Jim Niemiec's Blog

Click here for Jim Niemiec's Bio

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Pre-dove opener outlook
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
A Central Coast hunt that came all together

Some X zones set to open
Archery mule deer season along the eastern slopes of the High Sierra has been tough. Hot weather and scattered deer — due to excellent feed and ample water sources — have combined to make bow and arrow hunters work hard. The harvest to date has been down from previous years and most of the bucks that have been killed have small antler growth but body wise deer are very healthy. The general rifle season for X Zones 9Xa, X9b and X12 open on Sept. 21, zone X8 is set to open on Sept. 28, along with X10, but zone X9c will not open until Oct. 19.

YOUNG HIGH SIERRA TROPHY BUCK — This dandy buck is still in velvet and should reach trophy class during the X zone general season which begins on Sept. 21. Reports indicate there is plenty of food and water, which will keep bucks pretty much scattered in the high country. WON PHOTO BY JIM NIEMIEC

Western Outdoor News checked in with Jim Reid at Ken’s Sporting Goods (760-932-7707) in Bridgeport to get his take on the upcoming deer season.

“While it’s been extremely hot since the archery opener a few weeks ago, finally night time temps are dipping down into the 40,” Reid said. “It has really been a slow year for archery hunting, but I would think that the general rifle season for this area will produce some dandy bucks. There is plenty of food and water available on both sides of Hwy. 395, thus deer will likely be pretty scattered on opening day. The Bodie area has been slow for archery hunting, but I would think some bigger bucks will be moving into to the sage during the upcoming rifle season.”

Reid went on to add, “The eastern slopes of the High Sierra hold a good population of mule deer and some of the older and large bucks will most likely be found at higher elevations until cold weather drives them down come October. There were only 40 archery deer tags issued by the DFW this year, which means there are not a lot of hunters out. There were 350 rifle tags issued for the upcoming season and we should see some dandy racks checked into the store, especially during the last couple of weeks of the season.”

Sitting in the middle of the X zones along the eastern slopes of the High Sierra is the June Lake Loop, which offers access to some very good high-country mule deer hunting. WON made a call to Jeremy Ross, general manager of Ernie’s Tackle Shop (760-648-7756) in June Lake.

“It has been a very hot summer after a long winter that dumped a whole bunch of snow in the high country. With plenty of rain there is ample food at most all elevations now and with the exception of a few snow drifts around Alger Lake, most of the trails and passes are open. We are seeing a lot of deer around the loop, but they are sticking pretty close to town to not offer up any hunting opportunities. The region had thundershower activity this past week and that kind of cooled things off a little. For the upcoming rifle season, there hopefully will be some colder nights with temps dipping down into the 30s. Deer appear to be in excellent condition, many still in velvet and there is an ample food supply that will keep them pretty much scattered until the fall migration begins,” voiced Ross.

WON then checked in with Reagan’s Sporting Goods (760-872-3000), located in downtown Bishop, to get a report on zones close to the Bishop.

“I would think that zone X9A and X9B, due a very healthy carryover of bucks, should produce some quality racks and healthy bucks this season. There is plenty of food out there thanks to Mother Nature with her dumping rain and snow all along the high country. Thankfully, deer herds weathered the winter down here in the valley and there wasn’t much of a winter kill off of any deer except those eaten by mountain lions, coyotes and road kills,” stated Reagan.

Reagan then said, “It’s been very hot with daytime temps pushing 100 degrees but as of this week the nights have been cooling off a little and fall cannot be to far down the road. There were some winds in the valley a week ago that pushed all our dove south and made for a tough dove opener. I would have to think that valley quail hunting will be good again this year, with a very strong hatch on tap due to extremely excellent nesting conditions, ample food, cover and plenty of water sources.”

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

Reader Comments
Be the first to comment!
Leave a Comment
* Name:
* Email:
Website (optional):
* Comment:

Luna Sea Sports Ad
Advertise with Western Outdoor News