Hunting Washington Forum

Big Game Hunting => Deer Hunting => Topic started by: skagitsteel on October 27, 2021, 10:00:40 AM

Title: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: skagitsteel on October 27, 2021, 10:00:40 AM
2021 was another year I waited patiently for my favorite hunt of the season.  It's a hunt that tests my physical and mental limits every year without fail, it also seems to be the hunt where I am right in my own element and find myself going daylight to dark without stopping, regardless of the weather.  I usually scout, run a few cams and try to locate a big buck or two to chase.  Usually I am able to find one, sometimes two, almost always I end up tagging a different one I never knew even existed, this year was no different. 
Having spent many nights in the backcountry chasing elk already this season, I was a little more limited on how many nights I could pack in deep for blacktail.  That left me with mostly day hunts and some ridiculously long middle of the night treks into a few of my areas, hunting hard all day, and returning to the truck late in the day.
 
 2020  I took a buck that turned out it was much younger than expected.   I was determined to get back on track this year and find a fully mature buck, I had an area that I knew held one good buck and I hunted it hard, rotating into a couple other spots when it needed a rest.  I didn't see a single deer until my 3rd full day of hunting hard.  A few of my areas have been hit really hard by the lions the last 2-3 years and it certainly shows.  Very occasional deer, might be 1 buck and 2-3 does on each huge timbered hillside that I hunt with a lot of real estate to hide them.  I kept after it, day after day, moving slow, glassing behind every tree and into every deer bed.  Rain, snow, high winds, wet brush, no question it is a total grind. The morning of the 24th found leaving me truck around 3 am convincing myself it 'wouldn't be that bad' despite what the weather forecast said  :chuckle:.  A few hours later I was cresting over the rocky exposed top of the mountain in a complete blizzard.  Blowing 60-70 easily, maybe more, I was mostly bothered that I had forgotten my ski goggles  :chuckle:.  I lost my footing a few times, blown off my feet by the high winds and tearing  a big hole in my favorite rain pants!  I ended up having to stay on all fours across some of the most exposed stretches to keep going.  Eventually, daylight came and I reached that patch of dark timber I was headed for.  After watching a 40' tree crash down in front of me, I decided to work my way around to the protected side of the mountain.  It was still bad just not 'as bad'.  after 7 hrs of still hunting my way through the timber, blowing rain and snow the entire time, I noticed something that didn't look right in a patch of brush in front of me.  Looked through the binos, and sure enough there was the white face of a buck staring at me from his bed 80 yards away. I didn't have a clear view so I took a few steps forward, he stood up from his bed.  I could see his body now, but not his head.  Definitely had a big barrel chest that looked like a 55 gallon drum, I knew by the body it was most likely a good mature buck.  I sidestepped left and his head came into view.  Wide head, big chest, not a big frame, but looked like 2x3 with good mass.  He was very content to stare at me from heavy cover and I wasn't sure at this point if I wanted to pass or shoot.  I slowly sat on a downed log, took off my pack and leaned my rifle up against a tree.   The wind was so loud, noise didn't matter, I just moved real slow. I just stayed their and looked him over, got a little video, really wanting him to give me a side profile before making a final choice. I watched him for what seemed like forever, but was actually about 10 minutes.
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: skagitsteel on October 27, 2021, 10:02:26 AM
I took a few more steps forward, hoping the buck would turn his head broadside and give me the look I wanted.  To my surprise he took two steps towards me, not realizing yet what I was.  Once he stepped out from behind the tree he got a good look at me and his head shot up and he began to turn broadside, about to take off.  When he turned I saw the mass, the short wedge shaped nose and big body, my internal 'age meter' alarm bells went off at that point and so I decided to take him.  One shot behind the shoulder, he ran about 20 yards and tipped over, tumbling down the steep timbered hillside landing on a small flat bench 100' or so below. 

