Hunting Washington Forum

Big Game Hunting => Deer Hunting => Topic started by: FFCharlieP on October 26, 2021, 08:32:07 PM

Title: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: FFCharlieP on October 26, 2021, 08:32:07 PM
Man, having a heck of a time getting eyes on anything at all. Been out early every day since season opened and I've seen one doe! I've tried stalking, blind, tree stand - can't seem to find anything. I'm hunting mostly the state land in 660. Tried grunt calls and bleat can but haven't tried scent yet. Been out before sunrise and out after dusk, nothing!

Any pointers or is this just the name of the game? It's my first year hunting, so I'm sure I'm making some mistakes.

Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Buzzsaw461 on October 26, 2021, 08:44:13 PM
Just keep at it. If you can get out for the 4 day late hunt in November. The place I hunt always is tough hunting during general season but come late season the Bucks seem to come out of nowhere.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: johnr060 on October 26, 2021, 08:57:50 PM
I like to find an area that has lots of sign, say maybe a 1 square mile zone. Then I play the wind and walk circles. Sometimes I will walk through the same area 4 times in a day. Still hunting, So I walk slowly and glass my surroundings every 10-15ft. 90% of the deer I see I dont spot with the naked eye. Glassing is key, Even in the thick stuff. The buck I shot a couple days ago I spotted in an area I had walked through 30 minutes before. And all I saw at first, was antler tips sticking up over the grass. Good luck!
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: hunthard on October 26, 2021, 09:13:06 PM
Keep at it, the best hunting is just getting started, I would be hunting this weekend if at all possible and know late buck is just around the corner, good luck.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Wendego716 on October 26, 2021, 09:26:49 PM
Welcome to hunting! Sometimes that's just the way it goes, especially with blacktails (at least in my brief experience with them). Keep at it, they're so nocturnal sometimes you just gotta wait for one to slip up and show himself during shooting hours.

Also, get out of my hunting spot! (Just kidding)
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: FFCharlieP on October 26, 2021, 09:44:48 PM
Thanks for the feedback and encouragement, folks. I'm having fun out there, really - just hard to remember that when I'm cold and wet haha.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: WapitiTalk1 on October 26, 2021, 09:53:18 PM
FF, keep at it. Remember, itís all about the does. If youíre seeing sign/tracks, youíre in a decent area. Weíre still in the pre-rut. I was out tonight and saw three groups of does and no bucks. Itís coming. If u donít connect in the pre-rut, get after them in the late rifle season. Stay the course, youíll bump into one.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: PolarBear on October 27, 2021, 06:40:49 AM
With this weather bucks are hunkered down. Using scent and calling (how I get most of my blacktail bucks) is useless in these high winds and rains. All the bucks my daughter and I saw yesterday were bedded in heavy brush, away from timber and on the lee side of small ridges and no does around. After this storm blows through, Friday-Sunday calling and scent will be the ticket.



Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: spoonman on October 27, 2021, 07:34:08 AM
PM incoming.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: GASoline71 on October 27, 2021, 09:07:13 AM
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, and it would be called "catching" instead of "hunting".

Nothing to do but just keep at it like everyone else has said above.  It's not a  "you gotta put your time in kid." type of deal, but you have to be willing to accept that you might not be successful every single year.  I am mentoring my Brother-in-law (53 years old and first time hunting), and my Son-in-law (28 years old and first time hunting) this year.  Was just explaining to them as they think they are making all these mistakes. I told them, you have to make mistakes to learn from them.  There is no 100% correct way to hunt.  Everyone has their own style and abilities to legally harvest game.  So we all make mistakes and learn.

My BIL missed a really nice 3x4 Blacktail 2 days ago, and all he focused on was what he had done wrong.  I explained to him that I have missed bucks and bulls in the past and to not dwell on it negatively.  Think about what else was going on at the time and to focus on doing things differently.  But I also told him that as soon as buck fever kicks in, we become relatively stupid in our quest to shoulder a rifle. So to be prepared for that too.  He was shaking so badly after the shot and his heart was pounding so hard we could barely have a conversation he had buck fever so bad.   :)

Again, keep at it. :)

Gary
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Seabass on October 27, 2021, 09:24:23 AM
Hunting is hard...keep at it! You're first encounters or kill's are likely to be shear luck but that can't happen unless you're out there. Eventually you will learn a few things from those "lucky" encounters.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: fishngamereaper on October 27, 2021, 09:30:35 AM
2 things your doing wrong.

