I was drawn for a muzzle loading hunt in the Santa Rita Mountains which I have frequented for the last 34 years and have taken a few deer over the years.
Very little sign was seen where I usually hunted that coincided with not seeing much in the way of deer. I slow walked and glassed (not in that order) some of my super duper secret areas to no avail. Where did the deer go? It is no concerning that deer were not seen right away but it is of concern that little or no deer sign ( you know, poop and tracks) was there. Food/water was good in these area. One area I snuck up to the following day was a bedding area that usually looks like the deer had quite a party. No sign - none. I did find sign of illegal traffic in these particular areas. Looks like the illegals are busting the bedding areas on a regular basis.
Nice view out towards the Baboquivari range.
Might rain today.
My usual areas are between 6,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation where you have some nice pin oaks and other goodies for forage. Most of this was on the west slopes. The following day found me kicking around down in the washes and amid the ocotilla. There I found sign and did see a few does. The last days of the hunt were spent driving the Bull Spring Road (not maintained for public use) and hunting Josephine Canyon area. Very little sign. One area where we have camped previously was near the stream and every day deer would walk through camp on their way to water and forage the benches. We called them the 11 o'clock does as you could just about set your watch by them.
I sat a hillside above this area glassing, saw nothing and decided to try something different after a few hours. Coming down the hillside I had to take a leak, took of my gloves and noticed my wedding band was missing. I have lost enough weight that my ring was loose. Crap, I forgot to take it off and put in on my key ring! The next few hours were spent searching without accomplishing anything. Usually, when you are distracted doing something else with the rifle slung, you briefly see a nice deer without the opportunity to shoot. We call that luck - bad luck that is. Did not find the ring or get surprised by that turty point buck.
The next weekend after my season was over, I returned to the place with a friend. We both took discriminating metal detectors and searched the places I had been that particular day. We also searched down hill of where I was on that one steep hillside as a bounce could be possible that could put that ring 20 yards downhill. No ring. I may go back for another pass with the metal detector.
Thar's gold them thar hills but no deer!