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  #41  
Old 09-11-2017, 8:22 AM
CVShooter CVShooter is offline
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Originally Posted by drutledge79 View Post
CVShooter I think I know what you're saying.

No matter how much experience or skill or cunning you have you'll never be as productive as if you were in another state with more game or on private land, etc. Is that right?

That's probably true but it focuses on the thing you can't really change (the quality of the hunting where one lives) and not on the many, many things you *can* do to increase your odds. Scouting, putting hunting days in, studying the game, getting physically fit or whatever else. I mean -- isn't that what hunting is? The work you put in? The time and energy spent in the act? If it was just grabbing some meat off the shelf I know of a few places a lot closer than where I hunt.
Yes, that's a better summary. And I agree with your point that there are undoubtedly many things we can do to increase our odds. But the overwhelming factor in my mind is still exposure. Get out. Anywhere. Anytime. Be in the woods. Skill comes in time and I'm convinced that good skill can more than triple your odds (though tripling the base rate is still pretty dismal). If you're wanting to kill something on every trip or even every season, you're going to be frightfully disappointed here.

I guess my point is less about how difficult hunting is here on CA public land and more to give some perspective to newbies who are bound to feel very discouraged as they try out deer hunting. Better to focus on getting lucky by just showing up as often as you can than to focus on skill, which you may never get to use if you aren't out trying to get lucky. This isn't the Midwest, the Rockies or Canada. Our deer numbers and density are horrible in comparison. Our buck/doe ratio is pathetic and we can only shoot bucks. Mulies don't pattern like whitetails. Much of the advice I've heard & read over the years works great for whitetails but doesn't really apply here. But they're still out there. You just have to keep showing up. Even a blind squirrel like me gets a nut every now and then. After all, if it were impossible, I wouldn't keep showing up myself.
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  #42  
Old 09-11-2017, 8:45 AM
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Originally Posted by CVShooter View Post
Yes, that's a better summary. And I agree with your point that there are undoubtedly many things we can do to increase our odds. But the overwhelming factor in my mind is still exposure. Get out. Anywhere. Anytime. Be in the woods. Skill comes in time and I'm convinced that good skill can more than triple your odds (though tripling the base rate is still pretty dismal). If you're wanting to kill something on every trip or even every season, you're going to be frightfully disappointed here.

I guess my point is less about how difficult hunting is here on CA public land and more to give some perspective to newbies who are bound to feel very discouraged as they try out deer hunting. Better to focus on getting lucky by just showing up as often as you can than to focus on skill, which you may never get to use if you aren't out trying to get lucky. This isn't the Midwest, the Rockies or Canada. Our deer numbers and density are horrible in comparison. Our buck/doe ratio is pathetic and we can only shoot bucks. Mulies don't pattern like whitetails. Much of the advice I've heard & read over the years works great for whitetails but doesn't really apply here. But they're still out there. You just have to keep showing up. Even a blind squirrel like me gets a nut every now and then. After all, if it were impossible, I wouldn't keep showing up myself.
You really don't get it. I have friends that kill bucks in B zone every year on public land. They don't road hunt. They pack in where lazy azz hunters won't go.

Midwest, rockies or Canada are no guarantees either so i don't know what you are talking about. Baiting deer like some states allow is like cheating at solitaire. If you could bait here, you would kill a legal buck.

Blind squirrels? The only blind squirrels are the guys who road hunt, only walk trails 1/4 mile off the road and/ or sit at places that are not condusive to deer crossings/paths. (because they don't know)

Have you looked at Northern CA on a map? Then look at the Sierra Nevadas going down the east side. There are tons of wild natural forest that has not been hunted. You just need to get out and get there.
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  #43  
Old 09-11-2017, 3:07 PM
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Originally Posted by taperxz View Post
You really don't get it. I have friends that kill bucks in B zone every year on public land. They don't road hunt. They pack in where lazy azz hunters won't go.

