Tom Trakes, from San Jacinto Wildlife Area, advised that the first volunteer work day for the upcoming season at San Jacinto Wildlife Area will be Saturday, March 13th. Details here... https://socalhunt.wordpress.com/2021/03/01/march-13th-san-jacinto-wildlife-area-volunteer-clean-up-work-day/
My first sooty using my bow. The grouse in my area don’t let you get close. This one was at 33 yards. I’m looking forward to a grouse meal soon! Also nailed a very small Mt quail, especially in comparison.
This new meadow I was hunting surprised me. I’ve never really observed bears eating pine nuts, but not only were these bears using this food source, they were fixated on it (https://youtu.be/oge6QGLb7r4). This meadow only contained a handful of pine trees, but each one had tons of bear scat and scattered remnants of pinecones everywhere. There are cone-bearing pine trees scattered throughout the forest, so what makes these trees so special? In any case, there is a huge boulder at the top of the meadow, and my plan had always been to wait until rifle season to hunt this, as the boulder provides a view of the entire hillslope. But because the chokecherry crop is so poor this year in my area, I abandoned my other spots and decided to try this meadow during archery season. At 3:00pm, I arrived at the meadow, and built a little blind about twenty yards from a well-used wallow (see pic below). I waited two and a half hours, and just as I decided to stretch my legs and go for a walk, I heard some twigs snapping. I grabbed my bow and waited. Sure enough, this bear came lumbering to the wallow. I drew back, but he immediate plunged into the water and didn’t provide a shot opportunity. I let down the string and waited for him to emerge. I didn’t expect him to jump out of the water and gallop away, but that’s what he did. Bummer. As I pondered this missed opportunity (I screwed up two prior in other areas), I looked down the slope to see that bear climb a pine tree, grab a cone, drop to the ground, and start tearing away. This was my chance. The bear was feeding while quartering away, so I crept up to within twenty yards and let one loose. The shot was good, and the bear ran off. I heard it moan about 50 yards down the hill, and walked in the direction of that sound until I found it dead. This is easily the smallest bear I’ve ever shot, but I was grateful given the long, steep hike to the truck. I try to avoid steep locations for that reason, but if I’m going to shoot something there, I’d rather have a smaller animal to haul up to the truck. I’m interested in your take on a couple of things from this hunt. There was no blood on the ground until about 20 yards from the downed bear. The arrow didn’t pass through (quartering away shot), and there was lung sticking through the entry wound, which was substantial. If I hadn’t heard the bear moan, I’m not sure I’d have recovered it. How would I prevent this next time? Another thing that’s got me thinking is this pine nut food source. I wondered how much food was in a single pine cone, so I grabbed one from the ground, and harvested the nuts (see picture). Then I hulled all the nuts, and discovered that only about a third were viable (see picture). In the end, not much food per cone, but nutrient rich. Is it worth the risk of climbing these trees for this reward (see thread on “pine nuts are irresistible” for when I saw a bear fall 80’ from a tree), and if so, why are all these pines being raided by bears?
Made it out again, so much pressure from the public lands have these gobblers way to wise. So, I had to resort to some spot and stalk methods and took advantage of this strutting ol timer thinking with his little head.
With most feedlots shut down to dove hunting in Imperial Valley I’ve had to hunt a little harder and find the routes the Eurasian collared dove are taking to said posted off-limits feeding grounds. Both my kids are going through the hunter safety program right now and I’m anxious to get them out with me. To slow the birds down and keep my kids involved in the hunt I decided to dove decoy up. In the past, I have noticed that the morning and turtle dove sitting on power lines get pushed out by euro dove but if it’s euros sitting on the power lines then it’s pure Eurasian collared dove that comes to join them. Cabelas has dove decoys on sale right now. https://www.cabelas.com/product/CABELAS-RUBBER-DOVE-DECOY/2882143.uts?slotId=4 I hung them on the dove line to dry out further (can tell the paint is wet as it's still shiny). For shits and giggles I put up the dove spinner as the Eurasian collared doves around my house started piling up on the overhead lines watching what was going on. The kids started counting the dove watching the spinner and pointed out how many were flying by. The dove line is too close to anything and in the shade so I thought they wouldn’t land on it. 5’ away a hawk pounced the spinner! Now the kids want to set up the dove line in a better spot to enjoy the show...
