So the trip came up on a whim with my brother in law calling me up saying he was coming out to California from New York and wanted to go hunting for Black Tail. Two buddies and I have been hunting this ranch that I have been hunting for 12 years now and so far this year we have not seen anything. So, when the brother in law called we decided that we need to try out a different area that might give a little better success than where we have been hunting.
We decided to head up to the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area which is about three hours north west of Redding. The group comprised of my wife (Michelle), our 17 month old daughter (Sierra), one of my hunting buddies (Don) and my brother in law (Chuck). This was going to be my daughterís first camping trip as well. We were camping around 5500 ft elevation and when we got up there found out we were camped pretty much at the snow line. We all got to bed Friday night around 10:30 but could tell it was going to be a cold night. Sierra did great that night and the three guys got up around 5:30 and left camp around 6:00. With about a half hour hike up to 6500 ft we made it to the top of the ridge and this big burn we were going to hunt for the best sunrise I have seen in a long time.
We spread out a little and walked the ridge to a spot where we figured we would sit and glass for a while. As we got close to our spot I looked over the ridge down the east side to see what was there and saw a large field of short Manzanita type pushes. I made a mental note to look back over there before we left the spot. We sat down and had some breakfast and glassed for a while. Saw a couple of does here and there and then decide we would do a drive down and over a couple of ridges to see if we could catch something out in the open feeding.
Oh, but wait. I wanted to check the field on the east side now that the sun was hitting it. I looked over the side and did a quick glassing and saw a doe with here but to me. I saw the branches in front of her but they were odd looking and did not spread out like your typical antlers. I looked over at the two guys and gave them the sign that there was a doe over the other side. I looked back and took a closer look and noticed that those branches seemed to move with the head of the deer I was looking at and they seemed pretty big for a black tail. I looked at Chuck and said it is a buck and I think he is a monster. Chuck said to Don that I had a buck over here and it was pretty big, and Donís response was, Sherman already said it was a doe and he continue to glass his side of the hill.
I ended up popping down the hill to this little out cropping and sat down. Eye balled the distance around 250 yards pulled up with the 300 WM encore and pulled the trigger. I was shocked that he did not go down as this was a pretty easy shot with him quartered away from me at this point. He did make a move and went down the hill about 10 feet and then turned toward me. So, I reloaded and shot again. This time he flipped over backward and was down in the brush. That was more of the reaction I suspected for the 200 grain TSXís. I had them stay up on the hill to keep an eye on the spot while I went down to check out my latest kill.
When I got down there I was pleasantly surprised that my shooting was not as bad as I had thought it was. I had hit him both time the first shot totally blowing out the shoulder that was close to me and the second shot going through the chest, through a lung and breaking the back far leg between the knee and hoof. The drag was easy as we were on the camp side of this big ridge and we were back in camp a half hour later.
Don and Chuck went back out hunting that day and I dogged for them the following day and kick up a big fork that neither of them were able to get a shot at. All in all it was a great weekend for myself and even though not a long shot I am still happy with the buck I dropped.
Oh, and a couple people so far have said why didnít you let your brother in law shoot the buck since he came all the way out here from New York. Well, I saw it first and he has shot decent white tail bucks that were coming straight for my tree stand in New York but he just happened to see them first. First come first serve.
Well here are some pictures from the trip. All in all it was a great weekend to have my daughter out on her first trip. The photo of her and I did not come out as good as I would have liked but it is good enough.