Met up early with my three hunting partners. A long time friend, Jerry Lowery drove over from Reno. He couldn’t resist the chance to help find a big buck. He has personally taken some great Nevada bucks. He’s also a former guide and dedicated muzzleloader hunter.
Pete Holman, Chair of the Susanville MDF Chapter and John Simpson a native of the area with lots of local knowledge created our game plan. Both John and Pete guide on the side. Being a stranger in the area, I welcomed their presence and their humor.
We started out by hunting along the Nevada-California border in a howling wind and spotted several four-point bucks with does. But, a buck with large antlers did not show. We drove back to 395 and shifted our search to the south near the Lassen County line. There we found deer and a few rutting bucks, but nothing of size.
Noon found us again on the north side of 395 gaining elevation in order to spot something to go after, but the howling wind seemed to be keeping the deer holed up. Not sure exactly how hard the wind was blowing, but I bet it was well over 50 MPH near the top of that ridge.
We continued to bounce around at the higher elevations, encountering winds that seemed to be of hurricane force. Eventually the weather improved as we headed out into the sage north of Doyle.
About 3 PM we found a great buck in an unlikely spot near the valley floor.
I managed to squeeze the trigger and was optimistic about the shot. The buck ran about 40 yards and tipped over.
My best buck ever:
He’s 27 1/2 inches wide and 18 1/2 inches tall, with massive bases and great character.
I’m indebted to Pete, Jerry and John for their eagerness to help me succeed. You’d have a hard time finding three guys with more enthusiasm for buck hunting. The day was more than successful, it was just plain fun.
Although November 19th was the first day of the Doyle muzzleloading rifle hunt, it was the 14th day for me scouting and hunting deer in the X Zones. The 14 days encompassed portions of four hunt zones (X2, X5a, X6b, X6a) two special hunts and three of the methods used for hunting deer in California. However, I primarily scouted during the general and archery seasons.