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Blacktail!

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Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 09 27, 2020 •  [Post 1]

It’s getting close! Anyone else going and excited? I went very “un-trad” this year, compound hunting elk and rifle deer tag, and glad I did this year how everything went down. Can’t wait to go cover some ground and spend time behind the glass. I got a new rifle too, a savage ultralite (with the proof barrel) in 6.5cm with a 4-12 leupold.

Season dates are epic and I’m excited. Got some of the new vortex UHD in 10X too... some new toys, only way I could keep my sanity working long days every single day all summer with zero recreation... fall is finally here and I laid myself off day before bow season :D
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 09 28, 2020 •  [Post 2]

Blacktail hunting something I dream about. Those last 2-3 days of October, especially if there is a big fall storm rolling in. I live close to a few very good blacktail spots, so I wait until the conditions are prime and head out. Nothing like glassing a clearcut edge thinking you're being sneaky and see that white face staring at you from 200 yards away.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby wawhitey » 09 28, 2020 •  [Post 3]

Roosie, pm sent in regards to the ultralite
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 09 28, 2020 •  [Post 4]

7mmfan wrote:Blacktail hunting something I dream about. Those last 2-3 days of October, especially if there is a big fall storm rolling in. I live close to a few very good blacktail spots, so I wait until the conditions are prime and head out. Nothing like glassing a clearcut edge thinking you're being sneaky and see that white face staring at you from 200 yards away.

that white face is an iconic hunting scene, and one i crave as much as any.... toss up between that and a black horned bull walking through chest high ferns..... looking forward to that white face and dark red shiny rack, looking at me thinking he is invisible to me. it's tough to have that type of encounter with a mature blacktail that doesn't see you first... luckily they have faith in their camo, but man they are impressive in their situational awareness.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 09 30, 2020 •  [Post 5]

I purchased a "Blacktail rifle" tag too. I am not sure where I will hunt, but thinking of going out into the foothills of the Cascades. I have not hunted there for years, so it will be an all new experience.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 01, 2020 •  [Post 6]

Yep ;). Drew the multi-season deer tag this year so will start this weekend looking for a plump black tail to invite home for dinner. Smoke pole ends on 4 OCT (will get out once, maybe twice) to re-stock the apple site, check the cam, and take the 50 cal for a walk. Early modern starts on 17 OCT, runs thru 1 NOV (will get out a few times, more towards the end of OCT); late modern is 19-22 NOV. And the "late" archery and smoke pole seasons all start on 25 NOV if necessary. Really love hunting these grey ghosts of the NW.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 01, 2020 •  [Post 7]

I'm excited about the 1 day extension to Nov 1 this year. It's only 1 day, but I can tell you from experience that that one day that time of year can make an ENORMOUS difference. A few years ago I killed a buck on Halloween day. It was a nasty windy rainy day and the bucks were out. Saw the biggest blacktail buck I've ever seen that day, 2 minutes after I dropped his decoy buck :lol: well played sir. Well played. Anyhow, the following day I went back in to retrieve my bike trailer which blew a tube and I had no replacement. On the 5 mile ride in, I ran into no less that 5 bucks crossing the road. Late morning, decent weather. I made a pass through some of the cuts I liked to hunt and glassed them and there were deer everywhere. It was like the switch had been flipped and everyone was out to play. That was Nov 1. It would have been an epic day to be hunting.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 01, 2020 •  [Post 8]

Gonna “try” to break in my smoke pole on a black tail this year, no promises tho. Nothing quite like that last few days (running thru 1 NOV this year) of modern for the ghost bucks.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 03, 2020 •  [Post 9]

WapitiTalk1 wrote:Yep ;). Drew the multi-season deer tag this year so will start this weekend looking for a plump black tail to invite home for dinner. Smoke pole ends on 4 OCT (will get out once, maybe twice) to re-stock the apple site, check the cam, and take the 50 cal for a walk. Early modern starts on 17 OCT, runs thru 1 NOV (will get out a few times, more towards the end of OCT); late modern is 19-22 NOV. And the "late" archery and smoke pole seasons all start on 25 NOV if necessary. Really love hunting these grey ghosts of the NW.

i'm jealous!!!early modern could be good too... especially pending weather.... i love the 18th on (something about either side of the 20th i have seen most REALLY big bucks i have seen, often at times they "shouldn't" be out.... like 10AM-1pm)

i can't wait, it started today but i was working.... plenty of days coming up, and the best days are ahead.... would like to see my wife get one early, if work gets done early enough, we'll start tomorrow evening. i have a friend i have been working with since last summer that moved here from Wyoming (retired sheriff deputy) and i want to get him on his first blacktail too.... really good dude, and covering miles won't be an issue for him.... he's killed lots of stuff, just not a blacktail. of course plan on watching my sis in law kill one too.... i think she's 8 for 9 since she begun, and i have seen 6 of them tipped over (and of course packed them all out :lol: )

should be fun!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Lefty » 10 10, 2020 •  [Post 10]

Swede wrote:I purchased a "Blacktail rifle" tag too. I am not sure where I will hunt, but thinking of going out into the foothills of the Cascades. I have not hunted there for years, so it will be an all new experience.

Washington?
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 11, 2020 •  [Post 11]

Lefty wrote:
Swede wrote:I purchased a "Blacktail rifle" tag too. I am not sure where I will hunt, but thinking of going out into the foothills of the Cascades. I have not hunted there for years, so it will be an all new experience.

Washington?


