Saturdays Desert Mountain-Climbing Adventure and Deer-sightings

TheGDog

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Nov 28, 2018
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Location: a place on the backside of D11, that overlooks PalmDale, if ya get up high enough.

Went out with the intent of making sets for coyotes. It was gonna be a shitty weather day. That place was forecasted at Lo 22F Hi 44F and likely to rain.

A field biologist on FoxPro Furtakers was talking about how on rainy days coyotes will be out because the rain can make the rodents have to leave their burrows for a bit, so figured Meh, the cold is gonna suck, but I need to get out since I'd been out with my lungs in a deathgrip and cough for more than a month previously.

This place is quite physical on ya. And the reason I keep occasionally coming back out here is because I shot my first coyote out there... and.. when scouting in here for deer initially when I first started, when I began to side-hill into this one area looking for sign... at some point, something told me to turn around and look behind, and I saw a beautiful coyote just reach the ridgeline and stop and pause to look back at me... before he went on and proceeding over to the other side of the mountain. Later on that day several years ago, when I came back that area on my way back out... saw that coyote run from one clump of bush/scrub-oak over to another clump of bush/scrub-oak over in that other side of the mountain.

So... I'm cursed with this hope of going back in there one day and catching that mofo slippin'.

Fast Fwd to current day. Get in there before daybreak. Start my 1st set in a draw between two of the many fingers coming off the mountain. Nothin'. On way up into that draw, go up to ridge of one of the fingers. As I approach a gnarled bigger sized Juniper bush as I approach the top of the fingers ridgeline, my eye catches motion within the shadowy side of a ridge some 400-500 yards ahead and across from me. I freeze,eyes focusing on the motion... then realizing its a mule deer, then realizing oh shit! There's a good 6 of them over there! So then I slowly make my way over to the shadow of the Juniper. Binos out... peepin' em from a distance. I (think* it was a bachelor herd. They looked meatier in the thighs. Hard to tell since I'm sure by now they've all shed their antlers.

For shits and giggles... I sneak on over a ways from the Junpier.. and setup the MOJO and the eCaller. Back in the shadows.. I elect to play Fawn Bleating. Hrmm... yeah... I'm thinking it was a Bachelor herd. They didn't like that Fawn Bleating too much. That shoo'd em away. Rather than invoking any maternal instinct or curiousness.

Advancing along this particular fingers ridgeline.. as I crest its highest hump, I notice motion a couple fingers over like maybe 500-600yds away. And Holy Shit man... those two mule deer straight out ran away from down in this little bit of flat sandwiched in between two fingers.. up and over that farthest away of the two fingers. And damn man... as steep as that whole area was... that shit was WAY impressive!

Eventually this finger brings me to this spot I'm familiar with where the main mountain ridgeline and this ridgeline merge into like this 3-way saddle. Make a set there as well. Dang it. No takers. And whoo dayum... Farveknugen it gets dang cold when you're no longer down in a finger and ya got that cold fast wind a-blowin' at yeah.

No takers, so make my way along the main ridgeline... back to where that yote of several years ago went from one bush over to another. As I approached where there's a trail line that turns to travel back down along a finger that's pretty darn huge... Doh...oh shit... I look over on this flattish area over on the finger I'm currently walking past to get over to that other one... and see a Mule Deer looking at me from maybe 150-200yds away near the edge of this current finger I'm talking about. I've been in the leafy gear all day, BTW.

