Hunting SGWA, Vivian Creek (5/1) and Mineshaft Flats (5/23-5/25) with pictures

Home Forums Trail Conditions Hunting SGWA, Vivian Creek (5/1) and Mineshaft Flats (5/23-5/25) with pictures

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    • #4159
      Justin
      Participant

       

      Hello,

      I am new to hunting in California. I am from Minnesota, where we hunt deer from stands based on their travel patterns through the dense forests of Northern Minnesota. I went out on a 3-day solo excursion based out of the Mineshaft Flats campsite on 5/23-5/25 in search of Mule deer. I saw 4 on the evening of 5/25, which leads me to believe that although I have a lot to learn, I am on the right track. I was about 8.5 miles in at the location I saw them. I have a few general questions for those that may hunt the SGWA.

      1. Are there any sort of obvious rules/regulations specific to hunting the SGWA that I should be aware of? One question I do have is are hunters allowed to be issued permits to camp in areas that are not established campsites (while still of course following rules of staying 200+ feet away from a water source, etc.)?

      2. Generally speaking, how is the deer and bear population? Over time, as I continue to make 2 or 3 day trips over this summer, I imagine that I’ll be able to see this for myself as I continue to explore, scout and learn.

      3. Regarding carrying a firearm in the SGWA, I have my California CCW. I have carried concealed in my first two trips in the SGWA primarily for protection against the very unlikely, yet still possible situation of encountering a mountain lion or sow with cubs. While backpacking, it is much more comfortable (and more accessible) to open carry my handgun through a MOLLE attachment holster on my pack (there’s a lot of friction under my pack’s hip belt if I carry concealed inside the waistband). Though I have never done this in the SGWA (always concealed), one potential legal way to do this that I have considered is to purchase a California general hunting license, which allows the license holder to take coyote year-round in any fashion (with the exception of poison or baiting), as long as the land is legal to hunt. Since nothing seems to indicate that one cannot hunt coyote in the SGWA, this seems to be a legal way to openly carry a handgun in the SGWA. But from a cultural/perception standpoint, does anybody think this would potentially offend or instill fear in other backpackers I meet along the way? If so, then I would lean towards not considering this option.

      4. Lastly, if there’s anybody out there that would be willing to “show me the ropes” so to speak regarding hunting in the SGWA, I’d do anything to learn. I’ll be your load carrier, camera man, whatever you want. Right now, I’m doing this all by myself. I still relatively young but don’t have any buddies in Orange County that are in to hunting. While I think I’ll learn over time (and last weekend seemed to be promising), it’s always better to go with someone else.

      I’m including pictures from my summit of San Gorgonio on 5/1 via the Vivian Creek trail (there was a ton of snow from High Creek and up), as well as my summit on 5/24 via Sky High (again, a ton of snow since this is the North aspect- I went straight up the switchbacks through 2-4+ of snow. Exhausting, but probably actually the safest way. One step at a time with trekking poles).Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Vivian Creek 5.1.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

      Mineshaft Flats 5.24.2020

    • #4191
      Justin
      Participant

      I will add that I did a “hunting” search on the forum this evening and was disappointed to see numerous comments related to hunters leaving behind messy campsites, not treating the area appropriately, etc. My hope would be that a few bad hunters are ruining it for the good ones. A true sportsman would not exhibit these behaviors.

    • #4194
      MikeH
      Participant

      Justin,

      First- Great pics.  Thanks for sharing.

      Regarding carrying/ hunting- head over to the Calguns.net forum.  They have a wealth of knowledge there.  There is even a hunting/ fishing section.

      If you were openly carrying, I would imagine most people might give a sideways glance but that would be it.  A few might gasp(!).

      If you looked like a hunter (camo, orange vest/ hat etc), they’d probably assume you were hunting or perhaps some “official”.  Although, I didn’t even realize there were hunters on the trails until I ran across them the first time.

      With your California CCW, you can carry concealed however you like as long as it’s concealed.  I would think a simple molle attached chest pouch would give you quick access and still abide by the concealed carry laws.  I can’t imagine trying to carry in a hip holster with a backpack!

      I’ve been backpacking a few years now in and around the SGWA and the only deer I’ve seen was the one a group of hunters were carrying out.  I’ve never seen a bear.