Pretty sure he’s talking the Oregon cascade foothills.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 11, 2020 •  [Post 12]

i have been stalling out a bit, trying to make it deeper into the season, it goes until Nov 6 this year and i don't want to get into that early season pattern of not seeing any good bucks, find 7 or 8 forkies, then kill the first 3pt i see, haha.... this season has potential! i just killed the last salmon i could on my home river yesterday, with pending rain, i figured i would get rid of that option, and catch that last one in tidewater, brand new from the ocean..... now i'm starting in on getting serious about deer.... at least covering country daily looking at sign. my buddy i work with has his Oregon residence, so he's hunting this year, and we went this morning.... mainly a scouting walk avoiding the weekend warriors, but we did glass a few deer.... no bucks though.

i did that crazy thing that people just don't do (at least sane people) in the name of curiosity i sold my 10x42 SLC's (keeping my 8x30's though.... especially since my wife stole them :D ) and bought a pair of 10x42 razor UHD's..... so far i'm liking them a lot, but am looking forward to having them on the tripod more here soon. i'm in the early stages of plotting on the new swaro NL pures though, but that won't be this year.... may start playing the lottery soon though, so it's easier to pitch to the wife

with all of the rain we have here this time of year, i decided to keep my seek outside peregrine too, and make it my dedicated blacktail pack.... i like my EXO 3500 more, it's just more comfortable in hunt mode, but the waterproofness of the seek outside gives it value... and i already own it :D

deer hunting is the hardest on packs for me, just from rifle abrasion, so i'll keep my EXO for everything but blacktail hunting.... with a heavy load (packed out bulls with both this year) they are both really nice, but the EXO is just a comfy pack when in hunt mode.... nothing tops it there
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 11, 2020 •  [Post 13]

Boy today was a blacktail kind of day. If it was the last week of October, I'd have been like an 8 year old on Christmas.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 12, 2020 •  [Post 14]

The only thing wrong last night right on the coast was the wind.... it was ripping! I chose a hunt last night with no protection from the wind... found a heavy buck track that was within a couple hours, but couldn’t turn him up... it was pouring rain straight sideways, couldn’t even see into the wind... just brutal... good test for my rain gear though haha

This morning has potential! I wanted to go back where I was but I’m saving that spot for my wife, I missed a really good buck there last year with my bow, and I’m guessing that was his track... good spot for my wife.

This morning I’m checking some country that starts about 3 miles in, and a lot of it is uphill... good place to kill a good buck, and this drainage has produced the biggest bodied bucks I have seen, as well as some impressive headgear... I think that’s directly related to pressure, people don’t like going in there
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 19, 2020 •  [Post 15]

Activity is picking up last 2 days. Wife killed her second buck this morning. Short story in the meat pole thread
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 22, 2020 •  [Post 16]

Walked in to one of my BT spots on TUE evening to check a game cam and drop a few pounds of apples. Good (great) news is that the pre-rut seems to be in full swing as I came across this brand spanking new fresh rub (wasn't there the previous SUN when I was in there replenishing an apple/pear bait spot).

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1/2 mile farther up the sidehill, I dropped a few pounds of apples, quickly changed out the game cam card, and retreated to a one man ground blind I had set up around 200 yards below the bait spot. The "snacking" spot is just off the edge of a cut, on a small false ridge, just up off a travel ravine/trail that gets pretty good BT travel throughout the year. The good news is that the cam pics provided a few does snacking on apples and a few raggedly little bucks. The keeper bucks will soon follow. The bad news is that this pesky turd is back again stealing my deer bait :(

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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Tigger » 10 22, 2020 •  [Post 17]

Do you have, or can you acquire, a pesky bear tag?
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 22, 2020 •  [Post 18]

Tigger wrote:Do you have, or can you acquire, a pesky bear tag?


Ya, I have a bear tag and the season is open (I get the package deal, elk-deer-bear every year in WA). Thing is, I haven't hunted bear in geesh, 35+ years?, not since I lived in Montana. Wasn't a fan of the meat way back then but hey, who knows? OK, new thread time ;).
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 22, 2020 •  [Post 19]

Glad to hear it’s picked up! Same here, I am getting more irritable and anxious S the season gets deeper... cannot get time in the dang woods! Today was only my second morning I hunted by myself, and getting a few short pm hunts. If next week is full of work I’m laying myself off again, haha

It’s getting better here too... next day after my wife got hers, saw another forky that even grunted once. This morning I had a nice 3 point chase a doe by me, and he meant business! Pretty cool to see. He was right on the edge of what I am currently willing to shoot, and he wouldn’t hold still long enough to really look at him. I could have shot him for about a minute, but I didn’t want to make the call that fast... if the season gets short, I know where he lives :D

Fun morning, saw 4 other does together, made an 11 mile loop. I need more of these days so I don’t turn into a menace to society ;)
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 22, 2020 •  [Post 20]

That’s a dang nice bear too! It will eat great... best roasts, and canned... you will hunt them every year if you can some... canned bear meat is one of my favorite meat, and you can easily do so much with it... from simple sandwiches to enchiladas, etc

Not a fan of bear steak, but roasts or canned.... tough to beat!!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 22, 2020 •  [Post 21]

Roosiebull wrote:That’s a dang nice bear too! It will eat great... best roasts, and canned... you will hunt them every year if you can some... canned bear meat is one of my favorite meat, and you can easily do so much with it... from simple sandwiches to enchiladas, etc

Not a fan of bear steak, but roasts or canned.... tough to beat!!


