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Author Topic: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas  (Read 2125 times)

Offline lokidog

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2020, 11:30:50 AM »
And tree stands... busted again this morning on the ground, though one doe walked by me at 12 or 13 feet, and the one I was after didn't bust out quite quick enough.

Offline UpperleftPNW

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2020, 10:50:32 AM »
Thanks again for the replies. My game cam should be here today. I ended up just getting one of the cheaper ones on Amazon. I figure it will at least give something to play around with and intro me into the world of game cams before I invest in a few good ones. I am Headed to Whidbey this weekend so i will put my game cam out with a big ol pile of apples in front.

I am excited to see what I get on these game cams. I have spent a lot of time in these woods. It will be interesting to see whats running around when I am not there.

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2020, 03:24:23 PM »
Sounds like a plan.  I'll make one last suggestion that you scout those woods in late October or early November, with the hopes of learning what is going on there during prime time.  That will give you a head start next season.
“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 UpperleftPNW

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2020, 07:27:38 AM »
I did a little scouting and found some tracks and what looks like scrapes. Put out my cheapo game cam and a few apples. First night nothing. Second night 3 - 4 does ate all the apples between 2:30 - 5:30 AM. I was pretty happy to get some deer on cam my first weekend.

Now I need to decide what to do next. I already filled my tag so I am not worried about taking anything out of there this season.

I have a friend that will be checking and putting more apples down every few days till the apple tree runs dry. I hope this will give me a good idea what is out there and hopefully find a target buck for next season. Obviously I need more time to pattern these deer but I am wondering what I should do if they are only showing up when it is dark? Get some more cams out and see where they are going and where they will be when its light? Would there be any method to making them stick around the first area I have placed that apples? This area has a good clearing and multiple trees and spots to put a stand or blind. I am wondering if i can find the path they are taking and put some apples all along it if that would slow them down and maybe give me a chance to catch them at light?

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2020, 10:20:46 PM »
Gotta love Blacktails!

- Blacktail, Whitetail, and Mule Deer all make rubs on trees to mark territory and leave scent.  Whitetail bucks make scrapes, which are spots where the buck clears the ground in an area by pawing at it.  They typically pee in it as well.  Blacktail don't make scrapes like WTs.

- Deer in general, feed mostly in the dark.  The first and last half hours of the day are the times you would expect to see most deer.  Doe, in general, are not hunted as much so they often will get up and feed a bit during daylight hours - every 4 to 6 hours or so.  You can train deer to stay out in the mornings by placing a limited quantity of bait out each morning.  Gradually, decreasing the amount of bait may have the effect of creating competition for the bait, so they might come out in mornings to be the first deer to get the bait.  I wouldn't recommend this - what a pain in the butt.  Deer bed during the day, chew their cud, and rarely stand up, normally to pee or grab a few bites to eat.  Then they bed again, where they are typically well hidden and hard to hunt.  Most of your cam captures will either be at night or of doe/fawns/yearlings moving after feeding during daylight.

- Bucks, once they've rubbed off their velvet at the end of August, typically become invisible, becoming almost entirely nocturnal in areas where they are hunted and where there is constant human activity.  Very experienced hunters can and do hunt deer successfully in the early season without long term baiting.  Bucks will start to show in the daytime again as the rut approaches.  Typically, they stick to the woods and edges of clearings, but they are up and moving, though not very visible.  Every once in awhile, you will find one moving through a large clearing/clearcut/golf course, etc. 

Scouting the spot for rubs on smallish trees from previous seasons is a good way to guess where to place your cams and possibly where to place a tree stand or blind.  Bucks typically don't use the same trails doe do.  Look for what appear to be minor trails above (on the side of a hill) or on the expected downwind side of the trails that doe use. 

