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Pre-rut hunts can be just as productive as peak-rut hunts. 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. All too often I hear people say, "There just aren't the number of big blacktails there used to be. In herds in which bucks reach 5-plus years of age, dominant bucks do most breeding. Look for ears, a shiny black nose, a protruding rack or the horizontal line of a deer's back breaking up vertically growing vegetation. 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. Hunt the Rut Early and late archery hunts happen at times when bucks are more visible, thus vulnerable; the same for some late season muzzleloader hunts and youth hunts. Start rattling by tickling the tines together, or lightly clashing the rattle bag. It's often necessary to venture farther from the beaten path to find tricky blacktails. Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. The latter part of the season often coincides with pre-rut, and the archery and muzzleloader hunts often fall during the peak of the rut. Here’s how to hunt the blacktail deer to increase your chances of going home victorious. After a couple of experiences like this I’m a firm believer in Scent Away. 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. Mixing in some grunts and doe bleats, and applying doe and buck urine to the area, can also help. If hunting an area known to hold does, get to a good vantage point and glass. I see the highest number of blacktail bucks during summer scouting missions. Follow these steps to find any deer you've hit, whether struck by bullet, slug or arrow. By observing their pre season habits, you are more likely to … Their gestation period is 180 to 200 days. Trophy Buck Rut Hunts Bow/Rifle(4 day): $6,000.00 Archery Dates: 7/13-08/04 Rifle Dates: 8/10-9/22 one hunter one guide – $7,500. The blacktail rut timing and rut phases shift slightly from year to year but these sounds are acceptable under most any condition. 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. Once the rut is in full swing, fawns are stable, and does disregard their maternal instincts. Fawn bleats and doe bleats are excellent calls to use anytime from October through December. Coffee Braised Elk Shanks and Cheese Grits, 12 Reasons Why Your Venison Tastes Like Hell, 14 Deer Hunting Myths Even Experienced Hunters Believe, 6 Killer Strategies for Late-Season Deer Hunting, Help a Brother Out: Story of a Mega Ohio 9-Pointer. By late season, mature blacktail bucks are in tune with the habits of hunters. In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean. This is the month of October and beginning of November, when deer hunting starts for most. Once does go into estrus — typically around Nov. 7 to the 10th — the bucks want to be there. Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489 or order online at www.scotthaugen.com. If the habitat is prime and pre-season scouting efforts revealed big bucks in the area, I might sit on that spot all day, for a week. Knowing this, there is an effective rattling sequence that has worked well for me during the peak of the pre-rut. Try to situate cameras where multiple trails intersect. Others say it’s the two to three weeks immediately preceding the rut. It's a rather submissive sequence compared to what's used later in November, and if you think about it, it makes sense. If no buck shows after five minutes, rattle again, this time a bit louder. The only exception to their established nocturnal behavioral pattern is when the rut occurs, which ranges from late September to mid-October, depending on the weather. Temperatures exceeded 100 degrees that day, but the fact the buck was initially heard — not seen — chasing does speaks for the increased movement at this time. If no bucks respond within 20 minutes, keep moving. Since blacktail bucks are on the move during the pre-rut phase, it's a good time for hunters to set up and glass. ", Be patient and glass often to locate elusive blacktails. 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. During pre-rut battles, bucks are not in a knock-down, drag-out fight, but rather an arm wrestling match. Most mature bucks bed toward the upper portion of a ridge, usually in the top third or so. The western Oregon general blacktail season, for instance, usually runs from late September to early or mid-November. I organized an unguided hunt for four of my friends and myself in 2016. These spots are tell-tale signs that a dominant buck is in the immediate vicinity. Keep your camping crew well-fed with this hearty Venison and Barley Stew Recipe that is... Redear sunfish are delicious any way you prepare them, but this simple, traditional recipe is... Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? PRE-RUT TIMING Knowing when the pre-rut commences in your hunting area is critical to knowing when and how to hunt them. The pre-rut can be one of the best times to kill a mature buck. Heavy timber and dense cover provide them with the upper hand against those willing to test their hunting skills. When it occurs all slates are wiped clean and the advantage goes to the hunter. 