Midwest, rockies or Canada are no guarantees either so i don't know what you are talking about. Baiting deer like some states allow is like cheating at solitaire. If you could bait here, you would kill a legal buck.

Blind squirrels? The only blind squirrels are the guys who road hunt, only walk trails 1/4 mile off the road and/ or sit at places that are not condusive to deer crossings/paths. (because they don't know)

Have you looked at Northern CA on a map? Then look at the Sierra Nevadas going down the east side. There are tons of wild natural forest that has not been hunted. You just need to get out and get there.
B-Zones would be a fine place to hunt. No argument there. Probably more like other states than the rest of CA. I'd say they're right up there with the X-zones on the eastern sierras. Plenty of bucks there, too. Big ones, too.
Enjoy it. Good stuff. But not the norm for most CA hunters and very unlike A or the D zones.

Rather than argue the point, I'll kindly refer you to the DFW's own publications on the topic. Not the ones that they have readily available for hunters to read, mind you. I mean the ones that are boring and full of mindless charts for other wildlife managers to read. It would appear from this forum that I'm in the minority view that deer populations are struggling here. Yet, here's a quote from DFW's hunter survey:

"A source of the relatively high rate of dissatisfaction may be due to a dearth of deer: 72% of deer hunters indicated that the deer population in their zone or hunt was too low. Otherwise, 18% think it is just right, and 3% think the population is too high. "

Source: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.a...D=93531&inline

In other words, if you think there's plenty of deer, you're in the minority of hunters.

There was another publication I read from DFW from 2016, I believe, where special grant funds had been made available for them to study WHY mule deer populations were in such a decline (as if there is a single cause). The outline of the grant justification highlighted the issues they know are affecting the deer and how similar declines are happening in other states' populations of mule deer (mostly industrial development in wild areas from drilling & mining but also fire suppression, suburban sprawl, fragmentation from roads, etc.). They haven't yet reached a conclusion or haven't yet published one. But they got the grant, which tells me that they proved well enough that there's a problem.

Pair that with a 90%+ tag-soup rate for A & D zones, population estimates, buck/doe ratios and you have some good data that goes beyond anecdotal evidence of skill over luck.

Mostly, I still just contend that newbies should keep their expectations within reason. Not killing something is the norm. Among those surveyed in the above publication, the average number of days hunted was 8. Assuming that's the average in the D zones (just an assumption), you'll need to hunt about 30-40 days to bring your odds up to 50%. If you do any better than that, just thank the gods for your good fortune. Anything that is possible will inevitably happen given enough time & opportunity.
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  #44  
Old 09-11-2017, 3:28 PM
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Originally Posted by CVShooter View Post
B-Zones would be a fine place to hunt. No argument there. Probably more like other states than the rest of CA. I'd say they're right up there with the X-zones on the eastern sierras. Plenty of bucks there, too. Big ones, too.
Enjoy it. Good stuff. But not the norm for most CA hunters and very unlike A or the D zones.

Rather than argue the point, I'll kindly refer you to the DFW's own publications on the topic. Not the ones that they have readily available for hunters to read, mind you. I mean the ones that are boring and full of mindless charts for other wildlife managers to read. It would appear from this forum that I'm in the minority view that deer populations are struggling here. Yet, here's a quote from DFW's hunter survey:

"A source of the relatively high rate of dissatisfaction may be due to a dearth of deer: 72% of deer hunters indicated that the deer population in their zone or hunt was too low. Otherwise, 18% think it is just right, and 3% think the population is too high. "

Source: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.a...D=93531&inline

In other words, if you think there's plenty of deer, you're in the minority of hunters.

There was another publication I read from DFW from 2016, I believe, where special grant funds had been made available for them to study WHY mule deer populations were in such a decline (as if there is a single cause). The outline of the grant justification highlighted the issues they know are affecting the deer and how similar declines are happening in other states' populations of mule deer (mostly industrial development in wild areas from drilling & mining but also fire suppression, suburban sprawl, fragmentation from roads, etc.). They haven't yet reached a conclusion or haven't yet published one. But they got the grant, which tells me that they proved well enough that there's a problem.

