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Thursday, August 24, 2017
Chukar season has a promising look
Tuesday, September 05, 2017
Dual bird openers…a hunter’s dilemma

Hot conditions afield for deer hunters
Archery hunters out in High Sierra deer zones X12 and A16, 17 and 18 for the opening of the archery deer season encountered very high temperatures at high elevations. Hunting pressure was off due to the extreme heat and not many deer were harvested. It’s been very hot even at higher elevations and the temperature has reached nearly 100 degrees every day for the past 10 days in Bishop Valley.

YOUNG ZONE X9a BUCKS — This photo taken below Big Springs was shot just prior to a devastating wild fire that burned from Lookout Mountain across the upper Owens River toward Bald Mountain. In the fire’s path was the old fly fishing resort of Alper’s Owens River Ranch. This popular deer area likely won’t produce any bucks this season, but could offer up good hunting next fall. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

Western Outdoor News checked in with Jim Reid, owner of Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport, (760) 932-7707, to get an idea of the conditions and his thoughts on this year’s deer season for zone X 12, which runs along the eastern High Sierra from Mono Lake on up to Topaz Lake.

“The archery season got off to a very slow start due to extreme heat and fewer tags allotted for the zone X12 by the Department of Fish and Wildlife,” Reid said. “The department only issued 40 archery tags for this zone due to the fact the deer herd count was down. There weren’t any big bucks taken over opening weekend, but hunters did pass up on some smaller bucks hoping to harvest a big rack prior to the end of the archery season.”

Reid went on to add, “The country is beautiful with an abundance of food, water and cover available for deer in this zone. I think the deer will be more scattered this season due to all the available food sources and plenty of water. We are still seeing some of the runoff from the snowmelt down here in the valley. I would think that most of the deer that will be harvested this season would come from an elevation above 7,500 feet. For the X12 general rifle season, which kicks off on Sept. 16, I think hunters should do well, IF, the weather cools down a little bit for that later fall season. With some 350 rifle tags available for rifle hunters, success should be pretty good for 3x3 and 4x4 bucks. We will again have our Big Buck Contest and all hunters need to do is stop by and check in their buck to be scored. There is no fee to enter the contest and hunters do not have to pre-register for this annual contest.”

WON’s next valued source for an insight into deer hunting the X zones was to contact John Logue, owner of Ernie’s Tackle and Ski Shop in June Lake, (760) 648-7756.

ALPER’S OWENS RIVER RANCH — Last year, a wildfire, fueled by tinder dry sage and pine trees, burned up through parts of Long Valley. In the middle of the night, most all of the old log cabins on Alper’s Owens River Ranch were burned to the ground. The valley floor and adjoining mountains looked like a moonscape after the fire burned through. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

“There are a lot of deer all along the June Lake Loop and conditions are excellent. I am seeing good numbers of deer and some nice bucks mixed in,” said Logue. “Most of the bucks are still in velvet but that should change very soon. I would think that hunters heading up to the high country, above Parker and Walker ridges, should have a pretty good season. Come rifle season in zone X9a, it’s going to take much colder nights to move the deer off those mountains.”

Moving farther south along the High Sierra, WON talked with Kyle Hayes, assistant manager for Reagan’s Sporting Goods, (760) 872-3000, in Bishop.

“Zone A16, 17 and 18 opened on Aug. 19 and there were a few bucks taken by archery hunters. Most of the hunters headed up out of the valley due to the extreme heat and concentrated on elevations above 10,000 feet. Conditions were excellent with lots of food, water and cover available for that herd of deer that hangs out above the Bishop Creek drainage,” said Hayes.

When asked about prospects for the rifle season Hayes reported the following, “I would hope that the mid-September opening for the general rifle season will see nighttime temperatures dipping down in the 30s, which should make for better deer hunting. Hunters should still be able to locate bachelor groups of bucks at higher elevations. With all the water and dense cover down in Bishop Valley, I would think hunters will have a difficult time in harvesting a big buck this season. We got a touch of rain last week and that cooled things off a little, but when that short storm front passed through, the temperature in downtown Bishop shot back up to 97 degrees in a hurry.”

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