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Author Topic: Deer Tips Tactics Research  (Read 900 times)

Offline Blacktail_Slayer

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Deer Tips Tactics Research
« on: August 07, 2019, 01:51:52 PM »
Here are some youtube podcasts I made to help out hunters.  Hope it can help out some people.

Deer Hunting Tips & Tactics
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Treestands & Blinds Podcast

Shed Hunting Podcast

Search for "Deer University Podcast" for those that are interested in podcasts about deer, habitat, and management.

Blacktail hunting is mainly treestands or blinds unless I want to cover some ground while rattling and/or calling.

A few books I would recommend are:

Boyd Iverson "Blacktail Trophy Tactics 2" and Scott Haugen's book "Trophy Blacktails. The Science of the Hunt" both do a pretty good job at explaining blacktails and hunting deer.

I would also highly recommend getting "Mapping Trophy Bucks" By: Brad Herndon

Rattling and calling all depends on each individual deers behavior, time of year, and knowing where and how long to set-up. This is why scouting pays off.

Here are some thoughts about rattling:

I always wait for a little while to let the woods settle down before calling and rattling. I will wait 20 minutes or longer during the rut before rattling. I choose to hardly ever rattle from in a tree stand. Bucks can come in before a person even stops rattling. I would assume a buck would then look up at the hunter and put 2 and 2 together; and never be seen again during daylight hours in that location. I prefer calling from a tree stand and have had success in calling in my second largest buck to date, which was a heavy 4 by 3 that was hanging out with a small group of does. I used the Primos Original Can, Primos Buck Roar, and Deer Talk.

Pre-rut rattling on the ground:

Bucks will tend to cover more ground during the pre-rut. I prefer covering plenty of ground; rattling in several locations. If a buck does not come in within 15-20 minutes then I leave and travel to a new location. I also don't rattle as hard during the pre-rut. The bucks testosterone levels have not reach their peaks yet and will probably not have those hard battle as of yet. Buck covering more ground during the pre-rut and testosterone levels that have not reach their peaks yet are why I choose to rattle a little softer and cover more ground; while rattling during the pre-rut.

During the Rut:

This time of year I will only hit one or two spots to call and rattle from. This is not the time to cover ground, since the bucks are not traveling as much. Does will be ready to breed and the bucks will stay with them until the time comes to find the next doe. I will wait for everything to settle down and then start will calling. I usually give 2 or 3 different calling sequences before rattling to not sound threatening and give the impression deer are around. This may make a buck think there is another potential doe to breed or a new buck moving into his territory. I will then start my rattling sequence harder and louder compared to my rattling during the pre-rut. This is the time bucks testosterone levels are their highest; which can mean some battles in the woods. Letting the woods settle down, several sequences of calling and calling/rattling with 10-30 minute breaks in-between can burn up a lot of time. That is why I only hit one or two spots to call and rattle from during the rut.

Post-rut:

I will go back into rattling like during the pre-rut. Bucks testosterone is coming down and rattling should not be as hard and aggressive.

What to look for while scouting with topo maps and Google Earth:

Funnels: A narrow strip of cover, usually timber that connects two tracts of cover. A finger ridge is also a good funnel.

Inside corners: Could be a clear-cut or field that forms a corner at the edge. Deer will cut right around or through these corners.

Saddles: A low spot in a ridgeline. This is an easy travel route for a deer to go from one side of the hill to another.

Breaklines: Are lines between two types of adjoining, but different types or ages of cover. Example would be clear-cut meeting timber or tall timber meeting reprod.

Benches: Flat areas of various widths found on the sides of hills or ridges.

Converging hubs: A place where several funnels or ridges and such come together. This is a spot where several deer trails may be found coming together.

Scouting Notes:

Take notes of where and when you see any deer throughout the entire year. It may take more than one year but this is a good way to help figure out travel routes, feeding areas, home ranges, rutting areas of blacktails.

