Fernando was one of our two packers.
Randy was the other. They work for Kennedy Meadows Pack Station. The owner, Matt Bloom, is very accommodating.
This was a very large bear and we saw him two days in a row. We observed about six bears in all.
One bruin left his track near camp, but we didn’t have any trouble with our food.
This Cooper’s hawk landed about fifty yards away while Wes and I alternated glassing and nodding. Shortly thereafter, a cinnamon colored bear walked up to within 20 yards of us before attempting to leap out of his hide.
On the second day of hunting, this three point buck appeared in the willows below us. We’d seen him on day one as well.
Then we saw him again on day three, but at about 150 yards. Apparently he’d seen us as well.
His partner was a four-point buck (in the lead), but was more camera shy. Like many bucks, he was better at keeping his head down. As you can see fairly well, this buck has blacktail characteristics.
We have noted that some deer in this area look like blacktails and others more like mule deer. There is a species called the California mule deer and these deer would most likely fall into that taxonomy.
According to biologists I’ve discussed this with, the California mule deer is not a cross between blacktails and mule deer, it is a species that evolved in this habitat. Could be.
We saw these bucks every day of the hunt.
Chipmunks were plentiful, as were many other ground squirrels including marmots, pica and Townsend ground squirrels.
The most prevalent creature on the ridge was the Clark’s nutcracker. While watching one of these birds from about 20 feet away through his binoculars, Rob observed one of them regurgitating pine nuts and storing them in a slot in a pine tree.
After a few hours of watching deer in the morning, a three-point buck with a nice spread bedded in these willows. Wes decided to sit on him and see if he’d make a mistake.
There his is. Wes sat next to that large rock for several hours waiting for the buck to show himself, but he didn’t.
One exciting moment occurred on the last hunt day when Wes jumped a mountain lion that took off at full speed until reaching a place to hide behind a large rock.