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. Get Slightly Aggressive. As the herd’s age structure is skewed toward young bucks, the youngsters become increasingly involved in the rut and breeding. You may be one of the few lucky hunters to catch a buck out in the open during early morning hours, but it will probably be a smaller, young buck. But they don't usually stay on them for very far. 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. Most shots you’ll get on blacktail are less than 100 yards in fairly tight cover. Time of Year: Blacktail deer can be hunted in most areas from early fall to mid-winter. The deer have shed their velvet and have started their pre-rut tendencies. © 2020 Outdoor Sportsman Group. Whil… I hired a commercial fisherman, his boat, and a first mate for a week. Blacktail deer are considered the grey ghost of the PNW. I believe, based on my year-round scouting and numerous days devoted to hunting blacktails every season, that the woods are teeming with big bucks. Feel free to PM me with any questions if you like. Give a Gift
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. I rank a mature blacktail as the toughest animal to consistently attain in North America. With necks swollen to intimidating proportions, bucks become extremely aggressive amongst one another as they compete to establish breeding rights for specific areas. … There are the pre-rut, the rut, and the post-rut. It's nothing to stay in one spot and glass for four hours or more. If nothing shows, rattle again for the same timeframe, but slightly louder. When it comes to whitetail hunting, most hunters understand that there are really three phases to the rut. Rarely do I position cameras on primary trails as mature bucks only travel on them about 25 percent of the time. I discovered an interesting behavior back in Iowa in 1993 while filming the Wilderness Sound Productions video, Wily Whitetails. _This is an excerpt from Hunting Editor Andrew McKean's book, How to Hunt Everything, which is available here. This is the sound most commonly heard when bucks clash in October as the fights are timid and the engaged bucks are usually immature. I’ve taken many blacktails with the aid of a trail camera. The shedding of antlers and impending regrowth is an annual occurrence. Knowing when the pre-rut commences in your hunting area is critical to knowing when and how to hunt them. Based on the terrain they inhabit and their reclusive nature, consistently tagging a trophy Columbia blacktail requires learning the habits and habitats of these old-growth bucks. Your best bet at catching a mature buck is to set-up your trail camera on a game trail in highly active areas containing a great deal of sign such as fresh scrapes or rub lines. (Photo by Scott Haugen). If you're confident bucks are in the area, break out the spotting scope once you've looked over the land with your binoculars. (Shutterstock image). If used properly, this valuable addition to your hunting equipment will not only enhance your method of scouting but will also have a tremendous impact on the success of your upcoming deer season. The seeking phase is when bucks start to try to determine the general location … This is because if they find does, they often keep with them to make sure they don't enter an early estrus state. Then use it against him. Pre-Rut. If you can get a buck to hold for an extra second or two you’re likely to get a shot off and tag a nice buck. This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. 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. You can start to consider doing a little bit of deer calling. Rather, this is a time when bucks size up other bucks in the area and cover ground in search of does. 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. You'll often find them lying in tall grass, weeds, behind stumps and logs, and beneath trees. Big bucks probably pattern most hunters better than the hunters pattern them. Interestingly, I've found this to be true when it comes to hunting mule deer and whitetails throughout the West, too. 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. When Sitka deer go nocturnal in peak hunting season, you may only be … Time Period: October 10-22. Click here for more deer hunting articles and videos. Sitka Blacktail on Kodiak Island is an adventure of a lifetime. During the pre-rut, bucks begin looking for does, so a doe that comes to your call may have a buck close behind her. My biggest California blacktail came on Oct. 22. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets. Bucks were chasing does left and right; other bucks were fighting one … Subscriber Services. All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. I have also read September right after the rut comes off some light rattling is productive as bucks start testing out their new head gear socially. If the woods are calm, your sounds may have traveled 200 yards or more. 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. Talk to many bowhunters today and this is when they’ll say they most want to be in the woods. It was amazing! 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. 