Young Molalla hunter scores big tag
Some hunters try their whole lives to get a bighorn sheep tag to no avail. But one lucky Molalla kid tried his luck and got it on his first try. What's more is he also got the sheep on the first day of the season.
Brandon Harrington, just 16 years old, decided to put his name in the hat for the once-in-a-lifetime tag.
"But I just put in for it not thinking I would ever draw it," Brandon said.
Unlike general season hunts where anyone can buy a tag over-the-counter, controlled hunts are limited entry hunts that require individuals to apply in advance to draw a tag in a computerized drawing, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Bighorn sheep are one such controlled hunt, but drawing a tag is rare. ODFW doesn't give out very many and hunters can only draw once per lifetime.
Out of only two given in Oregon this year, according to Brandon's mom Amy Harrington, Brandon got one of them.
"I was excited," Brandon said. "It was a dream."
Next step was the hunt. Brandon, his dad and a family friend set out for the Wallowa Mountains, tackling some rocky terrain to find the prize.
They scoped out the area for four or five days and covered about 50 miles, Brandon said. On the day the bighorn sheep season opened, Sept. 7, they went out early.
"I was determined," Brandon said. "I was sure we would get one. I wasn't sure how long it would take."
Well, it took just the morning.
"I can tell you, that phone call, when he called and told me he got it," Amy said, "that'll be a memory that I never, ever, ever forget my whole life. I could just hear his smile in his voice. It was crazy. He was just so excited. It was pretty cool for sure—proud mama."
Brandon said it felt "good—really good," and he said the two with him were just as excited as he was.
"It was the best time of my life," Brandon said.
Now the family will have about 70 or 80 pounds of sausage meat and will have a daily reminder of the big event as the sheep is soon to be mounted on a pedestal in the family's living room.
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