California D3-5 Discussion Thread

Hunt_Jefferson

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El Dorado County, CA
California's D3-5 Deer Tag Discussion Thread. D3-5 covers almost 7 million acres of land spanning 13 counties, 5 National Forests, and 2 Wilderness areas. 30,000 OTC tags with a general season usually from mid-end September until the end of October. Central Valley farmland to 10,000ft peaks in the Sierra Nevadas. Is it going to be 85* closing weekend or snowing opening weekend? No one knows! (also no one knows if the deer are muleys, blacktails, or hybrids)

What's not to love? The 11% success rate?



D3-5.JPG
 
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Hunt_Jefferson

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El Dorado County, CA
So some scenery pictures to get this started (unfortunately no buck pictures yet!). I usually hunt C Zone every year, but the last two years I have picked up a D3-5 second tag. Living in El Dorado County, I've mostly explored only the highway 50 corridor. Every time I go up there, either to hunt, camp, or on a hike with the family I am astonished by the sheer size of the area. A few pictures and a map of what you are looking at from some high use areas, definitely not burning any spots :eek:

Edited since people were offended by my generic descriptions
Undisclosed location at undisclosed time somewhere in D3-5
Pyramid Peak1.jpg
Undisclosed location at undisclosed time somewhere in D3-5
Caples Lake1.jpg
Undisclosed location at undisclosed time somewhere in D3-5
IMG_20190929_084949.jpg

Undisclosed location at undisclosed time somewhere in D3-5
Union Valley 1.jpg
 
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Hunt_Jefferson

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El Dorado County, CA
This isn't 2005 any more....We don't mention unit numbers...Especially for over the counter units that are crowded to begin with.
Seriously? There are 7 million acres to discuss without giving away any secret spots. There is a B zone 2020 thread in the blacktail section that has 161 posts and D3-5 is only a little smaller than all of the B zones combined with a similar number of tags. I'm sure there is something worth discussing or BSing about.
 

blacktail sniper

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I agree!! What happened to just helping each other out a bit geez. Dont have to give away secrets or honey holes just good discussion. Why i joined this site good people
 

2rocky

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Seriously? There are 7 million acres to discuss without giving away any secret spots. There is a B zone 2020 thread in the blacktail section that has 161 posts and D3-5 is only a little smaller than all of the B zones combined with a similar number of tags. I'm sure there is something worth discussing or BSing about.
And there are 33,000 tag holders. That means if all the tag holders went out at the same time it would be one tag holder per 212 acres (~700yds x 1400yds ) if they were spaced evenly. But you mention one trailhead, one road, one mountain, on a public forum read by thousands of people and it will draw traffic like crazy (insert metaphor of choice).

Want to help? Take out a new hunter yourself. Sure share successes, but say "Sierras" or "D Zones" not specific drainages and landmarks.

You just screwed yourself because someone who has a good area won't take you there because you already showed you can't keep a secret.... South Cox and Cameron Hanes changed forever Bowhunting in a mountain range in Nevada by mentioning it.
 

amassi

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Do you have to buy a lift ticket to hunt kirkwood?

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Hunt_Jefferson

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El Dorado County, CA
And there are 33,000 tag holders. That means if all the tag holders went out at the same time it would be one tag holder per 212 acres (~700yds x 1400yds ) if they were spaced evenly. But you mention one trailhead, one road, one mountain, on a public forum read by thousands of people and it will draw traffic like crazy (insert metaphor of choice).

Want to help? Take out a new hunter yourself. Sure share successes, but say "Sierras" or "D Zones" not specific drainages and landmarks.

You just screwed yourself because someone who has a good area won't take you there because you already showed you can't keep a secret.... South Cox and Cameron Hanes changed forever Bowhunting in a mountain range in Nevada by mentioning it.

Discussion? Sure. A bunch of specific map locations with matching photos? Just stop.

Discussion starter: Did you fill your tags? What tactics worked and what didn't?
Look, I get it. No one wants their favorite spot blown and I have never suggested that nor asked for it.

I posted three generic pictures from major roads or vantage points to show some scenery and the scale of the zone based on where you are looking, only one of which you could argue is a "hunting spot" since it is an incredibly popular hiking trail. The place was packed when we hiked and I didn't even say anything about the hunting (or lack thereof). You could see any of these same areas on google street view. If someone is going to backpack from Edit: undisclosed highway to Undisclosed Peak because they saw my post and assumed that was the way to hunt the zone, that would be crazy.

I am a new hunter in the zone, and I actually did take out a new hunter this year. We scouted our own spots (not any of these), found lots of sign (buck and bear) but went home empty handed. And that's OK. I'm excited to learn more about the area and how they migrate as the weather changes. I would like to see the success others are having in the area too.

