First Time WA Blacktail Hunter

schmalzy

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2014
Messages
372
Visiting my BIL in Seattle this fall and looking at taking a 5-6 day trip to the peninsula to try my luck on blacktail and maybe catch a fish or two. I have a GMU nailed down and a primary and secondary area I plan on hunting.

I’ve read every WA related blacktail thread I could on here and have read a few times that whitetail tactics can work pretty well.

I hunt East TX public land extensively, which is thick pine plantation with some hardwoods mixed in, but relatively flat. Hunting serious elevation change will be a nw experience.

Going during modern firearm season, so second half of October. Planning on being around 1-3k feet on NF land. Does this sound about right? I know weather can influence. How steep is too steep for these guys?

Thanks in advance. If any of you ever need some gulf coast fly fishing info or ETX public deer hunting tactics let me know, would be glad to help.

Thanks,


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Sundance

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Jul 9, 2014
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167
If you know the specific dates that would influence any advice I'd have. You are getting into pre-rut timeline which effects my strategy. Each GMU has a different genetic potential ranging from coastal areas to the puget sound. Set your expectation appropriately, anything over 100" is a good buck for most units, in others a 75" 2-point is a great accomplishment.
 
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schmalzy

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2014
Messages
372
If you know the specific dates that would influence any advice I'd have. You are getting into pre-rut timeline which effects my strategy. Each GMU has a different genetic potential ranging from coastal areas to the puget sound. Set your expectation appropriately, anything over 100" is a good buck for most units, in others a 75" 2-point is a great accomplishment.

Thanks for the feedback. Planning on first week of modern season, but open to suggestions. I’ll shoot you a pm with more specifics.


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Howdoyoulikemenow

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Jul 20, 2021
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I'd reconsider hunting the first week of general if you have any flexibility in your schedule. Often it's still warm, the foliage is still on the vine maples and trees, clear nights and more hunting pressure. Best week to hunt is the last week of October. Weather tends to be cooler with frosty mornings and the bucks are beginning to cruise for does. Blacktail hunting typically gets more productive as the weather deteriorates.

Second best choice is the four day late buck hunt in mid November.
 

Sundance

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Jul 9, 2014
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167
If you have a choice, the later in the season the better. There will more cruising activity and more vocal bucks the last three days of October. The first 10 days of the season I will use stands, saddles and work glassing areas. The last 5-days of the season I still hunt through known rut zones, transition areas and alder bottoms.
 
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schmalzy

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Oct 1, 2014
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372
@Sundance and @Howdoyoulikemenow really appreciate the heads up, counter intuitive to whitetail season here in TX. I have some flexibility so will push for last week.

Was hoping to squeeze a salmon trip in while I’m up there so maybe I can hit that first and then hunt.

Is truck camping in NF pretty standard relative to other western states? I’d seen a few guys mention having to be off the ROW a certain amount, but still doing some homework on that aspect.


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hibernation

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Nov 11, 2020
Messages
59
Location
Oregon
How steep is too steep for these guys?
Cliffs? That's about it. The steepest timbered slopes you can find will still have isolated beds and trails along them, steep enough that if you're standing vertical you can reach out and touch the hill right in front of you.

Like others have said, rain is good and later in the season is definitely going to see more bucks out and about. They can be serious homebodies until the rut gets them cruising. Glassing recent clearcuts can be effective depending on the area, seasonal timing, and hunting pressure, but I tend to do better by still-hunting timber where I have decent visibility - not too thick, but not wide open either. I try not to waste my time in areas that likely hold deer, but I'll never have a shot farther than 10 yards.

Don't discount rattling either, it's not a magic bullet but I've had some cool experiences rattling blacktails in. The sound carries much further than a doe call.

Is truck camping in NF pretty standard relative to other western states?
Yeah, although you might encounter more gated roads than you're used to in other parts of the west. Depends where on the peninsula you are, and whether you're firmly in NF or in a spot where it's more checkerboarded with private.
 
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schmalzy

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2014
Messages
372
Cliffs? That's about it. The steepest timbered slopes you can find will still have isolated beds and trails along them, steep enough that if you're standing vertical you can reach out and touch the hill right in front of you.

Like others have said, rain is good and later in the season is definitely going to see more bucks out and about. They can be serious homebodies until the rut gets them cruising. Glassing recent clearcuts can be effective depending on the area, seasonal timing, and hunting pressure, but I tend to do better by still-hunting timber where I have decent visibility - not too thick, but not wide open either. I try not to waste my time in areas that likely hold deer, but I'll never have a shot farther than 10 yards.

Don't discount rattling either, it's not a magic bullet but I've had some cool experiences rattling blacktails in. The sound carries much further than a doe call.


Yeah, although you might encounter more gated roads than you're used to in other parts of the west. Depends where on the peninsula you are, and whether you're firmly in NF or in a spot where it's more checkerboarded with private.

Really appreciate the detailed response.


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DonPablo

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Joined
May 8, 2018
Messages
17
Location
West TX
Not to hijack your thread but I'm thinking about the late bow season in unit 454. Problem is I don't know the 1st thing about where you can and can't hunt in Washington. I was looking at spots along the Green River and seeing things like the Green River Gorge State Park or the Kanaskat-Palmer State Park but a friend who used to live in Washington a long time ago told me he thought you couldn't hunt the state parks. I've got a lot to learn before November but hopefully I'll figure it out.
 

DonPablo

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May 8, 2018
Messages
17
Location
West TX
Nevermind. I just looked closer at the dates and since I'm not flexible on when I could go, it would only give me a few days. That's a long haul for a 3 day hunt. Oh well.
 
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