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Preface: I suck at blacktail hunting, they have always been my hunting nemesis. But its been difficult finding partners to hunt controlled mule deer tags so I'm making it a project to solo hunt close to home on the off years I'm collecting points. For me this is specific to the north coast range because its close to home, Trask unit and northward and exclusively public lands only. I don't know of any hunting publication that's specific to north coast blacktail patterns but feel like the region is unique from other blacktail regions I've hunted due to the unique coastal terrain and vegetation. I don't have a high confidence I will fill my tag this year, but not for a lack of trying….

…..

Patterns: After scouting them all year I'm concluding a few things. North Coast Blacktail do not migrate unlike other blacktail regions. Blacktail live in very small areas more like spots, I estimate a blacktail spends its entire life inside a square mile. What this tells me is traditional "still hunting" spot and stalk techniques are less effective and blind or ambush tactics should be more effective. What still stumps me is knowing where in a spot I know has deer to stake out due to the thick brush (and changing winds). The problem is exacerbated where you have a good spot but the noise getting into it blows your cover…. Everything is "microsized" with coastal blacktail.

Food: I've tried to find what they eat but its not obvious enough. I've learned elk will devastate sword fern 'groves' but while that's another subject deer don't congregate in herds like elk do to make forage sign obvious. I don't know plant types but next time I'm out in a spot I know has deer I will try to remember to take photos. I've read that blacktail love trailing blackberries (which I do know what those look like), but forbes, salal, grasses lichens and shrooms are all dispersed randomly for me to say any deer uses a spot those grow in if I can even identify which ones they eat. In short, finding food or feeding areas still stump me.

Wind: this has been difficult to wrap my brain around… its easy to find out what the current prevailing wind is in the north coast range. Whats not easy is to learn how it swirls in all the draws you will be in. The coast range is endless small creek draws and ridges. I've read wind flows around terrain like water in a stream flows around rocks, but the endless draws and micro terrain features that makes up the north coast range makes predicting wind difficult in your exact spot with the slightest change in the prevailing wind affecting the patterns in the smaller terrain features. I think the only thing I can do is rely on windcheck powder and constantly change course to get to my hunting spots. The problem with that is the brush doesn't always allow you to go around. Getting "boxed in" off trail is a constant battle.


I'm not certain north coast hunting is popular enough to generate much discussion on this, but if anyone's out there that has experience what are any tips and strategies to add to this?
 
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They’re nocturnal (obviously), and like to water in the early morning pre-twilight hours (which means lower elevations were the water collects) before they head up to higher ground to bed down.

Blacktail deer are the ninjas of the forest, and Jim Shockey (renowned big game hunter) said Blacktail are the most difficult animal in the world to hunt.
 
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They’re nocturnal (obviously), and like to water in the early morning pre-twilight hours (which means lower elevations were the water collects) before they head up to higher ground to bed down.

Blacktail deer are the ninjas of the forest, and Jim Shockey (renowned big game hunter) said Blacktail are the most difficult animal in the world to hunt.
I think they only go full nocturnal if their patterns are disrupted enough like in hunting season. They certainly get around at night though, my trailcams have captured them all hours but one of my spots the deer all disappeared during hunting season last year but my cameras captured hunters tho.

Ive heard them called the grey ghosts of the forest and its true. I agree they are the hardest species to hunt, its why there are no professional sponsored hunters publishing stories of hunts on them here in the PNW. Ive never found any anyways.
 
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I put out salt licks, they seem to use these alot during spring and early summer and still revisit come hunting season. I spend most of my time hunting clear cuts. I'm no expert by any means but I've done well over the years. Also if you can score some private property that definitely helps!
 
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Blacktail hunting is easy, they travel to water and bedding each day. I’ve killed many of them from a tree stand with rifle and bow. Find their trails, setup off a ways 15-20’ up and don’t pee or poop or spit chew within 1/4 mile . Using salt or any bait is illegal and unethical. Many times I could’ve kill a nice buck by dropping a anvil on them. Very predictable travel areas if you get out of the truck and walk verifying trails across roads. Hunting the guzzlers is not productive when dry years focus their movements. Predator action is high around these 24x7.
 
