Always Triple Check & Never Give Up
2016 Had been a good season so far. I'd drawn a Tule Elk Cow tag on Grizzly Island and scored with a 395 lb cow two weeks prior to the start of B Zone. I've been a member of Golden Ram for four seasons now and love every minute I get to spend on our great ranches. I have to say McIssac is my favorite though. I had been waiting for the opener for months now, like most of us. I had everything ready to go since I was just hunting Elk a couple of weeks ago. Truck was loaded except for my rifle, tag, and ammo. Friday morning I had breakfast with my wife and left Sacramento for McIssac Ranch. I arrived around 2 pm and set up my camp. Tent up, sleeping bag and cook area set up! HEY WAIT!!! Where's my deer tag and ammo?!!! Oh No! Somehow I forgot to put a small backpack with my tag and ammo in it! All of a sudden,I didn't know what to do. My phone wouldn't work, of course, so I walked over to a couple of guys already in camp and told them my problem and asked if I could borrow a phone to call my wife. John Swartz lent me his and said I HAD to ask my wife to meet me in Willows with my pack. Well, after a half dozen messages, that's what we did. I drove back to Willows and met my wife at the Airport Café and we had dinner. Then she left for the 85 mile ride back to Sac and I drove back to McIssac. Opening morning I was up early and ready to roll. I headed to my favorite spot and started glassing. Before the sun came up I was seeing deer. For a few hours, I'd been watching a three pointer with a half dozen does feeding about 700 yards away. Every couple of hours the buck would get up to feed then bed back down. After awhile I got up to stretch my legs and saw someone walking my way. It was none other than Richard "Maverick" "Sherpa" Valladao. We hadn't met yet but soon would become good friends. We both glassed and Richard spotted a four pointer in willows through his spotting scope that I hadn't seen.
That deer was bedded well before light and probably wouldn't come out until after dark I figured. I went back to camp had some lunch and refilled my water then headed out around four. As I walked up to my spot, I saw both bucks out feeding and hurried to get into position. The bucks were lower and closer to me now, about 450 yards, still a long way but almost impossible to get closer without spooking them. I was set up and watched for another hour and a half or so until I finally had a shot at the four pointer. I ranged him at 440 yards and took the shot. I saw him move but not run so I held a few inches higher and shot again. This time he disappeared as the smaller three pointer ran downhill. I got over to where I shot and couldn't find any sign of hitting that deer. I looked till dark and made it back to camp feeling pretty down. That night Maverick and I sat down to some elk tenderloin and talked over the day. Did I mention he's an amateur therapist too. The next morning I was in the same spot waiting and glassing a couple of does. I decided to go back over to check and Maverick saw me from a ways away. He made his way towards me and looked too I was back almost to my spot when I hear "Adrian get your a$$ over here now" The adrenaline kicked in and 15 minutes later was high fiving Richard over a beautiful 4X3. Sadly the bears had found him before I did and was left only with the hams for the table but a great buck it is. My best blacktail along with my longest shot. My first shot had grazed him in the brisket and second was in the boiler room. There's a lot of people I'd like to thank for this hunt. First, My Wife for driving to Willows Friday night to bring me my tag and ammo. John Swartz for lending me his phone and convincing not to give up. And Richard Valladao, my Sherpa guide for finding my buck! I know this story is long but the Friends made deserve it!
Thanks also to Nick and Golden Ram!
All the best and good hunting!