Marlin Firearms Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The reason I ask is because I believe they are one of the sneakiness, toughest animals to hunt when they are in the habitat we have here on the coast. I'm not talking about Northern California or southern Oregon blacktail hunting over open county. I'm talking about the gnarly, salal filled, wet, dense rainforest stuff we hunt, usually adjacent to clear cuts. I see lots of guys from other states poo poo a little two point or three point blacktail as if to say, " we don't shoot em' that small where I come from!" Little do they know that ANY blacktail buck is a hard to find trophy and that these deer do not act like their cousins the Mule deer or whitetail. I've tried to pattern these things and it's very difficult. They will reuse trails, but sometimes not again for weeks at a time. They don't hang around "food" per we, because it is EVERYWHERE. There is so much browse, they can just move and eat wherever they feel like it. Hunting water sources is not productive either. Blacktails around here have no shortage of water and get most of their water from the plant matter they eat. At least half of shooting a buck out here is the luck of being in the right place at the right time. The other half is knowing where the deer are likely to be based on what you've seen in years past, finding beds and scrapes, and getting out to hunt as soon as it starts to rain. Yep. Hunt in the rain. I see more blacktails when it's nasty out than at any other time.

I'd be interested to hear other opinions about the Columbian or Sitka blacktails that are being hunted in the thick, nasty stuff. They are tough to find, quiet, and smart. I know white tails and mules can be very tough too; but based on my experiences, I'd say the blacktails in my local terrain are the most challenging bucks to score on. The fact that they are small bodied (comparatively to a big whitetail or even bigger, the Muley) doesn't dissuade me from my love for them; I like them because they are a challenge.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,297 Posts
Spent two year's in Snohomish about fifteen back. Yup, Hard to find. A mature blacktail is a trophy in any book! Hope to hunt them next year in California. Certainly more open country, But a ghost the same!
 

·
Wrangler
Joined
·
395 Posts
I've been hunting these guys for fifty years, they are always a challenge, they have a great tendency to go nocturnal on us and spend their waking hours feeding in the dark and bedding during daylight. The older they get the more likely it is for them to pick up the habit.

I have found that when tracking them they seldom get very far ahead of you and know their habitat like the back of their hand, they will circle in order to survey their back trails and lead you around for hours, then just seemingly disappear, poof!!

Agreed, the rain is our friend, and early snows in the high country as well, but mostly the rut, it puts stupid on them big time. The first good storm during the fall is prime time blacktail hunting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
J BOBWAY and MINUTE OF BERM it sounds like you guys know exactly what I'm talking about. Just " seeing" the deer can sometimes be a challenge. I can't count the number of times that I've walked past a deer hiding and they DONT MOVE. Then, I'll look back over my shoulder and there they are, sneaking away quietly. They don't break and run unless you step on em. I love the blacktail. And you know what?. I think they eat really good to. Not the BEST, but really good. Especially a young buck. I have heard though, that the Sitka blacktails are the finest deer to eat of any. Jim Zumbo and other big name hunters have said that they like it better than other species of deer. I guess it has something to do with seaweed in the diet and iodine. You guys ever eat a Sitka? I haven't but I want to hunt them badly.
 

·
Wrangler
Joined
·
395 Posts
No, I've never eaten Sitka, I've lived my entire life within a 75 mile radius of Grants Pass, OR. with the exception of 4 years in the navy.

The big ones are okay if you can hang them ten days maybe two weeks, the mistake many make is not getting them skinned and cooled as fast as possible. I do my own butchering and there is a lot more involved than most people understand about keeping the meat from being gamy.

My favorite eating size are the forked horns, or three points, and I hunt for the thrill of the hunt and the meat, I'm not truly looking for a trophy rack. That isn't saying I wouldn't take one, but they are not my goal. My last five point pretty much cured me of that, I ended up grinding most of him into hamburger.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
I have hunted blacktails in western washington for 35+ years, have taken some nice animals and been fooled by many more. By far, the week before Halloween and late buck are the best days of the season. I hunt primarily private property bordering farmland and clearcuts. Knowing where to look in the clearcuts is key. Older reprod with a mix of bald spots are great places to look on south facing slopes and keep a close eye on the red duffy spots of a rotted old growth for bedded animals. Good binos are a must. Unfortunately, Weyerhaeuser has gone to a permit system in my area which will overcrowd the state land with more hunters. I have tried rattling with mixed results, 3 years ago I rattled a nice 3x4 in who I believe was more curious to what all the noise was about than the possibility of stealing a doe, never the less, he went home in the back of my truck. I have done well during the late muzzleloader seasons when the pressure has died off. It seems that the bucks let down there guard at this time and are feeding more heavily. I am going to hunt the eastside for the first week this year and then spend the rest around home if not successful there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
97 Posts
I have never hunted them in the USA, but I have hunted them up here in BC
You mix in their natural abilities and hunting them in a temperent rainforest and you have a challenge on your hands
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,009 Posts
I've hunted Blacktails since 1987 and they are absolutely the smartest deer I have ever come across. They have truly earned the name of Pacific Ghost. I see more deer in the 4 days of Late Buck Season in November than in all three weeks of the general season in October. Every deer my son and I have taken has been in the woods, and under 50yds. I use my 1976 Marlin® 336C 30/30; my son uses a Winchester® Mdl 94 in 7-30 Waters. I love the challenge!
 
