August/September 2013 EHJ (Issue 138) - Robert Rath III works as a Placer County trapper, so to say he’s an outdoorsman and hunter might be an understatement. Rath started deer hunting at age 12 and has been hunting the Granite Chief Wilderness in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada range for 23 years. The area is steep and rugged, ranging from 6,000 feet in the drainages to 9,000 feet at the granite peaks.
Opening day of the general rifle season in the Placer County portion of zone D-4 arrived cool and dry per usual for late September in California’s high country. About a half-hour after legal shooting light one of Rath’s longtime family friends, Skip Houser, shot and killed a young forkhorn. Rath, along with his father and Lynn Shalley helped Houser get the buck back to camp.
During this time, Vince Houser, Skip’s son, was driving to camp to hunt the following day. Instead of driving straight to camp he decided to hunt his favorite finger ridge while there was still an hour of legal daylight. While glassing the alders and dark timber below Hauser saw a good 3x3 and immediately reached for his rangefinder.