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Author Topic: new blacktail hunter (another one!)  (Read 1683 times)

Offline fishnfur

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2021, 10:47:40 PM »
Damn glad to meet you. Welcome Bow4elk! 
 I know a guy across the water who said you mentored him in BT hunting years ago.  He killed a monster with his bow last year. I sure could use some of that magic   I'm all ears....
“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 predatorG

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2021, 06:19:25 AM »
Someone mentioned Cam Hanes' BT film. Love or hate the dude that movie was pretty influential in how I hunt blacktails. Started utilizing tree stands and game cams way more. Right after switching to stands I shot my first BT which was a buck we didn't even have on cam. My little brother shot a toad last year (I think) that we had been watching grow for years.

Spending time in the woods is great advice. I've moved out of washington for now and am not sure if I'll be back to hunt this year :( looks like Coues deer it is for me this winter.

Shoot me a PM. I might have some rough ideas of where I would go for a MF tag on the Kitsap Peninsula, or can at least try and point someone in the right direction that they can get a deer down.
"All of my best elk hunts are the ones where I come home with a big buck!" -RadSav

Offline JRRJ2021

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2021, 11:15:25 AM »
Thank you everyone for the information and answering my questions. I was going to come back and address and thank each post but instead I will just say thanks to Fishnfur, bow4elk, and everyone else.

I have to be honest I do not have high hopes for getting a deer this season even before my post. I have read the previous WDFW harvest reports and know these areas are pretty low production. If I can learn a ton this year during season, even if I do not get one, I will consider it a win. I also love being outdoors in general so hunting is just another reason/excuse to do that. I am exploring areas that are off of main Forest service and logging roads and going into the bush as far as I can within reason and safety, generally exploring areas 1.5-2 miles away from the road ways. Like I said I have seen a lot of deer sign and saw 1 doe feeding in one area and a nearby area where I saw one bedded down. I know there is browse in the area that they eat and there are a few sources of water nearby. I am just hoping a buck will show up if I stay in that general area. I am scouting a few other areas in the general region also in case someone is already there when I am show up to hunt. I do not want to stumble in and ruin anything for anyone who was there before me.

I will focus on slow hunting the area for now unless I find a good spot I can sit in for a while. A guy I met briefly at the rifle range described his method of slow hunting as if you think you are moving slow, slow down again by a quarter to half and you might be there - which sounds in line with what everyone here is saying, so I will try that and see where I get.

I know other areas to hunt were suggested which I appreciate but with a young family at home combined with home maintenance and work responsibilities my travel distance for hunting is fairly restricted this year. hopefully things will open up more next year and I can try other spots as the kids get older. Eventually I can bring them with me but not yet unfortunately. Part of the travel distance is also areas that are close enough to scout prior to the hunting season starting.

I appreciate all the input and if anyone else has anything to add I will certainly take it in and think about it and how to apply the advice.

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2021, 11:33:32 AM »
Your welcome

Offline brokentrail

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2021, 03:10:50 PM »
As was recommended already, read Boyd Iverson's and Scott Haugen's books. Boyd was a good friend and we spent many hours conversing, comparing notes, and swapping trailcam pics over the years.  He passed away a while back and is truly missed. Scott is also a friend and though he moved to AK recently, he still makes time to come back for blacktails! He developed a line of blacktail scents that I tested over about 3 years.  They were discontinued with Oregon's natural deer urine law prohibiting urine-based scents due to CWD precautions.  And Mr. Cameron Hanes' book is also very good too, and he put out a video as well. As with everything Cam does, he goes all in and it comes through in his book.  Lots of good info to absorb.

I'm a blacktail nut-job too, and spend a lot of time studying these deer and their ways.  I have put out a lot of practical information on the subject via podcasts and blog posts, which can be found on my site. Each year I mentor a number of new blacktail hunters and I've helped quite a few people tag their 'first' bucks - many bigger than any of my deer (which is even better!).  I'm not sure it gets any better than helping someone find their own success in the field.



On my old site, I wrote a 7 part series on my approach to blacktail deer hunting. That was about 10 years ago now. It's since been turned into a 2-hour seminar that I've presented many times over the years. I am always refining it as I learn and get schooled by these crazy deer!  I am glad to help with specific questions but go check out the posts and podcasts on my site too. I think you'll find these resources valuable because I tried to distill down many years of experience into concise methods, tips, and tactics.  Hit me up with specific questions and if people are interested, I'd be up for hosting a Q&A Zoom call or something to cover a bunch of stuff real-time.  Just an idea.