Pair that with a 90%+ tag-soup rate for A & D zones, population estimates, buck/doe ratios and you have some good data that goes beyond anecdotal evidence of skill over luck.

Mostly, I still just contend that newbies should keep their expectations within reason. Not killing something is the norm. Among those surveyed in the above publication, the average number of days hunted was 8. Assuming that's the average in the D zones (just an assumption), you'll need to hunt about 30-40 days to bring your odds up to 50%. If you do any better than that, just thank the gods for your good fortune. Anything that is possible will inevitably happen given enough time & opportunity.
So all that tells me is that 20% of hunters know what they're doing and the other 80% of road hunters do not and complain that they see no deer riding around in their trucks. Sounds about right.

Very serious things you are missing when quoting these studies too. CA fish and game are bad at what they do in regards to management.

People think deer KNOW when its hunting season. They don't! CA biologists set the season when it is statistically a bad time to see deer during the daylight. I hunt A zone on both public and private land. (the deer don't honor property lines or even know they exist. We in CA generally don't get to hunt a rut per se.

Where i hunt I hunt about 30 days out of the season, except for opening weekend the rest of the season minus the last two weeks generally suck because in the end of the season the deer tend to go into a pre-rut and come out for acorns.

You keep talking about mule deer. Blacktails may be in the mule deer family but are generally not mule deer and live differently than the mule deer you see in the sierras. Those deer migrate. Blacktails on the coast don't.

After A zone is over, take a ride out in October and you will see the huge bucks show up on public and private land. I see bucks i have never seen before. I don't put out cameras to track wildlife. As a hunter, i don't need that edge. Put it this way, if CA changed the season by two to three weeks later into the year, everyone that doesn't give up on A zone would probably kill a buck. (not everyone but you know what i mean)
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  #45  
Old 09-11-2017, 3:43 PM
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Originally Posted by taperxz View Post
After A zone is over, take a ride out in October and you will see the huge bucks show up on public and private land. I see bucks i have never seen before. I don't put out cameras to track wildlife. As a hunter, i don't need that edge. Put it this way, if CA changed the season by two to three weeks later into the year, everyone that doesn't give up on A zone would probably kill a buck. (not everyone but you know what i mean)
^^^^^
Well said!

I often put in for a late season archery hunt in A zone that runs from mid October to early November. It is amazing how many more bucks I see in the same places I saw few or none during the general season. I also notice that if we are fortunate enough to get some sustained cooler weather during the general A zone season, the rut can kick off early and bring out the bucks.
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  #46  
Old 09-11-2017, 7:24 PM
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OP, my advice is put in for the duck draws. If you get drawn, post up. You'll be able to find someone that will be willing to help you, just so they can go with.
If you get a good draw, some will beat a path to your door.
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  #47  
Old 09-11-2017, 9:10 PM
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Oh yeah do the duck draws and if you don't get drawn don't show up in the sweatline you'll never get on......lame
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  #48  
Old 09-12-2017, 9:37 AM
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I once saw a nice 3x buck wander through a campground chasing a doe on the A-zone. That was over a labor day weekend! I think the A-zone is a better chance at rutting bucks than the sierras, since as you pointed out, coastal blacktails don't migrate. When the sierras are rutting here, the deer have migrated down a few thousand feet and the season is closed. But Blacktails don't pattern like whitetails either. Kind of a mix. And the coast is where the advice of getting way back in the sticks can really help for both turkeys and deer. The coast is about the closest I've come to hunting the Midwest. But I have to get waaaaaaay back there to find it.

