The Holm Ranch has graciously donated a, 16 and under, youth deer hunt for 2013. Every youth hunter to date has taken a buck on this hunt, which takes place about ten mile east of Livermore.
This 2000+ acre ranch is loaded with deer and occasionally a pig as well, so the hunter should make sure he or she has a tag for both.
The hunt generally
Emilee Selna and her dad, Greg Selna with a Holm Ranch buck taken in 2010.
takes place in late August or early September.
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Here you go. Purchase this drop camp offering and use it to hunt high during the early deer seasons. This is a perfect fit with archery deer hunting in the Ruby Mountains.
Drop Camp on Top of the Ruby Mountains
Hidden Lake Outfitters will take you and a friend to the campsite of your choice, and back, with all your gear. Your trip can be to the top of the Ruby Mountains in Elko County, Nevada, between July 1st and Oct 15th.
The outfitters will provide one saddle horse and one pack horse per person. This is the area of the world famous Ruby Crest Trail. You have your choice of alpine lake fishing or hunting. This offering encompasses time periods that include, archery, muzzleloader, and early rifle deer seasons.
If you are up for a unique challenge, you can hunt the Himalayan Snowcock. The Rubies are the only place in the United States where the mountain dwelling bird can be hunted.
Your packer, Henry Krenka, has been outfitting and guiding in this country for years and has agreed to make this offer good for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons to increase the chance that the high bidder can obtain a deer tag through the Nevada draw system.
Henry is also ready to assist you in acquiring a tag through the guide draw system or locating a landowner deer tag. Hunt, fish or hike, this will be an unforgettable trip.
Livermore 2013 flyer
Here’s a nice Ruby Mt buck tagged with a landowner tag in 2010
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Although the number of hunters was a little higher than hoped for, overall our X-12 deer hunt was a positive experience.
When we found out there would be ten hunters camped on our trail within a quarter-mile of each other, we were a bit discouraged. However, we managed to get along well with our neighbors and minimize interference with each other. A few other hunters wandered into the area as well and after opening day, it became a bit tough to find a buck.
As for me, I set up a spike camp a couple miles away and was fortunate enough to find a decent buck on opening day. Still hunting through fir trees at about 10,000 ft, I surprised a small group of deer that included a 3×4 buck. From 50 yards, I didn’t miss and he went down in a hurry. I was satisfied to be able to hike the mountain and bag a fine buck once more. I never know how many more chances I’ll have. The hiking and climbing was both invigorating and tiring.
Here are a few shots of the hunt.
The X12 deer zone has some of California’s most beautiful wilderness.
The 50 yard quartering away shot hit his heart. Although alerted by other deer, he never saw me. After a run-in with a bear in camp, most of him is now safely in my freezer.
This blonde coyote greeted me with howling at spike camp.
Rob and Joe caught a few nice brook trout in this pond.
Joe and I with a hero shot. Joe’s buck was the best buck taken that I knew of.
Several packers provides services in the X12 area. Two of them are Leavitt Meadows and Virginia Lakes Pack Stations.
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The time is upon us for making decisions. June 2 is the deadline for entering the California tag lottery.
With three deer preference points I’m hoping that this with be an “X” Zone year. That’s pretty good standing in the deer category. We put in for an archery hunt as second choice, but hopefully that won’t come into play.
My last X zone hunt produced this buck. If drawn again, should I holder out for something bigger? Good question.
Bought a bear tag and bobcat tag this year. This may be a first for me in the bear and bobcat tagging category, but I think it’s time – dog or not.
Sheep, elk and antelope are all in, but I’ve got one less than the maximum preference points, so my chances could be better. You never know.
Bought a few extra “raffle” chances for deer and elk. You never know, luck could strike.
My personal choice for the elk lottery was the Cache Creek bull elk hunt. Somebody will get it.
I also bought my type “A” season pass for the refuges. Why not get it done early?
As holder of a lifetime hunting license and first deer tag, a couple boxes were automatic. I also get several pig tags as part of the lifetime license program.
Been seeing a few pigs around this year.
Everything arrived in the mail last week. Now it’s time to go through the ticker tape and make sure it’s all there.
Anticipation is part of the fun of hunting.
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Mountain lions are an essential element of California ecosystems. Unfortunately they are not currently managed in any form. Although the most important cougar prey species, blacktail and mule deer, are managed, a failure to manage the main species that eats deer makes deer management less predictable.
This California lion was photographed with a trail camera near Livermore. A lion like this can take a heavy toll on a local deer population, especially if she has juvenile cubs.
Other states have progressive, scientific methods of managing wildlife and consider mountain lions a game animal that is hunted with quotas to make sure numbers of deer, deer hunters and lions is balanced. California is out of touch.
Congratulations to Dan Richards, pictured above with his Idaho mountain lion – which appears to be a huge tom.
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Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were filled with mule deer, but we didn’t find a no-brainer. We did find lots of mule deer and a few whitetails.
