Editor’s Note: Forty-seven-year-old David Welch of Woodland, California, is a wilderness hunter, who has worn Mossy Oak exclusively for the last 5 years and is one of the first original Mossy Oak Pro Staff members. Although Welch hunts public lands, he sees and takes more game than the average public-land hunter.
I was hunting blacktail deer in the wilderness area of California on the side of a steep ridge where the deer were holding. This ridge had no cover but manzanita bushes, granite rock and oak brush no higher than my knees. On this day, I was wearing Mossy Oak Bottomland camo and working my way to another area early in the morning, hoping to find a buck. I was going up over a little rise when I came face to face with a 3x4 blacktail buck 50-yards from me. He could tell something was different, but he couldn’t tell exactly what I was. We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the buck looked away. I nocked an arrow, drew my bow and released the arrow. When the buck took the arrow, I watched him run 70-yards downhill and pile-up.
I knew my camo worked, because that buck looked right at me and never saw me. Although he could tell something was out of place in his environment, he couldn’t determine what it was. I was certain that the buck saw me move. When I spotted him, and he saw me, I just froze. This is when I really knew my Mossy Oak camo was working. I never will forget this hunt, because I know the deer saw me moving. However, due to my Mossy Oak camo, he wasn’t able to identify me as a hunter.
Another Blacktail That Didn’t See Me:
Last year, in late November right after Thanksgiving, I was hunting on the edge of a harvested wheat field with no snow on the ground. I was wearing Mossy Oak Brush camo. I was hunting with my dad and a friend of his on private property. We went to a wheat field first thing in the morning, hoping to find some deer moving. Just at first light, we could see deer moving across the field, but there wasn’t enough light to see if they were bucks or does. The terrain was rolling hills, which allowed us to get close to the deer without them seeing us. There were small groves of pine trees out in the wheat field, and the deer were moving toward one of them. I left my dad and his friend on the edge of the field, and I hustled over to the edge of the pine trees. I sat down in the shoulder-high grass and started glassing, but I couldn’t find the bucks.
After 10 minutes, I looked over my shoulder and spotted two bucks 20-yards from me. They were looking straight at me, but they never saw me. I watched as the bucks started circling me to try and get downwind of me, still looking at me. I slowly raised my Tikka .270 short mag rifle in that low light, I don’t think the deer saw me move. When the crosshairs settled on the biggest buck, and he looked away from me, I squeezed the trigger, and the buck went down. This buck was a 3-year-old, 8-point blacktail. Although these deer were within 30 yards of me, they never saw me.