 :yeah:  I have learned a ton from TR's podcasts, articles, etc.  Definitely made me think a lot differently than I had been about how to hunt blacktails.  Look up his website, lots of good info there for sure.  I have also read Boyd and Scott's books as well.  A wealth of great information between those three sources for sure.  Oh and @bow4elk, thanks for all of the info you have provided.  I have learned a lot from you and your information!

Offline Wendego716

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2021, 04:36:58 PM »
I shot my first blacktail last year in my second season of trying. Both years I was hiking up to some cuts and trying to glass deer, but never saw any in the cuts. On the walk in or out I'd usually see does on the trail, so I finally figured the heck with it, I'll just set up around the does and hope a buck comes sniffing around. Twenty minutes into the first morning doing that, here he comes. It was mostly dumb luck, but it worked. I'll try it again this year and I'm sure I won't see a thing.

I guess my thoughts are try one thing, and if that doesn't work try something else. Good luck!

Offline fishnfur

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2021, 10:15:42 PM »
I shot my first blacktail last year in my second season of trying. Both years I was hiking up to some cuts and trying to glass deer, but never saw any in the cuts. On the walk in or out I'd usually see does on the trail, so I finally figured the heck with it, I'll just set up around the does and hope a buck comes sniffing around. Twenty minutes into the first morning doing that, here he comes. It was mostly dumb luck, but it worked. I'll try it again this year and I'm sure I won't see a thing.

I guess my thoughts are try one thing, and if that doesn't work try something else. Good luck!

Sounds like both you and JRR2021 are doing exactly what you should be doing.  I don't consider it luck that you made your hunt decisions based on what you were observing.  Knowing where doe are when the bucks start searching will put you close and increase your odds of success many times over. In your case it paid off.  Working the timber and the trails leading into and away from cuts is a great plan when bowhunting.  Spot and stalk with stick and string is about a challenging as it gets.  Always worth a try if you see a target, but nothing I would plan my hunts around.

JRR - Though mature bucks are hard to come by during daylight(until mid - late Oct.) you might capture 1.5 year old spike, or sometimes small forkie, hanging out with their sibling sisters this month.  Normally you would expect a mid- late summer dispersion of these young bucks - splitting off from mom and sisters and traveling till they find a new territory that suits them.  This normally occurs during the summer months but not always.  It is not unusual to find young bucks still hangin' with sis in Sept and sometimes even early Oct. Their sister doe typically stay near mom's territory to live their lives. Within a couple of generations the area may end up with a multigenerational group of animals that holds lots of doe plus an occasional youg buck that overstayed his welcome.  Make sure you know what you're looking at when you observe multiple animals in the wild.  It is easy to overlook a small buck  mixed in a group of doe. 
         Lastly, are you hunting the archery season now or did you buy the modern firearm tag so that you could hunt (archery) during the last few (and best) days of the pre-rut (when opportunites are maximized) ?  That's how I would play it if I was only hunting archery. 

Good luck guys!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 01:08:15 AM 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

Offline fishnfur

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2021, 10:20:23 PM »
Someone mentioned Cam Hanes' BT film. Love or hate the dude that movie was pretty influential in how I hunt blacktails. Started utilizing tree stands and game cams way more. Right after switching to stands I shot my first BT which was a buck we didn't even have on cam. My little brother shot a toad last year (I think) that we had been watching grow for years.

Spending time in the woods is great advice. I've moved out of washington for now and am not sure if I'll be back to hunt this year :( looks like Coues deer it is for me this winter.

Shoot me a PM. I might have some rough ideas of where I would go for a MF tag on the Kitsap Peninsula, or can at least try and point someone in the right direction that they can get a deer down.

Is this your junior year now?  Seems like it must be.  Good luck with those Coues Deer - let us know how they compare to blackies. 
“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 predatorG

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2021, 04:37:09 PM »
Someone mentioned Cam Hanes' BT film. Love or hate the dude that movie was pretty influential in how I hunt blacktails. Started utilizing tree stands and game cams way more. Right after switching to stands I shot my first BT which was a buck we didn't even have on cam. My little brother shot a toad last year (I think) that we had been watching grow for years.

Spending time in the woods is great advice. I've moved out of washington for now and am not sure if I'll be back to hunt this year :( looks like Coues deer it is for me this winter.

Shoot me a PM. I might have some rough ideas of where I would go for a MF tag on the Kitsap Peninsula, or can at least try and point someone in the right direction that they can get a deer down.

