B zone buck hunting
Article and photo by Casey Allen
9/21/11 -- The opening weekend of deer season in Northwestern California’s B zone was more productive than previous years. Many camps in our hunting area had bucks hanging and one camp had two. Mike Taylor got a shot at a big, wide racked buck but missed and I had one in my sights but could not get a clean sure shot.
The weather was warm but not oppressively hot. It seemed, by personal observation that the local deer population had increased over the last few years. There were more bucks running around my neighborhood and more deer seen along our rural roads. We were hunting the Six Rivers National Forest in Trinity County and it was obvious that more water, green grasses, and browse was available than in recent memory.
There were also fewer hunters. The absence of four wheeler ATVs was noticeable. The fact that laws restrict which roads the ATVs can travel on and require the use of a helmet either displaced ATV hunters or they left their vehicles at home.
My partner, Brad Vallerga and I hiked into the Yolla Bolly Wilderness before sunrise on a moonlit morning the first day of the season. We met four other hunters at the trailhead with the same thoughts. After a short conference we learned that we both wanted to hunt the same canyon but Brad and I wanted to hunt the lower canyon while the party of four wanted to go up.
From the top of a ridge I watched Brad and the four hunters disappear into the canyon heading in different directions. Two of the guys no sooner dropped out of sight when a buck trotted out between them heading my way. The tall three point buck snuck through their line without being seen, except by me. I was in the perfect position and was sure I would be shooting this buck. He continued trotting and followed the contour of the slope below me. I followed him through my scope and each time he stopped there was some brush in the way of my shot. I had the safety off and even pulled the slack out of my trigger but I just could not get a clean shot. The buck went from 200 yards to over 400 yards away without presenting me an opportunity before disappearing into a ravine. I gave chase but never saw him again.
Shots rang out up the canyon and I figured the party of four had scored. Brad and I worked our way down the canyon but saw no other deer. It was a long hot walk back to the truck. I was happily satisfied by seeing the buck and secretly I was happy to not be packing him out in the heat.
Mike Taylor and Dan Hopper were in their own canyon near camp. Mike came upon a buck and doe and the buck was wearing a heavy set of wide antlers. Mike, who is 65 years old, had to run 50 yards to get a clear shot. He peered through his rifle scope off hand and tried to hold the crosshairs steady. But the excitement and the 50 yard dash were too much and his only shot sailed high.
We have a comfortable camp with great food and close company. We have many weeks left to hunt and can’t wait to get back out there. I’ll let you know what happens.
More Hunting News
West-central Montana elk habitat saved07/30/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has partnered with a conservation-minded family and the U.S. Forest Service to permanently protect 317 acres of prime elk habitat in Montana’s Elkhorn Mountains. “We are grateful to... Full Story
B&C Club publishes USFS journals07/24/15 -- The Boone and Crockett Club is proud to announce a newly published trilogy of journals by Jack Ward Thomas, who served as chief of the U.S. Forest Service in 1993-96. Thomas' memoirs offer a rare, real-time peek behind the... Full Story
ODFW offers free youth pheasant hunts
Three to be drawn for youth deer hunt07/22/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is offering a draw for an apprentice deer hunt on the Chimineas Unit of the Carrizo Plain Ecological Reserve. The two-day hunt, which is being offered in... Full Story
Special dove hunts offered in S. California07/21/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is now accepting applications for three wild dove hunts in San Diego County this fall. The first opportunity is slated for Saturday, Sept. 12... Full Story
More RMEF grants to help Idaho elk07/16/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $211,400 in grants that will fund more than a dozen habitat enhancement, research and hunting heritage projects in the state of Idaho.The grants will directly benefit... Full Story
B&C Club praises U.S. Reps’ forest vote07/14/15 -- The Boone and Crockett Club is applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for its vote to improve wildlife habitat and funding mechanisms for fighting wildfires. The House on July 9 passed H.R. 2647, the "Resilient Federal... Full Story
RMEF: Watch for #ProjectElk Documentary
CWA opposes SB 347 for overreaching07/12/15 -- Despite opposition from CWA and other sportsmen's groups, SB 347 (Jackson) recently passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee on a partisan 5-2 vote. The bill would expand the types of misdemeanor violations for... Full Story
CWA'S 70th Anniversary Raffle is hot07/11/15 -- CWA is celebrating its 70th anniversary in grand style by offering up its biggest raffle ever! There are two grand prize options: A 2016 Arctic Cat Prowler HDX-XD 500 or a 2016 Tracker 1648 MVX SC. In addition, there are three... Full Story
ODFW: Give wildlife access to water07/10/15 -- Oregon’s drought has wildlife biologists and public land managers especially concerned for upcoming pronghorn and other hunting seasons. They are asking hunters to be especially mindful when placing hunting blinds and... Full Story
CDFW SHARE program offers elk hunts07/02/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Shared Habitat Alliance for Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) program is offering elk hunting opportunities on six new properties. The SHARE program is... Full Story
Oregon Sleeper State for Pronghorns
06/30/15 -- With time in the field, knowledge comes! No one comes out knowing everything about hunting but over the years I have absorbed a great deal of knowledge about hunting Pronghorn that roam the high plains and arid lands... Full Story
MT artist wins CA Duck Stamp Contest
How much venison do hunters harvest?