#1 Your blacktail hunting :chuckle:

#2 Your expecting to see something. 35 year's chasing blacktail, 34 deer and I will tell you ...you will kill most blacktail when you least expect it .. your energy is a huge part of success.  :twocents:
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Griiz on October 27, 2021, 09:51:55 AM
1st- Try not to get frustrated. They are unpredictable and challenging to harvest in the thick habitat. There is no comparison how challenging they are to harvest compared to a Mule deer. Can't compare to whitetails, as I've never hunted them.
2nd- Make sure you are sitting and still hunting where you are seeing rubs and buck sign.
3rd- Keep putting your time in and you will most likely be presented an opportunity.

I usually target a certain or a few mature bucks. I sit, usually in a tree, and put in as much time as possible in that core area. I don't know when he will show up, but I know he will and I need to put in as much time as I can so I am sitting there when he does slip up. This includes mid day.

I used to keep a notebook and each day I would write down moon phase, weather, wind, etc. and then I would check cameras and write down the deer that appeared in the cameras and when. I was hoping to find a pattern to their behavior. They show up at random times, sometimes a bunch of days in a row at all time periods and then I don't get pictures for a week. I stand hunt to try and beat there #1 smell, #2 hearing and #3 sight. Plus I get more opportunities at mature bucks sitting. Good Luck, keep at it.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Sandberm on October 27, 2021, 10:07:50 AM
Always something to learn. Thats why I joined this board.

I appreciate the responses also  :tup:
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: FFCharlieP on October 27, 2021, 10:12:10 AM
I appreciate all the solid advice, I am headed out right now to try some more!
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Platensek-po on October 27, 2021, 11:03:52 AM
2 things your doing wrong.

#1 Your blacktail hunting :chuckle:

#2 Your expecting to see something. 35 year's chasing blacktail, 34 deer and I will tell you ...you will kill most blacktail when you least expect it .. your energy is a huge part of success.  :twocents:

This. Donít expect to see them. Always be looking! If they arenít there then they are somewhere else. A friend once told me you canít catch fish if you arenít fishing. I think this applies to blacktail  hunting more than anything else. If you arenít hunting you have 0 chance of getting one. The more time you put in the woods the higher your chances are.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Curly on October 27, 2021, 11:44:20 AM
I had a 3 point buck in my yard a couple days ago chasing the does around.  So, they are starting into the rut and should be the best time to hunt blacktails for the next few days.  Keep at it.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: MeepDog on October 27, 2021, 01:45:29 PM
I've heard blacktails really like apples. If you're having a hard time seeing deer, find a spot with sign and set up a bait site. Or try to get deer near town. I have this saying, "first shoot yard deer, then shoot hard deer."
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: IFunk on October 27, 2021, 04:43:40 PM
Man, having a heck of a time getting eyes on anything at all. Been out early every day since season opened and I've seen one doe! I've tried stalking, blind, tree stand - can't seem to find anything. I'm hunting mostly the state land in 660. Tried grunt calls and bleat can but haven't tried scent yet. Been out before sunrise and out after dusk, nothing!

Any pointers or is this just the name of the game? It's my first year hunting, so I'm sure I'm making some mistakes.

Thanks in advance!

If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.  If it makes you feel any better, I'm an adult onset hunter on year 3 hunting blacktails and making my fair share of mistakes.  Hoping to get my first harvest this year, but have been plenty humbled by them and know better than to get my hopes up.  I think it comes with the territory.  I typically hunt a pretty tough unit though(460). 

Yesterday and Sunday I spent all day creeping around in the wild, wet, windy weather hoping an Oregon maple didn't decide to fall down on me.  I've heard bad weather can be a perfect storm for getting them moving and perhaps catching one on the go, but I've never experienced this despite getting drenched hunting for them countless times. 

To put things in perspective - I pulled 2 SD cards on Sunday which had been soaking for a month.  I got one nice buck and one great buck on camera within 10 minutes of each other on 2 separate cams about a half mile apart.  They both showed up (last Sunday at 1am) on the day I pulled the cards.  There were no other pictures of them or any other bucks for the entire time I've been running them (almost 3 months).  It could be low buck density or the wild weather on Sunday morning that got them moving.  Or maybe the pre-rut or maybe I'll never know because they are blacktails.  :dunno:
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: boneaddict on October 27, 2021, 05:02:24 PM
Without knowing  you, I'd say the number one mistake most hunters make is they arent patient enough.   I was explaining to my new hunter this year,  wildlife isnt like man.  They dont have any place to be.  They need food, water and to avoid being eatin' and a couple weeks of the year, to get laid.   Most get killed at that time because they forget to aboid being eatin'.   

