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exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
California deer hunting

I'm going to be eating tag soup for my California deer hunt this year. I should have been out for the opener this weekend for redemption in the state I grew up in. I exchanged my D9 tag for a D3-5 after scouting because a fire ate my hunting spot.
My goal is to harvest a deer in every state in the nation (except Hawaii because they aren't native) and I still haven't harvested in the place I have hunted most.

So let's hear it guys, am I missing out on something by not getting out there this year? I want to see some success pictures from California public land deer hunters because I never managed to harvest while growing up. In fact none of my friends have ever even killed a deer in CA. I didn't really even learn what I was doing wrong until I left for college in Montana.

Also, how many of you overcommit to hunts while fantasizing during application season (there is no offseason)? Every year it seems I have one or two tags that I can't possibly use.

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Joined: 08/20/2007
Posts: 18
California deer hunting

Well, this year has been pretty bad so far, not to many deer seen or killed, in the areas that I hunt. I hunt D7 and D8. Last year I killed a forked horn in D8 and the year before a 3x2 in D7. One thing I've noticed is that weather will increase your odds dramatically....and of couse putting in your time.

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Location: Oakdale, Ca
Joined: 09/30/2008
Posts: 2
California deer hunting

I have yet to bag a buck. I have studied my butt off, and I have scouted a lot this last year, but all in D-6. I have learned soooo much about mule deer in the last year, but everything I've learned kind of doesn't apply to our area because of the timber.... The whole spot and stalk is hard to do in D-5 and D-6 if you knkow what I mean. I'm trying though!

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Joined: 08/20/2007
Posts: 18
California deer hunting

I read a good article in the Califronia game and fish mag, they talk about hunting black tailes in hot and cold weather and there tendencies. It was a pretty good article and plan on trying out some of there suggestions this weekend.

Joe

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
California deer hunting

sertshark,
Your experiences kind of mirror mine growing up. Hunting articles were usually great stories, but the information rarely applied to mid elevation deer hunting tactics. It wasn't until I went to school at Montana State did I learn anything about deer foods, plant succession, habitats and finally began to harvest animals on a regular basis. It really helped that I met people who had been successful hunters, as all I had known in California never managed to harvest. I now consider myself one of the better hunters that I know, which I attribute to mylack of early success, formal education, and incremental successes which I made a point of learning from when I got older. I firmly believe that those who succeed early on do not learn what it takes to routinely harvest unless a mentor spent time teaching them from their mistakes and success, instead of oncentrating on harvesting the first legal animal they see.
But it still kills me that I haven't taken a deer in California. Oh well, I have a preference point for next year, so I might be able to get an x-zone tag

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Joined: 08/21/2008
Posts: 3
California deer hunting

I am convinced that there are no bucks in California.

I am have hunted for three years (well at the least, attempted to hunt). I grew up in an anti-hunting household and was never shown the "how to." Thinking for myself, I have decided that hunting is the right thing to do so...already know how to shoot well, can walk a lot of miles with heavy loads, not afraid to get into the backcountry, but have NO FREAKING IDEA AS TO WHAT I AM DOING!

I sit at the forest edge with a nice grassy meadow for hours at dawn and...no bucks.
I stalk in the trees along game trails littered with sign and...no bucks.
I hike across the PCT to the D6 high country and...nine bucks taken the day before I arrive. No bucks taken the days that I am out.

WTF. Help. What am I doing wrong?

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Location: Montana
Joined: 06/25/2006
Posts: 18
California deer hunting

I dont know if this is help since you all seem to hunt nothin but the d zones. but for all the years that i lived down there (Napa) i never had any problems. But I hunted A zone and B zone and every now and then X1. i managed to get a buck most years some years two. Maybe its because like EXBIOLOGIST said i grew up with a hunting family that were pretty knowledgable about the areas and deer. The only advice i can give is to keep at it dont let it get you down, you will have success soon enough Thumbs up

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Joined: 10/10/2008
Posts: 1
There are bucks

This is the buck I got in D-7 last year. There are big bucks out there you just have to go get them. I have worked in the mountains all summer and have seen all kinds of deer its just a matter of finding where they hide. A good rule is go where others dont want to go.

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Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5746
California deer hunting

I've gotten a doe out here, and seen plenty of deer. Don't get out as much as I'd like, but I think I could get one every other year or so if I put more time into it. Alot of my friends get them.

I have a muzzleloading tag for M6 and hope to score with that. It's either sex, so i only have to see one.... Yes

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Location: Tehachapi, Ca
Joined: 10/10/2008
Posts: 52
California deer hunting

well, I saw 20 does yesterday in D-8 near Johnsondale. They are staying down low for some reason. Saw 1 guy leave with a sad looking fork and horn. I got a bear, and know where ALOT of big boars are living so if anyone wants a bear, and you pay for gas, i'll go up with you and you'd better be ready. lol

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Joined: 10/15/2008
Posts: 1
California deer hunting

The guy who knows where the bear are by johnsondale bridge area. we hunted D9 opening weekend and saw alot of people and no deer. Last week we hunted D8 from johnsondale bridge to the top of sherman pass for two days. We saw lots of does also but no bucks and no luck on bear. I seen alot of evidence of where the bear go at night but where do they go during hunting hours. I am one of three former marines who just got into the sport and are familiar with one shot one kill. We plan on hunting that area again soon and any help or advice you can give would be appreciated.

Thanks

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