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New species, new friends , new respect !
I was fortunate enough to get a last minute cancellation blacktail hunt in California with fellow bowsiter buzz mc. With hardly any time to plan for this trip I wasn't sure what I was in store for... After talking with rob ( guy I got hunt from) and buzz I felt like it was gonna be a great trip! With flights booked we were set to leave in about a week. After weather delays , having to land in other airport to refuel the plane, missing connecting flights , learning buzz's flights got delayed , losing a half day of the hunt, etc.. I figured our luck couldn't get any worse ... We planned on getting our tags in laytonville which is where we were hunting. License system is down so we have to drive out the way to get tags which continued our bad luck. With good spirits from buzz and I we laughed about it and moved on .. Finally we made it to Miller ranch and after getting everything organized we were finally hunting!!
After drawing straws to see who would stalk first buzz won and we were off. We located lots of bucks the first couple days but either to small or not in stalkable area. What I thought was "rolling" hills going into that hunt turned into some really thick, DRY, and steeper terrain than expected ! We found a buck in good spot one morning and since I located it glassing buzz said " that's your buck u hunt it" I honestly can't say enough great things about my new friend and we will definitely do future hunts together! He didn't have to offer that stalk to me cause he won the toss fair and square ! Thanks again buzz! We made plans to head across canyon and stalk this buck. I wasn't worried about score of buck I just wanted a nice deer especially being my first time hunting this species. Fast forward a lil and my guide Richard had us in shooting range of this buck. After waiting for him to feed his way to a clear shot I came to full draw. Richard whispered 34 yds. Whether I just shot high or buck dipped to run ( probably the first thing lol) I hit deer really high and he bolted downhill. We gave deer some time and took up the trail. Very little blood lead to a long tracking job !! Covering lots of ground grid searching for this deer we were about to call it quits. 12 hrs later from the first shot on deer we were in sight of the truck . Just as we reached truck thirsty and tired Richard looks uphill and says " u not gonna believe this but there's your buck".. There he was bedded along a rock ledge and falling trees. Stalk was back on!! Looping around and getting above the buck had me 40yds above the buck. Saying a quick prayer to make a good follow up shot on this Deer I came to full draw.. Settling the pin on this bedded buck taking a deep breath I released the arrow hitting the buck great and seconds later he was down! Lots of ups and downs on this hunt but it all came together and I was fortunate enough to meet some great guys on this hunt ! I'm sure buzz will chime in on this adventure as well but thanks again buzz mc, njbuck and Richard for this hunt !
Great buck and congrats on the new friends and a great adventure. Hunt
Congrats Lee! Nice Blacktail. Glad you enjoyed your trip out to hunt here in Northern California. Beautiful place and very underrated Bowhunting for Blacktails
I had zero doubts you'd get it done...killa!
Great job, great Blacktail, way to go!
Congrats on the buck!!
....and thus begins another bowhunting season. California Blacktails, then Pronghorn Antelope, then elk, deer, moose, etc. I can hardly wait...!!
Thanks guys ! I had a blast and your right medicineman ! Mountain caribou hunting coming up soon with bigpizzaman. Good luck to everybody this season!
Congrats Lee! I can't wait to get out there next year.
Congrats! Bowsiters are the best!
I'm laid over in MSP and still working my way home to East TN. I'll have time to add some more tomorrow. I will say Lee was awesome to hunt with and we had a blast. We'll have more adventures to post in the future.
.....and, apparently, I didn't pay enough attention to the poison oak thread.
I liked that a lot. Neat buck and good hunt. Nice story.
Great Cali blacktail buck and congrats!
Congrats on a nice buck & a new hunting buddy!
Looking to give them a try in the near future!
Thanks guys . As much as I'm excited about the buck I'm more excited about meeting a new hunting partner cause they aren't easy to find especially when it means traveling all across US to bowhunt different animals .
Good stuff! Congrats and glad you got to see what this state has to offer
Good for you!
Good luck, Robb
Awesome, man! Congratulations.
Very nice! Great way to start a new friendship also. CA blacktails are great trophies, especially with a bow.
Lee pretty much covered the meat and bones of the story. I had my opportunity on the next to the last day. My shot appeared to be just a little far back but still not too bad. It still ended up being too far back and after around 10 hours of blood trailing, following prints in the dirt, and more blood trailing, we had to throw in the towel. It was an great experience and I feel privileged to have hunted these cool little deer with such great company. I'll include some pictures from the hunt.
This is the kind of country we were hunting.
The ranch had lots of deer. Some even stuck around long enough to have their picture made.
California Kingsnake. This was the only snake we saw on the trip. And, I have no problem with that.
Day 2 we woke up to fog. It kind of reminds me of home here in the Smoky Mtns.
And more bucks posing for the camera.
That's the same day Lee drew blood.
Lee telling Richard how it all went down.
We saw plenty of hogs through the week.
Before jumping on our flights from Sacramento, we headed over to see the Pacific Ocean.
Last but not least, we saw some Tule elk along the highway and stopped to take some pictures of a herd of cows and a spike bull when this guy stepped out.
Awesome trip Lee!! Congrats on a great buck!! Kinda fun bowhunting for deer in July huh!! :)-
Is that a representative size of a mature blacktail buck?
Guide said it was a 5 yr old deer . Idk cause I'm not great at aging deer but here's a pic of jaw bone
Congrats!!! That is a fun, fun hunt and a special place!
Congratulations and God Bless
Congrats Lee!!! Looks like you guys had a great hunt!
Congrats on the unique buck. It sounds like you guys had quite a hunt and took in much of what Miller Ranch has to offer. Hunting blacktails in July is unlike anything else I have experienced.
ToddT, in that part of the world, the deer mature slowly by comparison to deer in other places in the US. Typically a 1.5 year old buck will be a small spike, 2.5 a big spike (like pictures above)/small forkie (likewise as pictured above), 3.5 a bigger forkie or small 3 pt, and then they start to show their framework at 4.5 and thereafter - so 5.5 is representative of a mature deer. If I had to guess, they typically grow their largest racks in the 7-10 y/o range. I am familiar with 10 and 12 year old bucks killed on that ranch in the past ~5 years, with the 10 y/o at near-peak (B&C qualifier) and the 12 y/o probably regressing somewhat (but still a tremendous buck and a very unique trophy).
That would be a cool hunt in beautiful country...congrats!
Here's what an old BT jaw looks like.
Hunting early season hear is a treat. Hot as hades. If your buck had died within the first couple of hours after you shot it in the heat it would have not been eatable.
Wow,those are old bucks then. Apparently very different than whitetail. I knew they were smaller, but didn't realize how much smaller.
How much did they weigh? Do you have any idea?
And though it would be nice to be hunting right now, I absolutely hate the heat,but I would like to give this a try sometime.
Todd if I had to guess mine weighed about 110 to 120lbs . As far as the heat goes I'm from south Louisiana where is pretty hot almost year round so it didn't bother me at all, actually I was kinda cold up there in the early mornings lol.
"As far as the heat goes I'm from south Louisiana where is pretty hot almost year round so it didn't bother me at all, actually I was kinda cold up there in the early mornings lol."
I'm not from south Louisiana, but I felt the same way about the heat. I was wearing a jacket in the mornings and put on a second shirt most evenings. The middle of the day was hot, but not unbearably hot.
The mature bucks up there are in the 110-140# range field dressed.
Well done fellas. Stalking early season in 100 degree temps and dry crispy landscape isn't easy.
Fantastic guys. Good stuff...
Really neat hunt. Congrats on the trophy. Thanks fellas for sharing with us.