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Young hunters find early deer season success in 2017


Mariana Ayala, 14, of Oakdale with her first buck, taken in zone D-6. Courtesy photo

Last weekend, the deer season opened in zone D-6 which covers most of Tuolumne County.

This area has been historically popular for many years for hunters.

The Deptartment of Fish and Wildlife annually sets up a check station at Highway 108 and Lyons Dam Road to check the bucks brought in for general health, age, and location of harvest.

Among the wildlife biologists manning the station were Nathan Graveline, Cristen Langner, and retired Jim Maddox who is always there to lend his expertise.

The D-6 zone totals were up 50 percent from 2016. Overall, deer were in good condition.

With the exception of a couple of yearlings, antler growth by age class was not good.

The biggest buck of the weekend was a six-by-six pointer brought in by a hunter on his first hunt. Their name was not available.

There are always a few young hunters who harvest their first buck. Among those this year were Jake Fulkerson of Sonora and 14-year-old Mariana Ayala of Oakdale.

It is not mandatory for hunters to stop at the check station, so the numbers checked here are only a percentage of the total harvest in the zone.

There were a couple of fish stories that came up recently. My grandson Tyler, of Watsonville, and his friend Denise were out on Pinecrest Lake last week in a kayak, fishing near the dam.

Tyler, using a single salmon egg, hooked a big fish and realized he did not have a landing net on board.

He managed to get the fish coming toward the boat when the line broke.

Denise got a photo of the fish prior to that, and it appeared to be a four-pounder or better.

As the saying goes, “the big one got away”.

The following day, my son Bob and I got out at Pinecrest and managed to hook seven rainbows up to 13 inches, releasing four.

That same day, on a boat next to us, Justin McAfee of Waterford boated a 3 lb. rainbow.

Trout plants are winding down.

This week’s plants were made at Clarks Fork and the Middle Fork Stanislaus at Kennedy Meadows, as well as Moccasin Creek.