Indeed, you'll find me at the bottom of some remote coastal canyon for the a post-rut hunt on the coast this year (drawn tag). Saw a nice 4x down there on the last day of my hunt last year. I couldn't get in close enough for an arrow shot before he turned disappeared down a ravine. Crazy winds, too. I'm hoping he's still around... In 3 years, I've only seen one other person down there -- just a trail runner. It's an eerie place. A female mountain lion gave me a nice serenade the night before I saw that buck so I'm guessing that there's enough deer there for both of us. Of course, getting a deer out of that place is the real challenge.

I try not to be too hard on the biologists and managers at DFW. They have a lot of competing interests to manage. Decisions made have more to do with the politics of hunting than actual biological management. I've met a handful over the years and they're all hunters, too. I think they're trying their best but maximizing revenue and limiting hunter take is about all they can do to help out what they know are depressed populations on the average. They readily admit that 1 buck can't possibly breed 15 does in a season and the forkie or better rule is too liberal for shooting what few bucks there are. Yet we're already so limited here that putting a 3x rule on the bucks would all but shut down deer hunting on public land since that's mostly what folks get. But opening hunts to does is done on a county level where public comment will often shut it down. So the same old story continues.
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  #49  
Old 09-12-2017, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by CVShooter View Post


I try not to be too hard on the biologists and managers at DFW. They have a lot of competing interests to manage. Decisions made have more to do with the politics of hunting than actual biological management. I've met a handful over the years and they're all hunters, too. I think they're trying their best but maximizing revenue and limiting hunter take is about all they can do to help out what they know are depressed populations on the average. They readily admit that 1 buck can't possibly breed 15 does in a season and the forkie or better rule is too liberal for shooting what few bucks there are. Yet we're already so limited here that putting a 3x rule on the bucks would all but shut down deer hunting on public land since that's mostly what folks get. But opening hunts to does is done on a county level where public comment will often shut it down. So the same old story continues.
In a season? Easily. They can actually get multiple does in one day..

Seriously, where do you get your information? Bucks go after multiple does daily during the rut.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:56 PM
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In a season? Easily. They can actually get multiple does in one day..

Seriously, where do you get your information? Bucks go after multiple does daily during the rut.
Not exactly a "soup question," is it?

CA DFW, for starters. If you disagree, fine. Just cite a reference from any legitimate source (scientific journals, biologists, etc.) to refute & I'll retract it all and concede. I've cited one so far. Your turn. I'd absolutely love it if I were dead wrong. So, if you care enough to bother, I am your student. And I WANT to believe I'm wrong so your task is pretty easy.

In the meantime, yes, bucks can breed multiple does. But if you can't see the difference between chasing multiple does vs mounting does, mounting multiple does vs successfully breeding multiple does, estrus does vs fertile does, population numbers vs population densities, anecdotal evidence vs population statistics, then I'm afraid that there's nothing more that I can help you with.
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Old 09-12-2017, 1:21 PM
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Not exactly a "soup question," is it?

CA DFW, for starters. If you disagree, fine. Just cite a reference from any legitimate source (scientific journals, biologists, etc.) to refute & I'll retract it all and concede. I've cited one so far. Your turn. I'd absolutely love it if I were dead wrong. So, if you care enough to bother, I am your student. And I WANT to believe I'm wrong so your task is pretty easy.

In the meantime, yes, bucks can breed multiple does. But if you can't see the difference between chasing multiple does vs mounting does, mounting multiple does vs successfully breeding multiple does, estrus does vs fertile does, population numbers vs population densities, anecdotal evidence vs population statistics, then I'm afraid that there's nothing more that I can help you with.
And that right there folks is why people who can't kill deer and want doe shoots continue to be unsuccessful. They don't study the animal they are hunting.

Its kinda like, if you were going to hunt humans and be succsessful, you don't hunt antartica.

How do i know this? I have one Ram and 17 ewes. That ram gets em all pregnant in one season. I have cows. One bull will attempt to get every cow pregnant that is in season in one day. Deer are not different. A stud horse given the right mares in heat would have no problem getting them pregnant in one day.

