Been Doing it Wrong....

MeatMissile

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Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Washington
I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure this out, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been wasting my time by hunting the way I have. I learned to hunt mule deer and whitetails on mostly private property in really open country. Then I moved to western WA and started hunting blacktails on timber company lands and state forest.

It’s been a challenge to say the least. I went from filling my tag every year on mulies and whitetails to shooting 3 smaller blacktails over the course of 7 years. I’ve spent most if my time glassing clearcuts and walking ATV trails that go through stands of timber between clearcuts. I just don’t see much.

I’m thinking about finding some areas such as the timber stands with ATV trails, with deer sign, and just sitting and watching the trails. More like what you see with whitetails in areas with timber.

Does anyone else hunt this way? I wonder if OTC estrus scents are effective on blacktails? I’ve heard rattling is effective?
 

Bubblehide

Senior Member
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
1,940
Blacktail deer in general like thick country. As such, sitting in the right places can be a very good way of hunting them, letting them expose themselves to you. However, finding the right places to sit can take time. In thick country you will not have a long time to shoot, as in general 1 to 3 steps and the deer is behind brush again. So scouting can often be essential.

Sitting one spot for a couple hours or so before moving to the next spot and doing the same is also a good strategy.

Best of luck!
 

Phillips0311

Newbie
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
1
Your not doing it wrong that does work but not always. What works for me is scouting in the summer and finding nice bucks that seem to be out in the day light. Come October they disappear but they are there. You just have to be at the right place at the right time. For a nice mature Blacktail the rut is your friend, just my thoughts on the matter.
 

TheGDog

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2020
Messages
1,478
Location
OC, CA
And don't be afraid to be a little bit of a "gardener" once you've found a promising spot. On scouting trips into there... take a sit on the spot you plan to sit on... then look about in your FOV and see if there are areas where you may need to do some pruning to open-up multiple shooting lanes.

And... take what you cut away and either add it to your built-up ground blind... or... another use is to strategically place it as a blocking obstacle to gently urge them to traverse thru that area in a way where it presents greater shot opportunity for you. Such as making them need to get up and out of the gullie at a strategic spot, so they can't just sneak thru down below in that gullie out of your FOV.

And when you're successful... make sure to hide that deer carcass in the thick brush before you leave.. you don't need to go leaving evidence around that keys in other hunters that here might be a good spot for them to hang out at.
 
OP
MeatMissile

MeatMissile

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Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Washington
There were a bunch of times where I busted deer out of beds and never got a chance to really see anything but their butt. Thanks for the pointers! I’ll be spending a lot more time out this year before the season. Hopefully I get the multi-season tag.
 

Jusgunn3

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
77
I have been at it for 6 years and I haven’t harvested one in California. Granted I only started hunting in the last 6 years, I feel I have been getting better and understanding these deer. Could have had one last year but hesitated ☹️. Now I have a few good spots just need to work on being a better hunter
 

Aginor

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
113
I have been at it for 6 years and I haven’t harvested one in California. Granted I only started hunting in the last 6 years, I feel I have been getting better and understanding these deer. Could have had one last year but hesitated . Now I have a few good spots just need to work on being a better hunter

They’re hard. Everything about their habitat is against you and conventional hunting methods aren’t as useful since their habitat provides food, water, and shelter in abundance. I mostly get lucky by finding mountain Meadows where I can actually see something ten feet away
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
79
Location
PNW
Blacktails are definitely hard! They don’t give you much feedback either, sometimes you spook a deer and there’s nothing but one twig snap and you never find out if it was actually a deer.
I learned about still hunting tactics from some of the big woods whitetail publications and that has helped me. I try to hunt the worst weather possible, preferably on a weekday. And I scout areas that allow you to walk quietly through potential habitat.
Before that I was just bumbling around with my fingers crossed.
 

TheGDog

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2020
Messages
1,478
Location
OC, CA
I have been at it for 6 years and I haven’t harvested one in California. Granted I only started hunting in the last 6 years, I feel I have been getting better and understanding these deer. Could have had one last year but hesitated ☹️. Now I have a few good spots just need to work on being a better hunter
It happens man. I have an area where I got lucky in 2015. And it was because I made sure to stay until last light. Then 2016, because of making sure to get in there in the black of morning, made it happen again. Then 2017 with bow! Missed the nicest one I've personally ever seen...twice!...then surprise standoff at 7yds holding the freeze. Then the next morning got some other young dumb one. 2018? They EFF'd me over in terms of accessing the place. 2019... got skunked but got a Bobcat. 2020... skunked again, but purposefully added several new locations into the rotation so they couldn't EFF me over again by denying me access at the last minute... got into a decent heard of 7. But only an immature male among them... and then at goto spot same deal last day saw another Bobcat, big one too. Can't touch em now. Pssh. So... been trying to hit up my goto spot and do sets for coyotes, figure see if I can help make the area less stressful for them. And the more ya go out there the more opportunity to have sightings and learn new thing about the area.
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
79
Location
PNW
I have been at it for 6 years and I haven’t harvested one in California. Granted I only started hunting in the last 6 years, I feel I have been getting better and understanding these deer. Could have had one last year but hesitated ☹️. Now I have a few good spots just need to work on being a better hunter
You should try hunting a different deer species once in a while. You will probably find out you’re a better hunter than you think you are.
 