I'll delete the maps of where the photos were taken from since that seems to be the major issue, although I still disagree that they are somehow hurting the success of other hunters.
 
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lif

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This isn't 2005 any more....We don't mention unit numbers...Especially for over the counter units that are crowded to begin with.
If you want to discourage people from hunting D zones then you should encourage hunters to post stories about it. It’s not exactly a hidden gem, there is a reason there are leftover tags every year. I have a lot of friends who hunt there every year, and there stories over the years have made it easy for me to turn down there invites to go with them.
 

MeatBuck

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woodpile, Commiefornia
If you want to discourage people from hunting D zones then you should encourage hunters to post stories about it. It’s not exactly a hidden gem, there is a reason there are leftover tags every year. I have a lot of friends who hunt there every year, and there stories over the years have made it easy for me to turn down there invites to go with them.
Have not been leftover tags in quite a few years.
 

lif

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Have not been leftover tags in quite a few years.
Not sure we have the same view of leftover tags. D 3-5 is a general unit that you can buy after the draw is over every year. I believe in 2019 a guy could buy a tag right up until the rifle season opened at the end of September. 2 of my buddies bought there’s at the end of July this year. To me, if you can buy tags after the draw then they are leftover tags from the draw.
 

amassi

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Best of luck to you D3-5 guys next year, I’m shifting my sights elsewhere, probably B.
The B zones are always a treat compared to the sierras. Didn't much of the b zones catch on fire though or were those closures for safety?

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manchild125

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California
I love when people get flustered about D zone conversations. 1 gazillion acres and 50 gazillion hunters 90% which road hunt but you're worried about your spot 🤣

D5 ive found most public land deer no higher than 7000ft
 

CApighunter

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The B zones are always a treat compared to the sierras. Didn't much of the b zones catch on fire though or were those closures for safety?

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Plenty of it is unburned. Never hunted up that way before so it’ll be new. Got so slammed with work this year I only had time to hunt the D zone archery opener and the A zone rifle opener. Gonna give it one more shot in a couple weeks with a buddy who wants to punch his bear tag, expectations are low but it beats working.
 

amassi

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Plenty of it is unburned. Never hunted up that way before so it’ll be new. Got so slammed with work this year I only had time to hunt the D zone archery opener and the A zone rifle opener. Gonna give it one more shot in a couple weeks with a buddy who wants to punch his bear tag, expectations are low but it beats working.
Sounds like my season or lack thereof this year
Opening archery weekend and some day trips.
I havent hunted the b zones since 17 but bears were I the rise then. I'd imagine they've only continued to grow without hounds

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PHo

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California
I certainly would not post any pictures or spots...but there’s a reason why D3-5 is only an 11% success rate. I’m not worried about more hunters being out there. It takes years (the better part of a decade actually) to learn how to hunt D3-5 and I would guess 90% of people give up and switch units before they even start to scratch the surface. And that’s only when you choose to learn one habitat type. With the varied amount of terrain available in this unit, if you decide to switch areas to a different habitat type you have to start the learning curve all over again. It’s an extremely tough unit to get a handle of. So I guess my contribution to this discussion is this: there are deer to be had, more than the 11% success rate would suggest, so just pick a spot and put in your time to learn it.
 

blacktail sniper

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Oakley, CA
And there are 33,000 tag holders. That means if all the tag holders went out at the same time it would be one tag holder per 212 acres (~700yds x 1400yds ) if they were spaced evenly. But you mention one trailhead, one road, one mountain, on a public forum read by thousands of people and it will draw traffic like crazy (insert metaphor of choice).

Want to help? Take out a new hunter yourself. Sure share successes, but say "Sierras" or "D Zones" not specific drainages and landmarks.

You just screwed yourself because someone who has a good area won't take you there because you already showed you can't keep a secret.... South Cox and Cameron Hanes changed forever Bowhunting in a mountain range in Nevada by mentioning it.
Yeah agreed i too along with others fell victim to eastman and western hunter shows. Love the shows but did they really need to show easy identifiable landmarks..dang it
 

mxgsfmdpx

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I was just back up in D3-5... Wednesday night packed in and spent the night with the deer, and left Thursday evening after still hunting all day. I knew where there was a herd of about 30-40 deer bedded in a travel hip between two ponds and a large drainage. I saw 8 deer on Thursday, 4 bucks and 2 absolute dandy bucks that I never got a chance at before they slipped away. I don’t fill my tag on forkies otherwise I would have had a buck in the cooler for the drive home before 8 am.

Not a bad hunt for being out there less than 24 hours. It’s a shame I can’t make it back out for the closer this weekend. I know right where one of the dandy bucks is bedded overnight now. Maybe he’ll be around next year. That’s hunting.
 
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