View Full Version : Snow Mountain wilderness area
05-16-2003, 03:54 AM
Well, if the luck of the draw doesn't go my way this year, i'll be putting B zone down for my second choice. I was thinking of hunting the Snow Mountain area out of Stonyford. Has anyone ever tried it here, just you thoughts, not your spots.
05-16-2003, 08:27 AM
There's a lot of good potential back there, but it gets rugged (not a bad thing... just be prepared). I've hit the edges (went in about 2-3 miles), but the heat always kept me from getting a lot deeper.
During archery season and the first part of gun season, it's simply blazing. If you don't get in before light, you'll risk some heat exhaustion. Late season, when it cools off would be a good choice.
05-16-2003, 08:33 AM
I've hunted on private below there a ways and there were good number of deer. But, word has it that some of the areas up in there have been hit hard in the last couple years by the 'asian gangs'. Now whether that was redneck banter or there's some truth to it, I don't know for a fact. You might want to call DFG field officer Rick Gomez who patrols up there to get the low-down.
05-16-2003, 09:06 AM
Bill's "kinda" right. I wouldn't call the guys that were there last year a "gang", and from a whole season of observing they sure weren't doing any of the things they have the reputation for. It was a huge family group, though... dads, brothers, uncles, cousins, and kids.
But what they DID do was kill a lot of deer from a fairly small area by putting on huge drives. At one point there were at least ten guys moving across the canyon, from ridge to ridge. When they got done, there was nothing left in the area for at least a day or two.
They also covered a lot of "impossible" ground. I was constantly amazed at the places I found them, and they were always there before I got there.
If they're in the area, your best bet is to go find another spot for the day. If they show up while you're in position, get a high vantage point where you can watch their drive. One guy in the area where I was last year was able to pop a nice forky that slipped around the drivers and ran right by him.
Just be careful, because the group I watched was not exactly safety-conscious, and you'll never know how many are actually in the area until they leave.
05-16-2003, 01:51 PM
I heard that there was some "year 'round" huntin' going on up there and that some snares were being used. Also, heard there was a fairly big bust in Willows with fawns & does (hair 'n all) on the spit over the coals mid-summer before season opened. Again, that's a second-hand, semi-reliable report for what it's worth.
So, if you're scoutin', make sure to have a cell phone with you and be aware of where you have reception 'cause it would be nice to see more of those operations popped.
05-16-2003, 04:20 PM
I hunt up there all the time, my friend got a ranch right outside stoneyford, on goat mountain rd. There are some big bucks up in that country but getting to them is tough. The heat is brutal at the start of the season and the deer really stick to the think stuff until after dark. I have thought about looking at some of the BLM land thats near by, but never needed to. There are also some hogs up there which is nice.
As far as the asian gangs, I saw a lot of people driving the roads. The warden up ther said that he's had problems with people poaching deer and shooting doe's or anything else that they can see. They where even thinking about setting up a decoy to try and catch some of these people.
05-17-2003, 12:22 PM
There's definitely some "year round" hunting happening up there, but a fair amount of it is some of the "locals" from what I've seen. I actually came up behind a jeep with a "texas trolling tower" one night. There were two guys up in the tower, one driver, and a young lady handling the Q-beam. I didn't actually see a gun, but I didn't pull them over for a search or anything.
Cellphone service is negligible at best out there, at least for the combination of my old Nokia and Cingular Wireless. I can't get a signal until Maxwell, at which point I'm a mountain range and 30 miles from the perpetrators.
On the rare occasions when I have located a warden in the area, he's always commented that they know it's happening, but it's practically impossible to cover such a huge, rural area. They apparently do catch the occasional poacher, but the odds are definitely against the law enforcement guys. I'd love to see them run the robo-buck out there for a few weekends, though.
By the way, in reference to CAHunter's note... the hogs are down in the low country around Stonyford, Sites, Lodoga, and Maxwell. Don't get your hopes up to see any in the Snow Mountain area, though. I imagine that someday they'll eventually spread up there, but for now there's not so much as a track or a wallow.
05-19-2003, 12:43 PM
There were also the Spanish speaking people out there. They come in groups of 15 to 20 guys with SKS, Ruger Mini-30, and 30-30s. These guys hunt in group and usually flush out every canyon at a time. At one time I saw a group constantly fire several shots into thick brush hillsides trying to flush out a deer. At another time I saw a small forked buck that one of the group had killed. There were 12 guys standing next to the dead deer waiting for a truck to come by and pick it up. I looked at the deer and it was shot so many times. There were bullet holes in the ear lobe, the legs, the butt, two shots cut the backstraps in three pieces, and one bullets torn up the nose.
