This hunting season has been postponed for us. The Carr Fire has resulted in the area we hunt being closed due to the fire danger. So we wait. I prepared this post months ago and this seems like a good time to post it. There are a couple pictures of some of the game we harvested, but mostly it’s images from our season.
When we hunt big game we immerse ourselves into the experience, always. We don’t just experience nature we participate in it. We hunt to for food. Each meal we prepare we reminisce over our experience and appreciate where that food came from. We observe things that time of year we don’t always see the same way during the rest of the year. As a result we take a lot of pictures. This gallery is a small sample of the sights and sounds we enjoy each season.
Our bow hunting season started mid August and rifle season ended in late October. It was grueling and difficult hunting in rugged country. The weather was hot much of the time and we had to contend with constant smoke from the wildfires during bow season. We cover a lot of ground on foot and spent hours in ground blinds. One of the benefits is we never know what might show up near our blinds. The cameras are always handy.
Phanny joined us for some pre-season scouting.
A painted lady landed on my arrow tip while we sat in the hunting blind.
The fence lizards cruise our hunting blinds searching for ants.
A Pacific fisher unknowingly visited us.
The fisher investigates our wildlife camera. Come on little buddy just a little farther. Darn, we didn’t get his picture.
The gray squirrels didn’t detect us most of the time, but when they did we heard all about it.
Yellow jackets and hornets are always a risk in the woods. This bald-faced hornet isn’t to be trifled with.
Tiny birds like this brown creeper were around nearly all the time.
Fungus growing on a black oak snag.
Big ferns grow in the stream zones.
Butterflies would land on us while we sat in our blind. They were drinking sweat from our skin.
Canyon live oak
A steller’s jay in for a drink.
Smoke was a constant nuisance in the early season.
This acorn woodpecker was panting because is was so hot.
You can’t beat the view when the smoke is gone.
Sugar pine cones
A doe in my bow sites. We don’t take does in California.
Doe close up.
A California Sisters butterfly.
This bigleaf maple is just beginning to change.
A large black bear cruises through.
Tanoak acorns blanket the road. Acorns are a very important food source for all manner of wildlife.
A bigleaf maple leaf gets more yellow. They are our reminder of the seasons passing.
My hunting partner.
The steller’s jays were like little bits of sky.
The red tail hawks were always cruising about. We weren’t the only hunters out there.
It’s rugged country. We work hard for everything we get.
Big sugar pine.
Our camp is a swarming ground for the local ladybugs. Did you know that ladybugs bite!
I was watching a bear down in the thicket of live oak trees.
Old growth sugar pine.
Fall color from the black oaks and bigleaf maples.
A golden bigleaf maple leaf has seen better days.
Calk boots in an oak tree?
Those are timber faller’s boots. There is a story wanting to be told here.
An early snow warns us that the season is winding down.
Leaves changing one at a time.
If you wait long enough someone’s trash becomes an artifact.
Mary worked hard for this fine buck. It was harvested on a high remote ridge. We had a long steep pack out.
A view from one of our blinds.
I love the change of the season.
Fall color and snow.
What a view!
The dogs love to investigate our bounty when we get home.
“I see you!”
No the camera isn’t tilted. We hunt some steep country.
The deer that live around the mill always converge on the hayfield behind the log deck in the fall and winter. This year I’ve counted as many as twenty at a time. I’ve accumulated some photos over the last few months. Typically, I’m not very close so the pictures are a little soft. They just went through the rut and the bucks will soon shed their antlers. Click on a picture to enlarge the gallery.
Canyon Live Oak, Quercus chrysolepis, is an evergreen oak of the California Sierra Nevada and Coastal Range. Its full range stretches from Mexico and Arizona north to southwestern Oregon. These trees typically prefer shallow soils like those found in steep canyons common in the low and mid elevation mountains. Hence the name. These sites are normally poor soil quality and aren’t the best locations for growing commercial timber. Canyon Live Oak is not considered as a commercial species. Its main commercial value is as firewood. However, it has a high intrinsic value as a species important to wildlife. In forest management it is far more beneficial left on the landscape providing food, nesting and roosting habitat.
Canyon Live Oak, Quercus chrysolepis
The camera wasn’t crooked. A canyon live oak in a canyon.
Canyon Live Oak Acorns
This specimen is over 4 feet in diameter.
Acorn woodpeckers use the canyon live oak acorns as a food source.
More Canyon Live Oak Acorns
Black bears eat mass quantities of acorns in the fall.
Fawns are often killed by black bears in the Spring. Right after birth, fawns know instinctively to lay perfectly still. They have almost no scent. If the fawn doesn’t move a muscle and the bear is up wind it my not see the little deer.
I have you folks to thank, or blame for this pen and ink. It’s the third version of this fawn. You can see the two previous versions in the post Wild Wednesday Fawn Redo. First was a sweet vignette, which Mary told me was lacking. So I added more detail and asked if you all preferred the simple vignette of the more complete fawn. I received lots of great feedback and the majority liked the additional detail. If more detail is good then a lot more should be great. Truth is, I kept adding more and more because I had a vision. That’s when the bear came along to add some drama. The first rendition was lackluster. Now it tells a story, so thank you Mary and all you folks who commented before. Listening to a good critique only makes us better artist and writers. Even if I grumbled about it at first.
On a side note, if I’d known it was going to morph into this final drawing, the composition would have been different. However, I think it works okay. What do you think?
He’s only a 3 x 3, but he’s one big black tail. Our black tail bucks don’t usually have as many points as white tails the same age.
This is his championship confirmation pose. He’s a winner.
This shot was a little fuzzy, but you can see how wide he is. I would estimate 28″ to 30″.
A lot of deer come down to the foothills to winter. I saw this big black tail buck on the way home last week. He wasn’t far from the house. The rut is going on right now and hunting season has been over for awhile, so the deer are unconcerned with people. It’s a great time to shoot them with the camera.
I had to visit one of our loggers the other day. My route took me through the little hamlet of French Gulch. It was settled during the Gold Rush, but you rarely see any rush around this sleepy little town these days.
Driving through the tiny town of French Gulch there was a doe walking right down the main street. I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture there, but you can see her exiting stage right.
This little forked horn was browsing on the other side of town. I drove past him, then backed up to take his picture. Ten feet away and he could care less.
Only in French Gulch would you park your fire truck in the drive and your cows in the garage.
A bit of much need rain.
Bliss says this is more like it!
We were out visiting a logging contractor. The delimber processes trees into logs.
Bliss enjoys a drop antler on the way home.
We also enjoyed some rain. They say El Nino is coming and we’re hoping so.