X Zone

Hunt4more

Active Member
Messages
953
How good is California X Zones compared to Nevada? Deer numbers, trophy quality, and hunting pressure. I have 6 points but not sure if it’s worth my time over Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming or Arizona, not meaning that with a negative connotation. I’m an archery hunter.
 

BradA

Very Active Member
Messages
1,757
Depends what x zones your interested in hunting.


 

BradA

Very Active Member
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1,757
But California’s best x zone doesn’t have anything to offer compared to any of those other states .
 

oilcan

Long Time Member
Messages
3,438
That would all depend on how many points you have in those states you are talking about. With all that said you can draw and have a VERY good archery hunt in the X zones with that many points.
 

X7ahunter

Active Member
Messages
115
received_827593907608957.jpeg
That's an X zone buck. They don't get a whole lot better than that no matter where you go.
 

Hunt4more

Active Member
Messages
953
X7A that’s a bad ass buck congrats! In Nevada I’ve constantly found 170” bucks some better. Colorado the same with some much better.
I am looking to find velvet Bucks in good glassable country that’s conducive for stalking (not a lot of timber).
The archery dates have been good for finding deer in Nevada season starts Aug 10th out there.
X4 or x6-7 seem to be on my short list for consideration.
 

Padfoot

Active Member
Messages
121
You said it, "but not sure if it’s worth my time over Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming or Arizona," and unfortunately, I think that it isn't worth your time when you are considering those 3 of those other 3 states.

If time weren't a factor and you didn't have to choose between hunting CA and say NV, CO, or AZ then including hunts in CA X zones would make sense.
 

X7ahunter

Active Member
Messages
115
X7A that’s a bad ass buck congrats! In Nevada I’ve constantly found 170” bucks some better. Colorado the same with some much better.
I am looking to find velvet Bucks in good glassable country that’s conducive for stalking (not a lot of timber).
The archery dates have been good for finding deer in Nevada season starts Aug 10th out there.
X4 or x6-7 seem to be on my short list for consideration.
Not mine but a friend of a friend's. I put a guy on a 30 incher during rifle season two seasons ago and missed a 30 incher 4 season ago. They don't need to be 190 to make me happy, although there certainly are bucks in those areas that are able to break 190.

With 6 points I'd look at the X6s, the X7s, X5A and X 3a. X4 has good deer but I don't think I'd burn 6 points on it. PM me if you have any questions about X6a and X7a. I spend a lot of time in both.
 

Calbuck

Member
Messages
87
All the Northern California X zones have some bomber bucks, but they are TOUGH to find. I happen to live in one you mentioned and hunted it last year. During archery I happened on a group of bucks that had an absolute stud mixed in. They aren't around every tree that's for sure, and I hunt that same buck during rifle..I ended up finding him, only after I had just shot his buddy. If you have six points in CA, you are way behind the point game for any of the better zones like X5b or X5a..not sure about X2 but I've heard from a lot of people that it is an extremely tough unit. The bucks are out there but hard to find. Last time I hunted an X tag since last season was in X3a where I scouted a couple deer that prob were nearing 160"..those deer were gone by the opening of rifle, but I did see one buck out there on private ground that prob went closer to 170" and of course, he knew exactly where he was safe. Ended up taking a 26" 4x3 on that hunt that wouldn't score that well. Didn't see many other shooters, in fact our party went 1 of 3 on our tags. My personal philosophy on hunting is to go as often as possible in the best places possible. If you have a fall back out of state I'd be burning those points here every 4-6 years and rely on other draws to fill the time in between. Might look into archery specific special late hunts..I don't know much about them but have read they are fun hunts. In fact, the buck in my avatar is from X3a..
 
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oilcan

Long Time Member
Messages
3,438
It seems the really BIG Deer from the X zones are not really talked about much, maybe that’s on purpose. One of my out of state hunting buddies family Archery hunts one X zone in particular. Someone in there family usually has the tag every year or every other year. He has shown me pictures of Deer they have taken and other friends have and some you would not believe where taken in California. 180-190” deer and even over 200”. He is a taxidermist and has mounted some of these, they are legit scores. I used to hunt here in California every year but now most all my hunts are out of state these days. I should have enough points to draw that zone this year so we will see.
 