05-19-2003, 05:39 PM
Poachers certainly come in all shapes, colors and sizes but I can definitely corroborate the "asian gang" rumor. There was a huge bust of Hmongs up that way not all that long ago that involved a pretty sophisticated network of individuals killing game while others kept an eye out for ranchers and deputies.
There was also a recent incident where a group of Hmongs were hunting on a "rescued animal" preserve. The place has goats, sheep, hogs (feral and domestic), deer, emus, etc. The owners heard gunshots and saw the Hmongs out along the hillside and went to run them off. The Hmongs stayed holed up in the brush and basically told the owners, "No, you leave, you white SOB's. We've got guns, you don't." The owners chose to back off and bring in the local law. By the time the deputy arrived, the poachers had already butchered their ill-gotten gains and cleared out.
People might ignorantly categorize these posts as "racist," but there is no denying the influence culture plays in the reverance (or lack thereof) towards wildlife. It is not at all racist to argue that point or support it with anecdotal evidence. If we keep this thread clean, respectful and logical (as it seems to be for the most part), we should be able to continue to discuss this issue responsibly.
05-19-2003, 06:30 PM
Of course you're right, and we've had this discussion on JHP before. Old discussion about the Hmong poachers (http://www.jesseshuntingpage.com/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=35&t=8049&hl=racist)
There is definitely a segment of the Hmong population that has no consideration whatsoever for wildlife laws or regulations. There are poachers of many other races and creeds as well.
In the interest of keeping it clean, I think it's important not to simply point out "Asians" or "Mexicans" or "Rednecks" specifically, unless you're talking about a specific case.
In some cases, like the Hmong, the nationality can be relevant to the argument, and it's valid to point it out. But there's a big difference between saying "Hmong," or saying "Asian." There are a whole lot of Asian cultures out there, and most Asian-Americans are at least as law-abiding as any other group.
In other cases, poachers are poachers... they're jerks and a--holes regardless of what color they are. Pointing out their suspected nationality in a general way casts dispersion (unintentional) on everyone of that nationality.
It's a fine line that is easily crossed, and when it is crossed it is almost always without ill intent. Unfortunately, once feelings get hurt, they're hard to salve. It's just something folks should keep in mind as they post.
Anyway, we've kinda drifted away from the Snow Mountain Wilderness, huh?
05-19-2003, 07:11 PM
Very good points, all.
Wish I would have bothered to read that post. Seems like a lively but respectful conversation. I'll weigh in here and then be done...promise!
Discussing the influence on race/culture with (un)lawful behavior can certainly be a very touchy subject and deserves a very precise set of typing fingers. I wholeheartedly think that there is great potential for topics like this to generate explosive animosity, etc. What is equally disheartening to me is to see issues ignored like they don't exist. The sooner the touchy aspects of issues are identified and candidly addressed, the sooner we can begin to resolve them.
The one point I would contest with you is that it is unfair to equate "Hmong" with "Asian". While that might normally be too broad a brush to paint with, in this case it is a wide canvas. The complex of Asain cultures/sub-cultures typically regard wildlife with a similar view...resources to be harvested, utilized and exhausted (if need be) for family and/or faith. As was mentioned in the abalone post, the Vietnamese (distinct from Hmongs) are notorious for their "over-utilization" of resources. Then we have the Chinese and Koreans whose native wildlife is dwindling at an alarming rate. Then we have the fact that most of the larger animals that are currently endangered or threatened are targets for traditional Asian (yes, Asian) medicine. Tiger bones, bear galls, elk antlers...the list goes on and on.
What Jesse said about there being a lot of WASP poachers is certainly true, but by no means is there a cultural predisposition towards wanton utilization of natural resources. Compare the writings of Western conservationists to Eastern conservationists. Compare the histories of countries to see when efforts towards conservationism began to take root. Compare the birth of national parks and Fish and Game agencies. Compare the success stories in this country (more whitetail, turkey and other species today than when us evil white men first landed) to the success stories in Asia (what success stories!!!)...Compare the PETA membership in the US or UK to the PETA membership in China...there is no comparison! You may say that its not their fault because they did not have the luxury of advancing as quickly as we did, yet despite their relatively good modern standard of living, the mentality remains to this day. This post is not intended to point fingers, condemn or pass judgement, but merely point out a problem and logically argue its origin.
Whether or not I abhor what they do is irrelevent to the point I am trying to make. I am not saying that it is right or wrong for them to do what they do, but I am saying that they DO indeed do what they do. (Did that last part make any sense or are you as confused as I am?) The sooner we all recognize it, the sooner we can go about addressing it.
But alas, you are right...the Snow Mountain topic has kinda been hijacked now, hasn't it.