I should have just froze and played the whole red-light, green-light thing and waited for that deer to look away first. But I didn't. Admittedly I was pretty tired since getting up to the main ridgeline involves following a very steep trail on a finger going up. So instead I decided to try turning around slowly and slowly walking back away in the other direction... for like 20 feet, then sat on a decent sized rock that would make a good place to sit. Unfortunately, while walking over to that rock, looking back his direction I then saw the other like 4 or so deer I didn't initially see, when his alert/alarm state and him turning to dive back down over the edge of that finger made them all do the same. So I returned from that stone and went to where I was when I first saw that deer. And elected to sit and hug up next to the shadow of a bush there. From this vantage point I had a good line of sight to see both the main ridgeline I was on, as well as the ridgeline of the finger I was travelling towards. Figured I'd sit tight and wait to see where they all went to, figuring it might teach me something for a later day. Never saw them appear. So... when I eventually advanced forward to the finger I planned to turn and go back downward on. While descending, I'm looking back to try and guess/figure where they are. Yeah, sure enough there's some pretty good-sized scrub-oaks/bushes I'm sure they were likely held up in. And now that I'm going back down, I now from the past they like hanging out in these fingers on the west side of the main ridgeline because it gets 'em down outta that harsh wind.

Had my clunky, heavy, leather cabelas boots on that don't fit all that snugly... because recently on my regular Salomon's the sole failed.. and I didn't wanna trust that the Shoe-Goop repairs would hold in this terrain that has a lot of shale-stone and quartz shrapnel pieces all in it. So that massive downhill returned on the finger was killin' my feet.

Finally an eternity later I'm in a draw I can follow back to the truck. I stopped at a couple places and tried to use the Pocket Prey caller to see if it'd draw out some Ground Squirrels. It did make some emerge, but when they did... they were nervy and strictly business and traverse the out in the open space with the quickness so unfortunately no shot opportunity.

So... although it was a fail for 'yotes. I always consider it a cool thing when I get to see some deer!

One thing for sure, in order to possibly be successful in this area, Daddy's gonna have to learn how to take some 400-600yd shots. And whoo... man.. I can imagine what kinda energy expense it would be to debone and pack out outta there off those steep slopes.

Thankfully the whole area is looking much much better these days with all these rains we've had the past two years. That last finger I descended on.. even though there's lotsa new growth on it.. you still see the soil has all the ash in it from 2014/2015 fires that swept thru there.

Sucks man... after getting up to the top on that main ridgeline... and being able to look out and see for a LONG ways in all directions.. I realized I'd forgotten and left my cellphone in the truck so couldn't take pics. Doh. Oh Well. I'm thinkin' if I'd have had one of those FitBit things on... I'd have no doubt caused its "odometer" to tap-out and flip back around to all zeroes, Eek! Well.. at least that's one good thing the colder temps can do for ya. They let ya do all that distance and ya don't even go thru the 4 liters of water.
 
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HATCHET1

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Incredible attention to detail gary...stay the course, hold the line..push forward..never waiver..and most importantly..Finish.
 
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ilovesprig

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Gary,

Sounds like a great day...You can see the nub even if they have dropped their antlers...Which down here in San Diego, some have and some have not.
 

TheGDog

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Brother... it would make your Headspin the level of "attention to detail" I usually notice...in all things. It's a curse. Just a side-effect of being a programmer and a techie. And years of having to trouble-shoot and figure out weird-ass problems that make no sense, happening to your users occasionally.

Some day I'm gonna take a deer from that damn place. So far, I've only encountered Does though.

The interesting and/or intriguing problem this place presents is that you could easily see how in most scenarios it'd be very likely that they'd see you coming from quite a distance away. Since the terrain is Desert Hills, and not a lot of thick cover. Only in the parts which are shady steep crevices.

Another problematic thing is that some local yahoos from a property over on the other side of the road you use to get there... they ride DirtBikes all around in this place and also enjoy doing the big long technical hillclimbs it presents with. I always see fairly recent tracks whenever I've gone all the way up the mountain to that main ridgeline.

Been thinking Daddy just might have to get himself a DirtBike again. I finally sold THE BEAST (my KX500) when I realized my Vision was tanking sharply. Figure in this spot, perhaps an ATV to get ya up to the main ridgeline just might be the hot ticket.
 
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TheGDog

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Gary,

Sounds like a great day...You can see the nub even if they have dropped their antlers...Which down here in San Diego, some have and some have not.
Yeah... I was trying my best with my 10x42's handheld but set on top of my shooting sticks to see if I could see the nubs. Couldn't quite tell.