Ya, will play it by ear. Won't pull the trigger (literally) on a bear unless he absolutely won't leave me or my deer hunt alone.... I've gotta put a deer down first and foremost :D. I think the bear season goes thru 15 NOV. Maybe get a deer down in the next week or so and then....set my mind on that chunky bar'.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 22, 2020 •  [Post 22]

if he's out there when you are, just figure he just ate the last good buck in the area right before you got there (because you didn't give him enough apples, and a bears' gotta eat :D ) and consider that spot ruined..... whatever you have to do to justify shooting that bear! he's a pretty good boar, and a pretty one to boot.... and boars have a good deal of meat on them (150-175lb carcass on a bear like that gutted, skinned, no head, no paws) it's the only way to save Washington's blacktail herd!

in all seriousness, good luck on that buck, it's getting good, the weather is epic, bucks got active really quick and it should only get better. these cold mornings make bucks crazy, and this time of year they may be in cuts late into the morning (don't overlook spots in open sun, all bets are off from here on) my last 2 bucks were 11-noon, high sun, in cuts... i have seen massive bucks moving in the high sun this time of year a lot, where common knowledge says they will never be.

i'm wondering if they have evolved through the years to be out in the open when all of the hunters are back home for the mornings.... if you think about it, they don't get much pressure by hunters between 11-2.... hunters know they aren't out during those hours 8-)
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 24, 2020 •  [Post 23]

We had an offshore trip yesterday, but I threw my hunting gear in my pickup in case we got the job done early... we did, and I was walking in at 4, just starting to rain.

I was going to an area that I told myself last year “this is where I’m killing it buck” have not been in there yet for a few reasons, I need to be solo, and I need a morning.

Yesterday was a recon mission. I got in there and stayed low, and got into the deer zone, and cut the track I was looking for... this area holds giant body deer, and there is one here... the track looks more like a calf elk track than a deer... fresh track all over.

I made it down into the feeding area, sign was good, and I snuck out to a vantage, and 2 does hopped out of their beds... crap! After that, between the low viz and rain, I snuck out, looped around the top to map out my strategy for next time. I got to where I could see my vantage points, and looked down to see a doe 50yds below me... she didn’t see me, so I ducked down. She pawed at the ground, and laid down, so I snuck out of there, I saw what I needed to and it was a success.

Now I’m pumped, that spot is why I didn’t shoot that buck the other day, now I’m glad I didn’t... this is what I love about rifle deer hunting, finding that sign that excites me, then making a strategy, then hunt there... finally found that hole in the wall, and there is a huge buck in there.

No clue what his head gear will look like, but it doesn’t matter, he is a moose of a deer, and will be an impressive animal to see in the flesh...

We have killed 3 bucks in this area over the years, and those 3 have had bodies that are huge, never seen any deer close, and now there is another!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Tigger » 10 24, 2020 •  [Post 24]

uh, maybe it is a calf elk? :o :lol:
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 24, 2020 •  [Post 25]

Good luck, hope you get him. I hunted this morning. I expected good movement after our crapoy cold day yesterday and last night but nothing was moving. Found some good sign, but not as much as I expected. Hope to get a couple evenings in this week and then hit it hard Sat/Sun.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 24, 2020 •  [Post 26]

yeah, it was weird bucks weren't moving this morning! by the sign, it looks like bucks were on their feet as soon as the rain quit, but were not at daylight. i would have bet good money i could have glassed up at least one forky or bigger buck this morning... no dice. found 4 does (2 singles and a doe/yearling) but not a buck. i think today would have been a good day to get in the woods around noon and hunt the remainder of the day.... i had to cut up my wife's buck, so i couldn't.

saw some sign that had me thinking i was about to glass a buck any time.... just didn't happen. i think the weather broke too early, and they caused chaos early then were napping while we were out looking....

i need to figure out a way to get out of work monday! if i can get off work, i think it will be a long morning :D

the bucks in this drainage (not every one, but the dominant ones) are a good 30-40lbs bigger than any bucks i have seen anywhere, they are just big heavy deer, and they leave crazy impressive tracks...... i love the mystery of seeing those impressive tracks, makes me really want to see what he is. there are some big antlers in the area too.... i'm extremely one track minded now.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 26, 2020 •  [Post 27]

Hit one of my spots yesterday afternoon and stayed till dark in my one man blind. Weird afternoon for sure. Saw two groups of does up and moving on the way in (two in one group, three in another)… around 4:30ish in the afternoon (up and about early for whatever reason). Group inside the tree line had a buck of some sort above them as he blew/snorted at one point. Sat on the edge of the old gated road (yah, busted in the open..) a bit watching them a while till they moved off. Sat my spot till dark and only had one lone doe swing by the apple/mineral block spot (if you look at the dead stump framed in the BOG rifle bipod, the bait/mineral blocks are to the immediate right; cam is actually on the stump itself). I was thinking I’d have something with points cruise by; it’s a great little stand spot, with a few 200+ yard shots to edges of the top of a cut. Bedding areas are to the right and straight up on top of the cut. I’ll be back there later this week for sure. Yep, this is the infamous "bear" spot. He has not shown his ugly mug in the past week though.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Tigger » 10 26, 2020 •  [Post 28]

Dont know much about blacktails. How big is a nice blacktail buck? Do they go over 250-300# on the hoof? are they the ones with smaller antlers compared to their whitetail and mule deer cousins?
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 26, 2020 •  [Post 29]

Most blacktail would probably fall in line with an average whitetail as far as body size goes. Big ones definitely exist, especially in mountain environments. I remember a buck my dad killed when I was little. In fact it's the first deer I remember my Dad bringing home. Dad probably weighed about 175# and hanging on a pulley couldn't get more than the front shoulders of the buck off the garage floor. He had to hook it to the truck to hang it. That buck was in excess of 300 on the hoof for sure. In general, their antlers are a more compact version of mule deer antlers, forking the same way. They are prone to all kinds of antler configurations though. The vast majority are 2 points and 3 points. A nice 4 point blacktail is a true trophy, and probably one of the hardest big game animals in the US to kill. Here are some Blacktail images.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 30]

Tigger wrote:Dont know much about blacktails. How big is a nice blacktail buck? Do they go over 250-300# on the hoof? are they the ones with smaller antlers compared to their whitetail and mule deer cousins?

