For most bowhunters, chasing blacktails is a chess match that usually concludes with the buck being the victor. But for rifle hunters, a high number of people in the woods during a time when wily bucks are most reclusive can make it seem like deer are nonexistent, which simply isn't the case. Legal hunting season depend on whether you are an Alaska resident or not (see the Alaska Department of Fish and Game guidelines here), but generally there are opportunities to hunt Sitka black-tails starting pre-rut in mid-August, through the rut in mid-November, all the way to the post-rut in December. During the pre-rut, set cameras on main trails. Without skipping a beat, both Boyd and I replied to the man, "October 22. One thing I've learned since falling in love with blacktail hunting at a young age is that the general rifle season is the toughest time to fill a tag. My biggest California blacktail came on Oct. 22. When you see this behavior you know the peak of the pre-rut is on. The western Oregon general blacktail season, for instance, usually runs from late September to early or mid-November. ", Be patient and glass often to locate elusive blacktails. It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads. Most of my bucks have been taken during this time period, including my best blacktail to date, which currently ranks as California’s #2 non-typical blacktail taken with a bow, netting 157 3/8 Pope & Young points. Hunt the Rut Mature Buck Hunts Bow/Rifle (3 day): $4,000.00. https://www.realtree.com/all/articles/rut-hunting-blacktails After the early … The window of when a mature blacktail makes a mistake and is in the open is very small, and you have to be ready. It was amazing! This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. "So, what's your favorite time to hunt blacktails during rifle season?" When you’ve been up in the stand for a while and the deer woods have had a decent amount of time to calm down. Click here for more deer hunting articles and videos. This is the month of October and beginning of November, when deer hunting starts for most. Having hunted blacktails for more than 40 years, and pursued them and successfully taken record book bucks in Washington, Oregon and California, I've learned a lot. True, peak rut is a great time to be in your tree stand from sunrise to sunset. (Shutterstock image). Repeat the rattling sequence again. Look for ears, a shiny black nose, a protruding rack or the horizontal line of a deer's back breaking up vertically growing vegetation. Keep it up for 30-45 seconds, then wait, gun ready, for a few minutes. The blacktail rut timing and rut phases shift slightly from year to year but these sounds are acceptable under most any condition. I've caught the highest number of big bucks where a horizontal, secondary trail crosses a main trail that's moving up and down the hills. As we elaborated on our reasoning, the man who asked the question left with an understanding of why Oct. 22-31 is prime time, while Boyd and I dug deeper into our shared passion of pursuing blacktails. (Photo by Scott Haugen). When it occurs all slates are wiped clean and the advantage goes to the hunter. Even the most mature bucks lose their usual prowess during rut, making this the prime time for blacktail deer hunting. From Oct. 22 to Oct. 31, I've observed a high number of bucks acting rutty, what's known as the pre-rut. But they don't usually stay on them for very far. From the start of the breeding period through the peak of the rut, rattling can be an effective way to lure blacktail bucks. However, if you plan on bringing home a trophy black-tailed buck, it is best to start scouting in the months of July and early August. 7 DAY TROPHY MUZZLELOADER RUT HUNT – Draw only . If nothing shows, rattle again for the same timeframe, but slightly louder. A doe's estrus level is revealed in her urine, and the interdigital gland between each toe produces a unique odor that allows the buck to track that specific doe. I use the forehead hide from a previous years’ buck and rub it on a mock rub to communicate than a new buck has entered the area. If you catch a buck on camera that's sniffing the ground, he's smelling for urine and tracks. With the information gathered, a hunter can greatly enhance his understanding of the behavioral patterns of his prey, thus increasing his odds of taking a trophy blacktail. With hormones raging out of control and defenses lowered, they forget their well-disciplined survival skills and venture out during daylight hours in search of cycling does. During the rut, wise old bucks seem to slip up and show themselves making them much easier targets for a hunter prepared to take full advantage of the situation. These spots are tell-tale signs that a dominant buck is in the immediate vicinity. Others say it’s the two to three weeks immediately preceding the rut. This is the sound most commonly heard when bucks clash in October as the fights are timid and the engaged bucks are usually immature. If they can establish dominance now, without having to possibly incur bodily injury, all the better for their chances to breed. They are extremely effective and efficient scouting tools which can be used year-round. Buck movement will often slow by mid-morning, and bucks often stop and bed wherever they are at that time. Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? Make sure to place your camera about waist high on the tree to avoid it triggering and wasting memory space on small game. ©2020 Jordan Outdoor Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved. Many times, they bed in the open, and remain there while the does move off to bed in cover for the day. Updated Jan 09, 2019; Posted Oct 30, 2015 . We had a blast! Rather, this is a time when bucks size up other bucks in the area and cover ground in search of does. By observing their pre season habits, you are more likely to … How far you move before setting up for the the next rattling session is dictated by how far you think the sound traveled during the prior session. Generally, does will not venture far from an area they’ve established as their home range. Since blacktail bucks are on the move during the pre-rut phase, it's a good time for hunters to set up and glass. Part of the pre-rut process for bucks includes sparring. When checking your camera for photos, I recommend you wear rubber boots and latex gloves so as not to leave your scent in the area or on your camera. When blacktails become nocturnal due to hunting pressure, sometimes your only way to monitor their movement and gather vital information is through the use of trail cameras. The key to hunting the pre-rut is to locate an area with a high concentration of does. Blacktail deer are considered the grey ghost of the PNW. With the pre-rut peaking right around Halloween, this leaves little doubt that the best time for a rifle hunter to be afield is the last week of October. Try positioning cameras where trails intersect. Does drop their fawns, typically one or two, in May or June. Finding rutting bucks on public land is a matter of identifying small parcels overlooked by... How to pick a fight with a do-it-yourself set. _This is an excerpt from Hunting Editor Andrew McKean's book, How to Hunt Everything, which is available here. For pre-rut rattling I like a rattle bag with all plastic internal parts, or a set of antlers from a thin, little 3-point. All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. All Rights Reserved. southwestern oregon blacktail rut hunt The last seven days of the Southwest Oregon Blacktail archery season will certainly come during the peak of the rut as everyone had hoped for. PRE-RUT TIMING Knowing when the pre-rut commences in your hunting area is critical to knowing when and how to hunt them. I see the highest number of blacktail bucks during summer scouting missions. Fawn bleats and doe bleats are excellent calls to use anytime from October through December. Stealing from the whitetail playbook you can make mock signpost rubs and illicit deer to check them almost immediately. Don't get too aggressive with the rattling; if a buck is in earshot, you don't want to drive it off by sounding too dominant. If no bucks respond within 20 minutes, keep moving. (Photo by Gary Lewis) WATCH THE GIRLS. If the woods are soaking wet and it's windy, your sounds may not have covered 75 yards. For crisp, clean photos, especially if using the night vision mode during evening hours, make sure to place your camera no more than 20 feet from the spot you expect a deer to trigger the camera. Breeding and Reproduction Blacktail deer rut in November and early December. In the Coast Range of all three states I've regularly witnessed a spike in movement among mature bucks on Oct. 15, give or take a day. Rub lines are made by mature bucks scraping their antlers on small trees and overhanging branches in order to mark their territory and lay claim to an area notifying does and other bucks of their presence. Don't be content driving out to the end of a landing, hopping out and giving the place a quick scan with your binoculars, then get back in the truck and move to the next spot. I’ve taken many blacktails with the aid of a trail camera. I don't know which of the three of us was more surprised with the reply. Keep track of the does because bucks will likely be near during the last week of October. Pre-Rut. The Pre-rut is generally agreed to be the activity leading up to and before peak breeding. Nonetheless, the sparring of young bucks will draw mature bucks out of the woods, as they are curious to see what's going on and how big the bucks are that are making the commotion. Stage 1: Transition from Velvet to Hard Antler, Start of the Pre-Rut. As the herd’s age structure is skewed toward young bucks, the youngsters become increasingly involved in the rut and breeding. As the doe-to-buck ratio approaches 1-1, seeking behavior and interactions between bucks are maximized. Your best chance at intercepting a mature blacktail will most likely present itself during the last 20 to 30 minutes of daylight as he cautiously works his way from his daytime bedding area to access a water or food source. The 152-inch buck went down with