Blacktail techniques, general rifle season

Andy54Hawken

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Scout often during the off season.

Find a spot that has deer sign....get into a position , early , that allows you to overwatch that spot..
And wait...
This will require work , time , patience and luck

Get out of your truck and hunt....
( not sayin' that anyone here in this thread is a "road hunter" , just that I have seen lots of 'em , while gettin' to place that I want to hunt at )

Hunt in the rain...

Deer seem to know the legal shooting hours and tend move around at non legal shooting times....
Except when they don't.....deer are very unpredictable at times.
Andy
 
Get out of your truck and hunt....
( not sayin' that anyone here in this thread is a "road hunter" , just that I have seen lots of 'em , while gettin' to place that I want to hunt at )

Hunt in the rain...
Where I sit overlooking the orchard I see many trucks slow way down or stop right in front of the "No Trespassing" sign. Only once did I think someone was going to get out of their truck and approach the orchard, which would have been greeted with some reply like, can't you f-in read? Get the F outta here! It amazes me how many people ignore private property boundaries...

The rain is awesome! Helps control scent and covers noise. It's one of the few times I may actually hit the ground and move a little. I knocked a nice buck off of his feet at 20yards in the pouring rain. He had no clue I was around.
 
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Koda
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After many years of unfilled tags, I took the first legal deer I saw, which is the wrong thing to do when gunning for a trophy. However, a trophy Blacktail is my Holy Grail in the hunting world and good info is hard to find.
Ive heard this before and struggle with the idea as I'm no where near proficient to be choosy with taking a trophy blacktail, and guessing if I ever get there will take many more years.

Good tips on these books, I'm gonna get them ordered on Amazon and read them over winter.

Heres a bookmark to share I found a few weeks ago and has a lot of content on his channel dedicated to Blacktail. I dont know where hes hunting though but plan on watching anyways getting some good tips from the few Ive seen.

 
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OP
Koda
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Scout often during the off season.

Find a spot that has deer sign....get into a position , early , that allows you overwatch that spot..
And wait...
This will require work , time , patience and luck

Get out of your truck and hunt....
( not sayin' that anyone here in this thread is a "road hunter" , just that I have seen lots of 'em , while gettin' to place that I want to hunt at )

Hunt in the rain...

Deer seem to know the legal shooting hours and tend move around those times....
Except when they don't.....deer are very unpredictable at times.
Andy
Yes, all this... Ive done a lot of homework and have 3 "honey holes" where I have either seen bucks or lots of rubs and sign. My latest spot is working an old strategy Ive used successfully for elk hunting is to find a clearcut then find a backdoor way into the heavy timber behind it. Hunters flock to the cuts to glass, drive their huge diesels right out out into the open cuts and walk around pushing game into the timber for the day. I find more sign in these timber stands.
Ive spend this last summer day hiking around in there getting to know the deer trails and sign. Ive got this spot down, but think I will spend next summer scouting another new hole nearby as the hunting pressure can shut my spot down with just one truck parked where I need to.
 

bbbass

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Two things worked for me on coastal blacktails:

1. Wading thru the blackberry brambles in the Alsea unit with a .30 M1 carbine

2. Building a house on 2.5acres of wooded land overlooking the ocean at Cape Ferrelo. Planted lots of shrubs/trees. Blacktails the size of a Great Dane would visit nightly and daily. One even walked up the steps to a wooden deck raised about 6' off the ground to eat my wife's miniature roses. When yelling at them no longer scared them off, I took to throwing rocks, then shooting them with bb gun. Could have walked up and slit their throats with a knife. Good plan! Only requires $500,000 or so, more if actually next to the ocean.
 
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Koda
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Im finding yet another dedicated Blacktail hunting book on Amazon Blacktail Trophy Tactics II by Boyd Iverson but holy cow over a 100 for these books.

I found Haugens book available directly from his own website for 20 bucks... :cool:
 
Im finding yet another dedicated Blacktail hunting book on Amazon Blacktail Trophy Tactics II by Boyd Iverson but holy cow over a 100 for these books.

