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Joined: 02/25/2007
Posts: 53
Big timber Blacktails

Most of the people I have talked to about blacktail seem to think that blacktail do not inhabit big timber and that the only place to hunt is near a clearcut. Even the ODFW seems to perpetuate this idea. I have even read articles that claim blacktail numbers are near zero in big timber.

Having grown up hunting both big timber and farm country whitetails, I definitely understand that big timber is more difficult to hunt because of the lack of visibility. I do not doubt that success rates are greater on timberlands because of this reason. But clearcuts are not a natural occurrence and high intensity fires that incinerate all trees were a very rare event in the blacktails range especially on the coast. So what's the story? Is it really the case that blacktails are few and far between in big timber? Or is it just that they are so much more difficult to hunt in big timber that most people avoid it?

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3200
Big timber Blacktails

Where are you from solohunter?

I've hunted deer in the timber and it's the old groth that seem's to be void of them. No underbrush to speak of. Seem's like they travel thru but that's about it.

I enjoyed hunting in the coast range year's ago but it's been a long time. And now it's a long drive.

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Joined: 02/25/2007
Posts: 53
Big timber Blacktails

I'm from MO, but have lived in OR for three years. My question stems from the fact that I've been lucky enough to fill my deer tags hunting the high country with my bow since my arrival. If possible I want to bag an elk in the wilderness and save my deer tag for the late season. which rules out my summer hunting areas. The only catch is that I want nothing to do with hunting clear cuts because of other hunters and the setting just doesn't do it for me. So the only place I can avoid other hunters and clearcuts are in the wilderness areas. Hence my question about big timber.

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3200
Big timber Blacktails

That makes sence to me. Trying to think where the Chetco unit is. Got a deal here somewhere. Are the Mo game reg's as,,,,hard to follow as Ore's? Ah down in the SW corner. I don't know what the hunting is like there but it's pretty country. Where are you in Ore?

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Joined: 02/25/2007
Posts: 53
Big timber Blacktails

I'm here in the Portland Metro. And NO the regs in MO are not near as complicated. However, the only big game are whitetails. And I would guess that less than 10% of land is public, so there is less need for complex regulations, as regulating hunter numbers through regs for various species isn't that big a deal.

I'm looking to hunt the early season in the Kalmiopsis this year. The Biscuit Fire was 5 years ago so the regrowth is prime for deer and elk, so I understand.

My affinity for wilderness hunting pretty much leaves me with no options for the late season deer bowhunt. Cry I just can't believe that there are so few deer in the old growth. It doesn't make sense, what about before clearcuts?

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Location: WASHINGTON
Joined: 05/18/2006
Posts: 34
Big timber Blacktails

i think the biggest reason people hunt clearcuts the most is thats where it's easiest to see them. they're still in the timber, just tougher to find, tougher terrain, further from roads, etc. get a mile from a road and eliminate 90% of the hunters...you know the rest.

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Joined: 02/25/2007
Posts: 53
Big timber Blacktails

echohill,

I suspect that you are 100% right on. I grew up hunting whitetails in the ozarks in Missouri. It's hardwood timber and hills as far as the eye can see. And let me tell you, these whitetails are nothing like the ones you see on TV in open farmland. The timber limits visibility, I suspect that same dynamic exist here in blacktail country, expect worse b/c of all the underbrush. I have the patience for stand hunting, so come late season I will be hunting the roadless, hunterless, big timber. After all, I am just looking for one deer to wander by.

Location: Western, WA
Joined: 10/01/2007
Posts: 69
timber hunting

I'm from Port Townsend/Sequim area of Washington. We run into the same problem up hear; 1000 hunters in a clearcut (figutivley speaking) haha. I try and hunt the old growth timber but... the under growth is unreal, if you see one you have about half a second to shoot. I have seen some big bucks in clearcuts also. the trick to clearcuts is to find a closed gate and walk in. I know up here none of the older guys like to walk in the gates, they all hunter from vehicle or clearcuts thats also why I hit the timber. But it isnt always a bad thing in my experience to have a few hunters in a clearcut then you go about 1/4 mile down the road and hop in the timer and the "big" bucks won't go in the clearing if there are hunters in it . and geuss what... if the arent in the clearings they are in the TIMBER. I wish the best of luck to you all and hope to hear back

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Location: PT,WA
Joined: 10/03/2007
Posts: 16
Big timber Blacktails

well the trick i got told with the under brush was to wait for a stormy day to hunt it well i only got two weeks out of the year and who knows if its going to be stormy. but i think blacktail hunter is right find a closed gate where people dont want to walk into and be the one that walks in and comes out with the big one.

Good luck to all
BIG BUCKER

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Location: Sandy, Oregon
Joined: 12/28/2007
Posts: 6
Big timber Blacktails

It's not that there aren't ANY deer in the big timber, it's that there usually isn't enough feed to sustain a healthy population.

Forest fires and logging will produce an explosion of fresh browse such as trailing blackberry, huckleberry, and elderberry, as well as grasses and small forbes which Blacktails find tasty.

Ideal habitat is a mixture of big timber, reprod, and fresh clearcuts. They'll bed in the big timber and use the clearcuts to feed. The reprod also produces feed as well as cover.

Large areas of big timber usually have only vine maple, rhododendron, and hemlock undergrowth which Blacktails very seldom feed on. In the fall there may be a crop of mushrooms which they're devour, but they only last a short period of time.

Clearcuts with open roads into them probably isn't the best place to find a mature buck. If and when they use the clearcut, it will be at night. I play with trailcams a lot, and you'd be amazed at the big bucks that only show up after dark, even during the rut!

I'm not talking out my sleeve here, been hunting Blacktails for 40 years. Still haven't figured them out!

Good luck!

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Location: Oregon Coast
Joined: 01/09/2008
Posts: 2
Big timber Blacktails

Hey there TK - Yeah, you "play" with trailcams......just like a cat plays with a mouse. Thumbs up I have seen your stuff over on Dan's place. Awesome!

As far as there not being any BT's in the timber, well you just keep believing that - the less competition for me, the better Evil!

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