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Does that make it not illegal or not unethical? I suppose you could make the argument that if everyone does it, it must not be illegal or unethical, but I don't think it works that way....
To each there own. Some follow every single law to the t. Some don’t. Some laws don’t matter as no one follows them. Some aren’t enforced because no one follows them. Some think that baiting is ethical for some animals, but not others, because science maybe :confused:. Hell some think it’s perfectly ethical and humane to kill large quantities of small animals for nothing other than their enjoyment (insert compilation of excuses why it’s ok shortly after this post, likely something about how it’s legal)
 
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Does that make it not illegal or not unethical? I suppose you could make the argument that if everyone does it, it must not be illegal or unethical, but I don't think it works that way....
Unethical is in the eye of the beholder, but I'm pretty sure it's not illegal to bait deer and elk in Oregon. Personally, I don't find it unethical, but I detest sitting in a treestand. I'd rather be golfing.

Baiting bears in Oregon, definitely illegal.
 
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To each there own. Some follow every single law to the t. Some don’t. Some laws don’t matter as no one follows them. Some aren’t enforced because no one follows them. Some think that baiting is ethical for some animals, but not others, because science maybe :confused:. Hell some think it’s perfectly ethical and humane to kill large quantities of small animals for nothing other than their enjoyment (insert compilation of excuses why it’s ok shortly after this post, likely something about how it’s legal)
Regardless of if it is an unenforced law does not make something any less illegal. Many, like myself, hunt for the sporting and the meat is a happy, yet to be seen, benefit.
 
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Regardless of if it is an unenforced law does not make something any less illegal. Many, like myself, hunt for the sporting and the meat is a happy, yet to be seen, benefit.
If there is an unenforced law on the books prohibiting baiting deer and elk in Oregon, please provide evidence of it. Every year I hang a treestand over bait for my now 75 year-old buddy to sit in with his bow, and there are always apples placed on the ground below. I've tracked and retrieved his bucks for him two of the past three years.
 
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Regardless of if it is an unenforced law does not make something any less illegal. Many, like myself, hunt for the sporting and the meat is a happy, yet to be seen, benefit.
So that’s you in the right lane going 50! ;)

Not trying to argue, just pointing out that much of the PNW uses those salt licks. They sell out every single year and the stores bring in pallets of them. Been on the ODFW book for a bit trying to find anything about baiting deer. So far nothing.

Maybe they are nature conservatives. Placing the salt lick for the animals nutritional needs!
 
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So that’s you in the right lane going 50! ;)

Not trying to argue, just pointing out that much of the PNW uses those salt licks. They sell out every single year and the stores bring in pallets of them. Been on the ODFW book for a bit trying to find anything about baiting deer. So far nothing.

Maybe they are nature conservatives. Placing the salt lick for the animals nutritional needs!
LOL, actually, after getting my 5.7L tundra, it totally is :s0023:
 
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Blacktail hunting is easy, they travel to water and bedding each day. I’ve killed many of them from a tree stand with rifle and bow. Find their trails, setup off a ways 15-20’ up and don’t pee or poop or spit chew within 1/4 mile . Using salt or any bait is illegal and unethical. Many times I could’ve kill a nice buck by dropping a anvil on them. Very predictable travel areas if you get out of the truck and walk verifying trails across roads. Hunting the guzzlers is not productive when dry years focus their movements. Predator action is high around these 24x7.
Easier said than done but i will continue to work on this. What ive found off trail is their trails vanish randomly. They dont have to go far between bed and water sources so i suspect they use different trails to get there.
 
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A tree stand and salt licks are your friend. Don’t go to them. Get them to come to you.

Note: Don’t fall asleep in tree stand!
Because im limited to public lands ive always avoided the expense of tree stands. I do scout uphill vantage points and have a couple marked on my map. A future project i might lash some fallen branches into a ground blind but havnt yet proven a sucessful spot. Next summer project....
 
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Because im limited to public lands ive always avoided the expense of tree stands. I do scout uphill vantage points and have a couple marked on my map. A future project i might lash some fallen branches into a ground blind but havnt yet proven a sucessful spot. Next summer project....
Doesn’t have to be a fancy tree stand. Just comfortable and safe. Maybe not too comfortable. I’ve built my own out of left over pallets and random pieces of wood from the forest.
 
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Doesn’t have to be a fancy tree stand. Just comfortable and safe. Maybe not too comfortable. I’ve built my own out of left over pallets and random pieces of wood from the forest.
I wont have time to build one this year, it would have to be a summer project it seems. One thing i dont like about tree stands is not just the legality of it but i mainly dont want to encourage others to hunt my spots. I know where a couple are and I purposely dont hunt there so whoever uses them has their spot but my guess is probably most hunters wouldnt do that. The spots ive scouted id prefer to leave them uninviting....
 

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