D6 Drop Camp Rifle Deer Hunt 2009

On the last day of the D6 hunt, I took a long shot at a small buck feeding on a ridge overlooking the Clarke Fork of the Stanislaus River. Each day produced excitement of one type or another.

On the second day of the hunt, I passed on a young buck, but he just didn’t have what it took to get me excited. He and his spike buddy passed at about 20 yards.

I got a few other photos of interest.

On our previous hunt during the archery season, Wes and I had watched a big bear mark a tree and use it as a back scratcher. When we passed by that area on this trip we decided to look for the tree to see if it had any defining marks. Sure enough, the big bear had been leaving his claw marks and we also found a bit of hair.

Wes at bear tree cropped and resized

Wes hand at bear tree marking cropped and resized

Here’s a bit more evidence.

bear scat at bear tree cropped and resized

On day two of the hunt, I sat near the bear tree while waiting for a buck to show. Mountain quail had a good hatch this year and they were constantly calling in the area. These quail are extremely shy and difficult to photograph, but I did manage to get a couple decent shots of them.

Mt quail male (5) cropped and resized

Mt quail male (6) cropped and resized

It was a great hunt which included  the success and failure that make hunting worthwhile. Although none of us bagged a buck, we each had our chances and for one reason or another failed or elected not to kill.

Once again we received great service from Kennedy Meadows Pack Station owned and operated by Matt Bloom.

Quick on the Trigger

When the right buck comes along, it’s time to shoot. We learned this lesson a couple times this season. During the last week of the A-Zone season, Rob spotted a buck and it took Joe only a few seconds to zero in and put it to sleep.

Rob was a little bummed because it was the first shooter buck he’d been in a position to shoot for years and he would like to have been the one to put a tag on it, but this last weekend in D6, we saw the other side of the story as my cousin Wes spotted a big buck before Rob and I.

Feeling beholding to us for helping him take some nice bucks, he waited to get one of us to shoot it. That turned out to be a big mistake as the buck wasn’t about to wait around for us to debate who should shoot it. So, I guess Joe did the right thing.

Sometimes it’s best to be quick on the trigger. Here’s Joe with his ’09 blacktail. Congrats Joe.

Joe w  09 buck cropped and resized

I’ll be back soon to finish out our D6 hunt, which was very interesting.

September ’09 Mayberry Update

It’s now been over two months since the arial spraying at Mayberry. Since that event, Rob has followed up by mowing, flooding and spraying the stuff that didn’t respond to our initial attempts.

Here are a few follow up photos.

burmuda grass cropped and resized

Burmuda grass is a tough customer, but after a couple doses, this grass looks like it’s on it’s way out.

Lola and the marsh cropped and resized

If not for chopping with the aspergrass chopper, this marsh wouldn’t show water. After flood up it won’t take long for the ducks to use this pond.

fragmites cropped and resized

The fragmite population has been expanding, but our spraying has hit it hard. Different plants take longer to show results and we’ve been hitting this plant multiple times to make sure it dies.

Farmall resized

The Farmall Tractor is too small for plowing, but it’s okay for spraying and mowing.

plowing resized

We brought in the neigbor’s big tractor to plow through the dead cattails and it did the job. It won’t be fun walking through the big clods, but it’s a necessary evil.

A Couple more Road Critters

No matter how hard we try, the majority of the critters we see are either in or next to the road we drive. I guess we just cover too much ground while driving. Passed this buck on the way home the other day. He’s not a huge buck but he is pretty.

roadside buck cropped and resized

gopher snake entire snake cropped and resized

Gopher snakes are harmless, but it’s surprising how many are killed by people who fear all snakes.

gopher snake cropped and resized

Here he is again a little closer.

The blacktail buck was laying only a few yards off the road, but in the shadows, he almost went unoticed.

Only a couple more days left to hunt on the ranch. I’ve got a couple of bucks I’ve been watching, but so far they have managed to survive. Maybe this weekend…

roadside buck cropped and enlarged

This guy doesn’t quite make the cut, but he’s close.

A Week on Vacation without a Camera or Field Glasses

One of the things I can hardly live without is my field glasses. My glasses of choice are Swarovski 7 x30’s and they’re about a dozen years old. They are by far the best optics I’ve ever owned. I own two other pairs of field glasses purchased within the last couple years – not because I was losing faith in my Swarovskis – and neither can hold a candle….

The other item I failed to bring was my camera, but that’s only figuratively speaking because the camera was in my car the entire trip – I just never bothered to pull it out. I could have at least taken a couple of landscape photos of the beautiful view from the porch of our rental house, but I didn’t. I guess I was really on vacation. Not to mention the fact that I caught some really nice trout – alone. That’s one of the big bugaboos about fishing alone, there’s nobody to take a bragging photo. You’ll just have to take my word for the 22 inch brown and 21 inch rainbow.

I did manage to get a little bit of work done. I tied a nymph with the hair of my friend’s golden retriever as dubbing and caught four nice rainbows on it.

My Model 70 WSM rifle traveled in the back seat the entire trip as I planned to take a couple test shots of my cousin’s reloads before the upcoming deer hunt. On the last day of the trip I finally got around to shooting it. After attaching the target to a log, I laid prone to take the shots. As I laid there stuffing a shell into the rifle, I noticed things swarming around me. I was laying on top of a yellow jacket nest. Holly shit was I surprised. They stung me four times before I escaped. I guess I was lucky they didn’t get me worse, but of all places to lay down. The stings burned all the way home. The rifle and bullets worked out fine, but I took the shots from a different position – not prone.

That’s about it for a week at Lake Almanor except for a couple rounds of golf and a real estate tour. The home prices in the Almanor area seemed to have risen during the current real estate crisis. Maybe it’s because they haven’t closed a sale this year yet.