Keep track of any new forest fires, clear-cuts, housing developments, field developments as they can change how and where a deer beds, feeds and travels. A large forest fire right before or even during can push a lot of deer into areas that would make for great opportunities for spot and stalking.

New clear-cuts, aging and changing reprod, new forest fire locations will all change how the deer uses the land year by year. Just because you figure out where a buck or multiple bucks bed, travel and feed one year doesn’t mean it will always be like that. This is why scouting every year is so important. The landscape is constantly changing and hunters should be able to adapt to these changes. The hunters who are successful year after year are the ones who are not afraid of adapting and change. One place that deer may not change their habits are in wilderness areas unless a wildfire changes the landscape.

Scouting will also tell you if a spot has deer movement during mornings, mid-day and/or evenings. I didn’t realize until tcams first came out on the market how much deer and buck movement was happening between 10am-1:30pm.

Summer scouting can be very productive while bucks are in velvet. The bucks will be out in the open more with their velvet antlers being a little sensitive and them trying to consume a high amount of calories before the rut and winter. Hunt the area you find an big old mature blacktail buck during summer scouting in the valley floors or coast range as they don’t migrate and have very small home ranges.

Clear trails to and from your stands and blinds to make them as quite as possible and so you leave as little scent as possible. The deer will get use to you entering and leaving if you stick to this and not hike all over your areas during or right before season. I try to do this as least once or twice a week so the deer get use to my scent and sound while not hunting season and figure I’m no or little threat by the time season starts. I also get in at least 30min before light and will not leave until after dark or deer surrounding my stand or blind have left if I have the time to hunt all day.

This recent report given at the Wyoming Game and Gish Commission meeting on Jan. 18, 2018 is very informative and worth your time. Proceed to about the 1 hour and 55 minute mark, it lasts about 60 minutes.
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Some interesting things about blacktail, mule, and benchleg deer ranges using DNA. Sounds like DNA is taken from the pedicles to determine status. Not sure how many years your can go back with DNA taken from a dead bucks pedicle but you hunters that have taken a buck east of the B&C or P&Y line might still be able to get your bucks entered into the books as a blacktail if your willing to gamble and pay $100 for the test.
http://www.deernut.com/Documents/PnYBTDDNAWinter2013.pdf



Offline JasonG

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 04:46:15 PM »
Awseome!! Thank you for posting!!

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019, 08:37:24 PM »
Nice post Blacktail_Slayer.  Great teaching material.  I'm pretty sure I remember you from Ifish.  I learned a lot from you back then. 

My only note of slight dissension to your comments is that many hunters believe that keeping on the move during the peak of the rut makes more sense. Since many bucks are likely"locked down" tending does, (typically, no more than 48 hrs. each time) the chances of seeing these bucks is low unless their doe is up and feeding.  These hunters hope that by continuing to move to new locations, they increase  their chance of finding a buck that is up and moving in search of a new doe. RadSav immediately comes to mind... I go both ways on this.  I try to keep all options on the table and work with what I'm feeling like at the time.

Also, I'm not sure how your Oregon season went down last fall, but many of us here experienced a very disjointed and protracted rut.   I believe that we all have general ideas of the dates considered to be pre-rut, rut, and post-rut.  As last year displayed so clearly, the deer are not bound by our calendars - the estrus/rut process carries out differently each year, with different timing and peaks, depending on location, elevation, and whatever other biological factors drive the system.  What the deer are actually doing may not be in line with what we believe should be going on.   

Come mid-October, I never hunt without some sort of rattling apparatus in my pack.  I don't always use them, but at the end of an unproductive day, I often chastise myself for neglecting to try rattling in one or more situations.  I tend to follow your description of rattling techniques based on the current suspected time of the season, but never hesitate to attempt aggressive rattling following an earlier unproductive session of tickling the antlers before moving on.  You just never know what might cause a buck to react, so if you're planning on moving to a new spot following a set of rattling, it makes sense to me that it can't hurt to really mash 'em hard and create some serious noise, even in the post-rut.  As an example, Polar Bear told me of a time years ago when he rattled in a big buck for a friend in very late December - you just never know what might work.