As humans, we expect other animals to think like us.  We like clearings in the woods because we can see well there.  Blacktails like brush and darkness because they can be hidden from prey in there.  If there was food in the clearing, then I would expect the deer to feed there at dawn and dusk, and well into the night.   They typically stay out of sight as much as possible.  Your clearing may or may not be a good spot to hang a stand.  A tree stand placed above a well used trail just inside the tree line (in the trees) might be better.
“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 UpperleftPNW

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2020, 07:14:10 AM »
Gotta love Blacktails!

- Blacktail, Whitetail, and Mule Deer all make rubs on trees to mark territory and leave scent.  Whitetail bucks make scrapes, which are spots where the buck clears the ground in an area by pawing at it.  They typically pee in it as well.  Blacktail don't make scrapes like WTs.

- Deer in general, feed mostly in the dark.  The first and last half hours of the day are the times you would expect to see most deer.  Doe, in general, are not hunted as much so they often will get up and feed a bit during daylight hours - every 4 to 6 hours or so.  You can train deer to stay out in the mornings by placing a limited quantity of bait out each morning.  Gradually, decreasing the amount of bait may have the effect of creating competition for the bait, so they might come out in mornings to be the first deer to get the bait.  I wouldn't recommend this - what a pain in the butt.  Deer bed during the day, chew their cud, and rarely stand up, normally to pee or grab a few bites to eat.  Then they bed again, where they are typically well hidden and hard to hunt.  Most of your cam captures will either be at night or of doe/fawns/yearlings moving after feeding during daylight.

- Bucks, once they've rubbed off their velvet at the end of August, typically become invisible, becoming almost entirely nocturnal in areas where they are hunted and where there is constant human activity.  Very experienced hunters can and do hunt deer successfully in the early season without long term baiting.  Bucks will start to show in the daytime again as the rut approaches.  Typically, they stick to the woods and edges of clearings, but they are up and moving, though not very visible.  Every once in awhile, you will find one moving through a large clearing/clearcut/golf course, etc. 

Scouting the spot for rubs on smallish trees from previous seasons is a good way to guess where to place your cams and possibly where to place a tree stand or blind.  Bucks typically don't use the same trails doe do.  Look for what appear to be minor trails above (on the side of a hill) or on the expected downwind side of the trails that doe use. 

As humans, we expect other animals to think like us.  We like clearings in the woods because we can see well there.  Blacktails like brush and darkness because they can be hidden from prey in there.  If there was food in the clearing, then I would expect the deer to feed there at dawn and dusk, and well into the night.   They typically stay out of sight as much as possible.  Your clearing may or may not be a good spot to hang a stand.  A tree stand placed above a well used trail just inside the tree line (in the trees) might be better.

Thank you for the info. I didn't know that only Whitetail made scrapes. What I found was some old mossy logs that were all torn up so I am guessing that is a BT rub...

The deer in this area get very little if any pressure since they are on private land where no one hunts them and they have very few predators other than cars and coyotes.

I know BT like to hang out in the thick stuff but I have also heard that deer, like most animals will take the path of least resistance. These areas also happen to be the best spots to get a shot off with a bow. The area I am set up on is a decommissioned access road from a long long time ago with tall cedars blocking most of the light and ferns and salmon berries down low. there is not a ton of food in this specific area so I think they travel through to get to a field and orchard about a 1/4 mile through the woods.

I have already decided my goal for next season is to take any Blacktail. a buck would be nice but getting my first BT will be my main goal. Sounds like you are saying I should keep with the apples and cams. Put up more cams on less used trails and rubs to find a buck. Then when it comes time to hunt them I pretty much just need to get lucky and catch one while its light out. I could be wrong but it seems like it might be easier to catch them in the light in early September for early Archery?

Offline HillHound

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2020, 08:11:50 AM »
Definitely easier to catch them in the open during daylight early archery season when they are still in velvet and in their summertime habits. But your best chance is late rifle season during the rut they could be moving anytime

Offline UpperleftPNW

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2020, 09:17:59 AM »
Definitely easier to catch them in the open during daylight early archery season when they are still in velvet and in their summertime habits. But your best chance is late rifle season during the rut they could be moving anytime

Hoping for a multi-season tag next year. If I get that I will probably save this area to hunt during the rut. I think it would be a lot of fun seeing a buck strutting into a call or along scent drag in the middle of the day.