There are pockets of huge bodied bucks, but they are the exception on the coast. The canyon I’m hunting now has such bucks. I have never weighed one, but the really big ones here outweigh other mature bucks by a good amount, like legit 40-50lbs more. Again, on the coast, as far as antlers, a 120” buck is a dandy, and probably 50% of bucks will flat out not ever get that big.. I have killed and seen many killed in that 5.5yr old plus that aren’t 120”. Where they live and how they look makes up for everything else. Blacktail are by far the most beautiful deer (Sitka Blacktail are the prettiest period, especially in fall colors, and especially on POW)

They are an awesome and elusive critter, seeing a buck this time of year that’s 3.5yrs plus never gets old, and is as exciting now as it’s ever been.

I enjoy Blacktail hunting as much as anything. I would not want to choose deer or elk hunting, I would pick elk, but only because they have so much more meat on them, with a full freezer going into season it would be a tough choice, and I would probably go Blacktail hunting.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 31]

I have finally got some time to hunt, started Sunday afternoon, so I got to start “hunting” after work. I was walking in around 3:30 and the air was cold, but it’s a long uphill walk... about 3.5 miles mostly climbing the whole way... not bad but gets warm. I got up on top and could see my spur that was my vantage, there is another cut on my right, and it’s at the very top, the cut on the right looks good, but the top is a road that’s getting steady log truck traffic, and the bottom is a new cut from last year... not bordered by good cover.

I have the sun in my eyes, and catch something out of the corner of my eye, look up and see a doe standing on a little flat spot at the base of the ridge. It’s about 140-150yds. I focus in and see a second doe, then “oh crap!” Big buck!

They are looking at me but not muscled up, just looking. I unclip my rifle from my gun bearer, and slowly get my pack off and slowly got to the side and set my pack down. I turn my scope up to 6x and slowly settled in behind the rifle.

I drop my bipod and shooting slightly uphill it’s too tall, so I start wiggling the bipod to the opposite side of my pack until I get the rifle the right level (should have looked at where the bipod legs were sitting) I start getting comfortable and it’s still a tad high, I decide it’s good enough for this range and slowly take up slack in the trigger.

Last second I decide to move my left hand towards my armpit to raise the butt stock slightly, and as I do, the bipod legs fall off the front of my pack and the gun goes off.... “$#**!!!!”

I didn’t hear the bullet hit him, but I figured I still hit him being that close and seeing him in the scope the whole time, instead of getting up to see where he went, I stayed in the scope and racked another shell, and from my level, it looked like he turned and fell, but I didn’t know there was a big dip there and I didn’t see where he went, due to my level while prone.

Long story short, I missed him clean, looked the rest of the evening, followed his track for a ways through the cut, walked all over... no sign of a hit at all... dammit!!! Huge bummer, he was a stud, big tall heavy buck with a massive body... first hunt for that buck I get a perfect textbook opportunity, and screw up... stings!

Yesterday I came back, and ended up glassing up 11 deer in the same area, including another pretty nice buck... I probably won’t pass that deer again, nothing special but a nice average 3pt... after missing the big one, I don’t feel like I deserve another chance at a big one.

I will just play it by feel, I may still hold out hoping for another chance at the big one, or I may shoot the next buck I see and take a friend with me to hunt that deer... I had my chance.

Going back in here in a few... hopefully I have used up all of my stupid for the season
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Tigger » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 32]

Good luck Roosie! I want to see that buck, so go shoot him.

we were having a conversation while elk hunting about people that routinely harvest animals and people who seem to be good hunters but just don't shoot many critters. Those few moments leading up to the shot is what separates them. Although even the good ones (yourself included in that group) can make a mistake now and again, it is that time period where many people make mistakes. We have all goofed it up. Personally, I love that time. the decisions one makes come fast and furious and we never really think or discuss them too much. Here is an example:

I had been watching my bull this year for the last 10-12 minutes and for the last 6-8 minutes (all times are guesses), he was raking a bush at 12 yards. Well, destroying is a better word. But at only 12 yards from me, it was plennnny exciting. He was on the opposite side of the bush. My caller was behind me. Wind was good, but it is the mountains so who knew how long that would last. I was thinking he was going to come around my left side of the bush. Then I heard one of his cows, which were out of sight about 60 yards away to my right, start chirping. Immediately I knew what was gonna happen. I needed to get about 3-4 yards to my right so when he went towards his cows I might get a shot through all of the thick stuff. As he was looking to the cows, his one eye was still able to see me. My mind was screaming....go right....go right. You only need 2 steps.....go, go, GO! But I didn't go quite yet because he would have seen me instantly. Knowing he was going to go to the right and not moving just 2 steps to get into position was extremely hard. When he started walking, I started sliding slowly. He stopped in a small shooting lane at 34 yards and I had him for dinner the other night.

So many decisions and inputs in that encounter and every one was important. All of these factors were happening so fast. Backing up a few minutes we get into all of the decisions on setup and calling. But those are not quite as pressure packed and instantaneous as when you have him at 12 yards. I drew 3 times on him and had to let off twice. Try doing that at 12 yards. Reading his body language on what he was going to do was intense. Those pressure packed times are one of the allures to hunting for me. It is hard to describe to nonhunters, but it is the highest of natural highs for me.

