View Full Version : Tips on hunting Pacific Black Tails

July 31, 2009, 11:33 AM
Boy are they elusive or what. We hunt up in Northern California in deep woods and 5 years now in many different locations A.M. and P.M. in blinds we have never seen one. Does yes lots of them. But no Bucks.Any idea on hunting them?Lots of info on Whittails out there

July 31, 2009, 01:39 PM
Most of the blacktail I've got have been does and young bucks. Big bucks are very difficult.
Spend time getting to know the area you're hunting in. imho hunting blacktail is better done stalking than sitting. Well a combination of the two.
Early in the season you'll see bucks at dawn and dusk, sometimes in groups. But by the end of the season the bucks will be mostly nocturnal.
Blacktail don't seem to have the same set pattern of movement and feeding as their East side cousins. So the deer you see today might have moved to some other area by tomorrow.

If you sit in your blind the odds are that eventually you'll see a buck at some point. But it might not be this season or the next.
If the area is relatively open and you know where the deer like to spend the day, then get close, use your binoculars to eyeball every inch of the area till you see antlers. If you don't see any, you probably missed them.
Clear cuts around power lines are good for this.

Blacktail like bad weather. They seem to move around more during the day if it's wet and nasty. That's the best time to set up above the feeding area you scouted out before the season.
As you know get there before first light and don't leave till its dark.

I have to admit that I haven't hunted blacktail for over twenty years. My hunting was limited to coastal Oregon and a one small part of Washington. Hopefully someone with more recent experience will chime in.

July 31, 2009, 02:24 PM
Blacktail like bad weather.

+1. I love hunting in bad weather. My theory is the dripping in the trees makes them more nervous and they come out more. The wet also keeps my scent down. I still hunt, trying to do more looking than walking.

July 31, 2009, 03:38 PM
My theory is the dripping in the trees makes them more nervous
I am of the opposite notion... I think the sights and sounds of the weather drowns out the sights and sounds that normally spook them. I also think it is tastier and easier eating wet grass than dry.
But they are just guesses.


July 31, 2009, 07:58 PM
the powerline I set up on is very mountainous but clearcut like a tunnel through the forest.I set up in dark and my field of fire is down hill at about 25 to 30 degree grade(just guessing here) The shot to the bottom before the powerline goes up is 170 yards or so.I find it to be difficult to gage my shot. 2 years ago a 250 lb or so Black bear saundered into the clearing at the bottom of the hollow and I put the cross hairs behind the shoulder and middle of his body and well... shot over the top of him.He then turned and calmly walked away not really giving me a good 2nd chance.Last year 2 ladies and their boyfriend (a 3 pointer) walked into the clearing and the girls were blocking my shot.I sat there looked over where my hunting partner was set up and we just had a laugh. Aint that the luck.Hey as you all know just getting out there away from "the world" and sitting in the woods is what it is all about.Lots of folks who dont hunt dont understand this. O well....But thanks for any replies with tips seems we are doing what "ya'll " are doin.My season here in KALI is October 16-21st. Hope it rains I'd like that.Good luck folks.

July 31, 2009, 08:36 PM
Billy, IIRC, At that angle down hill, your bullet drop compensation is very little so finite ranging is going to matter much less. Can you shoot there off season? If not can you locate a spot to replicate that angle to test various distance to verify my thought?

Fat White Boy
July 31, 2009, 10:35 PM
Go to Walnut Creek, over the hill from Oakland. My wife's aunt and uncle lived there at Leisure World. There were so many deer, that everyone put nets over their flowers to keep them from getting eaten. You will have to find out who owns the private land around the area, though, to get permission to hunt...I almost hit an 8 point buck with my car one night. For you non-Western hunters, an 8 point is on one side...16 points on both...

August 1, 2009, 12:51 AM
I have hunted deer in CA,MT,ID,NEV,WV,SC,MD,and NC.The hardest deer to kill is a mature Blacktail deer.They are never more than 15-20 yds from cover so thick you can't see 5' in.I have seen Blacktail deer that rival anything I have seen anywhere,most people just see forked horn and small 3 pointers and they usually still running with the girls or not to far.The mature bucks do not show up in the open during daylight hours period, not in areas where they are hunted.
CA F&G radio collard a young buck about 10 years ago(Buck #8)on piece of public ground in Mendocino Natl.Forest. Hunters walked by this buck for 7 years.Once a year the biologist would tune his collar in and find him still alive and often got pictures of him.He was a huge 30"+ 6X5 200lb Blacktail.That deer lived in a area less than 1/2 mile square his whole life,probably 100 hundred hunters walked right by him and never saw him.He died in his 8th winter.The biologist found his remains where he usually found him after the hunting season.
I used to hunt the Golden Ram Club properties and they have some of the best Blacktail ranches in the state worth the money.You will find the mature bucks on the top 10% of the highest ridges in the darkest timber.
They are pure Blacktail west of I-5 and Mulie/Blacktail cross east of I-5 Blacktails are a blue/gray color in fall,beautiful deer and the best venison of all American deer species.Hunt the trees,abandoned logging roads with spur roads are my favorite places to hunt,saddles that lead into the dark timber on a rainy day during the deer season.If it is raining I am out cruising the ridge lines still hunting.The blind thing works if you can set up on a hay field on private property which impossible in CA.

August 1, 2009, 08:31 AM
Good report. I have heard what you said about walking right past them and not seeing them. I have been told if one is walking a trail or logging road to turn around alot they will bolt after you pass them.Well the blind I set up is in a clearing that was a staging area for logging company once .About 2 football fields together in size.