For many of us in SoCal, deer and bear seasons have just begun or will hit on September 5. Are you ready? I don't just mean have you been shooting your bow and driving tacks at 60 yards. I mean are you ready mentally, physically, and do you have a plan? Do you have a back up plan? How about a back up to that plan? I'd be willing to bet you don't and the reason I ask is because we are in fire season and it sucks. Do you have the proper gear? Have you made the proper arrangements should you get caught in a fire? These are all things to consider if you are hunting in California this year.
Fires have shut down some of the best hunting areas for years. I am still waiting to get back into my original hunting spot after six years of it being closed due to the Station Fire. Has that deterred me from hunting? Heck no! I love it too much and continue to scout new areas. Plus, I love to hunt and I really need some quality red meat in my freezer that doesn't come from a factory farm.
First, let us talk about the back up plans. In the past, I have usually had my goals set to find deer in one part of the forest. Some would say I am limiting myself, and normally I would disagree. I focus on one area (a vast area) and set up cameras, scout it, and get to know it like the back of my hand. I have to as the deer are difficult to find down here. Now that I have hunted California for many years, I do agree that I have limited myself due to great hunter numbers, the drought, and forest fires. In order to have more opportunity, Brett and I are scouting more property, putting more cameras up, and planning more. Why? We want to kill a deer or two and fill our freezers. It's a good start, but we have a lot of work to do.
The back up plans are the ones that sometimes are thought out in advance and some out of necessity. For the past couple years it has been out of necessity as there were far too many hunters in our spot and too few deer. This year, it is a bit of everything. There is no water where there once was a flowing spring. The hunter numbers are high in our prime spot. Worst of all, it's very dry and all the land around seems to be catching fire when someone farts the wrong way. So we have been scouting on Google Earth and putting boot rubber to trail. We are going to do more of that this weekend, too. We want to be sure that if one area does burn, we have other options. I think our plan is a sound one, but we cannot predict the future. We are also planning a third option because we must.
What are your plans during this fire season? Do you have a back up plan? Have you informed your loved ones where you are hunting? You should have a back up plan or two and be sure to leave exact locations with your loved ones complete with local hospital information.
I leave you with this question. What is your plan should a forest fire hit your hunting spot with you in it? We will discuss that in a not-so-distant post. Good luck and be safe this year!