The other big mistake is understanding just how good they are at avoiding being eatin', their only tools are their senses.   Now I dont know if you have ever watched a cat or a wolf, but they can move through the woods pretty darn quietly.   Try to imagine what the deer has to do to survuve these cagey predators, or a man at 500 yards with his scoped rifle, and you will better understand them. 

Deer populations are down in many places.  Dont get discouraged when you see some success pics or someone like me posting lots of pics.  There are thousands of folks out there not notching their tags.   In the old days, it was driving by a popular campground that discouraged you, seeing all the deer hanging from the meatpoles.  Now its even worse when you log in to social media.   
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: KFhunter on October 27, 2021, 05:47:04 PM
prolly moving too much and not giving enough focus to the wind and thermals
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: FFCharlieP on October 27, 2021, 06:36:09 PM
You're all right - I'm sure I've been impatient at times. Made a point today to sit and wait quietly, mind the wind, scan repeatedly and remember my chance will come.

On a happy note, on the way out of the woods today, I crossed paths with a porcupine. He's in the stew pot right now!

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. And yeah, social media will kill your enthusiasm haha.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: fishnfur on October 27, 2021, 10:11:34 PM
You're all right - I'm sure I've been impatient at times. Made a point today to sit and wait quietly, mind the wind, scan repeatedly and remember my chance will come.

On a happy note, on the way out of the woods today, I crossed paths with a porcupine. He's in the stew pot right now!

Thanks everyone for the encouragement. And yeah, social media will kill your enthusiasm haha.

There's a ton of good information here from a lot of seasoned hunters.  To a new hunter, it's hard to interpret the intent of the words even though the author and anybody who has been hunting for a few seasons the message is easily understood   Not knowing how and where you're hunting, it's hard to offer specific advice, but as been said several times previously, slow down.  IF you're hunting reprod, stay in the glass more than half the time.  Deer appear in the middle of a cut like magic.  One moment nothing, the next moment - you find a doe standing where there was none before.  Put down you binocs and try to find her.  Often, you cannot.   You have to glass to see what is going on.  You're just wasting time if you're just using eyes to hunt a cut.

If you're in the woods (not reprod), find fresh sign and hunt it so slow that you might only move 100 yards an hour.  Fresh hoof prints are sharp edged when fresh.  The edges break down as they age and are rained on.  Freshly browsed foliage typically has single leaves bit off.  The older the sign of browsing, the more black the stems appear where the leaf was bitten off.   Look at everything. Glassing can give you away if a deer is close.  It's hard to move binocs to your eyes without significant movement. I've been busted in this motion several times.  In tight cover, use eyes before glass.  Many time,s glassing the thick stuff will reveal deer that you cannot identify with the naked eye. 

Move very little.  Deer see movement (and smell incredibly well).  If you're in fairly heavey vegetation and appear to be standing still with brush or foliage behind you, a deer will stare straight through you without seeing you.   If you move, you're recognized as a human immediately. If you get busted by a deer and it's looking straight at you but hasn't bolted, avert your eyes as though you don't see it.  Act like a tourist that intends no harm.  Acting like a predator will send them running. Peripheral vision is a great way to observe them without alarming them. 

For both hunting woods and reprod:  Bucks generally have a fair amount of white hair on their faces, more so as they grow older.  Look for white patches in the foliage thati seem out of place.  Horizontal lines created by back and abdomen against Nature's vertical lines of forests stand out if you're looking for them.  Glass and look for any movement when opportunity allows.  Learn the shape of BT antlers.  They stand out if they are visible any you understand what they look like.  In a cut, deer often bed below a tree, stump, rock, obstruction, less often above it.  In the forest, deer are bedded much of the day.  Focus on 18 inches or so above ground level.  You might find one standing, but more often they are bedded.

If you see a doe this week, watch from afar and expect that some buck might be close by or will be close by in the near future.  A doe standing still in the woods with a tail sticking straight out is very likely ready to breed.  There is either a buck with her (though you may not have seen it yet) or one will be along in the not too distant future.  Watch their ears and eyes.  They can easily hear a buck coming that you have no hope of hearing.  The direction the ears are facing indicate where the buck is coming from.  Be ready to shoot before you even see him.