And I can't miss an opportunity to zing one at Swede here. Tree stand hunting, due to not being able to move positions during crunch time, has far fewer inputs and decisions. Basically, you are left with "Should I shoot now or wait". That is why I love being on the ground for western hunts. But I will be in a tree in a week and a half waiting for a whitetail buck to walk on by while channeling my inner Swede!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 33]

Tigger wrote:And I can't miss an opportunity to zing one at Swede here. Tree stand hunting, due to not being able to move positions during crunch time, has far fewer inputs and decisions. Basically, you are left with "Should I shoot now or wait". That is why I love being on the ground for western hunts. But I will be in a tree in a week and a half waiting for a whitetail buck to walk on by while channeling my inner Swede!


What a knucklehead. Tree stands don't magically appear in just the right tree. With tree stand hunting you have to determine where you will need to be, even before the elk come around. You have to think ahead. The challenge of tree stand hunting is to set up based on the evidence on the ground. You get no second chance once things start to happen. You are right, or you go home empty. You do what you need to do in your stand or you go home empty.
Tree stand hunting exudes confidence. You know what you are doing,
or you are am imitation hunter.
8-) So take that. :lol:
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Tigger » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 34]

You are right in that tree stand hunting is for those with slower minds. I agree with you on that.

But my comments were about crunch time, not trying to select a stand site. Two completely different things. Selecting a stand in July when you have hours or days or even weeks is quite a bit different than should I take step to the right with a bull at 12 yards. :D

Oh, there is another decision when in a tree stand that I enjoy making. Should I eat my sandwich now or wait?
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 35]

I didn’t pass him today :)

I lucked out and he’s bigger than I thought too! Pics and story later... would not have passed him yesterday had I known he was as nice as he was... not the big giant buck, but one I would always be happy about. Yesterday I thought he was a 3.5yr old with good genetics... he’s a nice mature buck with not great genetics (certainly not bad though)

Long day! Long pack, and a heavy pack. My pack started at 38-40lbs this morning, and got a lot heavier
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 36]

Congrats Roosie. We will look forward to seeing the pictures.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 37]

Tigger wrote:Good luck Roosie! I want to see that buck, so go shoot him.

we were having a conversation while elk hunting about people that routinely harvest animals and people who seem to be good hunters but just don't shoot many critters. Those few moments leading up to the shot is what separates them. Although even the good ones (yourself included in that group) can make a mistake now and again, it is that time period where many people make mistakes. We have all goofed it up. Personally, I love that time. the decisions one makes come fast and furious and we never really think or discuss them too much. Here is an example:

I had been watching my bull this year for the last 10-12 minutes and for the last 6-8 minutes (all times are guesses), he was raking a bush at 12 yards. Well, destroying is a better word. But at only 12 yards from me, it was plennnny exciting. He was on the opposite side of the bush. My caller was behind me. Wind was good, but it is the mountains so who knew how long that would last. I was thinking he was going to come around my left side of the bush. Then I heard one of his cows, which were out of sight about 60 yards away to my right, start chirping. Immediately I knew what was gonna happen. I needed to get about 3-4 yards to my right so when he went towards his cows I might get a shot through all of the thick stuff. As he was looking to the cows, his one eye was still able to see me. My mind was screaming....go right....go right. You only need 2 steps.....go, go, GO! But I didn't go quite yet because he would have seen me instantly. Knowing he was going to go to the right and not moving just 2 steps to get into position was extremely hard. When he started walking, I started sliding slowly. He stopped in a small shooting lane at 34 yards and I had him for dinner the other night.

So many decisions and inputs in that encounter and every one was important. All of these factors were happening so fast. Backing up a few minutes we get into all of the decisions on setup and calling. But those are not quite as pressure packed and instantaneous as when you have him at 12 yards. I drew 3 times on him and had to let off twice. Try doing that at 12 yards. Reading his body language on what he was going to do was intense. Those pressure packed times are one of the allures to hunting for me. It is hard to describe to nonhunters, but it is the highest of natural highs for me.

And I can't miss an opportunity to zing one at Swede here. Tree stand hunting, due to not being able to move positions during crunch time, has far fewer inputs and decisions. Basically, you are left with "Should I shoot now or wait". That is why I love being on the ground for western hunts. But I will be in a tree in a week and a half waiting for a whitetail buck to walk on by while channeling my inner Swede!

Yep! I agree completely!

The other night was my first time missing a buck with a rifle, and it was a very in opportune time to do it, and a poor choice of deer to do it on :lol:

There were only a couple ways to mess that up, and I figured out one of them... super easy shot, should have just rested my rifle on my pack and shot him, but I dropped the bipod so it only made sense to use it right? Haha

Being a “closer” certainly separates those who are successful often and those that are well versed but not consistent as you pointed out, the downside to that for some folks is there is only one way to get better at that, and that’s killing critters.

I still have a lot of work there, but what I lack in ice water in my veins I make up for in being relentless... I get better when I mess up, I get a chip on my shoulder.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 38]

I think I have the ice water in my system, but no doubt it does not matter if you have checked out and gone home.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 27, 2020 •  [Post 39]

I had a solid plan this morning, go glass the side I first expected to see the big buck, then when the sun glare takes me out, I’ll walk the bottom out thinking the far side is where the big buck is spending time... couldn’t turn up a deer this morning! After sitting on the end a few minutes something catches my eye, only 60-70yds below me... it’s a buck, but just a forky. I watched him walk the whole ridge in front of me, then drop down to my left and take all of his frustrations of life out on some willow brush... I was hoping he would piss off a bigger buck, but it wasn’t happening.

I walk back out and plan to go glass the other side, where the action has been taking place. I peek off a couple spots but pretty much head straight to my good vantage and as soon as I walk out on this point there are two does feeding on the ridge top. The lead doe is looking my way but loses interest pretty quick and I sneak around the bushes in case something good happens.

I start glassing around and see another deer’s back, then a minute later I see just the buck’s head! He has his head up like he’s lip curling, for sure amped up. I’m now getting excited, as I see his antlers in the sun I decide I will indeed shoot him if I get the chance, he just needs to expose his body. These deer are about 175 yds and feeding to my side.. it’s gonna happen!