TheGDog

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2020
Messages
1,478
Location
OC, CA
I have been at it for 6 years and I haven’t harvested one in California. Granted I only started hunting in the last 6 years, I feel I have been getting better and understanding these deer. Could have had one last year but hesitated ☹️. Now I have a few good spots just need to work on being a better hunter

Are you hiking-in during the black of pre-dawn? Are you switching out to a new un-sweatied up shirt once you're closer (say... 1200yds) to your ambush sit destination? (Leaving that sweatied up shirt back there on the trail sorta hidden to dry out for you to pick it up on your way back out. Are you making sure to stay until end of legal shooting light?

Are you cleaning up your sit spot several weeks ahead of time to rake out the loud oak-leaves? So you can walk into your destination spot... and have your steps not crunch the "potato-chips" (dried oak leaves) and also... from there... also a good 20yds further back out of the path of the wind to a spot where you can take a piss during the day? So you're not having your piss scent carry thru to where they are coming from?

Slowly and silently setting up your chair or stool. Getting out anything you think you'll need to reach for during the day so it can be already out so you don't have to fuss with any zippers while on your sit? Carefully placing the items at places about your chair where all you have to do is drop your arm down without looking to pick it up?

Are you sporting a 3D Leafy suit that you put on fresh at that same time you change out the sweatied-up shirt from the hike-in? AND... you might even consider some Sneek Boot coverings too. They can greatly reduce your sound in that last stretch coming in to your ambush spot you intend to sit on for the day. The place I'm thinking off... the sound carries extremely well since it's crazy quiet if it's not windy. It's often the sound the keys me in to something coming before I can see it. Usually the sound is what alerts me to get my weapon at the ready. Maybe grab for the shooting sticks if whatever it is passing by is not as close in as usual.
 

PNWRiflemanX

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2021
Messages
19
I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure this out, but I’m pretty sure I’ve been wasting my time by hunting the way I have. I learned to hunt mule deer and whitetails on mostly private property in really open country. Then I moved to western WA and started hunting blacktails on timber company lands and state forest.

It’s been a challenge to say the least. I went from filling my tag every year on mulies and whitetails to shooting 3 smaller blacktails over the course of 7 years. I’ve spent most if my time glassing clearcuts and walking ATV trails that go through stands of timber between clearcuts. I just don’t see much.

I’m thinking about finding some areas such as the timber stands with ATV trails, with deer sign, and just sitting and watching the trails. More like what you see with whitetails in areas with timber.

Does anyone else hunt this way? I wonder if OTC estrus scents are effective on blacktails? I’ve heard rattling is effective?
My tactic is early in season cover ground and take note where I'm seeing lots of deer. At the end of the season I usually have it dialed and make my rounds in the morning and eve between several spots and the last 15 to 20 min of the eve I just patrol on foot or watch one of those areas. Always look out your window I've seen bucks so so many times stand still as a tree thinking I was one of those dude that drove by him earlier. Nope I'm the dude that drives by walks back and unleashes hell. I always put in the most time and effort late in the season and I always know I'm gonna get one. Anyhow blacktails are interesting good luck.
 

Jusgunn3

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Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
77
Are you hiking-in during the black of pre-dawn? Are you switching out to a new un-sweatied up shirt once you're closer (say... 1200yds) to your ambush sit destination? (Leaving that sweatied up shirt back there on the trail sorta hidden to dry out for you to pick it up on your way back out. Are you making sure to stay until end of legal shooting light?

Are you cleaning up your sit spot several weeks ahead of time to rake out the loud oak-leaves? So you can walk into your destination spot... and have your steps not crunch the "potato-chips" (dried oak leaves) and also... from there... also a good 20yds further back out of the path of the wind to a spot where you can take a piss during the day? So you're not having your piss scent carry thru to where they are coming from?

Slowly and silently setting up your chair or stool. Getting out anything you think you'll need to reach for during the day so it can be already out so you don't have to fuss with any zippers while on your sit? Carefully placing the items at places about your chair where all you have to do is drop your arm down without looking to pick it up?

Are you sporting a 3D Leafy suit that you put on fresh at that same time you change out the sweatied-up shirt from the hike-in? AND... you might even consider some Sneek Boot coverings too. They can greatly reduce your sound in that last stretch coming in to your ambush spot you intend to sit on for the day. The place I'm thinking off... the sound carries extremely well since it's crazy quiet if it's not windy. It's often the sound the keys me in to something coming before I can see it. Usually the sound is what alerts me to get my weapon at the ready. Maybe grab for the shooting sticks if whatever it is passing by is not as close in as usual.
Thanks for all the tips, looks I have a lot more work to do this year!
 