    • #4197
      SocalJim
      Participant

      A friend and I shared carrying a shotgun on a weeklong trip in NorCal decades ago. We did have problems with bears and our food (we were young and inexperienced), but never thought of firing it randomly in the dark, especially considering that we knew we weren’t alone in the area. I quickly came to the conclusion, borne out by decades of backcountry experience and based on the fact that bears usually don’t want anything to do with humans, that carrying any firearm in a wilderness area is adding unnecessary dead weight. I’m 68 and the only sign of lion I’ve ever seen is their prints. I think I heard one once when we were camped near a spring and the sound we heard (once) I can only imagine came from a cougar. Even bears sniffing around for food can be dealt with by a few well-placed rocks thrown at them. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen someone carrying a firearm in a wilderness area. I admit to being one of those who question the interpretation of the Second Amendment as  virtually anyone who wants a gun can have a gun. And I’ve managed to live on this planet for 68 years without ever feeling the need to own a gun. That said, I have no objection to legal, ethical hunters. But meeting someone on the trail carrying a handgun… ugh, why? I don’t want to start a firestorm of debate here. This is just a long winded way of saying, if you ain’t hunting, a gun is quite unnecessary.

    • #4199
      Ranger Lon
      Participant

      Hunting is allowed in the San Bernardino National Forest (which includes the San Gorgonio Wilderness.) The rules that govern hunting are those detailed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and you can find their information at their website: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Deer#54774-zones–hunts

      The SGW is in Zone D14. You can hunt anywhere in the wilderness, but you have to be aware of the proximity to populated areas before you shoot. Most of the places where the game will be are not where people are, but you still need to be aware of the camp and trail locations as well as the residences outside of the wilderness boundary in case you happen to be near the borders.

      Do we allow hunters in the wilderness? Of course we do! Anyone can obtain a day hike or overnight permit as long as the quota of permits has not been filled. While day hikes do not currently require a permit, the Deer season starts at the end of summer (Bow hunting usually in September and Rifle hunting in October – check DFW’s web site for season dates.)  We are expecting a new Forest Order soon to bring back the Day Hike permit requirement, so that will likely be back in force by Deer season.

      Best way to ensure you can get a permit for the camp location is to request is as soon as you can. We issue permits up to 3 months in advance, so mid to lat July, you can request a permit for mid to late October dates. In truth, you can probably get the back area camps like Mineshaft Flats as late as a month out from the date, but Hunters are very fond of that back country area and we fill up some of the camps as quickly as mid summer demand does, so the sooner you can plan your hunting trip, the better.

      When Mill Creek reopens, come by and we can tell you how the whole thing works and discuss access to the more remote areas. Want to know where the deer are? Unfortunately we don’t have access to their appointment calendars, so you’ll have to check with someone else about that. 😉

    • #4200
      Justin
      Participant

      Thanks Mike, Jim, and Ranger Lon! I did already purchase a hunting license, and did enter the drawing for a D14 tag, which is a Premium Zone for the 2020 season and requires a drawing instead of an automatic issue. I should know in about a month whether I’ll get to hunt D14 this fall (rifle).

      Jim, I have similar sentiments regarding handguns on the trails (not worried about people, mainly the possibility of four-legged creatures since I’m typically alone and quiet, because I am scouting and WANT to see wildlife, but mainly deer). It sounds like we’d never have anywhere near the level of risk here as I would if I was alone in northwest Montana, which I’d definitely want to have open carry for quick access. But I did some more research and found a great combination chest rig from a company called Hill People Gear. It’s a combination of a chest MOLLE pouch which will fully conceal a firearm (no gasping hikers) and hold my glass (binoculars), all while still being compact and not too big.

      Thank you Lon for all the great advice. I did a lot of research, googling and searching YouTube before my Memorial Day trip. I also looked at a topo map and identified the areas where I thought there would be deer. Low and behold, Northfork Meadows is where I saw all the deer. I don’t think it’s a secret to any hunter, so it’s not as those I’m giving away a secret spot. It takes a certain type of person that is willing to hike 8-9 miles in to get there, then hike 8-9 miles back with a lot more weight on you than what you started with. That in and of itself is a barrier to entry. I’ll definitely be stopping by Mill Creek- any leads on when you’ll be reopening?

