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  1. #1

    Default California Blacktail in July

    Hey all,

    My schedule in the Fall is really busy with work, so I have to try and get most of my hunting done before the second week of September - which obviously makes things a little complicated. I've got an elk trip planned this year, and am looking for options for the next few seasons. One thing that caught my eye was the July blacktail seasons in California. If I play my cards right, I might be able to take the family to see the Redwoods (Father In Law has always wanted to go, and it's #1 on his bucket list), and sneak in a little deer chasin' as well. Has anyone here ever done one of these hunts? Any tips for weather, tactics, etc? Also - are the tags OTC, or do I need to start building points now for them? I haven't spent much time researching the California system at all, but have started looking at it lately since GoHunt added them, but was a little confused on the process.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    California (for now)
    Posts
    111

    Default

    I assume you are looking at the B zones on the north coast. The tags are a first come first served deal and don't usually sell out until around the deer season. I know someone who waited too long last year but if you buy the tag in June you should be fine. Last year they sold out on July the 17th according to the booklet. Are you looking at a guided hunt, a backpack wilderness type hunt or just a hunt on national forest that you can get close with a vehicle??

    If I were you I would do a little research on the large fires we have had in the last 5 years. I really like hunting old burns. I haven't personally hunted a B zone in about 10 years but used to spend a lot of time hunting blacktails.

    As far as buying a tag almost all sporting goods stores sell tags and license they print them at the store. California has everything on computers and you can also log in and buy them on line. You have to set up an account but that is easy. I buy my fishing license and hunting license on line from my home now. It takes about 10 days to get them in the mail. In California we have to get a county, state or federal employee to sign the deer tag. There is a list of people who can do that in the regulations. I usually stop at a ranger station or county fire station to get my tags signed. All you need is the horns.
    Last edited by brnsvllyjohn; 04-15-2018 at 07:14 AM.

  3. #3

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    Great - thanks for the info! And yeah, I'm looking at a B zone tag Interested in B4 right now, but again, I've done about 20 minutes of research so far, so I'm still looking for more spots. I'll definitely check out the recent burns. I'd like to do a backpack type hunt, most likely solo. Probably will have the family drop me off, they can go do tourist type stuff, and then meet me 4-5 days later at a pre-determined spot.

  4. #4

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    One thing to remember on the early seasons ,it is extremely hot in A & sometimes B zones,like 100+.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    California (for now)
    Posts
    111

    Default

    If you are back packing you will want to look at some of the higher elevation wilderness areas. Heat should not be a huge problem at the higher elevations. There are those who assume that the area is not all that rugged but they don't call it the Trinity Alps without a reason. Of course there are more areas than that but most of the wilderness hunts are going to be as rugged as an Idaho or Wyoming hunt can be.
    I am sure you cam find some videos of some of the wilderness hunts that might give you a general idea about conditions.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Lake Almanor, Ca.
    Posts
    255

    Default

    I just was emailed this today from DF$W, their Hunter Update, conflicts with some above given info.

    "B zone is classified as a Restricted Deer Tag for the upcoming hunting season. The 2017 B zone tag quota filled on July 17. Any time a deer tag quota fills on or before the first business day after Aug. 1, the tag is classified as a Restricted Deer Tag the following hunting season. Hunters may obtain one Restricted Deer Tag as their first deer tag at any time. Hunters who want to obtain a B zone tag (or any Restricted Deer Tag), but also want to apply in the Big Game Drawing should apply as usual and list the Restricted Deer Tag as their second or third choice in the drawing."

    So yeah AtenJones, if you want to put in the draw for a coastal A or B zone tag, no problem but looks to me like a person will no longer be able to buy these B zone tags after the drawing, they will be gone with none or very few available. I believe that the A zones will still not fill the quota and be readily available but then by far, the largest portion of hunting in A zone is done on Private Property.

    Can you do as you suggest? Certainly and good luck but best put in for a B zone Tag, which is legal to hunt in ALL the B zones, before the June 2nd deadline for the draw.

  7. #7

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    Ditto what these guys said.
    I have been out of the loop there for 9 yrs & it has gotten tighter to draw some tags.Hell tags that used to be OTC just about or never sell out like A,are now hard to draw. My bro still hunts A zone bow,but he is intense...lol.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    California (for now)
    Posts
    111

    Default

    The booklets just came out and I did not see that B zone is now a restricted tag. The odds of it selling out on the June drawing is very slim but not impossible. If you log on to the CFW website the info on available tags after the drawing is there. I would think that as long as you purchase that tag a month before you hunt you will be fine.