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2020, 08:10:51 PM »
I say it is better (IMHO) to figure out where and why the deer live where they are and try to anticipate where/when you can catch them off guard and get a shot on a mature animal.  Apples are fine for doing a survey of the animals in the area.  Learning their habits and planning for fair chase methods to harvest a deer will make success much more enjoyable.  That's just me.  Every hunter has their own ideas of what a successful and personally rewarding hunt entails - there is no perfect answer.

Killing a doe on Whidbey is not a bad thing.  It is probably better than killing a buck.  Reducing the doe population limits the overpopulation and overutilization of island resources.  I believe you will find though that killing a doe is not too difficult once you get a feeling for the area.  If filling the freezer is your primary purpose for hunting, then a mature doe (or a young spike buck) will provide a fair amount of meat and will likely be an achievable goal .  If you're ready for a challenge, trying to harvest a 3+ year old buck is a true challenge that can easily yield twice as much meat as a doe or young buck, and will likely leave you questioning your sanity about why in the heck you're sitting in the pouring rain hoping to see some movement.  It's addictive. 

As someone else stated, the first 10 or so days of September is when you might have pretty good odds of success in killing a buck.  After that, your opportunities of killing a buck are far and away better in the last week of October and the four days of the late season in November.  If you're committed to bow hunting, then buying a Modern Firearm tag and bowhunting later in the season will give you better odds of killing a good buck.  That is when the bucks will be up and moving during daylight hours.  Doe are available throughout the season - timing of the hunt is not really a factor. 

In the off-season, I recommend reading one or both of these books.  The B. Iverson book is considered to be the "bible" of Blacktail hunting.  The second is another highly recommended source of information, though there's not as much science as you might expect.  They are spendy.  You should be able to find a used edition for 10 bucks or less if you search the web on a regular basis.  $50 seems a bit silly, but they are both akin to a college education in BT hunting.  Compared to the price of a college course, they are a pretty good deal. Check your library or friends that already hunt BT.  Chances are pretty good that one or more of them have one of the two books.

https://www.amazon.com/Blacktail-Trophy-Tactics-Boyd-Iverson/dp/0963040510/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3QZL8K51UCK34&dchild=1&keywords=blacktail+trophy+tactics+2&qid=1602125648&sprefix=blacktail+tr%2Caps%2C224&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Trophy-Blacktails-Science-Scott-Haugen/dp/098194230X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Trophy+blacktail+hunting+the+science+of+the+hunt&qid=1602125834&sr=8-1



“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 UpperleftPNW

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #24 on: October 08, 2020, 08:03:49 AM »
I say it is better (IMHO) to figure out where and why the deer live where they are and try to anticipate where/when you can catch them off guard and get a shot on a mature animal.  Apples are fine for doing a survey of the animals in the area.  Learning their habits and planning for fair chase methods to harvest a deer will make success much more enjoyable.  That's just me.  Every hunter has their own ideas of what a successful and personally rewarding hunt entails - there is no perfect answer.

Killing a doe on Whidbey is not a bad thing.  It is probably better than killing a buck.  Reducing the doe population limits the overpopulation and overutilization of island resources.  I believe you will find though that killing a doe is not too difficult once you get a feeling for the area.  If filling the freezer is your primary purpose for hunting, then a mature doe (or a young spike buck) will provide a fair amount of meat and will likely be an achievable goal .  If you're ready for a challenge, trying to harvest a 3+ year old buck is a true challenge that can easily yield twice as much meat as a doe or young buck, and will likely leave you questioning your sanity about why in the heck you're sitting in the pouring rain hoping to see some movement.  It's addictive. 