NOW FOR REAL PROOF I guess you never had the opportunity, When i was younger......

Last edited by taperxz; 09-12-2017 at 1:31 PM..
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Old 09-12-2017, 2:07 PM
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would you take this shot? Attachment 639709

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Old 09-12-2017, 2:31 PM
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And that right there folks is why people who can't kill deer and want doe shoots continue to be unsuccessful. They don't study the animal they are hunting.

Its kinda like, if you were going to hunt humans and be succsessful, you don't hunt antartica.

How do i know this? I have one Ram and 17 ewes. That ram gets em all pregnant in one season. I have cows. One bull will attempt to get every cow pregnant that is in season in one day. Deer are not different. A stud horse given the right mares in heat would have no problem getting them pregnant in one day.

NOW FOR REAL PROOF I guess you never had the opportunity, When i was younger......
Nah, I got married early & learned (with much relief) that not every encounter leads to kids

Well, I'll bite. The herd analogy is close and worth exploring. But let's start another thread. This has nothing to do with helping a new hunter learn the ropes.
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Old 09-12-2017, 2:55 PM
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I am a farm boy as well. Now you have my interest in this debate. I see bucks chasing does during the rut all over the place. How can he catch them all. I have been to many a bar and went home alone, after chasing a few "does" all night...

The sheep and cows are in a field or barn trapped with a relentless male, the deer are not restricted in their movement and the confined bulls don't have any distractions, like hunters, finding food, traveling to water, sleep/rest, etc....
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Old 09-12-2017, 3:02 PM
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would you take this shot? Attachment 639709

Not yet. But string and arrow is a different beast


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Old 09-12-2017, 3:15 PM
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I am a farm boy as well. Now you have my interest in this debate. I see bucks chasing does during the rut all over the place. How can he catch them all. I have been to many a bar and went home alone, after chasing a few "does" all night...

The sheep and cows are in a field or barn trapped with a relentless male, the deer are not restricted in their movement and the confined bulls don't have any distractions, like hunters, finding food, traveling to water, sleep/rest, etc....
A doe is in "season" for 72 hours only during that period. Those 72 hours dictate when she will get pregnant. SHE is the one deciding when. The rut is only about two months long so the deer scamble to get this done. Its called biological instincts.

When you see a buck chasing a doe, this may go on all week until those 72 hours come into play. Thats when she allows the buck to do his stuff.

A buck may give up on the doe and find one that is "in that 72 hour period" he would move on to that doe and wait for the other to be ready. YES this can happen several times a day.

Also, at the end of a rutting season, a buck will lose 20% of his weight due to the frantic activity that has gone on in the last 8-10 weeks

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Old 09-12-2017, 3:27 PM
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would you take this shot? Attachment 639709
Possibly, but Id rather be standing up not laying on my side when I do.
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Old 09-12-2017, 3:29 PM
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For the sake of the argument, I back country bow hunt. I pack my 46 year old, infantry worn *** to where no one wants to go every year. I also have been really blessed by more times than not filling my tags.

This year is different. D3-5 has been slammed with all the water and food, and the deer are spread out crazy. Ive never seen so limited numbers since Ive been here.
Granted I will fill my tags this year Im sure, but I have to say, this has been some of the slimmest picking Ive seen.
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Old 09-13-2017, 7:07 AM
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Possibly, but Id rather be standing up not laying on my side when I do.
I can't figure out how to rotate an image, but I assure you I was standing upright! Get this,

I found a game trail leading into private property, the property owner is a Laguna Liberal. He put the property up for sale. I was able to take a tour of the property as a potential buyer. I followed the trail to where it goes back into CNF! This is the biggest one in the area that I have seen however. I have 2 game cameras to help me find his daddy or uncle for this season...
Attachment 639852

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Old 09-13-2017, 10:54 AM
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You guys are probably right. I should probably do 1 low cost guided hunt to get the basics and then try going out with some guys
I used to go to Utah every year (before the big kill in '93 or so which caused them to change their entire hunting scheme). Got my deer every year.