Is this your junior year now?  Seems like it must be.  Good luck with those Coues Deer - let us know how they compare to blackies.
Just graduated! Got done early. Living in Phoenix for a bit now.
"All of my best elk hunts are the ones where I come home with a big buck!" -RadSav

Offline fishnfur

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2021, 07:54:20 PM »
 :tup:  Way to get it done PredatorG.  More theology in the future?

JRR - after re-reading your original post, I see that you are hunting MF (not archery).  If you're seeing doe in August and later, they will likely be close ito the same spot n October.  Sun aspect (angle) against the terrain keeps south and SW slopes warmer later into the mid-Autumn, so deer may shift their preferences to bedding and feeding in those warmer spots as the weather cools.  The last two or three years has seen warm Autumn temperatures all the way through the end of October which keeps much of the deer activity happening at night during the cooler temperatures at that time. That makes for tough hunting during the day 'cause the deer may not move much at all. 

As October wanes, increase your hunting efforts and stay in the woods all day if possible.  Pay attention to the ground for signs that suggest bucks are chasing doe around.  You'll see the spots where the deer tear up the forest floor as they chase in the last week or 10 days of Oct. +/-.   You may not see anything moving, but the tracks tell you what's really going on in their world and confirm that you're in the right area.   Anyways, if you know genrally where doe are hanging out in a couple different areas, then you have options to choose from when the woods get crowded with hunter. 

Above all else, there's no reason you can't score a buck this season.  You've just got to stay out there, stay focused on the hunt (not the trees (like I do)).  Move slow if still hunting and expect action at every step.  If taking a stand on the ground or in a tree, be patient and stay alert.  Once you let your mind wander, that is when the buck will show up... always (or when you drop your pants to pee)  If you're planning on hunting a specific clearcut, take the time now to walk the perimeter inside the cut and make note of the trails that deer come and go from.  If there is high ground on one side of the cut, then expect the deer to bed above or at least on the sides of the cut and come downhill/sidehill to feed at night and then head uphill in the morning.  Be in the woods on that uphill side, inside or on the edge of the timber (hidden) near known trails leading uphill to bedding areas in the early AM.  Rattling and/or grunting while well hidden may bring in a buck as the end of October closes in. 

Lastly, I still recommend the "how to hunt" app - it will teach you things about doe behavior in the presence of or when expecting bucks to come in for a visit that will take many many years to learn on your own.  Five or six bucks will save you years of blowing opportunities 'cause you misinterpreted what was going on.  Also, read through as many old posts regarding BT hunting as you can.  Search for "Blacktail tactics" or "Blacktail heip" or similar.  There's a lot of knowledge just sitting here onsite waiting to be read.   Good luck!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 08:08:53 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

Offline Sundance

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2021, 09:55:20 AM »
Damn glad to meet you. Welcome Bow4elk! 
 I know a guy across the water who said you mentored him in BT hunting years ago.  He killed a monster with his bow last year. I sure could use some of that magic   I'm all ears....

If Tom was gathering disciples, you'd best drop what you are doing and follow him.

On the topic, hunting the does for cruising bucks is a great strategy but I would only put credence in it for three weeks (October 25-November 15th). Note that on a given year there is only 7 days give or take that you can hunt these dates with an OTC tag, which is rifle. Any other time of the year I will gladly sit in stand/blind, glass cuts or rely of food sources to provide an opportunity. However in that magical time of the rut I'd prefer to be mobile and slow hunt areas until I locate does and hopefully encounter a rut zone. Every buck I've taken outside that window was from a stand or an ambush set, every buck taken in that window listed above was from the ground and being mobile.

Offline EastLake13

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2021, 03:14:26 PM »
This is only from my perspective as a beginner, and I do not have the experience or success of others on this forum, but I was lucky enough to get a blacktail my first year hunting here and it really encouraged me after years of hunting unsuccessfully in CA.

I did a lot of research (read the same books as you) and walked in the woods with my brother looking for sign and food before the season. I had read that inclement weather and rain can benefit hunting (smell, noise, etc.), so my brother and I would go out regardless of the conditions. On an especially rainy and cold day--far, far fewer hunters out--we caught a buck in a blackberry bush off a trail near a creek we had visited previously; had I not had my rifle ready, moving slowly and paying attention, I probably never would have noticed. My brother walked right by him. I won't lie, it wasn't comfortable, and despite our rain jackets we were soaked before we finished cleaning him. The area started to flood and the gut pile was floating by the time we finished. That being said, it felt pretty good to load a deer in the back of my Jetta (I don't think the engineers had that in mind when they designed the trunk).