Calbuck

Member
Messages
87
There are a couple late G hunts that take many many years to draw..the chances of most people waiting that long to draw and then getting a better than average buck are not good. I'd rather take my chances hunting a unit I can get out and hunt every few years and know the country and where the better bucks hang out.. think that's a better strategy personally than waiting and waiting for that one chance to get out there. The more you know about your unit, the better your odds of finding that big one. Are those longer wait units better? Probably for seeing numbers of deer, but I'd wager they don't turn out any better bucks than the units you can draw every few years.
 

bullskin

Active Member
Messages
994
With six points you are ready to draw a number of X zones--and there are good bucks in all of them. These are deer that migrate into Nevada and so hold more mulie DNA than blacktail. If you have all of the money in the world, it makes sense to apply in every state--eventually you will draw out. As far as the quality of the X-zones go, check the stats offered by the Department of Fish and Game. Most X zones have success rates near 50%. The vast majority of these bucks are forked horns and three-pointers shot by non-locals who saw a photo of a great buck and so got in line for the tag, only to find that the country is rough and deer are difficult to locate. Most people, even locals, will not put in enough time or energy to reliably kill mature deer. They are there, but it takes more than a tag to get one. If you are have the time and are willing to learn the unit, then it is worth your money simply because every hunt is a great hunt and one cannot always draw out in the other states. In 35 years of hunting I have drawn a X tag perhaps seven or eight times (and it has become a lot harder as the number of tags continues to drop). My largest buck was a 29-inches, but was it worth the wait when I have killed 26" deer in zones I could hunt every year? On my latest X hunt I ate tag soup...! If, instead, I had spent three decades scouting and hunting Nevada or Utah, my guess is that I might have done better on both counts. If I had that as an option instead, I would do it. But don't make the mistake of holding out for the hardest units. I have seventeen points in Nevada and still cannot draw the unit I want. EVERY unit in Nevada, for example, has mule deer exactly like those we are hoping to find in Cali X zones. When I finally draw my Nevada tag (I cannot give up now) I will choose a nice mountain range in an easy-to-draw-unit and hunt it regularly from that point on. It may not be Nevada's best, but it is certainly better than any of our X zones.
 
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Yalo

Member
Messages
81
Obviously better and worse zones in each state you have mentioned. Having hunted in Nevada and Utah and Arizona would say California does not even hold a candle to the states mentioned above in my opinion but then I have not hunted out of state in a few years.
 

jester

Active Member
Messages
663
Sorta true..however there are big bucks here in California just need to be in prime habitat or the "premium" zones.. out of state areas basically the same you have to draw....there are no secrets out there..
Still have to know them and hunt hard!
But the Easy draws in California (B zones)have some toads too..just hardest to find..
 

Yalo

Member
Messages
81
Fun observations Hunting the Kaibab after some moisture the rocks exploded in the fire. Me thinks this was limestone CaCO3 calcium based. May explain the dropped sheds with bases as big as your wrist. Have not seen that phenomena in Sierras for instance that I recall.
 
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buckspotter7

Active Member
Messages
615
80’s were the hey day of the x zones. Lots of deer and lots of tags. No point system. Killed my first CA buck in ‘83 X-11. Hunted 5b rifle and archery. X-1, X-3b, X-4 were easy draws. Archery could draw every year in most x zones. The good old days for sure.
 

Yalo

Member
Messages
81
Two pics one before X zone buck moved and raised head and one pic after. Guessing 30 inch spread anyone else. You can see a branch on right side. And vertical horn going up where the sun reflection stops on the left well left in picture animals right. Did not know buck was in video until months after taking the clip. How many more have I missed seeing? Sorry not more resolution but pics about a 1/4 of original video scene !