And with all that climbing in takes there, your pulse can be a problematic issue. Figure next time I'll go there with the thought in my head that it's just as much of a scouting trip as it is making sets for coyotes. Figure bring the 15's and the Tripod next time.
 

TrapLine

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What you got in the Arsenal for the long shots? I need to do some long range practice shooting too to get my rifle sighted in.

There is an archery either sex tag, A31, easy tag to get, 1000 tags and only 471 applicants last year.

8109CEE5-C1E7-484A-A74E-7E7C3D60C4E9.jpeg
 

skeet

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Trap don’t know where you got your numbers but 31 sales out first draw every year
 

TheGDog

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Gotta .308 Win so it'd be possible. I just know I don't yet have the practice time it would require to pull it off with high probability/repeatability.
 

TheGDog

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Part of the problem I don't like with any kind of hunting attempt related to freakin' D11... is that in D11 you never know when these retards are going to f*ck you over by randomly closing the road (Hwy 2) to let ya even get in there! I'm sorry but that isht bugs me badly. I feel if they are going to be pre-emptively overly-cautious and wussified every time inclement weather approaches and close-off the hwy during weekends that transpire during the time periods our tags are good for... then these Mu' F*ckers owe me back some Money!

You might say that's kinda the reason I've been coming back and exploring this place on the backside of D11. Because they don't f*ck around and pull that isht over there. And there's almost never hikers. And there's almost never anyone else around. BUT... it's very open country and very steep.
 

TrapLine

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Part of the problem I don't like with any kind of hunting attempt related to freakin' D11... is that in D11 you never know when these retards are going to f*ck you over by randomly closing the road (Hwy 2) to let ya even get in there! I'm sorry but that isht bugs me badly. I feel if they are going to be pre-emptively overly-cautious and wussified every time inclement weather approaches and close-off the hwy during weekends that transpire during the time periods our tags are good for... then these Mu' F*ckers owe me back some Money!

You might say that's kinda the reason I've been coming back and exploring this place on the backside of D11. Because they don't f*ck around and pull that isht over there. And there's almost never hikers. And there's almost never anyone else around. BUT... it's very open country and very steep.
I love open country, get up high, blind yourself into a prone position and stay put.
 

TheGDog

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I love open country, get up high, blind yourself into a prone position and stay put.
Ya know... you've got a good point there.

Guess it kinda depends on if they'll remain near the area come the season. So far I've always managed to see some around there in winter-into-spring, but not after that, that I recall. I've always figured it was because they needed and enjoyed getting out of the winds. Then I figured that with the months warming-up people start coming back out there again and shoo'ing 'em off to go other places, what with trail-riding, and target-practice shooting (which is very evident where you park, trashy people bring shit out there and shoot it up. Some asshole even brought a small boat out there and they shot it up! WTF!?)

Although I suppose now that the rains have greened it up, and it's not the usual bone-dry hell-hole it was for a few years... meh... who knows, I think you might be on to something there with the M.O. of sit-tight with the leafy-suit, don't move, and keep scanning with the binos... as long as you pick the right spot(s).
 

skeet

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Will not sell out first round, only a handful, 40ish people will actually use points on it.
Yes only a handful of people use points for it but if you don’t get it on your first deer tag you won’t be getting it in your second
 

TheGDog

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No not over there. No real trees. Too steep.

But there looked like Pig and maybe Turkey tracks up my by younger brothers property there by Liebere Gulch, next to Bald Mountain. But oh well... we had a falling out, don't speak. And, Old Ridge Route has been closed for some time now. Might be worth checking to see if anything in there may have re-opened though. There was this... I think this called it the Powerhouse Fire? That essentially made them close off the ENTIRE Northern half of D11 between the 5 Fwy and the 14 Fwy. Ridiculous. Some dang thing should be opened back up in there by now I'd think.