- Nov 30, 2010
- Reaction score
BJ and I didn’t even get outside the LA Harbor break wall before we were busted by the LA Co. Sheriff. We departed Cabrillo marina at 6 am in BJ’s 42 sail boat which was to be our high end accommodation at Catalina – Two Harbors. Within minutes we had a sheriff boat with blue lights flashing come roaring right at us from astern (Picture 1). WTF. We couldn’t have been doing more than 6 knots. Sure enough, they stop and ask what we are up to). We tell them we are heading to Catalina to go deer hunting – tip off, I am wearing a blaze orange hat and camo pants. After checking the routine vessel paperwork and safety equipment, they inform us they were called by a concerned citizen who reported that we were carrying rifles (they were inside hard cases) to the boat. Welcome to LA-LA land. BJ and I sure look like a couple of terrorists (Picture 2). If we’d been in Texas, we’d have been reported for being inadequately armed. The officers and us all laughed about the call and went our separate ways. But I think there was a conspiracy behind it all. I had had this feeling of being watched for the last week or so. My theory is that the Catalina deer have had someone spying on us and through their connections at PETA, they had us turned in with the hope of getting us in trouble so we couldn’t get out there to hunt. If the deer had only known that The Admiral was not on the trip as she had to go elsewhere, they would have been far less concerned.
Turf & Surf but “Busted” by law enforcement.
After trading in our regular tags for PLM tags in Avalon, we motored over to Two Harbors in our beautiful 42’ “hotel,” moored up at USC, and made “camp (Picture 3). Talk about living is style! We take our gear and ice chest ashore (Picture 4) so when RK arrived around 4:45 pm. we are ready to head out for the backside of the SW part of the island. This is the only area open at this time of the year and only before 8 am and after 4 pm as there are so many visitors wandering about the island. Shooting visitors is definitely frowned upon and the paperwork is a killer if you do. About one hour later, as we are heading up a steep valley when RK and BJ spot a doe some 180 yards further up. She makes us but only trots uphill away from us though the undergrowth. BJ lays in the dirt and when she appears at 200+ yards, he lets fly using a 270 win with 130 gr. Federal Copper bullet. Whack. The deer she hunches up but keeps moving. BK puts fires again as she disappears in the undergrowth. We know she is hit and watch, hoping she will come out into the open. After several minutes RK spots a deer 50 yards lower down on the hillside and we are not sure if it the same one as it appears to be much darker. I line up on it but I cannot get a good firing solution due to bushes which turns out to be a good thing. The animal then disappears from sight. So BJ walks out and finds his doe where we saw the “second” animal. We carry her to a road and load her onto the truck that RJ brings around – it is one hour and two minutes after heading out. BJ had only pulled one doe tag so he is done. I realized afterward that this may be the first deer shot (7.19) in the 2018 deer season as no one had shot a deer on Catalina since the season opened on 7.16 as the only season opening earlier on July 14 was Archery Zone A (South Unit 110 and North Unit 160)
No more than 40 minutes later, a group of 3 deer cross in front of us about 170 yards away and there is a nice 4x4 in the group. They are bouncing over a ridgeline but I can’t find them in my scope. I had put it on 9x while watching BJ’s deer and forgot to put in back on 3x. A real rookie mistake. As those deer disappear, a forkie appears below following the others. But now I am ready so I dial him in as he is ambling up the hillside. Boom, a 30-06 168 gr. Vortex Barnes goes screaming downrange. He shutters, runs in a circle for about 20 yards and then drops unmoving. Luck is on our side, there is a road real near where he fell. We get the truck and drive to a spot no more than 50 level yards away from the downed animal – you can see it in the back of the picture .just to the right of the fellow with the white shirt (Picture 5). A cakewalk of a recovery. He is a nice forkie still in velvet. The bullet went in behind the Left shoulder, took out the lung, went through the heart and exited thru the right shoulder blade. It is now 6:50 am.
We decide to check out a different canyon system and as we are driving over there, we see a really nice doe (I have to shoot a doe now, only one buck allowed) standing on a hillside some 350 + yds right by the road ahead of us. She seems very unconcerned so we drove toward her till we were some 170 yards away and behind some trees. I get out and try to line up on her but there are branches in the way. My moving about to get the branches out of my sight picture probably troubled her as she turned and simply bounced away. As we continue driving, a buck and then a yearling doe runs across in front of us. The deer certainly are out and about this evening.
When we reach the edge of the other canyon system, we begin to drive down into it where we plan to hunt through the bottom land. However, before we can get there, we spot a nice doe across on the other wall of the canyon. She is standing 230+ yds and directly facing and looking at us. RK says “shoot her in the neck” so I get my sticks, line up and fire. Boom – a clear miss. But the doe doesn’t know where the danger is coming from so she conveniently turns broadside as I jack in another round and let fly. Whack. She takes a couple of steps and drops like a stone. Fortune is once more on our side for once we get on the road through the canyon bottom, we simply had go along till we were right below where the doe fell and drag her downhill to the truck thus making for yet another really easy recovery. As we are all getting older, the fact there was no need to hump some deer in a deer pack up the steep landscape of Catalina was a blessing. We are stoked – three deer down in two hours. Gutting this animal reveals that the bullet went right through the aorta and vena cava at the top of the heart and completely severed the heart from the great vessels. No wonder she dropped. It is now 7:30 pm and we are done. (Picture 6)
We take the deer to Middle Ranch, skin and hang them in the cold room for the night. We have real cheese, definitely NOT Chez Wiz with dinner (http://www.jesseshunting.com/showthread.php/264543-Three-Turkeys-Two-Days-But-is-this-stuff-really-food ). (Picture 7) Next morning, we put the deer in body bags and write on the larger doe’s bag, “Well dressed, Dear!” (Picture 8)
At 7:45 am we head for the local fire station in Avalon where we need to find a fireman to validate/signs off on our tags. BJ was concerned we might not find a fireman at the station so I suggested we start a brush fire and the fireman would come to us. He did not think it was a good idea. Ya think? On the way to Avalon we saw the iconic endemic Island Fox (size of a small cat) and the island bison (size of a bison, Picture 9). We only missed the Bald Eagles. I don’t think the fireman knew what to make of our Well dressed, Dear!, It is then back to middle ranch to pick up RK, break down the deer and put the meat in ice chests for the trip home. RK grabs his fishing gear and after we load the ice chests onto the boat, we take a skiff out into Cat Harbor for fishing. We do some halibut drifts but only BJ gets hooked up, a small smooth hound shark (not quite Jaws) which was released. So we go further out into the blue water looking for better fish. After propitiating the fishing gods with a secret ceremony, all of a sudden on line goes screaming out. After a monumental hour long tug of war, we land what is the first of what will be three remarkable Bluefin tuna. They fought hard but were no match for RK, BJ and Sponge Bob. (Picture 10)
No animals were harmed unnecessarily in the telling of this tale but the Truth may have gotten knocked about a bit.
Of course, those Bluefin tuna were not caught at Catalina but were from a fishing trip out of San Diego I was on two 2 days before. I just wanted to show the picture to make all the fisherpersons who read this jealous.