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Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Dove opener just fine, but birds scattered
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Now is the time to shoot up your lead ammo!

X Zone Mule Deer Hunting Forecase
Good forage, food and habitat conditions along the eastern slopes of the High Sierra have produced a very strong population of mule deer and prospects for X zones, some of which will open on Sept. 15, are very encouraging. While the last few winters have produced good snow fall and a slightly below average snowpack, it appears as if aquafers are pretty well primed with streams and creeks flowing at about a normal rate.

Western Outdoor News checked in with Jim Reid, owner of Ken’s Sporting Goods, (760) 932-7707, in Bridgeport to find out what rifle hunters can expect come opening day of the general deer season.

DANDY ZONE A BLACKTAIL — Saul Lopez of Hollister hunted with master guide Chad Wiebe, Oak Stone Outfitters, and shot this dandy trophy-class blacktail buck. Deer hunting has been good along the coastal range. PHOTO COURTESY OF CENTRAL COAST TAXIDERMY

“We are getting good reports from archery hunters who have been out hunting for a couple of weeks now. Over opening week, we had no less than 10 hunters came into this sporting goods store to report their harvesting a buck and a number of these deer sported pretty good antler mass. For the most part, archery hunters are seeing lots of deer out across this X-12 zone with good conditions afield,” stated Reid.

Reid went on to add, “There appears to be no shortage of deer this season, but they are pretty well scattered. Good reports of a healthy herd of mulies is coming in from the badlands of Bodie Hills where there is ample water and some good stands of high sage and a pretty good food source. Come opening day of the general season, I am sure that there will be plenty of deer hunters high up in the High Sierra range, where fall conditions are near perfect. I would think that Eagle Peak and the Walker Mountain areas will produce a few dandy bucks this season. Nighttime temperatures are now dipping down into the high 30s and this will hopefully get deer moving around a little better. Those bucks that were harvested during archery season were still in velvet, but I would think that most all the bucks shot during the general deer season will be carrying a hard rack.”

Deer hunters planning on hunting around Bridgeport should not overlook stopping by Ken’s Sporting Goods to get a recent update, perhaps an area map and find out about entering this shop’s Big Buck Contest.

WON also checked in with Roxanne Foley, manager of the Silver Maple Inn and Walker River Lodge, (760) 932-7383, both of which cater to hunters, fishermen and are dog-friendly.

“It’s definitely feeling more like fall with temps dipping towards 30 degrees at night, some of the native trees are already turning golden, but daytime temps are still climbing into the mid-70s. Our inn has been popular with deer and duck hunters and trout fishermen for decades. Each opening weekend we cater to lots of sportsmen who are sporting gun dog owners and we have great kennels. Being located in some of the best mule deer hunting country along Hwy. 395, and our close proximity to the East Fork of Walker River that offers up great fall fly fishing, makes our lodges ideal places to stay,” said Foley.

Moving south to Bishop Western Outdoor News talked with Jeff Nelums, manager of Regan’s Sporting Goods, (760) 872-3000, about the outlook for zones X9a and X9b.

“These two X zones should produce some dandy bucks this season. There is plenty of water and food available along with a pretty good carry over of mule deer from the last two years. We have already had successful archery hunters check in and they all report seeing bucks. Most of the deer are hanging out at higher elevations, as daytime temps are still getting up into the high 80s. I would think that a soon as the eastern High Sierra gets the first snow fall that bigger bucks will be on the move. All of the X zones are great deer hunting areas and can produce some big racks and that’s why the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife have put these in a limited draw category,” said Nelums.

When asked about zone X9c Nelums added the following information, “This zone has produced some exceptional bucks over the past few years. It won’t open until Oct. 20 and by that time herds of deer should be down off the higher mountains adjoining the lower Owens River Valley and hunter success is traditionally very high.”

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