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MeatMissile

MeatMissile

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Washington
Are you hiking-in during the black of pre-dawn? Are you switching out to a new un-sweatied up shirt once you're closer (say... 1200yds) to your ambush sit destination? (Leaving that sweatied up shirt back there on the trail sorta hidden to dry out for you to pick it up on your way back out. Are you making sure to stay until end of legal shooting light?

Are you cleaning up your sit spot several weeks ahead of time to rake out the loud oak-leaves? So you can walk into your destination spot... and have your steps not crunch the "potato-chips" (dried oak leaves) and also... from there... also a good 20yds further back out of the path of the wind to a spot where you can take a piss during the day? So you're not having your piss scent carry thru to where they are coming from?

Slowly and silently setting up your chair or stool. Getting out anything you think you'll need to reach for during the day so it can be already out so you don't have to fuss with any zippers while on your sit? Carefully placing the items at places about your chair where all you have to do is drop your arm down without looking to pick it up?

Are you sporting a 3D Leafy suit that you put on fresh at that same time you change out the sweatied-up shirt from the hike-in? AND... you might even consider some Sneek Boot coverings too. They can greatly reduce your sound in that last stretch coming in to your ambush spot you intend to sit on for the day. The place I'm thinking off... the sound carries extremely well since it's crazy quiet if it's not windy. It's often the sound the keys me in to something coming before I can see it. Usually the sound is what alerts me to get my weapon at the ready. Maybe grab for the shooting sticks if whatever it is passing by is not as close in as usual.
I even take extra care to bury my claymore wires!
 

TheGDog

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 12, 2020
Messages
1,478
Location
OC, CA
Also are you setting out trailcams too?

And when you do... don't put them up in blaringly obvious places that can be seen easily off the main trails. If you do... you WILL begin to see other Hunters showing up on your cams. And "brush-them-in" with pieces of foliage. Make sure they are not pointing at vegetation which will move when the wind blows. Especially if it gets hot in there! Otherwise you come up to a 4000+ pics in two days and dead battery. IF need be sometimes elevating the cam a lil more above the tall grasses can help, turning down sensitivity. Maybe lopping-off a branch overhead drooping into the frame. Try to point the cam facing North whenever possible so you're not getting backlit pics.

And make the last time you go back to fetch them again be like 2 or 3 weeks before you plan on going in there during season. So the area has a chance to calm back down from your presence.

Everytime you make a noise while in there on your sit... just figure that it'll take something like 30min to 1hr for that immediate area to settle back down from being on high alert.

It's hard... really hard sometimes... but you gotta not cough, not sniff, not clear your throat. And learn to breath slightly open mouthed, and with your bottom lip pulled in and top lip extended over it so you direct your exhale downward away from your eyeglasses or binos or scope! Really important on cold humid mornings.

And if you're like me where drinking cold liquids will likely make you cough, then ya gotta learn to get used to just pack-temperature water. And for goodness sake learn how to drink quietly! Geez somepeople are soo loud when they drink! If you happen to where in-ear hearing protection that amplifies game sounds for you... you start to learn and realize real quick just how damn loud you really are! Good training for learning how to be quiet!
 
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MeatMissile

MeatMissile

Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Washington
Also are you setting out trailcams too?

And when you do... don't put them up in blaringly obvious places that can be seen easily off the main trails. If you do... you WILL begin to see other Hunters showing up on your cams. And "brush-them-in" with pieces of foliage. Make sure they are not pointing at vegetation which will move when the wind blows. Especially if it gets hot in there! Otherwise you come up to a 4000+ pics in two days and dead battery. IF need be sometimes elevating the cam a lil more above the tall grasses can help, turning down sensitivity. Maybe lopping-off a branch overhead drooping into the frame. Try to point the cam facing North whenever possible so you're not getting backlit pics.

And make the last time you go back to fetch them again be like 2 or 3 weeks before you plan on going in there during season. So the area has a chance to calm back down from your presence.

Everytime you make a noise while in there on your sit... just figure that it'll take something like 30min to 1hr for that immediate area to settle back down from being on high alert.

It's hard... really hard sometimes... but you gotta not cough, not sniff, not clear your throat. And learn to breath slightly open mouthed, and with your bottom lip pulled in and top lip extended over it so you direct your exhale downward away from your eyeglasses or binos or scope! Really important on cold humid mornings.

And if you're like me where drinking cold liquids will likely make you cough, then ya gotta learn to get used to just pack-temperature water. And for goodness sake learn how to drink quietly! Geez somepeople are soo loud when they drink! If you happen to where in-ear hearing protection that amplifies game sounds for you... you start to learn and realize real quick just how damn loud you really are! Good training for learning how to be quiet!

What’s your opinion on timber tigers? Those damn chipmunks start squeaking and never seem to stop.
 
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