A short deer hunting and fishing trip to Area No. 7
For you see, when applying on the Internet, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) system will not accept your application if there is any invalid information.
But as we also found out, it will accept information that is valid, but not necessarily correct.
Jim and I had made two choices for deer tags. The first choice was for rifle tags in Area No. 7 of Elko County.
Our second choice was, supposedly, for rifle tags for Area No. 194, between Carson City and Lake Tahoe. However, when applying, I was the culprit at the keyboard and mistakenly submitted the code for archery tags for that area.
The system accepted that information (valid, but not correct for us) and we were officially entered into the computerized drawing.
We also discovered that once you have successfully entered your information, you can not change or withdraw any of that data.
So, we were applicants for rifle tags for Area No. 7 and applicants for archery tags for Area No. 194.
When notification arrived in the mail of the results of the drawings, there was a big sigh of relief.
We had received rifle tags for Area No. 7, and not the archery tags that we had mistakenly requested. Whew!
Nevada’s big game management Area No. 7 is in Elko County.
That huge area is encompassed by Nevada S.R. 225 (The Mountain City Highway) on the west, the Idaho stateline on the north (South of the Gold Creek Road), the Utah stateline on the east and I-80 on the south.
We had originally planned to hunt north of Wells. However, after drawing those-hard-to-get tags, one of the landowners in that area informed us that there were very few deer due to the severe devastation caused by the huge range fires of the last several years.
We dug out the NDOW Nevada Hunt Unit Reference Map to see if there was another location where we could hunt, and saw that Area No. 7 also includes the country east of the Wildhorse Resort at Wildhorse Reservoir. Yahoo!
A quick telephone call to longtime friend, Dennis Dunn, the owner of the Resort and we were all set to stay at the resort during a deer hunt in that portion of Area No. 7. We did not have to camp in a cold tent in the middle of nowhere! Double Yahoo!
In addition, Dennis told us not to worry about scouting that particular area, prior to our hunt, as the folks at the resort would be able to tell us where to go to hunt. Triple Yahoo!
How can you beat that combination!
A comfortable motel room with two beds, TV, VCR, refrigerator with freezer compartment, microwave oven, hot showers, flush toilets, plus a restaurant with a complete menu, a well-stocked bar with never-ending supplies of Manhattans and gasoline pumps, plus being told where the deer are located.
It doesn’t get much better than that. Or so we thought.
Our plan was to hunt deer in the mornings and then to fish for Perch at the Reservoir in the afternoons.
We loaded our hunting and fishing equipment and clothing into my little pickup and then early last Friday morning departed for the Resort.
It was a long, six-hour, 364 mile drive, and the highlight of that trip was stopping to shoot some color video of a spectacular buck Pronghorn Antelope, near North Fork.
We arrived safe and sound in the early afternoon, and after visiting with Dennis and Steve Epling at the Resort, checked into our room and unloaded our gear and clothing.
Then, we headed into the backcountry to check out the area where they wanted us to hunt the next morning.
It didn’t look good. That country is bone dry and the dirt roads were very dusty. But, we did see three does.
We returned in the late afternoon and spend several enjoyable hours catching and releasing lots of Perch at the north end of the reservoir.
At the bar, restaurant and motel that evening, we discovered that everyone else would be hunting in Area No. 6, across the highway from Area No. 7.
There were scouting reports of lots of deer, with lots of nice bucks, in the high mountains of that area. Those reports were dead on target.
In fact, one of the Area No. 6 hunters (a Californian) returned late Saturday evening with a trophy buck that had a 31-inch spread and a green Boone and Crockett score of 192 points.
On the opening morning, we hunted where Dennis had recommended we try. We only saw two does and very little deer sign. We strongly suspected that the lack of deer was probably due to the unusually hot and dry weather, plus the sharp decline in overall deer populations in Area No. 7.
Those other hunters had told us that there were not that many deer in that portion of Area No. 7, and as we found out over the next couple of days, they were absolutely correct.
For our abbreviated trip, we hunted (unsuccessfully) on Saturday morning, scouted new hunting areas on Saturday afternoon, hunted (unsuccessfully) those new areas on Sunday morning and then scouted other new areas on Sunday afternoon.
The weather was very hot and bone dry and in addition to not seeing any deer, we saw very few other hunters or signs of their travels on the various dirt roads. Not good.
Sunday evening, we reluctantly made the decision to return to Carson City to, hopefully, wait for the weather to change, before our season comes to a close on Nov. 2.
I sure hope so.
If it does, we will return to try again.
If it doesn’t, then we will not be successful deer hunters this year.
Either way, you can bet that we will be applying for Area. No 6 next year.
And, I’ll make darn sure that when we do apply as a party of two, we will be trying to get rifle tags.
Finally, as a postscript, we talked to two game wardens at the gas station in Elko, on our way home, and they confirmed our findings.
They had been working Area No. 7 and had only checked a couple of average-sized deer, with most hunters reporting seeing very few deer.
Oh well, at least we caught Perch.
— Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you the size of the largest mule deer buck that I have taken.
If he grins and says, “It was a very nice 6X4 buck taken at the headwaters of Clear Creek in the mountains west of Carson City many years ago,” he might have been the person who helped me drag it out from there.