2015 California archery opener


Jul 17, 2011
After not drawing a premium archery tag in California this year, I picked up a general zone tag that I had been hunting since I was a kid. I knew the area well but knew most spots would be heavily crowded and I would have to go deeper than ever into the wilderness.

My father in law and good friend joined me on this trip. This was going to be my friends first back country adventure and not an easy one at that. After spending months preparing and making sure all the nessessary gear was ready to go, it was time to leave for the trip.

The day before the opener we hit the trail early knowing it was going to take us almost 7 hours to horse pack into the area we would call home for the next 7 days. During our 7 hour ride, we only encountered two other bow hunters that had set up camp 6 miles into the wilderness but still far from the 17 miles that we were headed. Our trailhead started at 7,000 feet, we would hunting and camping near the 10,000 foot mark.

On the ride in we saw a few deer and some amazing country. It was a very long ride into the back country but the further we went, the more it was worth it.

We arrived at camp at 1 pm and began setting up new home for the week. Towards the evening we glassed the surrounding hillside only to turn up a few does.

Opening morning came with high expectations. We had decided to take opening day slow and get to a high glassing point to look over the area. Throughout the morning we saw some does but no bucks.

Later that evening, we returned to the glassing point and instantly started seeing bucks, nothing huge but we were finally seeing horns. After about a hour of glassing I decided that I was going to hike the ridge line back to camp so I could glass another area before dark. I had gone about a 1/4 mile down the ridge when I looked up and a small 2x3 was standing there looking right at me, maybe 40 yards. I froze and looked around to see if any other bucks were with him. After a few moments, a nicer 3x3 stepped out of the trees. After getting a good look at him I decided he would be a nice buck to put my tag on. Both bucks began feeding again and gave me a chance to range him at 45 yards. Once he turned broadside, I let him have it with a solid lung shot.

After the shot I gave him 45 minutes before I went down to my arrow. It had passed right through him and lodged into a tree behind where he was standing. I instantly found blood and the tracking began. After following good blood for about a 100 yards and still no buck , I was starting to get concerned. I knew that my shot looked really good. I continued to follow the blood trail for another 50 or so yards and there he was, piled up next to the creek.

I made quick work of quartering him and getting him loaded up as it was getting dark and I was over a mile from camp. I made it back to camp and shared the story with my father in law and friend. The rest of the evening was spent cleaning up the meat and getting it taken care of. Lucky for me the night time temps were in the 30s. I sprayed all the meat with citrus and sealed them prior to hanging them.

We spent the next 5 days putting stocks on bucks but neither my father in law or friend could seal the deal. It was a great trip and one that will be done again. pictures to follow.


Well-known member
Dec 20, 2000
Super! Great looking country to spend some time in. I really need to make a try for a Columbia blacktail some year.


Well-known member
May 19, 2014
Great story and pictures! Congrats on your nice back country buck! Nothing like hunting with family and friends! :)


Well-known member
Sep 22, 2010
good for you, family and friends in country like that are priceless! i think i know that lake...lol


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