Have yet to get a makeable shot at a legal buck in CA - this will be my 9th year in a row trying.

+1 on a guided hunt for hogs. I've gone half a dozen times with Tom Willoughby out of Salinas. He hunts all over Monterey County and will no doubt put you on hogs - he's a helluva guy. Just do what he tells you and you will have a great hunt.
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Old 09-13-2017, 1:40 PM
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I don't question their skill. But you shouldn't doubt the huge role of luck there. Consider the following thought experiment:

100 people line up for a coin-toss game. Rules are simple, flip heads & you win, tails you lose. Winners advance to the next round. Losers are eliminated. Basic probability math shows us that there will be about 6 rounds before there is one remaining player, who is the winner of the tournament. We KNOW that person is not a skillful coin flipper. He's just lucky. Yes, he flipped heads 6 consecutive times -- nearly impossible mathematically. Yet he is not the least bit more skilled than the others. It was all luck.

If you've ever prospected for business, you'll find luck is a big part of it, too. The only way to get more lucky is to just keep playing. Boneheaded, slimy salesmen can do very well because they just doggedly keep asking for the sale from tons of people every year. They can have no skill at all but just raw persistence. But very skilled salesmen can wash out in a couple months because they lack the persistence to keep calling, keep asking and keep drumming up new leads. Put them in front of a prospect in a competitive situation and they'll nail it every time. They're clearly more skilled. But their skill doesn't matter if they can't get lucky often enough to use it.

So for deer hunting in CA, I still contend that luck is HUGE if you're on public land. The fact that some folks are successful year after year does not indicate that luck isn't an overwhelming factor in their success. More likely, lucky hunters spend more time hunting and increase their odds of getting lucky again by sheer frequency of exposure. Spend a month sitting almost anywhere in the D-zones and you're bound to get lucky at some point. But only retired folk have time for that. Often, you have to hunt under conditions that are less than ideal because that's when you can get out. Once again, good luck lets you prove your skill. Bad luck never lets you find out.

But, all that aside, you don't have to be that skilled in other states. So, even if I concede that skill is the primary reason why some are successful, then we have to wrestle with the question of why skill is so important here but not elsewhere. If you have to be the ultra-hunter here in CA in order to be successful, it is only because it largely way more difficult to hunt in CA than elsewhere. So it sort of proves my point -- hunting here is hard & largely luck-driven for the average Joe. As much as I like to think that I'm more skillful than the average Joe, I'm probably not. And neither are most of us. Sort of like how we all think we're better than average drivers. If you want to lower your odds of dying in a auto collision, your best bet is to spend less time on the road. You can train yourself like a pro and drive a beast of a truck but those are all somewhere below simple exposure to risk (driving time) in priority. For driving, focus on avoiding being un-lucky first. For deer hunting out here, focus on getting lucky first. Worry about skill later.

As far as I can tell, until the DFW has the primary objective of plentiful, healthy wildlife populations, not much is likely to change for the better. They want as many tag sales as possible (recreational hunting days, by their definition, in other words, more people hunting more days is their objective, not healthier populations, balanced ecosystems or hunter success). I get it. Managing wildlife costs money. We have to pay for it somehow. But here we are with rotten success rates, falling populations over many decades and tons of habitat loss/fragmentation. So what we're doing is clearly not working. Those folks have a tough job, for sure. I have no answers. But the problems are pretty clear.
My best friend (retired) spends from the start of archery to the end of rifle season in a B-zone.. He use to get two deer every year doing this,.
He has a trailer and lots of patience.
I couldn't do this even though I'm also retired.
So far thus year he got skunked during archery, I tagged one in D-3 on the second day of the hunt. Go figure
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Last edited by husky44; 09-13-2017 at 1:42 PM..
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