    "Hunters may obtain one Restricted Deer Tag as their first deer tag at any time."
    This is what matters to you as long as they are not sold out. The second tag may be an issue but you never mentioned getting two tags.

  9. #9

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    The big wilderness areas (Trinity, Yolly Bolly, Marble and the remote part of Snow Mountain) are in the other B zones and don't open until the third Saturday in August. You'd be looking at the Ventana Wilderness near Big Sur and the southern part of the Snow Mountain area. I'm sure their are other wilderness areas in A and B-4 but these are the ones I can think of. They are both going to be very hot in July. It's a tough hunt. I think you'd have much better time in one of the bigger wilderness areas if you can come in August instead.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    California (for now)
    Posts
    111

    Default

    I haven't hunted a B zone in a few years and forgot about the opening dates being so different. B 4 is a relatively small zone and what SO7 said is very true. I have shot a couple of bucks in B 4 in the fog but it can also be on the warm side if you get very far inland.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Lake Almanor, Ca.
    Posts
    255

    Default

    brnsvllyjohn wrote, "...I would think that as long as you purchase that tag a month before you hunt you will be fine"

    Well that bit of info i posted is current, surprised and disapointed me because i live in the C zone which they made restricted some years ago and i haven't been able to draw it as a second choice since then. Once i knew that i didn't draw First or Second "C" last year, i went down to our local sporting goods to get a B zone tag. They were sold out. I won't say for sure but the email i got from Fish and Wildlife last night looks pretty official to me...

    So far, one can still get a tag in most of the D zones but it's been 30 years since i've hunted a D zone. Not that C zone is that good, it isn't, but it's nice to hunt deer local and not have to make a big costly expedition of it.

    If i were wanting to hunt in July, i'd hunt the public land in the far northern part of A zone. I've no doubt taken over 50 bucks from that zone but we had a large family ranch to hunt. Here are a couple bucks my old hunting pard and i took on a last weekend hunt. Our country just did not produce outstanding bucks but these two, my forkey and his 3x3, were nicer than most. Name:  rich and my livermore bucks.jpg
Views: 566
Size:  178.0 KB were taken on Private north of Livermore.
    Last edited by uncle sage; 04-15-2018 at 10:24 AM.

  12. #12

    Default

    Thank for all the comments so far, keep em coming!

    I was thinking about coming in August or September, but my thinking is that if I come in July as part of a family trip, then I can double up, and head back out west the first week of September for Elk or Mule Deer, too - and get two hunts in one year. My wife works in a school, so she's off in July and could make the trip then, but couldn't do it in August.

    I know public access is pretty limited in B4, but I was possibly looking at the King Range National Conservation Area. Anyone have any experience with it? Seems like it might not be quite as hot as some of the areas further inland - especially if I can get a little elevation, but I don't know how much of a difference 2-3K feet will make.

  13. Default

    the only zone open throughout july is a-zone archery. a-zone rifle opens in august. b-4 opens the very last weekend in july. pretty much all other zones open in august with rifle in sept/oct.
    never hunted b-4 before, but i hunt a-zone every year. it is very hot and dry.

  14. #14

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    On another note: GoHunt mentions these areas might contain illegal grow operations. At first I kind of shrugged that off, but after looking a bit more I realized these might be a legit concern if they’re operated by cartels etc. Little different than the old-hippy farmers we have here. Is this something to be concerned about?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Unable to determine due to velocity
    Posts
    4,122

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    License and tags went on sale today, you can buy a B tag today if you want. I would suspect it will likely sell out sometime in the July time frame again this year. Many CA hunters are very confused as to why our tag change from unrestricted, to restricted, to premium. It is simply a supply and demand issue, "if all the tags sell by X date, then they become restricted or premium, if they don't then they become unrestricted.

    Restricted tags are not draw tags and are available anytime so long as you do not have a draw pending for premium tag or have been issued a premium tag.
    Four of a kind, 7x57, 284 winchester, 7 Remington Mag, 7 Mashburn.