Opener didn’t disappoint!! Just like every opening day, since I was 9 years old, I couldn’t sleep!! Went to sleep around 9:30 and was wide awake at 12:30 so decided just to get up and get out there! Was glad to see I was the first one at the ramp and just as I was heading out 2 other trucks show up!! I was just glad I’ll get the spot I wanted!! Sent my buddy a text to text me when he’s close to the ramp and I’ll head back to get him. Had the boat loaded with all 6 dozen decoys got to our spot and started setting out decoys. Went back and picked him up and set out the rest while he gathered brush to build the blind!! Got everything in place and relaxed waiting for LST!! Only had to flash off a couple boats trying to come in an hour before shoot time!! Once LST came we hand plenty of birds come in. Ended up 2 shy of a limit, only can hunt until noon on Ray Roberts, but had plenty of chances!! I shot my limit my buddy only shot 4. Gunner didn’t skip a beat it was like he hunted last week!! I only work him twice during the summer but you couldn’t tell!! He just amazes me!! Love that dog! He’ll be six years old in a couple weeks damn time fly’s by!! We’ll be back out again tomorrow!! Stay tuned......
After putting about 40 miles on my boots in D5 with no luck and only getting a visual on two does, I finally was able to get on Mr. Forky on day 5. As my friend says who pushed this dude to me, "You don't eat the antlers!" Mighty grateful for the work put in by really great friends in D5. You just can't beat local knowledge. Looking forward to next season! I heard that Governor Ken Doll was going to ban bobcat hunting so I purchased a bobcat tag as well. Had a chance to fill that tag but shot over the kitty and it was gone.
Every few years I get the bug to grab the rifle for a hunt or two, and this year I had a couple good hunts lined up. I have a couple good buddies that live in some incredible country in Wyoming, and I try to get together with them every few years and go hang out and hunt. This trip was off the hook for sure. I got there last Thursday, and while they had to finish up working, I gathered my junk and hit the hills. With only a couple hours, I was only able to get back in a few miles, but I was able to glass up a pretty good buck. I got back out to my little race car (rental) well after dark and got back to the house to meet up with my buds. We made a good plan for the morning and had boots on the ground 2 hours before the sun came up. We were poking along and glassing our tails off when Mike spotted a good buck about a mile down the drainage. We boogied down hill and with a good stalk plan and were closing in. I was in the lead when all of a sudden my sling swivel popped out and my rifle dropped to the ground and went bouncing down the rocks! Crap!! We're 300 yds. away from where we think I'm shooting from. Talk about bad timing! I looked everything over real good and all seemed fine. We carried on and got to the spot where we were going to pop up on the ridge. I was in the lead and popped over and saw the bucks all down below me. I threw the rifle up on the monopod and made a good shot on my buck, and he ran for a few and tumbled down over a little rise. The guys thought it was a good shot, but we still waited about 20 minutes or so to go down and see him. When we went down to see him, he popped his head up and I had to hit him again at close range, and it was done. He's a dang nice buck for sure! We were about 4 miles in and it was a tough packout! So grateful to have a couple good buddies to share the load out! We spent the next few days hunkered down in 60 mph winds, blowing snow and 20 degree weather. We got to hunt the last day I was there, but couldn't come up with another good buck. The boys there can hunt on their tags until the end of November, so they're a little picky on what they pull the trigger on! What a great hunt with great friends!! Til' next time!!
I shot my biggest buck yet yesterday evening. I have been chasing this guy since archery season and I was finally able to connect with my rifle. It was about a 150 yard shot as he was running uphill away from me and I was able to slip one in just before he went over the top. I tore my calf muscle really bad in the process which made for a really slow hike out in the dark but I still couldn't be happier. This one is going to the taxidermist.
Where to start? What a hunt! We busted our tails since the opener. From finding crazy things out in the hills to a bunch of close calls, it was an amazing adventure. One to stick in the memory bank for sure!! I am so dam proud of my wife. From nearly wanting to quit archery due to shoulder issues, learning to shoot left handed, etc., your persistence is incredible!! I was able to call this bull in from a burn and pull him right in front of Lorie, where she made a perfect 17 yd shot!! Congratulations!!!!! I’m sooo proud of you!!!!
Went on the fortune on an overnighterand got into a real nice grade of yellowfin tuna along with some skipjack AKA ocean carp. I got my limit of 25-30 pounders. Going again in two weeks on a two day trip.
My buddy and I were working a creek bottom on some archery only public land and seeing tons of sign but weren't seeing anything. We were about to head back out when my buddy heard something crossing the creek coming towards us. Out popped this sow and I quickly repositioned to get ahead of her. She came up a trail right at me and I shot her at less than 10 yards! Right through the heart. Died almost instantly. My greatest hunting accomplishment so far! Wild pig, on public land with bow and arrow!