I'm looking at putting in for an Archery season A17(x9b zone) or A19(x10 zone) early season tag this year. I'm pretty new to hunting but I enjoy pushing it up in the mountains and backcountry, hence the area choices.
Is there anyone with experience with these hunts and can fill me in with whatever info possible? I'm a respectful guy and i'm not looking to blow up anyones spots.
thanks for looking
As far as the backcountry, me and a buddy were hunting that zone last year, met a guy at the top of the road parking area in the "onion valley" area he was backpacking and hiking for 3 weeks, gave the guy a ride down the mountain talked about hunting and he told us he seen 1 or 2 does the whole time he was up there. We watched a guy running down the side of the mountain and across the road to get his fork that he just arrowed, that was in onion valley, seen 20 some does that day no bucks. Good luck.
Thats some beautiful hardcore hiking stuff right there! Steep and rugged. The area is fairly dry, so id focus on water and food. Its mainly a migration corridor and has a rather small resident population of animals. The best advise I can give you, is to take a scouting weekend with some real quality glass! High quality binoculars are a must, and your legs will thank you for them.
The "foothills" around Tinemaha comes to mind. Not really steep, but more rolling type foothills with access to the nasty stuff.
Have your maps and GPS in sync. Get back to where the national park/unit boundaries are and face east.
People blame the internet for crowding their hunting zones and yet those two units are still lightly hunted. That should tell you a few things right there. Personally I would hit the X9B over any of the D zones just Because I have always loved being in the eastern Sierras. I would agree with the scouting recommendation. Only I would say go as many times as you possibly can as soon as the snow is gone. With fewer deer you are going to be spending a lot of time looking.
There should be a post or two from "way back" here on someone who wanted to hunt there during archery. He sort of chronicled his scouting adventures. Can't remember if he's around still or was removed from JHO. I do remember him saying how tough it was to find water in some places. If you do go get in a lot of scenery pics for those of us who can't make it.
Judge Gideon J. Tucker, wrote in a 1866 ruling that "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session."
Awesome thanks guys. Sounds lke I better prepare for the real possibilty of just having a nice tough hike. But I like the idea of low pressure areas.
dwikkles, I've posted about X10 on a few occasions in the past, here on JHO. The same information applies to both zones, in short here it is: Depending on the year's snow fall and subsequent melt, for the general season the deer are usually dispersed throughout the zone(s) with the majority of Bucks towards the western edge of the zone(s). The winter migration is from West to East to the eastern slope and hills. The spring migration should be obvious, from East to West. the vast majority of deer in these zones do not begin their winter migration until after the late season has closed (well after the general season). Thus if I were you, for the archery season, and for the general season I would be concentrating on the western edges of the zones above the river.
And, if I were you, considering the odds of drawing either zone, I would apply for a general season tag, and archery hunt during the archery season (with the general season tag), and go back during the general season using your choice of bow of rifle. By doing this you get so much more time to hunt.
With all that said, the success rate for the general season and late season for both zones is pretty dismal, with last year running over double the success rate during the general season, at about 10% (the norm has been about 4%). Personally, I attribute the significant rise in the success rate to the previous 2 winters above normal precipitation levels and subsequent increased birth rates and fawn survival rates (I have no scientific evidence of this other than utilizing the inner ocular method). Your choosing two of the toughest sierra zones to hunt deer in, with utterly dismal success rates, so the odd are simply against you for success; if you define it as successfully harvesting a deer. However, if you define success as the overall enjoyment of the trip, considering that you want to get away from the crowds and hunt some remote areas, I'd venture to say that either zone can exceed your expectations of success.
Lastly, in many areas of the zone, water can be an issue. If you've packed around enough areas of the Sierras, one begins to realize the unless you are near water, much of the Sierras is simply a pine-d desert. So be sure you have enough access to water not only from you camps, but along your travel routes.
Best of luck!