I found Haugens book available directly from his own website for 20 bucks... :cool:
I stumbled onto my copy at Fisherman's several years ago. It wasn't much.
 

nwwoodsman

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Unless you are proficient in rattling and grunting for blacktails, don't. They'll smell that bullbubblegum a mile away, and you too if you don't pay to which way the wind is swirling.
I don't worry much about hunting the first two weeks of the season, unless it is pissing down rain. Blacktail bucks will almost never come out in the open on a clear warm day in the early season. You might catch one bedded in a clear cut or moving at first or last light. I spend the first couple of weeks scouting more for for the upcoming elk season than deer hunting.
Hunt where there is sign. This means pre season scouting. If the sign isn't there, chances are the bucks aren't either. Good bucks like to hide in the thick reprod, dark 15 year old timber, and any place else where it is a pain in the bubblegum for people to get to.
Hunt the last week and a half of the season when the weather is bubblegumty. Between the rut and the rain, they will be moving and either have their guard down while chasing pu$$y or trying to get where they feel less vulnerable during a storm.
Get out of your vehicle and hunt. My hunting rig this year was a Honda Civic that I left behind at the gate. The last day I hunted was Election Day. I was about two miles in and I ran into a guy in a pick up. 8:30am and it just starting to rain, he told me there were no deer in the area and he was headed home. A half hour later after popping out of the reprod, I shot a 4x4 with eye guards in that guys tire tracks (on a logging road, it was legal) just before he hopped into a bubblegum hole where I wouldn't have seen him again. What the guy in the truck didn't know know is that I have been scouting that area with "no deer" for the last 6 months. The game trail I was walking through the reprod that leads to the road had at least half a dozen very fresh rubs. I also caught on my game cams in the weeks prior at least 4 smaller legal bucks and a 3x3 that dwarfed my pretty okay buck by a long ways all within 1/4 mile of that spot.

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Unless you are proficient in rattling and grunting for blacktails, don't. They'll smell that bullbubblegum a mile away, and you too if you don't pay to which way the wind is swirling.
I don't worry much about hunting the first two weeks of the season, unless it is pissing down rain. Blacktail bucks will almost never come out in the open on a clear warm day in the early season. You might catch one bedded in a clear cut or moving at first or last light. I spend the first couple of weeks more scouting for elk for the upcoming season than deer hunting.
Hunt where there is sign. This means pre season scouting. If the sign isn't there, chances are the bucks aren't either. Good bucks like to hide in the thick reprod, dark 15 year old timber, and any place else where it is a pain in the bubblegum for people to get to.
Hunt the last week and a half of the season when the weather is bubblegumty. Between the rut and the rain, they will be moving and either have their guard down while chasing pu$$y or trying to get where they feel less vulnerable during a storm.
Get out of your vehicle and hunt. My hunting rig this year was a Honda Civic that I left behind at the gate. The last day I hunted was Election Day. I was about two miles in and I ran into a guy in a pick up. 8:30am and it just starting to rain, he told me there were no deer in the area and he was headed home. A half hour later after popping out of the reprod, I shot a 4x4 with eye guards in that guys tire tracks (on a logging road, it was legal) just before he hopped into a bubblegum hole where I wouldn't have seen him again. What the guy in the truck didn't know know is that I have been scouting that area with "no deer" for the last 6 months. The game trail I was walking through the reprod that leads to the road had at least half a dozen very fresh rubs. I also caught on my game cams in the weeks prior at least 4 smaller legal bucks and a 3x3 that dwarfed my pretty okay buck by a long ways all within 1/4 mile of that spot.

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^^^ all of this. What Im looking for.
Im curious now if calling and rattling is worth learning, and how? I probably scared away the bucks I was near.
A lot of what your suggesting Im doing, ive learned how to navigate those nasty old dark timberstands well, lots of sign in there and lots of great stands to watch over. They move thru there, I see their sign and rubs.

I havent set up my game cams in a few years but maybe its time to break them out again.

Thank you for the inspiration, keep any advice coming....
 

nwwoodsman

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This is a pretty good book also. My wife bought it for me when I started hunting again in my mid twenties. The guy has killed a LOT of bucks. The book could've been shorter. There are a lot of stories that sound very similar to each other, but he was also consistently using techniques that produced results and that's the part to pay attention to.

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nwwoodsman

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^^^ all of this. What Im looking for.
Im curious now if calling and rattling is worth learning...
I can't answer that for you. For me, it wasn't worth it. I watched a lot of youtube, read articles, practiced a lot, spent a lot of time and probably too much money trying to learn to call. I finally quit after not being successful in areas that I knew held good populations of deer. Never worked for me but some guys manage to play that game well. I've been more successful by being quiet, keeping my eyes open and paying attention to the wind.
 

2DaMtns

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I scouted heavily this year, and had three spots with a LOT of promise, and a few backup spots. The two very best spots also had heavy sign of nice bulls, so I laid off scouting them and didn't hunt them during deer season. Then the early snow screwed me and I couldn't get to any of them in elk or late rifle season, even with 4wd, chains on all four tires, and a winch. However, all my promising spots were in the vicinity of a mile from the nearest spot you could get a truck. I've read that 90% of hunters won't hike a mile in, so that puts you out of pressure. I saw everything from spikes to 4x4's this year, but none of it worked out because of the snow.

