Getting Ready for A-Zone Blacktail – 2009

California’s A-zone blacktail aren’t big deer. Every once in a while a 24 inch wide buck shows up and occasionally one that has four points per side. Here are a few live photos of some  A-zone bucks. Most of the bucks you’ll see in the A-zone are forked horns.cache creek silhouette buck

This is a cache creek buck photographed by Rob on one of our trips to the Wilson Valley.

a zone arche cropped and resizedry hunt buck

This buck passed by my blind during the archery season last summer. I probably would have taken a shot at him if he’d ever got within range.

golden gate buck cropped and resized

This nice buck lived at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He’d be a shooter for most of us .

Sycamore Grove buckcropped and resized

Here’s a Livermore buck that lived in a park on the edge of town. He’s a decent buck, but the biggest buck in the park was a very large 4X4 that looked to be two feet wide. I don’t think he ever got shot.

pebble beach buckcropped and resized

I photographed this buck on 17-mile drive in Monterrey. He doesn’t have to worry about hunters.

rich palmer with nice a zone blacktail

Rich Palmer took this very nice blacktail in Alameda County.

two young bucks

Here’s a typical A-zone blacktail taken on hunt donated to our local MDF chapter.

rich's 2008 a zone buck cropped and resized

This is my A-zone buck from last season. He’s not a monster, but I’ve only taken one larger blacktail.

toni davila's a zone buck cropped

Tony Davila killed this great A-zone blacktail in Alameda County.

One of the tough issues about the A-zone is the lack of public hunting territory. There are very few public properties in the A-zone. A few I’ve hunted include: Fort Hunter Liggett, the Las Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, the southern end of the Mendocino National Forest and Cache Creek Wildlife Area. The best of the bunch is the Cache Creek area, but it’s tough access and can be extremely hot.

If I had no place else to go, as once was the case, I’d hunt these places. Cache Creek is the most appealing to me. Rob and I hunted deer there several times, always during archery season. We saw few if any other hunters. Here’s a buck Rob took from Cache Creek.

Cache Creek buck cropped and resized

Rob killed this buck over 20 years ago. However, I think Cache Creek probably offers better hunting opportunity today than it did then. Rob shot the buck in the shoulder on the edge of the Wilson Valley. We hiked about six miles to reach the hunting area and we took a minimum amount of gear. We stayed only a couple days.

After Rob shot the buck, it crossed the river twice and we followed. If you’ve ever waded Cache Creek during the summer, you know what it’s like to fear for your life. After crossing the creek twice the buck bedded down. Although not dead, Rob was able to put a second arrow through the buck.

By the time we boned out the buck and hiked out it was the middle of the night. Although it’s not impressive looking, it is a rare trophy.

hiking out of Cache Creek with buck cropped

We divided up the meat to share the load. Here’s Rob with the results. We went back again a year or two later and we did see some really nice bucks, but never got one of them. Another friend of mine has taken some nice bucks at Cache Creek during the rifle season.

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