BT hunting is not easily learned nor practiced.  You'll likely make many mistakes along the way.  Try to make sense of why the sign you're seeing in the woods is there.  Interpreting what you see in the woods takes time.  You can't rush it.  In the mean time, enjoy the ups and downs of experiencing the outdoors in the fall, both good and bad.  The season will be over too soon.  Don't give up - hunt till last light every day.  Enjoy your time in the woods. 

Have fun.  Good luck!
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Duckslayer89 on October 27, 2021, 10:46:46 PM
Man, having a heck of a time getting eyes on anything at all. Been out early every day since season opened and I've seen one doe! I've tried stalking, blind, tree stand - can't seem to find anything. I'm hunting mostly the state land in 660. Tried grunt calls and bleat can but haven't tried scent yet. Been out before sunrise and out after dusk, nothing!

Any pointers or is this just the name of the game? It's my first year hunting, so I'm sure I'm making some mistakes.

Thanks in advance!

I would say use all that enthusiasm and hard work at better times maybe, like later in October and like others said during the late hunt. I feel your pain with these blacktails.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Wendego716 on October 28, 2021, 08:30:08 AM

I would say use all that enthusiasm and hard work at better times maybe, like later in October and like others said during the late hunt. I feel your pain with these blacktails.

This will be my first year hunting the late blacktail season, what makes it better?
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: bobcat on October 28, 2021, 09:00:37 AM

I would say use all that enthusiasm and hard work at better times maybe, like later in October and like others said during the late hunt. I feel your pain with these blacktails.

This will be my first year hunting the late blacktail season, what makes it better?

In my opinion, mostly because of much better visibility due to less leaves on the trees.

Others will say it's due to the rut, but rut activity is pretty much over by about November 14th in my experience, and the late season doesn't start until November 18th.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: npaull on October 28, 2021, 09:17:41 AM
While still-hunting blacktails, if at any given time you notice you are moving, then you need to slow down.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Griiz on October 28, 2021, 09:37:20 AM
Without knowing  you, I'd say the number one mistake most hunters make is they arent patient enough.   I was explaining to my new hunter this year,  wildlife isnt like man.  They dont have any place to be.  They need food, water and to avoid being eatin' and a couple weeks of the year, to get laid.   Most get killed at that time because they forget to aboid being eatin'.   

The other big mistake is understanding just how good they are at avoiding being eatin', their only tools are their senses.   Now I dont know if you have ever watched a cat or a wolf, but they can move through the woods pretty darn quietly.   Try to imagine what the deer has to do to survuve these cagey predators, or a man at 500 yards with his scoped rifle, and you will better understand them. 

Deer populations are down in many places.  Dont get discouraged when you see some success pics or someone like me posting lots of pics.  There are thousands of folks out there not notching their tags.   In the old days, it was driving by a popular campground that discouraged you, seeing all the deer hanging from the meatpoles.  Now its even worse when you log in to social media.

Good Advice and puts nature into perspective.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: wooltie on October 28, 2021, 10:58:11 AM
I think it's called "still hunting" because everyone (myself included) start moving too fast, too soon and too often, forgetting that they are still hunting.

If you haven't found a trail with tracks on it, or sign like poop or rubs, then I'm gonna go out on a limb and say there's no deer in that area, or at least not any does.

This has been my limited experience.  Where there's does - I see them, and I see clear evidence that they're around.  No evidence, no deer.  Move to a different spot.

In the timber, act as if a deer is hiding 20-40 yards away from you, laying down in the brush, the ferns or under a pile of impenetrable crap that you'd dare not walk through.  Glass, then take a step and stop, then glass, then repeat.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Buzzsaw461 on October 28, 2021, 01:04:18 PM
I know people say the rut is ending before the late buck hunt starts but I totally disagree. The biggest bucks I have  killed were in full blown rut when I took them. My biggest buck  was running off another smaller 3 point who had his nose on a does backside when I shot him. In fact I have seen a buck cruising through my hunting area for the last I canít remember how many late hunts looking for does. Find a good spot along a clear cut edge or just inside the timber or still hunt a old logging road and you should have some success as long as youíre seeing some good sign.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Griiz on October 28, 2021, 01:37:37 PM
I know people say the rut is ending before the late buck hunt starts but I totally disagree. The biggest bucks I have  killed were in full blown rut when I took them. My biggest buck  was running off another smaller 3 point who had his nose on a does backside when I shot him. In fact I have seen a buck cruising through my hunting area for the last I canít remember how many late hunts looking for does. Find a good spot along a clear cut edge or just inside the timber or still hunt a old logging road and you should have some success as long as your seeing some good sign.