However, after the snow fell, I found huge tracks just wandering down the middle of forest roads in many places. These things truly are ghosts. I hiked to within less than 10 yards of one while scouting before I spooked it. I barely saw it because the brush was so thick. It moved less than 20 yards and hunkered down again. It might as well have gone a mile, as thick as that mess was.

My plan for next year is to spend even more time scouting. I relied heavily on trail cameras and observations while hiking this year. Need to spend a lot more time glassing next year, trying to learn patterns of movement better. And I need the weather to be better. I am gonna get a better scope so I have better visibility in low light. I need to get in better shape, and get more time and practice just sitting still. I am contemplating leaving my phone in my truck next year. I hunt in places without signal and it's too easy to play a game on it to pass the time.

I have taken pretty nice white tails back east, with my best being a pretty nice 10-point (as they call them back there). White tail hunting is easy compared to blacktail. I've seen more white tails in a field at one time than I've probably seen blacktail in the almost four years I've lived out here. With all that said, I am not a trophy hunter. I hunt for meat and will shoot the first legal buck I see the first few times I get one. But I also hunt for the challenge, and know that the mature black tail bucks are the pinnacle of that challenge, and I will transition to the pursuit of them eventually.

I agree/assume luck has to be part of it. I hunt throughout a large tract of land but I knew of at least 8 or 9 bucks within it this year, and only three or four of them were spikes. One was a beast of a 4x4. I had a broadside shot on a nice 3x3 at less than 75 yards, on a logging road through a recent clearcut.. but it was elk season. I think I was close this year, but close is flavorless.
 
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Koda
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I can't answer that for you. For me, it wasn't worth it. I watched a lot of youtube, read articles, practiced a lot, spent a lot of time and probably too much money trying to learn to call. I finally quit after not being successful in areas that I knew held good populations of deer. Never worked for me but some guys manage to play that game well. I've been more successful by being quiet, keeping my eyes open and paying attention to the wind.
yeah, we definetely gotta do what works for us. Ive never considered it for deer so thought Id try this year to no avail... nothing, just silence and several times I botched the call so I figured I was making things worse and gave up. I think I could learn the sounds better but with no experience I dont know how long to call for, frequency of calls and when to use a doe bleat vs a buck grunt and everything in between.
 
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Koda
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My plan for next year is to spend even more time scouting. I relied heavily on trail cameras and observations while hiking this year. Need to spend a lot more time glassing next year, trying to learn patterns of movement better. And I need the weather to be better. I am gonna get a better scope so I have better visibility in low light. I need to get in better shape, and get more time and practice just sitting still. I am contemplating leaving my phone in my truck next year. I hunt in places without signal and it's too easy to play a game on it to pass the time.
I upped my game this year and hunted every weekend but still got skunked. I found this newest spot 2 seasons ago and scouted more this summer learning the game trails and how to move around silently on them in the heavy timber stand behind a popular clearcut. I put a new scope on my lever gun over the off season and can tell you the light gathering in these dark woods is so worth it, my old scope was an old Bushnell Scopechief from the 80s era.
 
I put a new scope on my lever gun over the off season and can tell you the light gathering in these dark woods is so worth it, my old scope was an old Bushnell Scopechief from the 80s era.
No scope is what kept me from a big buck this year, but I checked one off of the "Bucket List" when I shot a little buck with the first rifle I'd ever hunted with, an old Winchester 1894 that's been in the family longer than I have. Even a crappy scope would have provided the light to take a very nice buck. I was pissin and moanin because I missed the opportunity on what would have been the my best ever buck, but I saw that task through to the end and got a great amount of satisfaction when I sealed the deal.
Won't be dealing with that handicap next year.:D


Unless it's raining and I'm walking around, then the ol thuty-thuty will get called back into action. (see avatar)
 

Grizzly_A

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Good information, and all of it is true in certain habitats and circumstances. I have all 3 of the mentioned books. I would focus on the one by Scott Haugen. LOTS of really good information. The other 2 books are OK, but not fantastic. They were written in a different era where land and timber management was a little different. Not all of it applies, but there were a couple good tidbits.

You want to have a great hunting spot? Clear an area and plant 3-4 apple trees of variety that ripen and mature early-mid-late out in the woods, or find old/abandoned orchards/fruit trees. Spend 3 years getting them established and then let them go wild. Then put up trail cameras near them. You'll see the deer and other wildlife that are in the area, and you've established a food source for them. You want more work? Plant a foodplot around the area with perennials that are native to the area. Most of the food plot seed isn't meant for the NW, or for more than a season.