Anyways - Welcome, and thanks for the great input.
“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2019, 07:19:54 AM »
It was a good listen. Thanks for sharing your insights. I grew up hunting whitetails in NH and ME. Blacktails certainly produce additional challenges, especially during archery season long before the rut.  :tup:
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Offline Blacktail_Slayer

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 09:13:58 PM »
The blacktail rut in Oregon normally happens between the rifle and second (late) archery season.  The archery hunters get to hunt the 2nd rut which is not as good as the 1st initial rut.  There are a few rut hunts in Oregon but not many tags except the Willamette 600 series deer tag.  The deer rut is all based on photoperiod in each deers home range so fawns are born at the best time of forage in that specific area.  Lots of articles on photoperiods and cervids (deer family).  Here is just one people can look up on Google Scholar:  http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.643.8348&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Lots of free interesting research on game species can be found on Google Scholar. 

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2019, 11:16:19 AM »
I all but exhausted that source(Google Scholar) on Blacktails quite awhile ago.    >:(    I eventually decided it was worthwhile to read Whitetail research due to the sheer volume of material on that species. 

Photoperiod does appear to be the initiating factor in the initiation of the estrus cycle and most years the rut tends to progress along with predicable timing.  From all my reading combined with annual trailcram study of buck activity in a single location, I now believe that there must be other factors that affect the rate at which the rut progresses in an individual year, and possibly the success rate in breeding.  Something as simple as the quantity of Springtime rains, which affect the quantity and quality of Summer and Autumn browse has been shown to have a strong correlation to the number of fawns a doe will carry in gestation.  It seems plausible that something as simple as that one factor alone may also affect the point at which a doe is physically ready to carry a fetus.  There could be other unknowns that play a part as well.

Several studies investigating the histological (microscopic) studies of killed Blacktail doe ovaries allowed the determination of the number of estrus cycles the deer had undergone during season. The results indicate that the majority of Blacktail doe are successfully impregnated on their SECOND estrus cycle.  Other related studies found that the estrus cycles were approximately 21 days apart (19 - 23 range)  Also, some unknown percentage of Blacktail doe will undergo an "early estrus", occurring sometimes as early as October 12th or thereabouts,  and the number of doe entering this first estrus cycle gradually grows as the month progresses.  This "early estrus" seems to really be just the first unsuccessful estrus of the season.   

Considering the fact that the "peak of the rut" (the point as which most doe are successfully bred/impregnated) occurs, in most cases, sometime during the second week of November (second estrus cycle), one could guess that by just counting backwards 21 days from this peak of the rut point, one could estimate when the majority of doe are experiencing their first cycle, with the expectation that some bucks are responding to the sudden availability of hot does.  We might also expect that this specific time might provide better hunting opportunities compared to say a week prior or after that predicted date. 

While I have no scientific studies to cite supporting better hunting on suspected BT doe first estrus cycle dates, it seems to be very clear that when in the woods over the course of the general season (15 - 31 Oct), hunter shooting activity seems to have very specific peaks that seem to correspond well with these ideas.  Typically, early morning shooting activity by hunters appears to be very heavy (at least here in SW WA) sometime around the 20 - 22 October period in many years, which corresponds well with these estimated dates for first estrus and subsequent peak of the rut.  If the dates of a weekend, (when most hunters would be expected to be off work and in the woods) does not fall on within a day or so of these dates, there seems to be far less rifle fire occurring.   Similarly, member postings on this forum showing photos of mature BT bucks suddenly appearing in abnormal places (schoolyards etc.) during daylight hours often begin to be posted seem to show a sudden onset in mid-October. every year.  One must infer that they are suddenly giving way to their normal secretive lifestyles for but one reason only.  Hot doe!  The confounding point is that predicting what will happen in a single year seems impossible until either trailcams or hunter rifle fire indicates an increase in buck activity during a period.  It may be happening on the date of the season opener or as late as 10 or more days later than that. Once that date is established though, it is possible to estimate the timing of peak of the rut, and subsequent estrus cycles to follow for those doe that remain unbred. 

