Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Opening Day Leads to Plenty of Doe

As soon as the previous deer season ends, we bowhunters start counting down to opening day of the next bow season. In SoCal, we prepare all year by consistently making it to the archery range, exercising, scouting, and earning spousal points so we can make it out the door for extended periods of time and hunt. It's a process, but a thrill in knowing that once your boots hit the dirt, it's game on!

The excitement level was high as we drove up the mountain. We spoke of meadows, trees, and bucks waiting in the shadows. That all came to a grinding halt when we encountered boulders blocking the road. There was no way around them and without the proper vehicle, there was no going over them. Our only choice was to back down the hill, in the dark, to a turnabout and head back down the mountain. Initial disappointment was there as we all hoped to be hunting a different area, but our choices were limited and we needed to adjust on the fly.

After we parked and sprayed down, we hiked to the edge of a wide valley to glass. The sun was coming up and we hoped to spot some bucks feeding. After only a few minutes I spotted a doe and a fawn feeding on some leaves. We watched them for a half hour and saw that no bucks were around. We decided it was time to hike to another spot and glass. Down the trail we went and saw some beautiful, open hillsides. We happened to be standing right in the sun, so we pushed on until we found some shade. That's when we glassed up doe, after doe, after doe. We located seven doe in all. Some had shiny coats and some with such light colored coats they looked white. We patiently waited and glassed a while and saw zero antlered deer. It was opening day and it's a good sign just to see deer!

The sun was beating down and we knew there was a stream somewhere below us. We also knew there were trees where we could find shade, so we hiked into the depths of the valley and into the trees. It was much cooler! We split up and each took a spot in the shade of some trees. I kept hiking, hoping to find something more exciting than just some shade. While I didn't find a buck, I did find a stream that was flowing well enough that I had to smile. With the drought, it's not often you find a stream like this. I dropped my pack and set up in hopes of finding a deer or a bear. After thirty minutes, I moved up the road a bit and then came back to the shade. It was nap time! I found a nice tree for a pillow and slept for 45 minutes in the cool shade and it was glorious! When I awoke, I hiked down to find my friends and shared my find. We hiked back to the stream and decided to relax in the shade for a couple hours as the temperatures were climbing.

After we sat for a while, we felt we were recharged enough and headed back out the trail. We glassed a bit on the way out, but there was nothing on the move. Even the butterflies had stopped fluttering around. Yes, it was really that hot.

Back at the SUV, we loaded our gear and broke out the ice cold Monsters out of the ice chest. We had hoped for a better area to hunt, but the day didn't turn out bad and we were able to locate some deer. We had fun learning the land and knowing that we have to work harder the next time out. If all things work for us, we are planning on getting to a new spot this weekend and hiking much further. We are already anticipating a whole new hunt with a new set of challenges and I couldn't be happier.

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