    • #4201
      SocalJim
      Participant

      Justin, appreciate the respectful response. BTW, if I were hiking in grizzly country, I might consider carrying a gun. I’d definitely have a large canister of bear spray handy. Black bears rarely mess with humans. Grizzlies, OTOH, are a different animal (pun intended). One of the few animals in the North American wild that I prefer to stay far away from. Just read about a couple in their 70’s hiking in eastern Idaho that walked into the area of a grizzly kill. The bear didn’t appreciate their presence. Fortunately, they got out of there with only minor injuries to the man.

    • #4202
      Hikin Jim
      Participant

      Justin,

      You sound like an intelligent, thoughtful person, so you’ve probably already thought of this, but, just in case:  Please don’t assume that hikers are restricted to trails.  My daughter and I, for example, did two cross country routes in the wilderness over Memorial Day Weekend.

      There are also trails that are abandoned — and not shown on conventional maps — but that some people may still know about and still use.

      If it’s any help:  I’ve plotted pretty much everything I know of in the SGW on this map:  https://caltopo.com/m/0P77.  There will always be people going cross country beyond what I’ve plotted, but I’ve plotted what I can.  Do note that the routes and such that I’ve plotted were plotted by hand and are approximate in nature.

      HJ

    • #4211
      Justin
      Participant

      Hi Jim,

      When I initially started researching the SGWA, I believe I came across one of your blog posts years ago that was very helpful.

      http://hikinjim.blogspot.com/2013/10/six-backpacking-loops-in-san-gorgonio.html?m=1

       

      • #4213
        Hikin Jim
        Participant

        Hi, Justin,

        Oh, good.  I’m always heartened when I hear that someone has actually found something I wrote useful.

        I really need to update my posts there.  Some things, like the Grinnell loop, really aren’t going to be appropriate for most people, post-fire.  The lower section below Aspen Grove is said to be a real bushwhack and that there really isn’t a followable trail any more.  Grinnell Ridge Camp, last I passed through, was a barren moonscape.  It didn’t seem like an inviting place to camp which is a real shame.  It was a big, natural flat area ringed by large pines, and, best of all, it was only lightly used.

        HJ

      • #4236
        shawnsisler
        Participant

        Hi HJ,

        I have hiked the Lost Creek Trail and Lower Aspen Creek Trail to try to keep some sense of a trail for possibly a trail crew to come and restore but there is so much trail maintenance needed on the high used SGW trails. Please don’t remove them from your Caltopo maps to keep a sense of were the trails were. But maybe put a note that they were severely damage and possibly not accessible currently. The Lost Creek Trail is descend from the trailhead to the flat that is just after the SGW boundary. I even saw bicycle tread to there. But from there to the Grinnell Ridge Camp and to South Fork Trail is terrible with a lot of ground covering buckthorn

        I have posted some pictures from 04/26/2020.

        I think the limit on a post size is 20mb?

        SGWA volunteer

        Lost Creek Trail View

        Grinnell Ridge Camp

        Grinnell Ridge Camp Viewshttps://sgwa.org/wp-content/uploads/hm_bbpui/4236/1qkj5dsh6q7lmz0rboug86fgue56rel8.jpg

        https://sgwa.org/wp-content/uploads/hm_bbpui/4236/1npn135v78152s0aova3lybopvfauxii.jpg

    • #4243
      shawnsisler
      Participant

      Hi HJ,

      I have hiked the Lost Creek Trail and Lower Aspen Creek Trail to try to keep some sense of a trail for possibly a trail crew to come and restore but there is so much trail maintenance needed on the high used SGW trails. Please don’t remove them from your Caltopo maps to keep a sense of where the trails were. But maybe put a note that they were severely damage and possibly not accessible currently. The Lost Creek Trail is descend from the trailhead to the flat that is just after the SGW boundary. I even saw bicycle tread to there. But from there to the Grinnell Ridge Camp and to South Fork Trail is terrible with a lot of ground covering buckthorn

      I have posted some pictures below from 04/26/2020.

      I think the limit on a post size is 20mb?

      SGWA volunteer

      Lost Creek Trail ViewLost Creek Trail View

      Grinnell Ridge CampGrinnell Ridge Camp

      Grinnell Ridge Camp ViewsGrinnell Ridge Camp View1Grinnell Ridge Camp View2

    • #4376
      Cyberbear
      Participant

      Tree stand

    • #4377
      Cyberbear
      Participant

      <p style=”text-align: left;”>This is the only tree stand that I ever ran across. May 20th 2012. 34° 11′ 36.0″ -116° 55′ 08.9″ WGS84.</p>

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