  16. Default

    The grow sites seem like a big deal. There's a thread on Rokslide about it. Freaked me out.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Idhikker View Post
    The grow sites seem like a big deal. There's a thread on Rokslide about it. Freaked me out.
    Yeah, I think I saw the same one - and that's what got me thinking it may be a little more serious than I first thought.

  18. #18

    Default

    Lots of good info here. If you are thinking July, that is "A" zone. A zone is the biggest of California's zones and is much of the coastal range from northern to southern CA. Don't let "coastal" fool you, because as people have mentioned, it is HOT during A zone archery. This year it starts the second saturday. If you want to hunt public land, there are several options. I usually hunt the Sierra's, but every other year or so will spend a week in A zone for the archery opener. It's always hot. Period.

    For DIY public land, the area I usually hunt is around Clear Lake (about 2 hours northeast of San Francisco). There is a lot of National Forest and some BLM scattered around it. It's brush country with some pines mixed in plus lots of manzanita. Our best luck has been finding where the deer are traveling down for water, then setting up tree stands.

    Tough hunting, but I believe it's the earliest deer season in the country, so it's convenient for people's schedules.

    Good luck. If you end up coming out in July, PM me.

    If you are planning on the B zones, I can't help. I used to hunt up there years ago, but no so much anymore.

  19. #19

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    And yes....A zone tags are OTC. But even easier is to get them online. Our big game draw deadline isn't until June 15th, so you could get a preference point AND an A zone tag (as your second choice).

  20. #20

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    A zone - Archery July 14 - Aug 5 Rifle Aug 11 - Sept 22 Have hunted it since 1974. Not every year though.

    Millions of acres of public ground - north, central, south. Mostly hot to very hot. Rarely over 100 pounds gutted - over the shoulder to the truck. Blocks of ice in the cavity and head for a fridge.

    If you can hunt within 20 miles of the ocean then much cooler but thicker brush.

    I hunt the Clear Lake area at 3500 feet. Lots of brush - long shot is 100 yards. Do have a lower elevation area that is more open but hotter.

    West wind blows every afternoon. Most my kills have been the last hour.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Sedalia, Colorado
    Posts
    803

    Default

    I grew up in A Zone and shot a few blacktails. Unless you are within about a mile of the ocean it's going to be very hot, I promise...some beautiful country there though!

  22. #22

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    On the restricted tag thing. Restricted tags are still OTC, but you can only have 1. Example, down here in Southern Cali, D14 and D16 are restricted zones. I can go to Big 5 around the corner and buy either one of those tags right now as my first or second tag and then add a D15 tag for a second. You CANNOT buy two restricted tags, so no tags for D14 and D16 in the same season.

  23. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim433 View Post
    On the restricted tag thing. Restricted tags are still OTC, but you can only have 1. Example, down here in Southern Cali, D14 and D16 are restricted zones. I can go to Big 5 around the corner and buy either one of those tags right now as my first or second tag and then add a D15 tag for a second. You CANNOT buy two restricted tags, so no tags for D14 and D16 in the same season.
    I think you are correct, but a loop around that for the archery hunter is to buy an AO tag, valid during any open season except for C and X zones I believe, and maybe some D Zones. Then you can buy your other tag and still be able to rifle hunt one of those zones if you want. I definitely recommend coming in August and getting in the high country wilderness, much more enjoyable experience IMO. Find the right areas and you can find some big deer, public land, OTC hunts. Name:  IMG_3873.jpg
Views: 288
Size:  83.8 KBName:  IMG_3869.jpg
Views: 291
Size:  84.2 KB Heres a couple ill be chasing again in August/September on an OTC hunt.

  24. #24

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    You are correct. I forgot about the AO tag.

  25. Default

    The king range is the only real public land in B4. Hunt right on the ocean at the mouth of the Mattole river. Very remote and no tourist stuff for the rest of the family in the area while you hunt. A zone is July and super hot 90 degrees plus. All the public land you would likely hunt is relatively far from the things the rest of the family would want to do. Snow Mtn, Cache creek, Knoxville Wildlife area, Ventana wilderness. Nobody mentioned ticks yet either. lots and lots of ticks. They don't scare me but others freak out. Ive been bitten 5 times; they do make you think there are bugs crawling all over you once you find one though, they are creepy.
    You can always get an A zone tag. If you want B zone apply for it in the regular drawing in June. You will get it but don't wait for left overs, they wont be there
    Cheers

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