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Southern California DIY Mule Deer
Submitted by Wood 1
AO Tag September 03 - 25
General Season October 08 - 30
No Buck yet : Lessons Learned, you bet ........
My first bow hunt in 45 years or so.. My first archery deer hunt ever.. First day hunting, went up the mountain behind my property with my bow and GPS with pre-detemined coordinates. I decided to pretty much walk up to where I had planned to hunt before going too stealth. That was the first mistake....2nd - No arrow nocked, even after reading a post at this site to always have an arrow nocked.. 3rd - messing with that danged GPS instead of looking for deer. New GPS and was having problems, I kept getting the wrong direction to travel when I knew where I wanted to go. Stopped on a curve in the road and stared at that thing for a good minute, when I looked up there were two huge tracks 20 yards in front of me where a deer just slammed on the brakes.. He either stopped as I stood there or just befrore I made the curve ??? Tried to follow the tracks but couldn't... Never saw another deer that day............
Day Two: I decided to try the flats where I saw a nice 4 x 4 in August, at 14:00 hours, in over 100 degrees ?? I thought deer laid up in that kind of weather.. No luck even though I was seeing quail eveywhere, 25 ft. or less and they never noticed me.. That was cool, must be doing something right.. Driving back to camp noticed the time was around 18:40, sunset was 18:57 I think. I look to the buck brush to my right and see 3 sets of Mickey Mouse ears, slam on the brakes, jump out with binos and looked, no buck visible.. Creep back to the truck, grab the bow and make a sneak around the bushes.. No good they see me so I crouch to a duck walk below the line of sight and head the other direction. I have tons of cover this way. I creep around to a nice size pine and stop for a minute, I'm thinking to keep on going to try and intercept them.. I look down and there are quail milling around everywhere 15' from me.. I figure if I spook them, I spook the deer.. Decided to sit and wait for them to come from behind the big thorny brush.. I held the bow, hooked the d-loop to my release and froze as close to that pine as I could stand.. At least 20 minutes passed and finally an ear peeked out from behing the bush. Seemed like another 20 the other ear was visible.. After I don't know how long she took a step toward the clearing, a while later another ear then a step, then another ear and another, 5 does and a fawn were feeding less than 15 yards from me now, one started walking right to me, thought she was going to come and lick my hand !! After the fawn I figured if there was a buck he would be next..I don't really know why I figured that but I did.. Sure enough, after another eternity, it's getting dark now, I see half a nice rack poke out and a couple of buck eyes looking right at me. Right now my left arm hurts so bad it ain't funny, my right arm seems stuck to my gut, I don't know if I can draw this bow or not.. It gets darker and darker, that dude has not moved a muscle..I contemplate trying a shot thru the brush, it looks mighyt thick, not a good idea.. So I wait, I can barely see now and finally I think I saw his head drop and he came out, but I wasn't sure. Too dark......... I decide to back away with out spooking him and feel my feet have gone to sleep and it is like standing on 2 numb stumps.. On the drive back to camp I ponder what happened.. The one thing that stands out is I didn't put on my face paint. Did that cost me my first deer?? I'll never know but I will always wonder... Hard mistakes to take and my freezer is still empty.... But like they say " Never give up"....