 :twocents: :twocents:  (four cents worth)

“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers

Offline Blacktail_Slayer

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2019, 11:36:17 AM »
I all but exhausted that source(Google Scholar) on Blacktails quite awhile ago.    >:(    I eventually decided it was worthwhile to read Whitetail research due to the sheer volume of material on that species. 

Photoperiod does appear to be the initiating factor in the initiation of the estrus cycle and most years the rut tends to progress along with predicable timing.  From all my reading combined with annual trailcram study of buck activity in a single location, I now believe that there must be other factors that affect the rate at which the rut progresses in an individual year, and possibly the success rate in breeding.  Something as simple as the quantity of Springtime rains, which affect the quantity and quality of Summer and Autumn browse has been shown to have a strong correlation to the number of fawns a doe will carry in gestation.  It seems plausible that something as simple as that one factor alone may also affect the point at which a doe is physically ready to carry a fetus.  There could be other unknowns that play a part as well.

Yes, you are correct that nutritional constraints and fat/lean biomass ratio will affect at what age and when a doe or cow will become impregnated. 

Several studies investigating the histological (microscopic) studies of killed Blacktail doe ovaries allowed the determination of the number of estrus cycles the deer had undergone during season. The results indicate that the majority of Blacktail doe are successfully impregnated on their SECOND estrus cycle.  Other related studies found that the estrus cycles were approximately 21 days apart (19 - 23 range)  Also, some unknown percentage of Blacktail doe will undergo an "early estrus", occurring sometimes as early as October 12th or thereabouts,  and the number of doe entering this first estrus cycle gradually grows as the month progresses.  This "early estrus" seems to really be just the first unsuccessful estrus of the season.   

I’m unable to find any studies that show the first (early) estrus cycle being in October for blacktail deer.  The blacktail studies that I found have the first estrus cycle starting as early as the beginning of November.  The length of blacktail deer estrous cycle can be anywhere from 22-29 days with a gestation period of 203-210 days. 

I’m wondering if you are thinking about how most blacktails don’t become impregnated during the first ovulation which is different than first estrous cycle?  The interval between the first and second ovulations average 8-9 days.  The short interval between ovulations, the high proportion of does conceiving second ovulation, the short conception period for does and the regularity in the timing of breeding (photoperiod) seasons are adaptations to restrict optimal period for the birth of fawns.  Two reasons would be for optimal time of year with spring green-up so fawns can grow and put on as much weight and fat/lean body mass as possible before winter and predator swamping which will allow a certain percentage of fawns to survive to around 79 days (give or take) when survival stabilizes.


Considering the fact that the "peak of the rut" (the point as which most doe are successfully bred/impregnated) occurs, in most cases, sometime during the second week of November (second estrus cycle), one could guess that by just counting backwards 21 days from this peak of the rut point, one could estimate when the majority of doe are experiencing their first cycle, with the expectation that some bucks are responding to the sudden availability of hot does.  We might also expect that this specific time might provide better hunting opportunities compared to say a week prior or after that predicted date. 

While I have no scientific studies to cite supporting better hunting on suspected BT doe first estrus cycle dates, it seems to be very clear that when in the woods over the course of the general season (15 - 31 Oct), hunter shooting activity seems to have very specific peaks that seem to correspond well with these ideas.  Typically, early morning shooting activity by hunters appears to be very heavy (at least here in SW WA) sometime around the 20 - 22 October period in many years, which corresponds well with these estimated dates for first estrus and subsequent peak of the rut.  If the dates of a weekend, (when most hunters would be expected to be off work and in the woods) does not fall on within a day or so of these dates, there seems to be far less rifle fire occurring.   Similarly, member postings on this forum showing photos of mature BT bucks suddenly appearing in abnormal places (schoolyards etc.) during daylight hours often begin to be posted seem to show a sudden onset in mid-October. every year.  One must infer that they are suddenly giving way to their normal secretive lifestyles for but one reason only.  Hot doe!  The confounding point is that predicting what will happen in a single year seems impossible until either trailcams or hunter rifle fire indicates an increase in buck activity during a period.  It may be happening on the date of the season opener or as late as 10 or more days later than that. Once that date is established though, it is possible to estimate the timing of peak of the rut, and subsequent estrus cycles to follow for those doe that remain unbred. 

