel.
Fittingly, I also captured great footage of a big bodied bull elk working up the ridge not 80 yards above us as we were getting ready to clean Nate’s buck. This is a great example of western Oregon’s awesome big game habitat which supports healthy, huntable populations of both deer and elk. And, this encounter is a perfect testament to the work of conservation groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation whose primary goal is to ensure hunts like the one Nate and I shared are there for all to enjoy…for years to come.
Lastly, what I enjoyed most of all was Nate’s attitude, demeanor and his seemingly genuine love of the pursuit. He’s got drive, which is no doubt one of the qualities that make him a great college quarterback and I would guess one of the few big time college QBs that can get it done on the field and in the hunting woods.
Keep hunting hard or like Coach Kelly says…Fast. Hard. Finish.