Zone D5 scouting report
Posted 01 September 2010 - 01:38 PM
I have seen lots of does, although many of them are unaccompanied by fawns.
I have seen several spiked bucks as well.
However I have not seen any legal bucks yet.
Either the bucks are hiding deep within the Stanislaus National Forest, or else they are high up on the mountain ridges.
I will check back again this coming weekend (Sept 4) or next (Sept 11).
Archery season is a great time to scout in advance of the rifle opener.
I stopped by the Menlo Park office of the U.S.G.S. to pickup some topo maps, to allow me to probe deeper into the forests and higher up on the ridge lines, next time.
Posted 01 September 2010 - 06:51 PM
Posted 29 September 2010 - 02:28 PM
It is, as usual, located over the top of a ridge line, to the north, adjacent to a major paved road.
Ergo, the deer always seem to put a ridge line between themselves and major paved roads.
It is, as usual, located near high mountain springs.
Ergo, the deer need to drink.
They were grazing/browsing along the north face of the ridge.
Ergo, deer prefer the cooler north faces in the summer and early autumn.
I suppose those are things all rifle hunters are taught since childhood.
I saw 3 large bucks, and half a dozen does with them, in one herd that seemed to be travelling together. Or else the de facto drive just flushed them into each other, and they stayed that way for comfort due to the herding impulse.
We set up on top of the ridge line, in a saddle, in the classic configuration, with the wind in our face and the sun to our backs, looking northwards, and we were waiting for other hunters to drive the deer up the draw towards us, due to an easier but longer hiking trail that other hunters were using from the northeast which started at the road.
Ergo, hunters are normally lazy people who typically hike along the easiest trails when not road hunting themselves or drinking beers.
The others drove the whole herd right into us, like Custer into Sitting Bull at the Little Big Horn River.
I was on the far east side, and my 2 buddies were to the west of me, one down in the middle of the saddle, and the other up on the west side of the ridge.
The herd came right towards the one up on the west side.
He took the first shot, and second, at the closest buck, a 4x3, with his 270. His distance was about 150 yards.
This drove the herd north east toward the one in the middle of the saddle, who dropped the same buck with his 338 and 3 shots at it, of which 1 connected. His distance was about 75 yards.
I did not get a shot. They were too far away, and it already sounded like a war zone to me. But I got to watch it all happen through my 10x binos.
The rest of the herd then turned around and headed north, back down the trail and up onto the next ridge leading into the next river valley. They are still there somewhere.
One tag filled, two to go.
We noted that the buck still had some velvet not yet completely scratched off his rack.
Moral of the story: a 270 is not big enough to drop a buck in its tracks, unless you hit something perfectly. And a 338 is nice for overkill.
Observation: buck fever, no matter how good you think you are, will still make you miss early in the season.
It was an exciting opening day!
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