RMEF: 2015 Elk Camp registration opens06/12/15 -- Full registration is now open and available online for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 31st Elk Camp national convention set to take place Dec. 3-6, 2015, at The Mirage in Las Vegas. “Elk Camp always generates a buzz of... Full Story
CWA offers Fun Shoots June 13 & Aug. 2306/07/15 -- CWA has a couple of Family Fun Shoots coming up. These events include activities for all members of the family, whether you're a novice shooter looking for instruction or an experienced shooter looking for some challenging.. Full Story
Vortex Optics: Quality, Value & Confidence
06/06/15 -- Hunters are clamoring to the license counters putting in for zone draws to the some of the highly sought after areas where trophy deer roam freely. The sight of some of these massive trophy antler spreads can cause... Full Story
CWA demands water for Kamath NWR
Attn: Would-be California hunters!06/03/15 -- Get ready for the fall hunting season by attending a hunter education class. If you live near Palermo you might want to take a one-day class to be taught by Bill Connelly and retired CHP officers Dan Azevedo and Howard... Full Story
Vortex Optics: Quality, Value & Confidence
06/03/15 -- Hunters are clamoring to the license counters putting in for zone draws to the some of the highly sought after areas where trophy deer roam freely. The sight of some of these massive trophy antler spreads can cause... Full Story
New RMEF elk tour crisscrosses America05/20/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s traveling conservation exhibit, the Great Elk Tour, has a newly redesigned look for all to see as it rolls across America from coast to coast. “The Great Elk Tour is longer, wider, taller... Full Story
Non-lead ammunition requirement coming05/17/15 -- Starting July 1 non-lead ammunition will be required when hunting on all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) lands and for all Nelson bighorn sheep hunts anywhere in the state. CDFW reminds hunters... Full Story
Kittles to host CA Duck Calling Contest05/01/15 -- Kittle's Outdoor & Sport Co. in Colusa is proudly hosting the California State Championship Duck Calling Contest for the fifth year in a row on August 29th and 30th. Over the years this event has grown from a one... Full Story
CWA to celebrate 70th anniversary04/13/15 -- This year marks CWA's 70th anniversary! Members are being invited to celebrate this event at CWA’s 2015 State Convention in downtown Sacramento on August 21-22. There is something for everyone, including... Full Story
Pups & Partridges on the Calapooia Prairie
02/18/15 -- They say a great pointing dog only comes along once or twice in a hunter's lifetime. Some dogs don't have the heart or the desire. Others don't seem to have the nose or the brain. We brought home our pudelpointer in... Full Story
RMEF to CBD: Stick to the facts02/05/15 -- The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is calling on the environmentalist group Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to stick to the facts when making presumptions about wildlife populations. CBD recently claimed that Idaho’s wolf... Full Story
DSC convention goers raise $1M in 1 minute01/19/15 -- Responding to a heartfelt appeal for youth outdoor education, DSC convention goers on Saturday night raised $1 million in about 60 seconds. The fast flurry of fundraising was a highlight of the 2015 DSC convention and expo... Full Story
It’s Not over Till the Lady Sings
01/19/15 -- If you want to avoid being attacked by a mountain lion, conventional wisdom says, you should travel in groups. If you encounter a mountain lion by yourself or with children, stop and make yourself look as big as possible... Full Story
Modoc Big Buck honors shared
12/09/14 -- John Dederick the Mayor of Alturas and yours truly of Alturas, tied for first place to win the Grand Prize for the “Biggest Overall Buck” in the 2014 Modoc Big Buck Contest.
This popular event was sponsored by the Modoc Outdoor... Full Story
C Zone BlacktailBy Dusty Clement
10/03/14 -- This hunt started last year when I discovered an out-of-the-way public piece of property which is very difficult to access taking a boat and a fair amount of hiking through the Sacramento River jungle to reach... Full Story
09/16/14 --Having been pursuing waterfowl for over 60 years, I was exposed to its history as a mere child by my grandfather, Wilbur S. Pechin. He hunted ducks and geese along the Platte River in Nebraska in the late 19th... Full Story
The buck we didn’t get and two we did
08/10/14 -- “Can you see him? He is just below the sky line to the left of the big live oak.” The respectable three-point stood only 500 yards away, but my hunting partner, Kyler Olson, couldn’t quite get an eye on him... Full Story
Where Are All the Pheasants?
The other day a neighbor stopped by my house after two days of hunting pheasants in the Orland area. He said that he and his golden retriever, Milo, had probably walked ten miles and only flushed three birds. Knowingthat I had grown up... Full Story
Ham on the Hoof
12/17/13 -- We were climbing a steep gravel ranch road in Charlie’s Toyota when we saw it, as big as a full-grown bear and on a dead run. Charlie hit the brakes and switched off the engine. There was no time to load the rifle. The shaggy, gray... Full Story
Back to the Start
10/18/13 -- I got tipped-off about a bachelor group of bucks from an archer I trust. That never hurts. And after spending opening day in the area, glimpsing two good bucks and seeing how the terrain lays out, I knew exactly... Full Story
Never say never
Most of you have heard the saying, patience is a virtue, and I would say persistence is a virtue. If you want to fill your deer tag each season you have to put your time in. If you don’t give in and hunt hard you should be... Full Story
Me and my shadowArticle and photos by Jean Bilodeaux
10/06/12 -- It’s always amazing to see the huge bucks reappear in the fields in Surprise Valley right after deer season. Many times locals breathe a sigh of relief as the big bucks that disappeared a month earlier now reappear... Full Story
Hunting trip gone bad
If you asked me what I’d rather be doing, most of the time I would emphatically say, deer hunting. For me nothing gets the juices flowing and the imagination spinning like the arrival of bow or rifle season for deer. When... Full Story