I had the option of shooting a “trophy” buck or a management buck. Here’s a trophy quality buck we observed and passed on.
This guy was a great buck, but not a no-brainer.Saw this buck a couple times, but just couldn't get motivated.
Am I crazy? No. I’ll come back for them next year or the year after.
Saw this buck a couple times, but just couldn't quite get motivated. Maybe I should have taken the shot.
This 2x2 was quite wide. Didn't get close to him.
In the morning of the last day, we found a big 3×3 that the rancher wanted taken out. We didn’t get a shot at him, but watched as he bred a doe. We decided to take a different tack on him, but he evaded us.
In the evening we came back and closed the deal as the sun set. Here he is – probably a mule deer-whitetail cross.
He qualified as a "management buck."
From 250 yards, I missed on my first shot, but he gave me a second try and he dropped. After a couple minutes, he got back to his feet. The third shot put him down again.
The bruiser was 23 wide and 19 high, a pretty good three point. I was happy and fulfilled by four days of mule deer watching. Taking home lots of venison. Couldn’t ask for more.
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Looked at a lot of mule deer bucks the last two days – more four point bucks than I can recount. Not sure exactly how large the largest buck has been. Only one way to know that for sure.
Hunting near Wilson Creek, Washington. Buck Run, the private ranch on which I’m hunting, is managed under a permit from the State of Washington. The 40 thousand acre property is primarily a wheat and hay farm, but a secondary product is great mule deer.
This may be the best-managed mule deer ranch in North America. Food plots provide winter forage for over a thousand mule deer – resident and non-resident. Winter wheat provides green feed while two varieties of spring wheat provide food for the cold winter.
Guzzlers provide water for dry spells and supplemental grain feeding provides calories when the weather is bitter cold.
Saw over 500 mule deer the last two days. Looking for one good one tomorrow.
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I was jazzed about the opportunity to hunt mule deer with my muzzleoader in Nevada. After great debate, I decided to hunt the Robert’s Creek Mountains first and follow up with the Diamond Peak Range and finally the Cortez Mountains if all else failed.
My friends Pat and Jerry Lowery came along for company and support. They were a welcome sight when they showed on Saturday morning, the first day of the hunt. They left Reno at 3:00 AM and made it to camp by 10:00 AM.
Our camp was located at about 7,000 feet elevation and we hunted up hill from there. Roads were everywhere and it seemed as though a big buck would have very few places to escape hunters. We came across several other deer hunters and many grouse hunters as it was the opening of sage grouse season. That didn’t help our chances.
We did find does and a few small bucks.
Although I wanted to bring home some venison, I wasn't inclined to kill one of these small bucks which stood around about 100 yards from me and my ATV.
I spoke to a couple grouse hunters who told me they’d had limited success on bucks in this area. It seemed to have more activity from people than other places I’d visited while hunting deer in the Nevada desert.
By Monday morning I was convinced we needed to move on, so we headed for the Diamond Mountains. It took bout two hours to travel to a likely spot. By late afternoon we picked out a camp site on an open ridge overlooking many acres of good looking deer country.
We set up the cook stove in between the vehicles to cut the wind and slept out in the sage brush as the weather was mild. Both Pat and Jerry spoiled me with excellent meals.
We glassed the mountain tops and also cruised around in the sage brush areas to locate deer. We still could not locate any bucks that made me excited.
We carried folding chairs on our ATVs so we could sit and glass for extended periods of time. Pat and Jerry are experienced mule deer hunters.
I got within range of these two bucks, but they were not what I was after. I considered shooting at them anyway, but in the end, watched them walk away.
Pat and Jerry have taken their share of big mule deer. Both have killed 30 inch bucks and Jerry bagged a 202 inch typical with his muzzleloader. I had experts on my side.
Wild horses were sighted every day.
However, it was not to be. On Tuesday afternoon Pat and Jerry headed back to Reno and I hunted on. Although I spotted another dozen deer that evening, none of them were shooter size bucks. Wednesday morning was another bust, so I headed for the Cortez Mountains, an area I’d hunted before. But the weather was continuing to warm and I was losing my enthusiasm.
On Tuesday evening, I stopped long enough to record this beautiful sunset.
I arrived in the Cortez Mountains in the early evening. Driving strange, steep and isolated roads in the Nevada desert can be a little intimidating. At one point I had to stop, unload the ATV and unhook my trailer in order to back down the mountain to a spot where I could turn around. I was a little nervous.
Like much of Nevada, the Cortez Mountains have been hit hard by fire and a cheatgrass regime. This photo could have been taken in any of Nevada's mountain ranges.
Thursday morning came and I checked out some familiar places in search of a buck. I found seven or eight deer, but no horns. By noon the temp was about 85 degrees F and my will to continue the hunt was gone. I was ready to head home to my comfortable bed and home cooked meals.
There were shooter bucks to be found, but they were not where I looked. I could have done more research ahead of time and that might have helped, but I did a fair amount of prep and thought I’d find my buck. Maybe next time.
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