California X5A

Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
72
Location
Middletown, CA
Ive been saving points for California for 7 years now, always had the goal in mind of getting the elusive X5B tag, but with the average last year taking 14-17 years, As this tag requires more and more points every year to obtain it looks like it will me a like the tule elk and become a once in a life time tag eventually. I would much rather get the chance to hunt then hold out for a lifetime. My question is this: do I give up on x5b and look at x5a instead. I have a enough points to draw, slightly less success rate, and almost identical averages for 5 point or better (X5B is higher in the 4pt or better category). Not concerned with antler points, but just want to go and enjoy chasing deer in new places. I would appreciate any information I can get about that zone good and bad. Thanks in advance!
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
72
Location
Middletown, CA
There are a lot of other X zones you can draw with 4-7 points. I have been drawn for an X zone 3 times in the last 13 years. Every trip to an X zone has resulted in a punched tag for me. Some of them were easier than others all were great hunts.
which other x zones would you recommend?
My father drew x6a last year and got a decent buck, but we weren't overly impressed. sounded like it like many of the other x zone hunts, lots of big cat activity
 

Fowl Hunter

Active member
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
130
Location
Bellevue ID
Had max points 4 years ago - 2 friends also had max, we debated whether to hunt X5b or G6 - decided on the Dec. rut hunt and hunted G6 which takes 11 or 12 to draw. Had a great hunt in the southern Sequoia NF.

In a couple of years I have too decide to cash in my points or go for G6 again.

Have max points for sheep - If I live long enough...
 

Birddog916

Active member
Joined
Jan 13, 2020
Messages
79
Location
Sacramento, CA
All of them are pretty good. You get as much as you put into it, that being said the CA deer number are not what they used to be. I would pick one, learn it best you can, hunt bears in it to learn it before you draw the tag.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
72
Location
Middletown, CA
Had max points 4 years ago - 2 friends also had max, we debated whether to hunt X5b or G6 - decided on the Dec. rut hunt and hunted G6 which takes 11 or 12 to draw. Had a great hunt in the southern Sequoia NF.

In a couple of years I have too decide to cash in my points or go for G6 again.

Have max points for sheep - If I live long enough...
Im up in Northern California, G6 is a little too far for me, not familiar with southern california at all, but thank you though
 

lastlight

Active member
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
189
Location
Northern California
which other x zones would you recommend?
My father drew x6a last year and got a decent buck, but we weren't overly impressed. sounded like it like many of the other x zone hunts, lots of big cat activity
Pick an xzone you can draw and do your homework with boots on the ground all summer. Posting units online especially in CA is frowned upon. The only story I can share is a hunt a couple years back in a lower tier zone where we scouted religiously all summer and opening morning @7:30 am we had 183" and 170" bucks in our packs. 7 points will get you decent hunting (by CA standards) in any xzone you can draw. Obviously in the sierras patience is crucial, as there are not mature bucks behind every tree :)
 

jryoung

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 16, 2012
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4,661
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Unable to determine due to velocity
I wouldn't look at the percentage of 5pt bucks between 5a ad 5b, the telling figure is the 4 pt or better for which 5b is 70% of the harvest while only 26% for 5a (and 5a has a consistently large percentage of 3pts taken).

You're in a spot right now where you have quite a few decent hunts on the table, most of which could be doubled up with bear. For example X6a has 37.5% 4pt or better, consistent take at all antler levels and great bear hunting. You could hunt it this year, bear hunt in the coming years and get back into it in 5 or so years, with a ton of knowledge. X12 is another unit like this.
 

brnsvllyjohn

Active member
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
249
Location
California (for now)
I try to hunt the same X zone as often as I can. It is the same zone I hunted when I was a teenager and there was no drawing. Learning any X zone in Ca. is better than just taking a wild guess based on what the success rates were. If you look at a zone that had 40% verses a zone that had 15% success you realize that most of the hunters did not fill a tag. 40% is better than 15% but still most tags went unfilled. The zone I hunt isn't a max point zone but rather one that I can hunt every 6-8 years unless I get lucky or party with someone who has a bunch of points. You need to learn something about the zone by going there a few times.
I always meet hunters in my X zone who are very disappointed with the number of bucks they are finding. They just picked an area and went hunting. That can work but it doesn't work well for most hunters.

I will use my hunting experience from 2 years as an example. I got into camp 3 days before season opened and went scouting. I was just confirming some things I thought I already knew. I had also spent 2 days in the area a few weeks before that. There were some guys in camp who had drawn the same tag I had 2 years in a row without points. Random draw I guess. They drove around for 2 days before opener and never saw anything they liked just like they had the year before. On opening morning I was in my spot before first light and never saw a deer till 10 am. By 1 pm I had located 6 bucks and taken one of my best Ca. bucks. Would you have stayed on the same ridge I was on until 1 pm when you did not see a deer until 10 am? I stayed up there because I was confident there were bucks in that area. I was confident because I have hunted that ridge for years. The other hunters went home around noon on opening day. They hunted the morning then decided the area was no good and went home. They did not see a buck. I wait years to get that tag and on my last 4 trips there I have had success each time. One trip took me 10 days to find a decent buck. They are not under every tree. You say your father had success last year in a zone you have already been to. I don't know that zone very well but I would bet that it has a variety of different habitat and you might find something you would rather hunt than the area you hunted on that trip. You say you are not after a trophy and apparently the buck your father took was decent so what was wrong with that zone?? I know I like to hunt a certain type of terrain so I can understand not liking a certain area.
Any way good luck but getting out and learning an area is well worth it. Maybe go fishing there or bird hunting some time just to figure it out. I realize you are up against the application date so good luck.
 
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Aaronmp

Member
Joined
May 24, 2016
Messages
72
Location
Hanford,Ca
I had enough points to draw for x9c but really wanted to hit A-zone south G21 late hunt. It's a wilderness area and I should draw it barring an influx of apps. I put in with 3 points so now I'm doing the google earth thing to see what might be. I'm late to the game for hunting big game so I'm envious of your x5 dilemma. Good luck and hope the monster appears.
 

Dschmitt88

New member
Joined
Mar 3, 2019
Messages
15
I had enough points to draw for x9c but really wanted to hit A-zone south G21 late hunt. It's a wilderness area and I should draw it barring an influx of apps. I put in with 3 points so now I'm doing the google earth thing to see what might be. I'm late to the game for hunting big game so I'm envious of your x5 dilemma. Good luck and hope the monster appears.
I hunt the ventana wilderness quite a bit during the regular season. Very tough and rugged area. Feel free to dm if you have questions about the area. I would be happy to exchange info.
 
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