Walking up on him. 
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: skagitsteel on October 27, 2021, 10:04:24 AM
another view
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: skagitsteel on October 27, 2021, 10:07:06 AM
The buck died in a spot where the trees were swaying pretty good, some branches were coming down and it was a little interesting.  I had one eye on the knife, the other on the swaying trees. I did a quick butchering job, hung the quarters and trimmings in a tree and headed back down the mountain.  Returned the next day with my pack goats to do the hard work, 7 hour roundtrip hike and we were back to the truck with the buck. 
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: salt n sage90 on October 27, 2021, 10:09:49 AM
Awesome Blacktail as usual!
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: pianoman9701 on October 27, 2021, 10:42:52 AM
Cool deer and packing goats, too. :tup:
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: jason4429 on October 27, 2021, 11:21:55 AM
Beautiful blacktail. Those kind of days are the best.
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: elkboy on October 27, 2021, 11:28:59 AM
Great story and photos! So cool to have the goats helping you on the packing job. 😀
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: bearhunter99 on October 27, 2021, 12:03:12 PM
Great story and buck!  Love the goats!
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: JakeLand on October 27, 2021, 12:08:46 PM
Great buck !
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: fowl smacker on October 27, 2021, 12:15:31 PM
Awesome, thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: castie2504 on October 27, 2021, 12:43:57 PM
Cool story, best part is the pack goats!
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: WildlifeAssassin on October 27, 2021, 02:55:28 PM
Great story & buck, thanks for sharing yearly, always impressed.
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: wafisherman on October 27, 2021, 03:00:47 PM
Amazing!
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: Birdguy on October 27, 2021, 07:44:48 PM
Seems like just another season for you! I have enjoyed your hunts for years! Great pics, glad things ended safely and way cool to post the goats! :IBCOOL:
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: Goshawk on October 27, 2021, 08:38:53 PM
Good for you!
I'm often disappointed when I read about hunters taking spikes, 2pts, or immature bucks then complain about their small size.  If everyone would show a little restraint and hunt for a mature buck only, there would be a lot more toads gracing the walls and a lot more meat in the freezers.
 
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: High Climber on October 27, 2021, 08:51:21 PM
Nicely done and those goats are so cool  :tup:
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: skagitsteel on October 28, 2021, 08:42:20 AM
Cool story, best part is the pack goats!

Those goats have seen some adventures, I'll have to add ore about them when I have time.  They did close to 500 miles in the backcountry with me this year
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: skagitsteel on October 28, 2021, 08:50:00 AM
Good for you!
I'm often disappointed when I read about hunters taking spikes, 2pts, or immature bucks then complain about their small size.  If everyone would show a little restraint and hunt for a mature buck only, there would be a lot more toads gracing the walls and a lot more meat in the freezers.
 

I get your point, and I always do my best to hold out for a mature buck.  With current deer numbers in this state I really can't blame someone for just trying to fill a tag on a legal animal.  I think its just good to assume areas that have more hunting pressure will have a younger age class of deer.  I hunt some pretty remote country that actually doesn't have very many deer at all, when I'm in those areas its big buck or nothing, I won't shoot a young one in those areas.  When I'm hunting with my wife or kids closer to roads, shorter hikes, more pressured areas, ect were whacking the first buck and no shame in doing so.  Lots of newer hunters out there and guys who simply don't have the time to be be passing animals, I won't knock anyone for the animals they choose to take.
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: JDHasty on October 28, 2021, 09:12:24 AM
Biggest Blacktail I have taken was at ~ 7:00 PM on October 25, 2014
It doesn't surprise me one bit, I have seen more big blacktail bucks (by far) in weather like that than in any other weather scenario.   

When I'm after a nice buck this is what I am hoping for.  FWIW, I saw five different really decent bucks, nothing really outstanding, but better blacktails than most hunters will ever take, out enjoying the stormy weather with their lady friends on Sunday evening.  Rutting hard and this weather pattern is everything I could possibly ask for.  It doesn't hurt that I thoroughly enjoy being out hunting when the weather is like that anyway.   
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: Lady Grouse hunter on October 29, 2021, 12:42:08 PM
Love it! just reorient the pics! :tup:
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: Turner89 on October 30, 2021, 12:04:23 PM
Great job Skagit! Nice buck :tup:
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: MountainTracker on November 09, 2021, 06:27:52 PM
Wow another heavy BT congrats


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: 2021 Blacktail- The wind storm buck
Post by: elkoholic1 on November 09, 2021, 08:11:53 PM
 :tup:
SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2022, SimplePortal