Monday, December 6, 2021

California General season Buck

This is a short story and not too complex. Emily and I knew one area that held some deer in a general zone. It was the last two days of the season and we decided that we would sit and glass a few different basins the entire trip and see what we could turn up. Hours behind the binoculars, only spotting 5 deer and about 100 other hunter later we found the only buck we saw.. he was a giant old buck,, 24 inches wide, heavy with big eye guards. Both Wes and Luke were excited for mom as well!

California Mule Deer with a Bonus Bear!

The first 7 days of the California deer season seemed to be full of more bears than legal bucks. I had seen 7 different bears in those days. That Saturday (bear opener) I had decided that if I saw a bear I would do the deer fawns a favor and put it in my freezer...and that's just what happened. I was able to take a nice 200 lb sow by 8am.
The next 4 days were a grind, I found a few bucks but nothing mature that I wanted to hang my tag on. Day 12 of the season took me to a spot that had some regular does. I had seen a buck bear there acting rutty and I figured checking on the does first thing would be a good was! Before shooting light I could make out a large bodied deer with the does. I got set up and waited for it to get light. The next 15 minutes felt like hours. The light gave way to a beautiful 4x4 that was
31 inches wide with the does. One well placed shot at 370 yards and he was down. I felt so fortunate to have this deer cross my path as well as getting to hunt 12 days in a row for a species that I love. 

California elk Hunt

My pop was fortunate enough to draw a California elk tag, the downfall is that all the usfs public lands were closed due to wildfire! We contemplated turning the tag back but with some BLM and state ground still open we decided to go for it. The first two days of the hunt were tough, we located elk but they were not rutting very hard and seemed to be nocturnal.  On day three we spotted a bull near some state ground. We hiked into a nearby spot and set up and I started calling with hopes to bring him in....and that's exactly what happened. He responded to my calls with screeching bugle and when we first saw him he was at 350 yards running right at us! I called one more time when he was at 150 yards and he let out one last bugle before he stopped at 75 yards. My dad made a great heart shot with the 300 ultra mag and the bull was ours.

My dad's first rutting elk experience and it was a dream to be apart of it. We spent the next 4 hours processing and getting the bull back to the truck. What a way to have your one in a lifetime California elk tag end.

First hunt of 2021- California Coastal Blacktail

July has always been a special month for me. It marks the earliest deer season in the country. My buddies and I decided to try something new and hunt a coastal zone boarding the Pacific ocean. This area was steep but had a decent population of deer. Opening morning found us stair stepping down, 1000 vertical feet towards the ocean. was foggy and visibility would range from one mile to 50 yards as it rolled in and out. I spotted a smaller buck that I decided to make a stalk on. On my way I bumped two bucks out of their beds, they disappeared but I was able to find their beds and a well used game trail that led to them. I decided with the poor visibility that I should sit and wait to see if they would come back. I sat for an hour and was a bit frustrated since the fog was thick and my view of the ocean or anything to pass the time was obscured...but I kept sitting with no other options. After some more time passed, movement caught my eye about 10 feet away! Antler tips waved back and fourth as a buck was feeding on some coyote brush along the trail. I had an arrow knocked and drew back as he came into view. Being that Close the buck immediately spotted me and trotted about 25 yards and stopped. I let the arrow fly and it hit its mark perfectly and the buck disappeared in the fog, crashing towards the ocean. He was a gorgeous full velvet 24" 4x4 blacktail. They don't get much bigger than that for coastal bucks.

My good friends met me at the scene and we took photos and each carried a load the 1200 vertical feet back to the truck.

The trip was amazing and with good company especially to be hunting in July in 65 degrees teps with views of the ocean.

2020 season catch up- displayed In photos

 Well 2020 was a tough year but rewarding for us we had a 1 year old, fires that forced us to evacuate and another boy on the way. We did however draw some great tags. I was able to tag a 86" pronghorn, a great 28" California Mule Deer along with a nice meat buck in Idaho. 

Emily was fortunate to fill her California B Zone tag, a late nevada muzzleloader tag as well as a nice idahoe whitetail!
December rolled around and we welcomed the new addition,  Luke Paxson Ryan. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

2019 A Year with our New Boy!

Well 2019 was a whirlwind, Wes John Ryan came into the world and its been one adventure after another. He went on his fist hunt at just a month old and helped his folks chase wild pigs and blacktail in California's A zone and some fishing on the coast.
From there we went to Idaho to help out on A friends Shiras Moose hunt. It was beautiful place and it was our 4th tag we've filled in that area.
Late October took us to Colorado for a mule deer hunt. We hit the weather perfect and were able to connect on four 170" mule deer!
Finally november rolled around and we went to Nevada where we chase mule deer with a muzzleloader tag that Emily drew. We didn't have a ton of time but were able to connect with a nice 3x3.
We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful son that can hang with his folks on their adventures!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Nevada Muzzleloader Mule Deer Hunt

Well the 2018 General season was primarily over however December brought a coveted tag for myself that I had been waiting 10 years to draw. The weather was perfect, cold....well freezing! and a fresh blanket of snow which made the mule deer stand out on the vast open mountains.

The tag dates for this hunt run in December. The deer are primarily focused on feeding and resting after a strenuous migration and rut. The deer I decided to target were in a range that they reside in year round. This range is extremely steep and peaks out at 8,300 feet with limited vegetation.

During scouting I was able to turn up two bucks that i wanted. One was a nice 160-170 inch main fraim 4x4 and the other was a super wide heavy old buck. I am not a trophy hunter but I knew I wanted a older age class deer.

The muzzleloader I was using was a Remington Model 700 with williamson sights. I was shooting a 250 grain bullet and was consistently hitting a gallon milk jug at 200 yards.

Opening day found myself and my fields looking for the typical 4x4. The icy fog rolled in and we had zero viability for about 5 hours. We decided to stick it out and started a small warming fire with some mountain mahogany. Once the clouds cleared we started to spot bucks. We saw over 20 bucks and over 100 deer, however no big mature bucks. We headed back to camp and readied ourselves for the next day. The next day we decided to look at some new country and found numerous bucks including one nice 4x4 however I just wants ready to pull the trigger. I wanted to see if we could find the heavy old buck.

That evening we decided to glassed a basin where we had seen him a few weeks earlier. After about 2 hours he emerged with 4 other bucks. We put him to bed and made our plan for the next morning.

Day 3 took us to the same glassing point from the evening before. We found all of the bucks he was with but he was no where to be found. While two of my friends stayed back glassing myself, Emily and good friend John went up the mountain to see if we could find him from the top. After a good mile into the hike we started spotting deer. Numerous bucks but the wide old buck was missing. We went a few more ridges and found a group of 25 deer and there we was right in the middle of them. I took off to a rock pinnacle and got set up. The buck was exactly 200 yards. I steadied the sights and let smoke fly. The shot was back in the liver causing the buck to hunch up and go down. After a finishing shot, I made my way down to him.

He was an incredible animal, nearly 200lbs, white face with a scarred roman nose and sported a heavy 32 5/8 inch outside spread. He was an old warrior and I couldn't have asked for a better buck. He would probably barely score 140 but still a true one of a kind trophy.

It took us about 3 hours to cut him up and make the brutal 3 mile hike back to the truck. Even though it was only 3 miles its was straight up and covered in a wet layer of slick snow.

Back at camp we celebrated and shared the story. It seems like a common theme on my hunts but I truley have a great network of friend that love the outdoors and are willing to take time off to help me out. I am a lucky man!

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