I won’t fib to you, the concept of having to do research on where to find good public-land hunting didn’t come onto my radar until 10 years into my deer-hunting career. When you grow up at the base of a mountain range in east-central Nevada that’s both sparsely populated and lightly hunted – not to mention, virtually 100 percent open to hunters – the idea of poring over access maps and studying trespasses is the last thing you think about the summer before deer season.
My, how my perspective has changed.
For those of you who have grown up in the ever-increasing human sprawl that radiates over the Golden State like a slow-creeping ivy, the late summer has probably always been “cramming” time, to some degree.
While most of you will operate out of your traditional deer camps this coming season, and traipse up and down hills familiar to you for years, you will also do so with the knowledge that fewer deer and more expanding humanity will require a bit more homework as years go by.
It’s the albatross of the California hunter, unfortunately.
But, it’s also a perfectly good reason to become a more efficient researcher, and, ultimately, a better hunter.
How? Simple: Research and scouting demand attention to details, and deer hunting is a sport of details. The more factors in the field
you can predict, control, effectively react to and take advantage of, the better you are. Period.
Acknowledging those factors, possibly forcing yourself to learn new territory, just makes you sharper. Go ask a sports psychologist about it sometime.
The August issue continues California Sportsman’s coverage of the 2012 deer season, and I’m proud to say that my hunting writers have “stretched their legs” as they prepare for blacktail and pig hunts. Master hunter Scott Haugen – he of the deer-taxidermy museum that passes as a living room – has laid down some sound advice on how to overcome early-season’s scorching heat. D Zone veteran Bill Lentz has jotted down some suggestions on where to spend your time in D-3 in search of a public-land buck. And Kern Valley scribe Steve Merlo has compiled a list of suggestions on how to identify a good public-land pig territory through good, old-fashioned woodsmanship and scouting.
Research and scouting is ongoing, ladies and gentlemen! Archery seasons are upon us and rifle seasons aren’t too far away. Get the
research and scouting done now, and get ready for a successful fall campaign.