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Author Topic: Baiting blacktail  (Read 5854 times)

Offline smithkl42

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Baiting blacktail
« on: December 04, 2023, 08:23:02 AM »
In my frustration at trying to reliably locate blacktail in the thick woods of western WA, one of the things I've tried repeatedly over the years is to put out bait. I've tried apples, carrots, corn, wet COB, and even peanut butter.

So far, I have yet to get a single deer to eat or try any of it. I've got them on camera, walking right by a pile of apples or carrots, and pointedly ignoring them. I've tried baiting pretty much every month from September through December, and it doesn't seem to make any difference.

I hear from plenty of other folks that they have no trouble getting deer to come into their bait. Am I just doing something wrong? Or have I only managed to find weird blacktails?

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Offline GASoline71

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2023, 08:29:26 AM »
The Blacktail on our property will eat bushels of apples in a week.  Pretty impressive how they will mow through them.

Gary
One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted. If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job. ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset

Offline Tbar

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2023, 08:32:09 AM »
The Blacktail on our property will eat bushels of apples in a week.  Pretty impressive how they will mow through them.

Gary
  :yeah: blacktail love apples. Biggest issue with apples is keeping bears off...

Offline fowl smacker

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2023, 08:48:23 AM »
Yeah, apples are usually fool proof.  Our deer love them so much they'll stand on their back legs and have the trees cleaned up as high as they can reach.  I wouldn't be suprised if they start hopping on each other's backs to be able to reach higher lol.  I don't think it makes much of a difference in type but ours are honeycrisp, Chehalis, and fuji.

Offline smithkl42

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2023, 08:48:33 AM »
Quote
  :yeah: blacktail love apples. Biggest issue with apples is keeping bears off...

Yeah, I haven't had any trouble getting bears onto my apples. That's why I've tried harder to put out my apples after the bears have gone underground for the winter - I was wondering if maybe the bears were scaring the deer off. But the bears are gone now, and the deer still seem to be uninterested.
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Offline IslandHunter

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2023, 08:59:13 AM »
I have had my best luck with apples.

When are you putting bait out and how long after are you expecting results? I have never had luck putting bait out and seeing deer on my bait
within the next 24 -48 hrs unless I have already been baiting the area consistently. Baiting consistently or somewhat consistently is important. I try to start at least 4 weeks before I start hunting.

Deer are not dumb, a pile of apples in the middle of the forest is not natural, I think it takes a while for the deer to get comfortable and let their guard down around a new food source like this. I assume that's what the deer or doing in the pictures you posted, they are interested in the bait but not comfortable enough to eat it.

Blacktail also like / need good cover. Its going to be hard to pull them out of cover to a bait pile, try different baiting locations and try bating in heavy cover.

Offline Mustelidae

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2023, 09:19:39 AM »
Glad to see someone else with the same problems I've been having. I dropped some apples and a gamecam in an area I haven't been to since I was a kid. The deer and elk weren't interested in the apples at all, they would walk right on by. After a month of no action the crows found them and that was that. I thought apples were a fullproof attractant but this group of deer and elk proved that to be wrong.

Offline npaull

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2023, 09:23:55 AM »
This is why I'll always say blacktails are by far the hardest deer to hunt. They have food EVERYWHERE, cover EVERYWHERE, and water EVERYWHERE. They have no pattern, because they don't need one. A big blacktail barely has to move to get everything it needs, and it can get everything it needs in cover so thick it is absolutely impossible to move through quietly.

Offline IFunk

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2023, 09:41:45 AM »
The first time I ever tried baiting deer was a couple of years ago.  I got a 5 gallon bucket of free apples from craigslist.  I dumped them in front of a camera on a skid road littered with rubs sometime in October.  Had lots of deer cruising around at night on cam, but none of them hit the apples.  Fast forward to December 15th - the last day of muzzleloader season.  It was about noon and it started to snow pretty good.  My initial plan was to sit on the slope above the apples for a couple of hours.  I had twisted my ankle a little bit so I just swapped the card out in my trailcam and left early which was not typical for me.  I should have trusted my instinct.  When I checked the cam later a buck came to the apples at about 1PM that same day and proceeded to eat every single apple in that pile.   8)  That's blacktail hunting for ya...