  • Like
Reactions: M700

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
I had no idea they are so smart and elusive. I see them hanging out here in Bellingham around town every so often. I am new to hunting and would like to learn more about them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Clouserminnow

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,026 Posts
I last hunted blacktail in the early 80's. they are definitely the toughest of our deer to hunt. I hunted around Tillamook Ore and it was sheer hell with the viney maple and such.
maybe some day I will do it again but doubt it. getting to old. those memories though rank up there with first kiss, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
255 Posts
I agree with you guys that blacktail are very tough. I have to laugh when some TV hunter talks about how tough whitetatils are. They may be but not in my experience as hard to get as a big blacktail. That's probably one reason why you don't see many taken on TV.

I've hunted them for going on 40 years and a big blackmail definitely one of the hardest trophys to get in North America.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,457 Posts
I agree with you guys that blacktail are very tough. I have to laugh when some TV hunter talks about how tough whitetatils are.
Yep, they've never hunted Blacktails!, I've hunted Whitetails in Wisconsin, shoot'n fish in a barrel! I saw more deer on opening morning before 9 AM than in the whole season here!, I had all three of my tags filled by 1 in the afternoon opening day!, have yet to take a buck here!?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
108 Posts
Yes
I concur with you on the Blacktail. My partner and I hunted them in the Hood River unit. I used my then Marlin 30-30. It now belongs to my daughter. It is a jungle over their and I shot at a running one on an old logging road. He was only about 20 yards when he jumped out in front of me. I got one shot off and it was a clear miss! It was so fast and I thought for sure I had him and at the very second I pulled the trigger he veered off to my left. They are evil things! Oh, I swear to God I saw my first Whitetail Buck on that trip but we cant shoot them in that unit.

30-30 Man
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
I have been hunting Blacktail's for 30+ years. Ten years in California and the last 20 in Washington. They are by far the smartest of the Deer. I have taken some nice Mule deer (Dumbest) and a couple of whitetail in Montana.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,744 Posts
Black tail deer are extremely difficult to hunt; as everyone that has hunted them can attest to! Nocturnal, sneaky, smart, and extremely elusive, and found in the most dense rain forest cover you could ever try to walk through. Over the years the group of four guys I hunt with have found success by posting two hunters in the most probable higher escape route areas and then the other two "slowly" pushing through the lower dense cover surrounding clear cuts. During times of high hunting pressure; my buddy and I (or when I solo hunt) will hunker down near the saddles and "hope" that anything that gets kicked out by the other hunters will try to escape through the saddle to the other side of the ridges. These two tactics don't always work, but they have on a few occasions. Especially, if you happen to draw into a controlled doe hunt. About every 3 years or so I put in for a doe hunt here in Oregon.

Yep! my vote for the most difficult "successful" deer hunt in North America is the hunt for the Black Tail in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
849 Posts
The new multi-weapon tags help by giving you more days to hunt 'em, but the terrain's so steep that I won't hunt anyplace there isn't a road below me. When walking a gated logging road or a washed-out one, I'll only shoot uphill; I'm too old to drag one any distance up a 1:1 slope. Gotta chase 'em out of my front yard, though when I'm loading the truck to go hunting--I live in town--and they graze out among the broken clays at the trap range every Friday night. Shoulda seen the beauty that led our 4th of July parade this year, a 4-point in velvet; they touched off the town fire siren to start the parade at noon, and the blacktail spooked and busted out of an alley half a block ahead of the leadoff of the parade. He ran down the centerline for a block and a half, then jumped over the people sitting on the curb and a gal sitting in a folding chair on the sidewalk, and disappeared up the hill behind the library. Quite a thrill!
windy
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top