Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Orange Army and Staying Positive

Blaze Orange. You wouldn't believe the amount of blaze orange Brett and I saw last Sunday. We knew we would encounter some, but we must have run into 40 rifle hunters near our spot. It was good and bad. Good to know that if there are that many hunters there is land to hunt, but bad that we were the only archers. With a quick, 'Screw this, let's go to our other spot!', we hit the road and hiked in to our other spot.

Neither one of us were anxious to hike nine miles with all the orange because we knew with every orange hat or vest, there were probably five guys NOT wearing orange. We hashed out a plan to hunt the backside of a foothill that overlooks two canyons. We normally viewed this hill from about a half mile away, but we always saw deer on it. Today it was our chance to see what we could make happen.

We skirted below the ridgeline to keep from silhouetting ourselves and decided to start peeking over the edges. As I looked down one side, I immediately noticed an odd shape at the bottom of the ravine. Rifle Hunter! He was crouched down, rifle on his lap and not wearing any orange. Just as I told Brett, he turned to me and said, 'Two doe coming up the ridge!' Immediately, we went into hunt mode.

Brett backed up, dropped his pack and grabbed his bow. He backtracked around the hill to get in front of the deer while I stayed put in case they bolted. I watched as Brett made his way over the ridge about 100 yards away and sat down to glass. I also kept an eye on our firearm carrying hunter down below. This guy was in a great spot, but we knew he could only shoot a buck. The does were ours if we could make it happen. Turns out, the doe had other ideas. They never came up the ridge. We glassed four nearly a half hour and nothing.

We regrouped, but were not discouraged. Deer had been spotted and that is ALWAYS a good sign. As we ate our breakfast, we watched the other hunter hike a trail and set up facing a steep face more than half a mile away. A half hour later, I spotted our two deer nearly a mile from where we first located them and they were headed away from us. At the rate they were going and with the hunter right there, there was no point in trying to go after them. We still had a month and a half to fill our tags.

We glassed for another couple hours, spotted another hunter and no more deer. For us, it was a successful outing. We had seen deer, got some hiking in, and had a game plan for a couple weeks to get out and hike our tails off in search of a SoCal mule deer. With the weather cooling down and rifle season now over, it is time to wait a couple weeks for things to settle down. After that, it's game on as we go back after them!


  1. During gun season in CA does everyone have to wear blaze orange even if you aren't gun hunting? In AR everyone has to wear it during gun season regardless if you are bow hunting or not.

    1. In CA it is not law that ANYONE has to wear orange. It's optional. Most people do not. One group we ran into had 6 guys in black hoodies and jeans. Not a spec of orange to be seen.

  2. If I get out, I wear some orange. It increases safety by a fraction.