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osagejake's picture
Location: springfield, oregon
Joined: 06/16/2007
Posts: 22
Blacktail deer that live in

Blacktail deer that live in the rainforests of Western Oregon and Washington are by far the most difficult deer in North America to hunt. After his first blacktail hunt in Oregon, Jim Zumbo claimed that if you transplanted any blacktail hunter with a moderate success in the whitetail woods, it would be a slaughter! Outdoor writer Bob Robb concurred after his experience at it, addding that any hunter that consistently takes blacktail deer is among the best hunters in the world.

I have hunted all three at some point, and have no qualms in saying that Blacktail hunting is the most challenging/difficult/rewarding deer hunting that this continent has to offer.

Location: Springfield, OR
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 40
I've hunted blacktails,

I've hunted blacktails, muleys and whitetails.  I tend to side with guys like jake, but that is probably because we both live in blacktail country and have seen how hard it is to consistently get good blacktail bucks.

There are some challenges to any deer hunting, but in some areas, it seems like shooting fish in a barrel to hunt whitetails.  I'm sure there are other whitetail areas that are much more difficult (I've hunted both kinds of places).

I'd say the area you hunt is one of the biggest factors.  I absolutely LOVE hunting muleys and pronghorns out on the prairie - I love the open country and the long shots - but most of all, I love seeing game.

In the typical habitat for Columbia blacktails, you see tracks and droppings, but often you don't even see a deer.  The vegetation is thick and nasty, and it's just plain tough to get through.  Some of the guys who are adopting whitetail strategies like treestands or baiting (or both) are finding out that will work.  Of course, how do you plant a food plot in the middle of thousands of acres of their food?  They have natural food everywhere!

As for the size of blacktails - no one would ever be impressed at the size of the antlers compared to big mule deer antlers.  But, once they come to understand the differences, they will be more impressed with a 150" blacktail rack than with a 180" mule deer rack.  And, when they realize just how few huge blacktails are taken, they will begin to value them more.

When you start narrowing down any type of deer into really "trophy class" deer - they all are hard to hunt, in one way or another.  The old, wise blacktail, however, has learned to burrow into the nastiest stuff around, and stay there until the middle of the night.  That's why you don't see very many of them - not even in pictures.  The exception to this of course, is the rut.  Then, even the big boys make some stupid mistakes.  But, don't get me wrong - they don't turn totally stupid during the rut.  They just have moments of stupidity.  Even during the rut, they're usually pretty sharp and wiley.

For you guys who said you want to come to Oregon to give it a try - come on, it's a blast!