Deer love fruit, roses, tulips, clover, etc. Like @bbbass mentioned Buy 10 acres, plant fruit trees and wait for the deer to come.

There is no recipe for Blacktail, there are only recommendations. Go find thick cover and push through it. Go out in the rain. Get a partner to hunt push for you while you look down from above. Keep the wind in your face. Coastal blacktail can be some of the most difficult to pursue if you're not sitting on a cut or waiting for the town buck to walk into huntable land. Move less, look more. Crouch/bend over more, and get to the height of the deer. I'm tall and have to look at an angle into brush. When I am kneeling/crouching/lowering my profile, I can look through brush at the same height the deer are at. I find this to be very effective for me.

Rattling works during pre-rut, but you can't be too aggressive. Calling can work during the rut or pre-rut but I don't use them 99% of the time. Most of the calls are also tailored for whitetail, and they sound wrong to me.

Don't spend time in areas of low/unproductive terrain. Spend more time in productive/active areas, this is found by activity, sign, etc. There's a LOT of terrain that I would LOVE to hunt and shoot a deer in...the deer however have a different idea. So I have to go find the terrain that the deer want to be in. Just cause your spot from 10 years ago used to be successful, other factors might have impacted the area and it just isn't going to be productive anymore. (of course there are exceptions and lots of factors, just don't take it for granted)

If you see Columbian Blacktail pursued by a TV personality, it will likely be in California or Southern Oregon. The hunting and tactics are different.
 
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Regardless if you’re ambush hunting or stalking, scout the area weeks before the hunting season and study the satellite maps of the area so you’ll have a clue about the general area. Where there’s does, there’ll be a buck or two in the general vicinity.

Deer (blacktail) generally feed and water at night, then start heading uphill to the high ground to bed down (because it’s harder for predators to sneak up on them from below) in the wee early morning hours.

They (generally) do the opposite in the early evening hours.

The last time I went out (North of Timothy Lake) I bagged this guy (heading uphill) an hour into opening day (it was a STORMY MO-FO the night prior while sleeping in a small tent) while stalking down an old semi-overgrown logging road, then carried his 175-lbs field dressed carcass across my shoulders for a kilometer back to the Chevy Suburban.

For all that scouting, studying, and strategizing, it was STILL: “right time, right place”.
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I’m by no means an expert, but here’s my 2 cents.
- Start Scouting, never too early
- Late season is best, bucks are starting to rut and get more active (got mine Nov 4th and he walked right up to us following a doe)
- Even though late season is better, go as often as you can, the more you’re out, the better your odds.
- I’ve never tried calling or rattling, doesn’t seem worth the effort for blackmail.
-Have decent rain gear and get out there rain or shine.
-Pretty much like everyone else said, find the signs and hit that area consistently. I had a spot scouted and a nice three point in my game camera, after getting out there for three weeks and not seeing him, I went out on a Sunday at 3pm to recover my camera and try elsewhere. Well sure enough he was right there

Hope this helps, good luck!

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turq

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I came from a hunting family , in E. Oregon we once had 17 tags in camp and ended up with 15 hanging.
Blacktails are what I grew up ‘learning on’.
Strange here in this thread for me is two things;;;coastal(west of I-5) blacktals are hard to find due to vegatation.;; We didn’t hunt those.

Cascade foothills blacktails is where learned to hunt them, strange to me is that no one has mentioned the ‘technique’ of making a drive...
Takes 8 to make a good drive, and three drives a day was the norm. I was a driver before I could carry a rifle. Carried a sturdy stick to make my way and make noise. I remember riding in a Willys pickup with plywood canopy thru mud that to me was scary, then we were told where to travel downhill and not to sidehill. On one drive I remember I jumped a nice Forked horn from UNDER a 4’ fir
, down across the slope with about 2-4 foot angled daylight under it, I went under ;; buck went out and to the left. One of our drivers shot it.
On to the next pre selected drive site.
It was never dry.

Blacktails will go up then circle to get right back to where you jumped them.
Thanks for the re-memories.
 

Grizzly_A

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Agreed! Drives were something I started doing when I was younger but you don't see very much anymore. They are VERY EFFECTIVE but it takes a lot of people and some coordination. Usually my hunting party is much smaller, and you can do it with 5, but it depends on the terrain. There are less "family groups" out hunting (maybe my perception) and what is shown, discussed, and advertised is solo or partner hunting.

If you're a solo hunter and know there are other hunters who will be out beating the brush you can use that for your advantage.
 

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