First Person Report: Deer Hunt_Krause

First Person Report: Yolla Bolly deer hunt results in success!

BY MIKE KRAUSE/WON Field ReporterPublished: Oct 05, 2018

I was real skeptical about the deer opener this year, as I had to work the day before, not giving me much time to get up the mountain! Leaving work in Corning at 5:30 p.m. I headed for the trailhead, a two hour drive!

I arrived at the trailhead and hastily made sure my pack was ready. There were a few vehicles parked there, so they had already made the tough hike in. I ran into a father son team that were also heading in late, and they said, "What is a working man to do?” Laughing, I replied, “make the hike in the dark!”

MIKE KRAUSE WITH his buck, taken after a cold overnight dry camp in the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness, and an arduous night time hike. He had seen numerous bucks, including a couple of big boys, but this one offered him the shot.

Heading out just ahead of them I hit the trail. I had packed as light as possible, about 25-30 pounds and I made the first 2 miles pretty quickly. It was about 9:30 when I left the trail and headed straight up the mountain. This 1-mile stretch is hands down one the toughest hikes I have ever made! I got a little turned around and had to use my On-X app on my phone to find my location. I took a bad fall on the rocks, scraping one knee and twisting the other, otherwise, I was okay! I finally made it to my camp at 11 p.m. Wow, that was a gut thumper!

It was real cold for this time of year at that elevation of 7,000 feet elevation. It was 20 degrees! I slept very little and decided to quit trying at 5 a.m. I made some coffee, broke camp and loaded my pack. The area I was going to hunt was a short 1/4-mile hike. The deer travel from the south side of the mountain where they feed at night to the shaded north side where they bed down during the day. I intercept them on the way, and it has worked well for me up there.

Setting up above the trail in the spot where I shot a 3-point a few years ago, I was ready. The wind was perfect, blowing straight in my face—awesome! It was about 7 a.m. when the first shot rang out to the east, then a few more a little closer. The deer were moving and I was ready!

I heard some movement from behind my position and spied two does moving down the slope above me. I knew from experience that a buck would likely be following. Sure enough, a forked horn was right behind, but I could not get a shot from where I was and watched them walk off. I had never seen the deer move across the mountain above me like that. Looking closer, I realized last years fire had cleared the heavy brush off that part of the mountain.

ANY BUCK IS a nice buck when it’s on the ground, and WON Field Reporter Mike Krause put in a long nighttime hike and cold damp to get this buck the next morning, miles off the nearest road.

Some movement above caught my attention. It was a doe moving across the same opening, and sure enough, there was a buck. It was a monster 4x5! Damn, I needed a shot, but could not get it. I was downwind and it spooked! BUMMER! I knew I had to get above their traveling lane, so I grabbed my tripod and headed up the mountain as quiet as possible.

I found an awesome ambush spot above the clearing and hunkered down. I waited for what seemed like an eternity, thinking, “Wow I really blew it,” not knowing the deer were moving further up the mountain. As I was beating myself up, I kept saying, “Wait it out, remember the tree stand, be patient.”

I heard movement downhill, and my heart was thumping. Out popped a forked horn with a four point following slowly behind. I eased my gun around ready, but the four pointer slipped off behind the rocks. The forked horn was committed and came out in the clearing behind a bush. I played the waiting game forever, it seemed, then the buck walked out casually. I put the crosshairs on it, took a deep breath, exhaled slowly squeezing the trigger and “BOOM!” The deer fell backwards, “YAAA, I NAILED HIM!”

I moved downhill, got my backpack and headed over to where the deer was down. AWESOME! Then the hard work began, de-boning the deer and packing it out. Between the deer and my camping gear, I packed out close to a hundred pounds. Was it worth it? Hell yah!! Awesome times!

THE YOLLA BOLLY Wilderness area is rugged with few roads, and to get to deer country like this requires a long hike and at least an overnighter, especially is you’re going to be hunting. WON Field Reporter Mike Krause took the photo.

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