As luck would have it, they are in one of the spots exposed to the road and here comes a loaded log truck Jake braking down the hill! As the truck gets even with me, the deer go back over the other side... damn!

Shortly after 2 does come out of the bottom and up the next ridge, I range it and it’s 306 yds... I’m good with that, I have a good spot to shoot prone off my bipod... those 2 crest the ridge after awhile but took their time going up that ridge.

Now it’s a waiting game, the buck and 2 of the does are right over there, they will come out somewhere eventually.. be patient....

My patience started going away after about an hour, so I walk around to see if I can get a vantage into that draw, but how things were laid out, I couldn’t without taking a risk... I go back to the vantage and use another 45 minutes of patience then decide to go out on the big ridge where I can see... I walk back over, make it about 10ft and I see a doe hopping out 2 ridges over... wth???

I then see the other doe and buck, so I go running back up to cut them off. I make it to the spot I think I should be ahead of them and no deer.. I figured I over shot them so I worked back down to the next ridge and there they are! The buck is broadside, but I have nowhere to shoot from, so I drop my pack and crawl to the first stump I can get to. I get behind the gun and assess the range, looks a bit over 200, so I hold dead on and shoot.. I hear the bullet find it’s mark, he hunches up and takes a few steps... he gets in the open again so I shoot again since I can get a shot into him without any meat damage and I hear that one hit too... he staggered off and disappeared, looked like he fell!

I went around to the ridge they were on and quickly glassed him up... done deal!

I have a never used hawk crawler deer cart in my pickup that I was very tempted by, but I didn’t want to walk out the 4 miles then all the way back in, then back out so I sucked it up and quartered him up and loaded it up and made the heavy pack out. I’m happy, I had a chance at a pig, and still ended up with a good mature buck... a little luck and time off to create it!

My last 3 bucks have died between 11 and noon on nice sunny days, in the wide open sun, not tucked into the shade
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Tigger » 10 28, 2020 •  [Post 40]

NIce! Great hunt too. It sure is great to see the success that is the result of hard work and experience. It is kinda funny, and a bit sappy so I hope Swede doesn't take me to task for this, but I feel a little bit of pride when one of the regulars on WapititTalk is successful.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 28, 2020 •  [Post 41]

Excellent! Really nice BT buck Mike, a huge congrats to you mister!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 28, 2020 •  [Post 42]

That's a great blacktail, well done! I'll admit, your statement about killing your last three midday in the sun in the open is encouraging to me. I've never had success in the sun for blacktail. Midday yes, frequently, even more often than not, but not in the sun. Friday is showery here, but not windy. Saturday and Sunday will be warm and sunny. I'll pay extra attention this year.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 10 28, 2020 •  [Post 43]

Another great hunting story with a fine animal. Congrats.
P.S. I feel sorry for poor Tigger. He is so abused. :cry:
He reminds me of the nephew that runs after the cat with a stick. You keep an eye on him and holler when you see what he is up to. He then looks up at you and says, "what did I do?" Poor Tigger.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 10 28, 2020 •  [Post 44]

Besides being a good hunter, Tigger is sharp witted. I have been waiting all day for his retort, but it has been crickets here. Did you come down with the virus Tigger? I hope all is well. :D
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 28, 2020 •  [Post 45]

7mmfan wrote:That's a great blacktail, well done! I'll admit, your statement about killing your last three midday in the sun in the open is encouraging to me. I've never had success in the sun for blacktail. Midday yes, frequently, even more often than not, but not in the sun. Friday is showery here, but not windy. Saturday and Sunday will be warm and sunny. I'll pay extra attention this year.

I still like adverse weather in a perfect world, my absolute favorite weather for buck hunting is that unsettled weather, like NW wind, chilly, sun breaks and downpours (like thunder weather) that keeps them out well... I love cold rainy days too, as long as I can still glass... those nasty low cloud rainy days make bucks move, but that weather usually means reduced visibility, and though they are out, it’s touchy, they often get jumped and are off to the races.

I love frosty mornings, like the past couple, it usually means good glassing, and deer will want to be warmed by the sun for a bit before going to bed. I think it’s the contrast from September, but I love sitting in a good vantage over exciting sign and watching the morning happen... that’s what I enjoy most. Nasty weather is great for still hunting but I don’t like still hunting an area I have scouted and determined there is sign I want to hunt, it’s too intrusive... bad weather means swirling wind, and I don’t want to blow a buck out that I’m hunting... I like to glass, that’s why I rifle hunt them most years... I think it’s easier to kill a really big buck late bow season, but it’s just not as fun as picking apart country with my glass.

I didn’t focus on late morning ever, until I glasses up my 2017 buck at 10:30 bedded in a sunny cut... it gave me insight... then 2018 was even more surprising, common knowledge says that big sucker won’t be standing in the wide open in the sun at 11:30 feeding with a doe, but he was... now I’m as confident at 10am as any time, I have seen some of the biggest bucks I have ever seen between 10-noon around October 20, on bluebird days. The little details that can make a season... don’t lose confidence because the sun’s out! Big bucks move when people think they shouldn’t, maybe it’s an evolution due to lack of hunting pressure historically that time of day, guys aren’t out there tediously picking apart country at noon, they are out of the woods or getting out
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 28, 2020 •  [Post 46]

My last 2 sunshine bucks... these are both beasters, the smaller of the 2 is 4.5yr old, the other 6.5... for a 4.5 yr old, the smaller one is considerably bigger than any buck I have shot anywhere else, at just 4.5... both of these were between 11 and noon. I almost had another huge bodied buck this year, and he was out at 4pm in the middle of a cut in the blazing sun...