My http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/two-cents.gif is spent here I suppose. As always, I enjoy the discussions with you. I really liked what you said about what really happened between wildlife and the Aboriginal Americans. Too bad more people don't know better than to see the "living harmoniously with nature, utilizing everything they killed" theory for what it really is...PC BS!!!
05-19-2003, 08:30 PM
Just to extend the hijacking a moment longer...
My only concern about equating "Hmong" to "Asian" is in the local field... definitely not on a global conservation scale. That's a different thing altogether.
In the field in CA, and a few other states, when it comes to large-scale asian poachers, it's almost always Hmong or Cambodians (who share a socio-religious position that the wild things are theirs for the taking). To generally curse "those damned Asians" is way too broad, implicitly unfair, and fairly irresponsible.
On the global scale, there's a much more general sweep. But that's definitely fodder for another discussion in another forum ... and it's one where I'm pretty sure you and I would see eye-to-eye.
Anyway... I haven't really gotten "down to it" on JHP in a while. I sure do enjoy the exercise. http://www.jesseshunting.com/forums/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smiley-cool-shades-down.gif
05-19-2003, 09:34 PM
Well, the fact remains that there are hunters who use socio-religious justifications to willfully break Fish & Game codes. When a repeated number of reports surface that one cultural group or another engages in poaching in a disproportionately high number of instances compared to other groups, some sort of a backlash is bound to occur--especially by those who are impacted by their illicit activities.
Surely the Hmong or Cambodian hunting ethic is as steeped in lore and tradition as any other....maybe even more than most. And it would be interesting to go on a traditional hunt with them to 'get into their heads' to see & learn what they're all about.
It's unfortuate that those who choose to brazenly ignore laws in the name of religion or tradition have an impact on law abiding hunters.
To add insult to injury, such groups are even capable of legitimizing it via the legal system--this actually goes on in states like Washington on public lands outside reservations. Modern day hunts with quad or 4x4, almost any place or any time of the year are legal for members of certain ethnic groups in Washington state and elsewhere because their ancestors' hunting heritages were rooted firmly in religious practices.
Yes, there are a few Native Americans that probably honor the traditions of their ancestors by placing self-imposed restrictions that fit within a socio-religious context, but what, ...maybe 90+% don't?...hardly shocking.
I wonder if the socio-religious argument has been used in court on behalf of non-native american interest groups to lessen the fines and/or to have the charges dropped. Of course California will probably be the first such state to see this happen.
On a different note, I'm not sure exactly how many languages the the DMV must now publishes their driver's test in. Am wondering if the DFG has published hunter ed tests in as many languages? (doesn't seem like they should really have to) Or have they targetted groups known to have values that clash with F&G codes with ad campaigns?
I've digressed from the topic at hand too. Snow Mt. isn't as good as it once was or could be, but what area isn't? And poaching isn't the only and probably not the main reason why that is the case.
05-19-2003, 10:03 PM
That is one of those places I have looked at on the map and wanted to go and take a peak at.
I'm not so sure I even want to be around that area now.
05-20-2003, 07:45 AM
It really ain't that bad. Don't let the Hmong discussion put you off.
It's actually perfect for you and your horses. There's a camp area about 9 miles (if I remember correctly) from the trailhead, good water from the creek year-round, and decent graze since the fires a couple years ago. If I can ever get my horses squared away, you can believe I'm heading back in there.
It can be some tough country, though, especially if you get away from the trail.
05-20-2003, 08:50 AM
How is the hunting back in there later in the season, after it cools off??
I don't mind snow and cold weather, BUT I HATE THE HEAT!!!!!!!
School is almost out, and it's time to move back to Chester...
There are so many places to go, and just not enough time to see them all...
05-20-2003, 09:08 AM
There are a lot of good deer taken in there every season. You don't hear much from the folks who actually get back in there, though. They come in when it's dark, and leave when it's dark, and you sure won't pass them on the trail. I don't see as many horse trailers as I'd expect though. I think most horseback hunters seem to prefer the D-zones in the Sierra and foothills.
If you don't like heat, the first month of the season is definitely out of the question.
Later in the season the weather gets bearable but it's still usually kind of warm. No snow, usually. I think the highest peaks are still under 7K, and it's rare to even see rain before the deer season ends.
05-20-2003, 12:07 PM
It really is a nice area. There's even a herd of tule elk that drops into the Stoneyford area around December.
If California ever creates limited entry Blacktail zones in the A & B zones, I'd sure hope that the Snow Mt. area would be one of them. There's good genetics up there.
05-20-2003, 12:46 PM
Ive seen some monster bucks up there on my friend ranch, after the season of course. There are some nice deer in that area, No one the ranch shot a buck last year because, they where all forkies. I hope it pays off for us this year with some bigger racks.
05-20-2003, 03:51 PM
It's something to think about. I'm always looking for new country.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.7 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.