I've noticed different areas and years the rut is a little different. I know where I've been hunting blacktails that last 10 years (lowland puget sound), the last few days of October are usually the most productive, with some aberrations. The late season is usually better than the first two weekends though. My cameras typically show mature bucks cruising at all times of the day from the last few days in October-around Nov. 4th and then activity slows. Not sure why, but I've wondered if more does have come into heat and the bucks are hooked up and not cruising.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Buzzsaw461 on October 28, 2021, 02:09:43 PM

I would say use all that enthusiasm and hard work at better times maybe, like later in October and like others said during the late hunt. I feel your pain with these blacktails.

This will be my first year hunting the late blacktail season, what makes it better?
You will have a much better (in my opinion) chance of seeing Bucks not only because they will probably be searching for Does but visibility is usually much better with a lot of the foliage off the trees. Find an area with sign and find a good place to sit and watch all day and I mean all day. Hope you have the time to hunt all 4 days. Good luck. Let us know how you do.
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: Buzzsaw461 on October 28, 2021, 02:27:41 PM
I know people say the rut is ending before the late buck hunt starts but I totally disagree. The biggest bucks I have  killed were in full blown rut when I took them. My biggest buck  was running off another smaller 3 point who had his nose on a does backside when I shot him. In fact I have seen a buck cruising through my hunting area for the last I canít remember how many late hunts looking for does. Find a good spot along a clear cut edge or just inside the timber or still hunt a old logging road and you should have some success as long as your seeing some good sign.

I've noticed different areas and years the rut is a little different. I know where I've been hunting blacktails that last 10 years (lowland puget sound), the last few days of October are usually the most productive, with some aberrations. The late season is usually better than the first two weekends though. My cameras typically show mature bucks cruising at all times of the day from the last few days in October-around Nov. 4th and then activity slows. Not sure why, but I've wondered if more does have come into heat and the bucks are hooked up and not cruising.
Good info on Buck Movements. I hunt 513 and 516 and have had much better success during the late hunt. Wonder if ruts can vary depending on area and elevation?
Title: Re: What am I doing wrong?
Post by: fishnfur on October 28, 2021, 04:06:32 PM
I know people say the rut is ending before the late buck hunt starts but I totally disagree. The biggest bucks I have  killed were in full blown rut when I took them. My biggest buck  was running off another smaller 3 point who had his nose on a does backside when I shot him. In fact I have seen a buck cruising through my hunting area for the last I canít remember how many late hunts looking for does. Find a good spot along a clear cut edge or just inside the timber or still hunt a old logging road and you should have some success as long as your seeing some good sign.

I've noticed different areas and years the rut is a little different. I know where I've been hunting blacktails that last 10 years (lowland puget sound), the last few days of October are usually the most productive, with some aberrations. The late season is usually better than the first two weekends though. My cameras typically show mature bucks cruising at all times of the day from the last few days in October-around Nov. 4th and then activity slows. Not sure why, but I've wondered if more does have come into heat and the bucks are hooked up and not cruising.
Good info on Buck Movements. I hunt 513 and 516 and have had much better success during the late hunt. Wonder if ruts can vary depending on area and elevation?

My first BT buck was shot on the 18th of Nov.  He came in from the brush to meet the doe after she had gone out in the last half hour of light and just stood still in the middle of the cut.  She didn't eat, she didn't move.  Just stood there waiting.  She was definitely hot - It took 28 minutes for the buck to show, just moments before last light.  I think this was likely her second estrus, suggesting that her first was somewhere around 27 Oct. (which doesn't seem out of range).  It's not the peak of the rut, but is ilikely nside the bell curve of the normal range.  Some (small?) percent of doe come into second estrus during the Late Hunt.  This, plus the lack of foliage make these four days some of the most productive of the season. 

Ruts do seem to vary based on location and elevation (and latitude) - at least from what I've read here and on other forums. I think higher elevations experience the peak of the rut a little later than lower elevations. Most of the locals in my area told me the first rut is basically over by Haloween, which is an exageration, but has some truth to it as well.  Much of the chasing is done for sure.  The pattens seem repeatable enough to time your hunt activities around if you know when they are for your hunt area. The differences seem to be just a matter of a few days difference from one to another area. Once late October comes around though, some percent of doe start dropping eggs, which starts the trickle of early activity until the torrent occurs in sometime around the 12th of Nov. +/- 3 - 4 days.    :twocents:
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