Offline smithkl42

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2023, 10:13:15 AM »
This is why I'll always say blacktails are by far the hardest deer to hunt. They have food EVERYWHERE, cover EVERYWHERE, and water EVERYWHERE. They have no pattern, because they don't need one. A big blacktail barely has to move to get everything it needs, and it can get everything it needs in cover so thick it is absolutely impossible to move through quietly.

When I first started hunting, I got Boyd Iverson's book, and thought I was all setup to get myself onto some deer. His recommended strategy seems to come down to: (1) find where they're eating; (2) find where they're sleeping; (3) find the trails between those locations; (4) sit on those trails. That sounded great, but after years of trying to put advice to practice, I haven't been able to make it work. WA blacktail seem to have dozens of feeding locations in their home area, they can sleep pretty much anywhere, and from what I can tell, they rarely seem to use the same trails twice in a month. I don't know if (a) I'm dumber than your average hunter, (b) Boyd Iverson is all wet, or (c) WA blacktail behave very differently from the Oregon blacktail he spent his career hunting. My guess is (c), but ...  :dunno:
« Last Edit: December 04, 2023, 10:20:16 AM by smithkl42 »
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Offline smithkl42

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2023, 10:49:38 AM »
I have had my best luck with apples.

When are you putting bait out and how long after are you expecting results? I have never had luck putting bait out and seeing deer on my bait
within the next 24 -48 hrs unless I have already been baiting the area consistently. Baiting consistently or somewhat consistently is important. I try to start at least 4 weeks before I start hunting.

Deer are not dumb, a pile of apples in the middle of the forest is not natural, I think it takes a while for the deer to get comfortable and let their guard down around a new food source like this. I assume that's what the deer or doing in the pictures you posted, they are interested in the bait but not comfortable enough to eat it.

Blacktail also like / need good cover. Its going to be hard to pull them out of cover to a bait pile, try different baiting locations and try bating in heavy cover.

All good advice. I've had apples (or carrots or whatever) sit out for weeks, and remain untouched. I've tried it in thick cover, in small openings, in large openings, in clearcuts ...

One issue I've had is finding enough apples to keep the pile fresh, especially during the early season. This year I tried gathering about 50 gallons of apples and storing them in my freezer - and I learned why you don't do that. Next year I'll see if I can free up room in my garage fridge.
"Marriage is a duel to the death, which no man of honor should decline." - GKC

Online bobcat

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2023, 11:48:13 AM »
I've never had a problem getting blacktails to eat apples. I can put a pile of apples in a random spot and almost always within 24 hours the deer will be there eating all the apples. I do remember a couple of times that it took 2 or 3 days before they found it, but at least one of those times a bear found it first and ate all the apples the first night.

Offline smithkl42

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2023, 11:56:29 AM »
I've never had a problem getting blacktails to eat apples. I can put a pile of apples in a random spot and almost always within 24 hours the deer will be there eating all the apples. I do remember a couple of times that it took 2 or 3 days before they found it, but at least one of those times a bear found it first and ate all the apples the first night.

That's weird - because that's totally what I keep hearing from most folks. I wonder if they're just different in different areas? (All the places I've tried bait have been within roughly 30 minute drive of Monroe, mostly to the north. Maybe the deer in that area are just strange?)
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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2023, 12:00:24 PM »
I do know deer in my area are used to eating apples because apple trees are everywhere around here where I hunt. Could it be that in your area the deer just aren't used to eating apples?

Offline 2MANY

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Re: Baiting blacktail
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2023, 12:02:43 PM »

The first green apples are the best but will not save.
I believe they are the big, green translucent??
Kind of a softer apple but they rot fast.
In my experience deer flock to them while stepping right over red or harder apples.

 


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