There is always so much to learn, I guess that’s why we are all so obsessed with the pursuit... hunting is something that cannot be mastered.... just when you think you know something, a new concept blows your beliefs out of the water... 4 yrs ago I would have never thought I would be confidently glassing country at noon in high sun... and certainly not finding any if I did... they just aren’t out then :D
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Tigger » 10 29, 2020 •  [Post 47]

Man I love those dark colored racks! Very pretty.

Swede, I definitely agree with your last post. :lol: :o 'bout time you came around!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 29, 2020 •  [Post 48]

Sunshine? Sitting in some till the crickets start up. Maybe a dumb buck will show up ;)

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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 29, 2020 •  [Post 49]

Definitely worse places you could be! I took the dog for a walk this afternoon in a new cut, in sight of a main paved road. 1 truck at the gate, no one in sight, must have went further in. Deer tracks all over the back end of the cut, in a little "cove" out of sight of the logging road. They know where they aren't likely to be seen. Keeping that one in my back pocket in case I get a couple free hours Saturday before trick or treating to go hunt.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 30, 2020 •  [Post 50]

i have found some gems of spots over the years in those spots that are way too obvious and nobody looks.... those little hidden spots in those obvious spots can be awesome. i think most just don't recognize it. i had a spot i hunted a few years where my vantage on top of the cut was overlooking a paved road.... there was a buffer of timber between the road and a big flat bench in the bottom of that cut, and also some nice finger ridges that couldn't be seen, it was a game rich spot! i had to walk about 2 miles in, pretty steep uphill to get there, and people weren't willing to do that for a cut tons of cars drive by daily.

i remember seeing 8 bucks in there one evening spring bear hunting... killed a huge bear there, a couple bucks, i got a guy in on his first 2 blacktail there, then pretty much handed it down to my sis in law, she liked it so i let her have it. she killed a nice 4 point buck in there, and a dandy archery roosie by herself... we deemed it the honey hole... great spot hidden in plain sight
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 31, 2020 •  [Post 51]

Welp, I can add my blacktail to the thread finally! Not the buck I was after, but it was a fun hunt and I have projects and honey do's stacking up at home that need attention.

I was hunting through a long series of clear cuts with a friend yesterday. This is an area I've found decent numbers of deer in the past, but seemed to be almost void of animals this year. Not sure why. As evening approached, I was losing confidence that we would see anything that day. While still hunting up the edge of a clear cut, I saw a doe get up about 100 yards out and move into the timber. I had a sense that she wasn’t alone, and I know that blacktail bucks will often stay put to let the threat walk by rather than exposing themselves. I decided that I was going to find that buck and shoot him.

Over the next 10-15 minutes, I moved ever so slowly. A couple of feet at a time. I’d spend the next full minute or two, glassing ahead near where the doe had been. Picking each stump, bush and tree apart looking for any sign of a deer. I took 2 more steps, pulled my binos up and started scanning again. Finally, I’d moved far enough to the right, and there he was. I could see his white face and ears partially screened behind a small fir tree, staring right at me. I could tell that he was a small buck, antlers sticking straight up in the air. Either a spike or forkie. I had told myself I wasn’t going to shoot a small buck as I had lots of meat in the freezer already, but this was a fun hunt, and it felt right. The only shot I had was at his neck, so I settled in and got my rifle on my shooting sticks. The buck’s confidence in his camouflage was his downfall, as he sat there and stared at me from 70 yards away. I took careful aim at his throat patch and squeezed through the trigger break for the third time this year. At the shot, he disappeared. I ripped out my ear plugs, and pulled up my binos, looking and listening for any sign of a fleeing animal. Silence was what I was greeted with. I took a straight-line course to where he had been and found him laying right where he’d been standing. The bullet had found its mark, slightly off, but lethal none the less.

We got him worked up, and I skinned him out so I could get the hide tanned. It was a nice walk out under a nearly full moon with heavy packs! Next year, hopefully I'll have a little more free time and patience to pass on this size buck, looking for the big ones I know lurk in the shadows in this area.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 10 31, 2020 •  [Post 52]

7mm that is a very good buck. Nothing to explain there. Congratulations.

Roosie, I agree with with your take on hidden spots. I think people would crack up laughing if they saw the spot I killed my last few elk. It is great as almost no one hunts there. Few even pass through it going somewhere else. It is a terrible location, except it has elk.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 10 31, 2020 •  [Post 53]

Nothing wrong with that buck mister and great shot! Had a darn buck playing patty cake last night with a couple of does. Wouldn't leave them once they entered the CC but wasn’t quite rutty enough to go into the open before dark. Just kept right inside the heavy brush/timberline; this game went on for 20 minutes. . I had one fleeting shot opp when he gave a rate open shot but it was too far. Trying same spot again today:tonite. Looking for a Halloween buck :-).
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 31, 2020 •  [Post 54]

Good luck RJ!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 10 31, 2020 •  [Post 55]

Definitely no issues with that buck. I was happy to take him. He is the smallest blacktail I've ever killed, and zero regrets. The hunt was awesome. Cat and mouse with a blacktail buck is always fun. Looking forward to those backstraps.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 10 31, 2020 •  [Post 56]

well done! sounds like a fun hunt, and classic blacktail hunt! post a pic when you get the hide done, that is something i have always wanted to have... a tanned blacktail hide, and a spike roosie bull (one of those really light ones with the red mane like only spikes get) a blacktail buck hide this time of year is beautiful. congrats on the buck
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 01, 2020 •  [Post 57]

Very odd/off early season in my few BT spots during the early modern WA BT season this year. Increased pressure? Lack of weather? Moon? Not sure. I’ll get out in the late (4 day season) a bit later in the month.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 11 01, 2020 •  [Post 58]

Dang! Late will be your tag filler. It was an odd year locally too, it was overall really slow but there were small spread out pockets of really good action... little zones that were happening. It took a lot of walking to even find a zone to focus on that had sign that interested me... I found a couple spots like that, but normally they all get looking good. We absolutely lacked weather, it’s coming this week.