Image before.jpg


Image after.jpg
 
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Yalo

Member
Messages
81
BTW did you see the other buck in pictures with head down hind end facing camera actually almost as good of spread too when head raised? Of note post season video.
 
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Yalo

Member
Messages
81
Not sure of the hey day time for x zones but deer population in California peaked in the early sixties I think and down hill ever since. The best hunting I ever saw in California was 1964 I think it was yes I am that old. Early storm that year brought access to tons of bucks in X-12. About that time DFG had many doe tags in several x zones as I recall and did not support it myself and personally thought it was a bad idea? Remember too doe tags cause a lot of young buck harvest. Shortly thereafter mountain lion protection was instituted Um.....
 
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Calbuck

Member
Messages
87
In fact the biggest Buck I’ve ever seen personally in California was in X-1 but it was on private.
Biggest buck I've ever seen on the hoof was in X1 as well..my family used to camp up there for thanksgiving and go look around at the deer. We had a snowstorm one year in the 80's and found a buck that would have easily gone 30 out there..used to be absolute loads of nice bucks out there but not now.
 

Homer

Long Time Member
Messages
9,139
of course wolves for real......all our wildlife problems are because of an imbalance.....wolves will solve everything
 

eelgrass

Long Time Member
Messages
26,249
I don't know how it is now but I hunted a lot for ducks and geese in Modoc County back in the 60's and 70's. Modoc National Wildlife Refuge had some huge bucks right around Thanksgiving. All over X-2 actually.
 

Padfoot

Active Member
Messages
121
of course wolves for real......all our wildlife problems are because of an imbalance.....wolves will solve everything
Two years ago I was researching x zones and talked to the biologists in that vicinity and at that time they had three breeding pairs in NorCal. One in Tehran and two over towards plumes I’m eastern laden county. I may have the locations off a bit but not the three packs. Not sure if the fish and game wants that out there given the warm welcome wolves normally receive out west.
 

Yalo

Member
Messages
81
so as not to distract from x zone posts is there a separate good informative thread on wolves in the forums ... my opinion is x zones do not have the abundant and varied wild life population to qualify for wolf introduction.
 
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Homer

Long Time Member
Messages
9,139
so as not to distract from x zone posts is there a separate good informative thread on wolves in the forums ... my opinion is x zones do not have the abundant and varied wild life population to qualify for wolf introduction.


duh....without a doubt you are right...all these wolf comments are sarcasm about the stories and dreams of the wolf proponents of the country
 

Padfoot

Active Member
Messages
121
sorry to hijack the thread, I’ve posted on other threads about the wolves that are already in CA. I’m not advocating for more just that most CA hunters have no idea that Oregon wolves have expanded into CA. Better to know than be unaware that they are already breeding packs in the X & C zones. It won’t change my apps yet.

This will be the last ill mention it on this thread.
 

Homer

Long Time Member
Messages
9,139
sorry to hijack the thread, I’ve posted on other threads about the wolves that are already in CA. I’m not advocating for more just that most CA hunters have no idea that Oregon wolves have expanded into CA. Better to know than be unaware that they are already breeding packs in the X & C zones. It won’t change my apps yet.

This will be the last ill mention it on this thread.

Yes...I'm aware
 

6x7

Very Active Member
Messages
1,429
80’s were the hey day of the x zones. Lots of deer and lots of tags. No point system. Killed my first CA buck in ‘83 X-11. Hunted 5b rifle and archery. X-1, X-3b, X-4 were easy draws. Archery could draw every year in most x zones. The good old days for sure.
In the 80’s we just needed a AO tag and you could hunt xzones with it
 

buckspotter7

Active Member
Messages
615
I guess I didn’t start archery hunting until late ‘80s or early ‘90s. I don’t remember anything but area specific x zone archery tags that were easy to draw. AO tags in the 90’s same as now, good in A, B, C and D zones.
 

spacemonkey

Member
Messages
6
Some really nice looking bucks in here, thanks for sharing. I started building points a few years ago and very much look forward to checking out some of the X zones. It's rough down here in D16
 

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