Well folks, for those of you who have been following along a few of us went out on a night hunting trip on Saturday to an area we'd never hunted before. We found the place ok, but had a rough night of calling as we spent the evening contending with the DFG and high winds. The winds would come and go, so we were able to make a few stands and saw a couple animals, but came back empty handed.We arrived to the location we were going to hunt about an hour and a half before dark and were afforded the opportunity to do a little scouting before the sun set. We really liked the terrain and were all optimistic about seeing a few cats before the night was up. We saw a good bit of coyote scat with a little bit of fox thrown in the mix. We even saw a den that we felt might have been home to a mountain lion at one point!We continued to drive around to get the lay of the land up until it got dark. It was a new moon, so the conditions, besides the wind, we're ideal. We made a few stands until around 7ish when we saw a set of head lights off in the direction we had come from. We decided to stay at the place we had just finished a stand to see what they were doing. We finally decided to continue on our way after we failed to see any more head lights. We eventually saw the truck parked off the road at the top of a big hill. We figured it was a "couple" trying to get away for a little private time and we joked a bit about our wondering if we had "interrupted" any thing. We drove on and continued our hunt.For the next 2 1/2 to 3 hours we saw lights that seemed to be following us and began to become concerned. This truck was following us out in the middle of no where with no cell phone service to call for help and a long ways to the closest civilization. At one point I got a glare off of a vehicle's plate while I was swinging the light!Knowing we had someone following us we decided we needed to discover it is was the law or someone up to no good. I drove the truck up and over a big hill and turned around at the bottom. As I drove up and over that hill for a second time we all saw the plate and reflectors from the front end of a vehicle. There was no doubt in our mind or theirs that we knew they were there. As I headed down the hill towards them I figured it it was the law they'd wait for me to get to them; I mean they had to of known that we saw them. So you can imagine my concern and worry as the one truck turned into two trucks and they both were speeding away a speeds that were close to dangerous for the terrain. I made the comment then that there was no way anyone legit would have run away.As bth trucks scooted off in cloud of dust we noticed that they didnt have any head or tail lights that ever came on. This combined with the fact that they were driving off at a hight rate of speed after being discovered worried us all. Did we just stumble into someone's "cash crop"?Well, to make a long story short it ended up being 2 different DFG wardens who had been following us for around three hours. I actually "found" them park along a road when I doubled back to try and discover where the trucks were .... I wanted to know where these folks were at and what direction we needed to go to get away from them. They hit their lights and pulled us all out my truck. Oh how much fun THAT was.
After they confirmed we didn?t have any concealed weapons they let us know we had just crossed over from an OK spot light area into a not OK area. We told them that we had a map with us where Jeph had laid out the legal 12 volt areas according to the DFG regulations when the warden let us know it wasn't a DFG boundary that we had crossed but one for the county. GGGRRRRRRR.
The older of the two wardens was actually breaking in the younger guy who had apparently just gotten through the DFG academy, what ever that is called. He let us know that because we had been doing everything right as far as the DFG regs were concerned and that we were so close to the boundary that they weren't going to cite us for being out of boundaries. We then tried he get him to show us on a map where the boundary was located .... he couldn't do it and kept citing a GPS position which we would have to find with the aide of a GPS unit.We did get one cite for a loaded firearm in the back of the truck. In our growing concern over the truck that was following us one guy failed to empty the chamber on his rifle after our last stand. It was pretty frustrating as if they hadn't been dogging us like that we wouldn't have been flustered and the gun WOULD have been unloaded. I think he is going to get out of the ticket, though. The ticket is written for a shotgun and the picture of the "evidence" which they took is of a mini-14 rifle and a 223 round!After having the truck searched and the entire rest of our experience with the DFG folks we decided to leave the area. We made a few more stands on the way out once we were certain we were well beyond that invisible line. We didn't see any thing and headed for Mojave area near the 14 where would spend the remainder of the evening before heading for home.On our second stand we had a bobcat that appeared despite the howling wind around 200 yards out. He watched for about 10-15 seconds before peeling off and disappearing for the night. About 40 minutes later we had just finished up a stand where we used a rabbit distress sound and as the rifles where going back in the tool box we decided to try a coyote group howl on Tim's FX3 (GREAT little unit by the way!) For the first time that evening we actually got coyotes to howl back!So I get back on the light and Jeph pulls out his 223 while Tim changed up to a challenge howl. He gets a response to the challenge and the wait is on. We sat quiet for about 3 to 4 minutes while I ran the light when we hear a challenge howl off in the distance. I am guessing that he had closed the distance by half from the first place where he had howled back at us. Tim answered and we all waited for those glowing eyes to give his position away. It took a few more minutes, but those eyes did appear just at the range limit of my light. He continued to close the distance on us and I would catch glimpses of him as he headed down wind. At about 150 yards out I caught a glimpse of him as he dropped down into a small wash, heading still towards our down wind side. The last time I saw him before the wind shifted directions and gave us away was at 75 yards as he peeked his head up and over the edge of the wash. He high tailed it out of there and a few minutes later sat giving us the warning bark at a distance beyond where my light could pick him up.We did have a good night BS'ing and got to see a few animals, but came home empty handed. We also learned a hard lesson; the DFG doesn?t post county spot light restrictions and it is up to us as hunters to check to see if they (the counties) have any additional restrictions. Just because you're legit by the DFG doesn?t mean you're in the clear!