If you have some good sign dialed in, that cold weather last week was great, but it wasn’t great weather to get them moving or find that zone.... just makes them visible in the daylight, they hang out until the sun hits them for a little bit.

Taking a buddy tomorrow, will be interesting to see if anything is moving early with that bright moon... I assume they will be bedding early or bedded, but bucks will still chase does around if that scenario is going on.

Looks like I’ll be in the woods all week, so I’m excited about that... rain coming soon, which will help verify sign and keep them moving

I think that bear messed up your spot... you need to shoot him before late season :D
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 11 02, 2020 •  [Post 59]

We had good activity here around the 20th, which is common. Usually though it really kicks into gear the last 3 days of the month. There was just no movement with full moon, sunny, 60 degrees. So it goes.

I got the hide fleshed out yesterday, nice and dry and wrapped up in the freezer until I can get it to a taxidermist. It's a small hide, so I'll probably have to do another one next time I kill a big buck. I have an elk hide from a bull I killed a few years ago that I love, but its HUGE. Way to big to do anything with in my house. Hoping to have a hide from every Washington big game animal, I'm halfway there with a Blacktail, color phase black bear, and a bull elk.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 11 02, 2020 •  [Post 60]

that's awesome, and a cool idea about a hide from each local critter... i may borrow that idea, haha. i still have the hide from the big tom lion i killed a couple years ago that i was gonna rug, but i don't know where i would put it, and i could buy a lot of hunting gear with that money :D tanning the hide and having the skull beetled sounds a lot cheaper and more practical.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Lefty » 11 02, 2020 •  [Post 61]

Ive been following this thread
WapitiTalk1 pictures remind me of where I hunted on the SE side of St Helen's right off the Reservation. I can even smell those stinky blacktail bucks
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 11 06, 2020 •  [Post 62]

Took the sis in law out for a last day buck and it worked out well!

I packed my buck out with my seek outside (that’s in transit to a new home) and packed this one out with my EXO... basically the same exact walk and distance (4.2 miles) and holy cow! The seek outside punished me, granted it was a little heavier but not much... today was cake with the EXO.... relatively of course

With my pack’s contents and her buck in there it was heavy, but packed really nice. Before the buck went in, the pack was about 36lbs with her rifle on it, so I imagine the load wasn’t too far off 100lbs, which is a lot for my skinny rear to haul, but it was nice to gain the appreciation for that pack after the same trip fresh on my mind with a different pack... it really is that good!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 11 06, 2020 •  [Post 63]

Another great buck Roosie. Congratulations to your sister in law and to you.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 07, 2020 •  [Post 64]

Beautiful BT buck Roosieull! Congrats to the shooter, the guide, and the pack horse ;)
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby 7mmfan » 11 07, 2020 •  [Post 65]

Great buck, congrats to the hunter! That's left packing 100# out. Heavy is heavy but the Exo does heavy very well.
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Roosiebull » 11 08, 2020 •  [Post 66]

one more tag we're trying to get filled this youth weekend, a family friend who is 16yrs old... my sis in law, her and myself walked just over 18 miles yesterday in search of mr blacktail, and i saw a hammer.... in town when i went home to grab a bite to eat.... huge 4x4

yesterday was perfect weather, and i decided to try a spot that looks good across canyon that i have been hunting.... lots of logging activity, and it looks like the loggers have thinned out the bucks on that side, we found 2 deer hides yesterday from those guys.... they aren't even allowed to have a firearm in possession working for that faorest management company, but obviously they do.... irritating, but it is what it is, now i know. we didn't see a single deer yesterday.... not one! i was pretty bummed! we came really, really close to getting that young lady a really good bear.... we needed a couple more seconds and he didn't give it to us. it was perfect too, 50-60yds away, and a really good bear.... would have been awesome.

found good buck sign at a spot on the end of our loop yesterday, but when we got there a cold front had pushed in and there was 25ish mph wind going right into that cut so we decided to save it for this morning.... i guess someone came in there behind us yesterday with a youth hunter and dumped one right in the road.... cool, but made our morning hunt a wash this morning.... i didn't want to drag them all over the place again after yesterday, so we left.... i'm taking her back out tonight for a grand finale, have a good plan, and am hoping we have some action.

yesterday was the worst day of action all season by far, and it was a bad day to have a worst day of action.... that young lady has earned an opportunity, hope we can create one this evening!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 20, 2020 •  [Post 67]

Out for the last few days of late modern Blacktail in WA. Passed up a forky yesterday, couldn’t do it, he was smaller than his mom ;). Still got late ML deer if modern doesn’t pan out (I have multi season deer). Did see a big herd of deer this morning on hike in to stand site but no bucks with them, really light colored don’t ya think? 8-)

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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Tigger » 11 20, 2020 •  [Post 68]

Should have dropped one of those suckers, they look like they have really big bodies and would fill the freezer! Even the co.......does look big!
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby WapitiTalk1 » 11 20, 2020 •  [Post 69]

Tigger wrote:Should have dropped one of those suckers, they look like they have really big bodies and would fill the freezer! Even the co.......does look big!


Ha, I’m not quite that hungry :lol:
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Re: Blacktail!

Postby Swede » 11 20, 2020 •  [Post 70]

In typical fashion they come out into the open right after the hunting season is over. I suspect the game department trains them to behave that way.
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