Since then, I have not gotten anything. But I have seen bear, mountain lion, elk, and blacktail. I learned from my successful outing to just stay focused because you really never know what will happen (my brother and I were talking a little too loudly this spring when a turkey blew out of cover ten feet away and sailed down a canyon). I think it's more fun that way anyways; a lot of hikers miss stuff because they're not paying attention to the environment.


Offline fishnfur

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2021, 12:18:01 AM »
Damn glad to meet you. Welcome Bow4elk! 
 I know a guy across the water who said you mentored him in BT hunting years ago.  He killed a monster with his bow last year. I sure could use some of that magic   I'm all ears....

If Tom was gathering disciples, you'd best drop what you are doing and follow him.

On the topic, hunting the does for cruising bucks is a great strategy but I would only put credence in it for three weeks (October 25-November 15th). Note that on a given year there is only 7 days give or take that you can hunt these dates with an OTC tag, which is rifle. Any other time of the year I will gladly sit in stand/blind, glass cuts or rely of food sources to provide an opportunity. However in that magical time of the rut I'd prefer to be mobile and slow hunt areas until I locate does and hopefully encounter a rut zone. Every buck I've taken outside that window was from a stand or an ambush set, every buck taken in that window listed above was from the ground and being mobile.

Look who'b back - the mentoree!   I'm sitting here (jealously) thinking of your hunt last year. I'll bet you $10 you can't beat the green score on that buck this year.....   :chuckle:  Hopefully we get some good Blacktail topics/threads going this season.  Perhaps we should rework the Benchleg Blacktail debate just for fun (?)

Good point on the timing -  hunter should concentrate on finding a hot doe or nearly hot doe pretty late in October.  The hunter should proceed with the expectation that a buck is either already with an observed doe (but perhaps unseen) or a buck should be coming in  very soon.  Sit on every doe found, at least for a few minutes and observe her behavior. If you see a doe standing, sometimes appearing to be waiting for something to happen, and her tail is sticking straight out horizontally, sit tight and be ready for action.  If it is windy out and a freshly hot doe decides to advertise her readiness to breed, she will often put her ass/genitals in the best position that the wind can carry her scent downwind.  If you see that, don't move, just watch.  Just ike magic, a downwind buck comes running in to take posession.  Amazing stuff.

Anyways, posts on this board help narrow down the timing for when it is worthwhile to concentrate hunting effort on known doe populations.  Though doe estrus cycles start at different times across the Westside, they are generally all within a week or so, maybe less, of all being right on schedule with the norm.  Once hunters start reporting chasing activity on this board, the pending rut is closing in quickly and it is probably worthwhile to check known doe hangouts. 
“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 Grousehunter19

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2021, 06:07:12 AM »
Would it work to use a fawn in distress call to call in does which would then lay a scent trail for cruising bucks to follow?  Or would the does get spooked after a while and scare off any bucks that might be following her?

Offline Sundance

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Re: new blacktail hunter (another one!)
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2021, 09:01:11 AM »

Look who'b back - the mentoree!   I'm sitting here (jealously) thinking of your hunt last year. I'll bet you $10 you can't beat the green score on that buck this year.....   :chuckle:  Hopefully we get some good Blacktail topics/threads going this season.  Perhaps we should rework the Benchleg Blacktail debate just for fun (?)

For that very reason I put in for and drew a whitetail rut tag, I need to take a season off blacktail hunting. That being said I may hit an alpine spot this week for bear and if a stud buck were to walk out...

Would it work to use a fawn in distress call to call in does which would then lay a scent trail for cruising bucks to follow?  Or would the does get spooked after a while and scare off any bucks that might be following her?

I've only ever had success with the fawn bawl on Kodiak and POW for Sitka Blacktail. Typically I would see a doe coming across a hillside or a muskeg towing a buck. Down here it's so thick where I hunt I fear that a doe or buck may come to investigate and then hang up at 50 yards to survey the situation and wind/see me before I know they are there. Think of it as coming into your own house and ready for a fight if the door was ajar and the front window smashed, all your senses are on high alert.

I would opt to use doe bleats, buck grunts, rattling, and scent trails early in the fall (October 15-25th) to attempt sucking in a cruising buck. I really like the figure 8 scent trail set below a treestand- length of the 8 @ 100-200 yards, placed 20-30 yard infront of the stand on a bench or trail transition.

 


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