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Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

For those who do their wildlife shooting with a camera, the high desert of southeastern Oregon is calling.

Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is where the deer, sheep and antelope really do play.

Sixty-five miles from Lakeview, the nearest town of any size, the refuge is famous for its isolation in the midst of a vast landscape covering more than 251,000 acres.

Wild herds of pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep race over the range, with a few mule deer and sage grouse thrown in for additional color.

To get close enough to the wildlife, you'll need lots of patience and be willing to take long and quiet hikes into remote canyons and over rocky terrain.

It's a real back-to-nature experience. About the only amenities at the campgrounds are pit toilets and a hot spring. There's no water, no RV hookups and no fire rings, but that doesn't stop thousands of visitors who arrive with camera in hand all year long.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service operates Hart Mountain. Its Web site (www.fws.gov/sheldonhartmtn/Hart/index.html) can help you plan your photo expedition. The Friends of Hart Mountain (www.freewebs.com/friendsofhartmountain/) offers an in-depth look at other recreational opportunities that are available.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.