Skip to main content

Patience Pays off for Father-Son Blacktail Hunt


An Oregon veteran documents his father-son blacktail hunt, and ends the season with the buck of a lifetime.

Mathew Dornin was introduced to hunting by his stepfather he was 4 years old. He joined the Marines at the age of 18 in 1999, serving 4 years and 4 months mostly with Weapons Company 2nd battalion 5th Marines (2/5). Dornin was one of the infamous 2003 “stop-loss” Marines. He was also among the first Marines to cross the border into Iraq and experienced multiple ambushes with heavy fighting. Dornin has several disabilities from his service that qualify him for a special hunting permit. Shortly after his service, his stepfather passed away from cancer at the age of 44.

Dornin harvested his buck with a Thompson Center Hawkins .50 caliber muzzleloader, shooting a patch and ball over 95gr of 777. “I wanted to be traditional as possible for this hunt.” says Dornin, who hunted 7 days in the Trask unit and 3 days in the McKenze unit.

He passed on several other opportunities and had a primer fail on a nice buck earlier in the season. “I became obsessed with the big buck I missed and decided I only wanted him.” He passed on nearly 10 bucks trying to find the big one again but it never happened. With time running out, he felt like it was time to start taking his son James with him. They were presented with several opportunities early on during the first day, but by the next day, the season was coming to a close and he had accepted that they wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to take a younger deer.

While the initial kill was not captured on film, the real story behind the video is in the hunt. After they recover the deer and James snaps a few pictures, they turn the camera off again, explaining that

“Mommy doesn’t like it when we do this on video.”

Dornin purchased the camera he used a few years ago for the purpose of filming his hunts.

“It’s just something I always wanted to do and I am having fun with it. I hope my kids will be able to watch my videos when they are older and have kids of there own. Hunting and fishing has been my passion in life and has been a blessing at the same time. My fiancé who is the mother of my kids started hunting with me about 5 years ago. We will raise the kids hunting, and in a few years be hunting as a family. I plan on getting as much video as possible.”

The video tells the story as vividly as Dornin explains it. Now that you’ve watched the short film of the search for his trophy with his hunting partner James, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel here. You can also find out more about veteran outdoor organizations here.


you might also like

Patience Pays off for Father-Son Blacktail Hunt