 :twocents: :twocents:  (four cents worth)

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2019, 06:07:08 PM »
Here's a quick something to chew on.  This post shows a scientific study on BTs done by the State of WA (SOW) in the 50's - something like 130ish pages long.  I recommend you pick up a copy or find a library with access to scientific literature, since this is not available online.  I didn't stop to re-read the thread, but it might be worth a quick scan.  You'll see that from my posting of a couple pages from that journal, in the SOW, something like 18 percent of doe come into their first estrus in October.  ( I now believe that number is variable, and that may be an average). As members here have noted with personal observations of fawn drop, some years, we experience significant numbers of fawning in early May, often around the 10th of that month, which corresponds to impregnation around 17 October, 203 days earlier.   Not surprisingly, this year was not one of those years (to my knowledge) as the bucks really started showing around the normal peak of the rut, and kept running (here) until the 23rd of that month - a full 11 days later than normal.  Fawns did not seem to make their early showing this spring, at least from my knowledge, until early June.  Regardless, the timing of an early May fawn drop only strengthens my argument for the early opportunities for finding cruising bucks in mid-October, which is what this is really all about - understanding our prey. 

RE: Predator Swamping:  That is a theory, postulated by bookies that live by the publish or perish code of life.  I agree that it makes total sense and has value in explaining the generalities in explaining the peak in birthing of species.  In fact, I can swallow it with just a few chews.  Conversely though, we must ask ourselves why some (significant?) percentage of the population of animals might vary from that peak on the early side, as is the case with BTs in WA.  Studies show that fawns born early during cold and rainy springs have a lower survival rate that those born later (June),  but in more typical years, fawns born a month early have another month of eating and fattening up prior to the onset of winter.  That extra month and additional body fat reserves directly corresponds to a higher survival rate that fawns born in June.  Makes sense, huh?  That makes me question Predator Swamping a bit.  Seems like nature is playing two games to ensure that some portion of the population can survive the unknown extremes of the future. 

I lived in Oregon for seven years during my pre-hunting life (Go Beavs!), so I cannot comment on the BT activity there, but I find it hard to believe that it is drastically different from this state.  Who knows, maybe it is completely different.  The Columbia River provides a significant but not insurmountable barrier to deer movement and interbreeding of populations.  Someday we can discuss the phylogeny of Blacktailed Deer, but that is another thread for the future.  You will probably question with my beliefs on that topic as well.   :chuckle:

You may be correct on the second ovulation, but I'm still betting on my memory (though failing from what it used to be  :'()  I'll do some looking and give you references if/when I find them.  Gotta run!
“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2019, 10:33:48 AM »
Belay my last.  The dates that journal shows is actually 18% for the breeding period 25 Oct - 10 Nov.  That text notes that by using a 203 day gestation period, the sample indicated the earliest breeding corresponded to 22 Oct.  This may or may not be the actual date of breeding as an often cited Cowan study gave a much wider possible gestation range, with 203 being the mean/average.  Furthermore I cannot find the reference regarding the period between estrus cycles indicating the 19 - 23 day range, mean of 21.  I'm on my third laptop in five years and many of my older bookmarks for BT studies are long gone and I am unable to easily find them on Google scholar.   I do note accuracy in your statements regarding the nearly 100% fertilization rate on the second ovulation, approximately eight days following the first.   It is quite apparent my memory is suspect when quoting these numbers off the cuff.  Eyes, ears, back, and now brain.  Getting old sucks...  :chuckle:
“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: Deer Tips Tactics Research
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2019, 11:53:35 AM »
There are worse options

 


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