As someone else stated, the first 10 or so days of September is when you might have pretty good odds of success in killing a buck.  After that, your opportunities of killing a buck are far and away better in the last week of October and the four days of the late season in November.  If you're committed to bow hunting, then buying a Modern Firearm tag and bowhunting later in the season will give you better odds of killing a good buck.  That is when the bucks will be up and moving during daylight hours.  Doe are available throughout the season - timing of the hunt is not really a factor. 

In the off-season, I recommend reading one or both of these books.  The B. Iverson book is considered to be the "bible" of Blacktail hunting.  The second is another highly recommended source of information, though there's not as much science as you might expect.  They are spendy.  You should be able to find a used edition for 10 bucks or less if you search the web on a regular basis.  $50 seems a bit silly, but they are both akin to a college education in BT hunting.  Compared to the price of a college course, they are a pretty good deal. Check your library or friends that already hunt BT.  Chances are pretty good that one or more of them have one of the two books.

https://www.amazon.com/Blacktail-Trophy-Tactics-Boyd-Iverson/dp/0963040510/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3QZL8K51UCK34&dchild=1&keywords=blacktail+trophy+tactics+2&qid=1602125648&sprefix=blacktail+tr%2Caps%2C224&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Trophy-Blacktails-Science-Scott-Haugen/dp/098194230X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Trophy+blacktail+hunting+the+science+of+the+hunt&qid=1602125834&sr=8-1

Thank you @fishnfur for the comments and advice. I have the Boyd Iverson book already. I will order the other one today.

I have only been hunting for 2 years and got my first deer, a Mule Doe this year in early archery. Now I have become obsessed with pulling a deer out of the woods next to where I grew up on Whidbey. I am also kicking myself for not getting into hunting when I was younger and had all the time in the world to chase and learn about the BT in my area. I would love to harvest a mature buck, but I have lots to learn before I see myself achieving that goal unless I just get lucky. I have set my sights on harvesting any blacktail from my place on Whidbey next year. My lady and I are both extremely happy with the meat in the freezer so filling the freezer is my first priority, learning as much as i possibly can about hunting is my second priority, and getting a buck is third. I am sure after a few more years of hunting, and hopefully a few more deer in the freezer and first and third priorities will swap.

If all goes well I get a multi-season tag and a second deer tag for whidbey, pull my doe out of whidbey early season, then have the rest of the season to chase a buck. Probably spending the prime rut on whidbey since I will have the place to myself. I like archery but if I get a multi-season I might hunt with the shot gun during modern, or convince my dad to come out with the shot gun.

I think I will try both methods. Keep baiting and  patterning at the bait, but also get more cams out and figure out where they are headed and where I can catch them in the daylight. This will give me the option to hunt the bait in hopes I can catch them at the bait during the daylight or I can hunt the areas they head to after their feast. My ideal hunt would include seeing a target deer on a cam months before the season, patterning and learning more about that specific deer, then formulating and executing a plan to harvest it. Ideally taking it down without it ever knowing I am just 20 yards away.

Offline fishnfur

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Re: Question about Blacktail hunting in wooded areas
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2020, 05:41:26 PM »
Sounds like you're up and running.  I like your plans.

You're not the only one who started hunting late.  I got my first rifle to go deer hunting with when I was 16.  My first deer hunt was at age 52.  I did a year on Adak, AK with the Navy in '94, where it was open season all year long for caribou.  That my friend, was a missed opportunity! 

Later, bought a house in Coupeville with acreage while stationed on Whidbey.  Had deer coming and going daily for three years.  Didn't hunt there either.  I fished the heck out of both of those spots and killed 'em - the freezer was always full, but how I'd love to have a second chance at hunting those spots.  Can't go back....    Gotta stay positive and move forward. 

Good luck.  Hope you have many successful hunts.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2020, 06:00:18 PM by fishnfur »
“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

 


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