X Zone Buck

#13
was this X-10? Just wanted to see if it was you that I talked to before we headed out that morning.

I wasn't able to make it out for the opener, so had to give it a shot last weekend, But X-10 ends this weekend and I think it'll be another year of oh "No dear, No Deer" for me.

Sat evening ended up having some wet snow and rain, so we ended up leaving instead of hunting Sunday too... good or bad call to get off the mountain?
 
Jan 19, 2015
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#14
was this X-10? Just wanted to see if it was you that I talked to before we headed out that morning.

I wasn't able to make it out for the opener, so had to give it a shot last weekend, But X-10 ends this weekend and I think it'll be another year of oh "No dear, No Deer" for me.

Sat evening ended up having some wet snow and rain, so we ended up leaving instead of hunting Sunday too... good or bad call to get off the mountain?
Nope, wasn't me.
 
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Jan 19, 2015
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#15
That's a beautiful California buck! Nicely done, look forward to some details.
Some detail.....I would talk anyone to sleep with experiences from the week but I guess the keyboard time is a battle for me.

Spent the first couple mornings in an area that a couple buddies saw some great bucks on opening weekend. They got one the second morning. I only saw a couple small bucks. Spent the evenings glassing areas from dirt roads I know well and was regretting it the whole time thinking I would only see smaller bucks if I found them. After that I moved to another area 40 miles away where my son had shot a buck a few years ago. Hiked up to the same spot his deer came from and glassed that afternoon/evening. I didn't see a single deer, just flushed mountain quail and chukar. I still had confidence for the am and there were miles of good area farther up I had never seen. The next morning I started in the same spot and again didn't see a deer. Went a few more miles uphill glassing every new area for nothing. I started back down the trail and decided to just get back to the area I had the best feeling about although it's a rare bluebird day and getting warm. Right off the bat I see a deer walking on a bench 3/4 mile or so away. I'm just using my 10X hand held binos as I left the big binos and tripod in the truck. Was pretty sure it was a buck but it took a minute to see antlers, finally I see it's an average forkie I'd shoot every day in D16. Scanning the area I see another buck bedded under a big bush, I can clearly see his antlers are much bigger so I make a long round about stalk to get in range. Pop up at my land mark and I'm a little over 300 yards above them. Both bucks are laying together now. Clouds start passing through the area just below my elevation now so I move down hill when there is no visibility for the deer. Range it again, 250 yards now. I have a rock for a rest with my gun resting pointed right at the bigger buck but still haven't seen it other than straight on. Finally it starts turning it's neck and I'm a little devastated to see it's a huge, white muzzled forkie. Same frame as the deer I shot, just no back tines. I sit above it for an hour before they get up and walk out of site. The whole time second guessing myself but also hoping there is a better buck out of sight, I glassed 4 other bedded deer but they're all does. I hunted the same area the next morning and just saw a different small forkie and some does.

Fast forward a few uneventful days spent near my area from the beginning of the trip and a lot of miles hiked and I am missing my big forkie. I decide Sunday and Monday (last day of the season) will spent in his home. But first I've got Saturday and long hike to a new area. I have confidence in the area I'm headed to and apprehension about getting a buck back solo. Saturday starts with me in the glassing spot before a hint of light, I've covered ground a little faster than expected. As shooting time comes and goes I'm sitting in intermittent rain and hail and then a fog back that limits visibility so much I can't tell if there is even a slope in front of me. Finally it breaks and within 2 minutes I glass a buck and then another just far enough apart to not be in the binos at the same time. The one I eventually shoot is at 430yds, a little closer than the other and a better angle. The other buck was definitely taller but may have not been a 4x4. I knew I was going to be happy to get either and they're getting to a spot were they will disappear for the day. Meanwhile I'm constantly trying to get my bino's and scope lenses dried with a sunglass shammy so I can see through them. I get set up to shoot off my pack and as I'm firing my vision is getting foggy, I assumed I was fogging my scope up myself but there is actually another fog bank rolling in. I squeeze off a round and and realize I'm about to lose all visibilty so I put up the binos instead of trying to find him again in the scope. I glass the area for 5-10 seconds and then total whiteout. I don't see either deer at that time. No flopping, kicking, feeding, walking away just empty sage. The fog blows through in seconds and I see the deer I shot at heading straight down the mountain almost at me. He's quickly at an angle where I can't shoot again without moving so I just run at an angle to intercept him. We're now out of the sage in tall grass and aspen trees and it starts snowing. Kind of surreal, I'm watching a deer that can't move real fast now move through trees as I wait for him to get into a window where I can shoot. Snow blowing into my face, getting ready to shoot offhand at a deer that's in bow range and I have a weird thought that this feels like a midwest experience. Another shot in the shoulder right next to the first entry wound and he's done. Both shots are a little too far forward but he has saved me a vertical climb by making it down to my level.

I'm immediately ecstatic with the deer as I check him out. Unfortunately he's made it into a not so photogenic spot and not easily moved. Never occurred to me to use my timer either. My internal clock is ticking as I think about caping, quartering and getting on the trail not knowing how long it's going to take me to get back. Cape, head, meat and the crap I brought in are even heavier than expected and it's pure misery near the end but now just a good story. I won't be driving home until morning and new motivation enters my mind so I tell myself I'm hitting a couple craft breweries when I make it to the truck and everything is cleaned up. Amazing experience, I don't spend a week alone often and decided I'd like better company next time.
 
Last edited:
Dec 26, 2013
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#18
Sounds like and awesome hunt! Nicely done, and what a great deer. It’s funny how quickly the misery fades away once it’s over. I have some serious memory loss issues when it comes to miserable experiences.
 
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