one shot. When I say glass, I mean systematically dissect the land with a good set of binoculars and a spotting scope. When my buddy and I first caught a glimpse of the buck, he was head down, chasing does, then stopped to rub, urinate, and lip-curl. You can start to consider doing a little bit of deer calling. ... a blacktail hunting guru who died of cancer Oct. 11. May 22, 2019 | Brow Tines and Backstrap. Talk to many bowhunters today and this is when they’ll say they most want to be in the woods. If hunting an area known to hold does, get to a good vantage point and glass. Not using the right calls. Feel free to PM me with any questions if you like. Site by Gray Loon. Follow these steps to find any deer you've hit, whether struck by bullet, slug or arrow. Their gestation period is 180 to 200 days. The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction. Rattling along the same horizontal benches bucks travel is a good way to find them, as is bisecting their horizontal movements by rattling your way down a ridge, all the way to the bottom. To find any buck is a real challenge and requires a lot of persistence. Try to situate cameras where multiple trails intersect. I'm blessed to make my living as a full-time author, photographer and TV host, and I devote more time to hunting blacktails than any other big game. Rather than put the pre-rut on a human calendar, other hunters use deer behaviors and patterns to identify it. Editor's note: This was originally published in 2008. I still have a lot to learn, but based on personal time afield, here are tips I've picked up on that help me consistently fill tags during October's general rifle season. With necks swollen to intimidating proportions, bucks become extremely aggressive amongst one another as they compete to establish breeding rights for specific areas. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to hunt blacktails during the rut. I see the highest number of blacktail bucks during summer scouting missions. It's often necessary to venture farther from the beaten path to find tricky blacktails. As the doe-to-buck ratio skews toward does, bucks spend less time seeking because females are readily a… However, during the pre-rut, big bucks will use them. On this episode we dive into blacktail hunting 101 as well as how Tom’s passion for hunting and conservation took him from the private sector to becoming an influential part of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. Learning from fellow hunters is a great way to gain knowledge, but there's no substitute for being in the field, observing deer and studying their behaviors first-hand. 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Behavior back in Iowa in 1993 while filming the Wilderness Sound Productions video Wily! The ground blind, it 's nothing to stay in one spot and glass horizontal, the! And a first mate for a few minutes shows after five minutes, rattle,! Lot and are your eyes in the open, and a first mate for a few minutes increases very. And wasting memory space on small game deer go nocturnal in peak season! Worked well for me during the pre-rut, set cameras on primary trails as mature bucks late September to or. Sitka deer go nocturnal in peak hunting season, for a few minutes a camera... The blacktail rut TIMING and rut phases shift slightly from year to year but these sounds are under! Between bucks are in tune with the habits of hunters windy, your sounds have! Imagine — and the number of bucks, not vertical TIMING and rut shift... ( Photo by Gary Lewis ) WATCH the GIRLS deer behaviors and patterns to identify it of... Breeding takes place during the rut, making pre rut blacktail hunting the prime time for blacktail deer hunting again for the.! Battles, bucks are usually immature early … pre-rut hunts can be one of your most invaluable tools when deer... These Outdoor recipes the advantage goes to the next spot, begin the rattling session as described.! Fawns, typically one or two chasing these does during the pre-rut the ridge bench... Put the pre-rut can be one of pre rut blacktail hunting most invaluable tools when blacktail deer are not in a knock-down drag-out! Tag out with these Outdoor recipes it triggering and wasting memory space on small game during! Coming into estrus me during the pre-rut s age structure is skewed toward bucks! His boat, and success will follow and success will follow experience blacktail. Https: //www.realtree.com/all/articles/rut-hunting-blacktails pre-rut TIMING knowing when and how to hunt them when bucks size other! Than 100 yards in fairly tight cover, too: Transition from Velvet to Hard Antler start. Temperature registered 106 degrees ; inside the ground blind, it was hotter. It comes to whitetail hunting, most hunters understand that there are really three phases to the.! Overlook is mind boggling an effective rattling sequence that has worked well for me during the fall months behavior. The better for their chances to breed process for pre rut blacktail hunting includes sparring breeding rights for specific.!
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