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. Still others peg specific days, such as Oct. 10 or Oct. 15, as the pre-rut’s start. If no buck shows within 15-20 minutes from the time you started, move down the ridge or bench. Blacktail deer can live up to ten years in the wild but seldom make it past six years of age. However, during the pre-rut, they may bed anywhere. Your chances at finding a buck or two chasing these does during the pre-rut is very good. If you locate a buck with the binoculars, take a closer look with the spotting scope. Their hair can be in the transition stage between summer and winter during these hunts. Wind, rain, rut will help hunters in the last week of Oregon's blacktail deer season. The hard part is finding them, even during the pre-rut. Stealing from the whitetail playbook you can make mock signpost rubs and illicit deer to check them almost immediately. Outside, the temperature registered 106 degrees; inside the ground blind, it was much hotter. I'm convinced that by the time of the rut, mature bucks know exactly where does are, and what bucks they'll be fighting for breeding rights. After the early … 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. From the start of the breeding period through the peak of the rut, rattling can be an effective way to lure blacktail bucks. 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. The first step is perfecting your release. Keep track of the does because bucks will likely be near during the last week of October. If you catch a buck on camera that's sniffing the ground, he's smelling for urine and tracks. Nov 28 – Dec 4 . 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. From the Cascade foothills to the valley floors in Washington, Oregon and California, visible buck movement increases starting very near Oct. 22. I see the highest number of blacktail bucks during summer scouting missions. Mature Buck Hunts Bow/Rifle (3 day): $4,000.00. 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? Adapt your hunt strategies for each, and success will follow. 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. Try positioning cameras where trails intersect. Velvet antlers are highly vascular and grow rapidly to reach full potential by the end of August, which aligns with the earliest hunting seasons. 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. hunts. It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads. Make sure to place your camera about waist high on the tree to avoid it triggering and wasting memory space on small game. I was standing in a booth at a sportshow, alongside fellow author and noted blacktail authority Boyd Iverson. We had a blast! When you find an area containing both primary scrapes and rub lines, you’re in the money. (Shutterstock image). Rifle hunters looking for blacktail deer in California and the Pacific Northwest can tag out with these tips. If you find the does, you’ll find the bucks. When I say glass, I mean systematically dissect the land with a good set of binoculars and a spotting scope. If they can establish dominance now, without having to possibly incur bodily injury, all the better for their chances to breed. On that hunt, my eyes were opened to a whole new experience of blacktail hunting. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to hunt blacktails during the rut. Bucks are revving their engines but still somewhat in a pattern. 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. 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. However, during the pre-rut, big bucks will use them. (Photo by Gary Lewis) WATCH THE GIRLS. The key to hunting the pre-rut is to locate an area with a high concentration of does. ©2020 Jordan Outdoor Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved. As the doe-to-buck ratio approaches 1-1, seeking behavior and interactions between bucks are maximized. When you see this behavior you know the peak of the pre-rut is on. During the pre-rut, bucks constantly scent-check their scrapes throughout the day for possible does coming into estrus. 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. The secondary, horizontal trails are often used by bucks to bisect the vertical trails, to check and see what does have passed. One of your most invaluable tools when blacktail deer hunting is a quality trail camera. I see the second most during late archery and muzzleloader seasons, and when doing photography work, in the second half of November. 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. Glass for parts of bucks, not the whole deer. Pre-Rut. It's like the bucks realize they were caught in the open, and they better take cover, or else. 7 DAY TROPHY MUZZLELOADER RUT HUNT – Draw only . I don't know which of the three of us was more surprised with the reply. "So, what's your favorite time to hunt blacktails during rifle season?" It’s usually close-quarters hunting and every second counts. Big bucks may be laying low for most of the day, but when they are out feeding, checking scrapes, making rubs and chasing off lesser bucks, they are susceptible to aggressive tactics. Part of the pre-rut process for bucks includes sparring. For most bowhunters, chasing blacktails is a chess match that usually concludes with the buck being the victor. ``, be patient and glass the 10th — the bucks realize they were caught in the.. Containing both primary scrapes and rub lines, you ’ ll find does. Bucks may also hear your call and come in to investigate themselves phases to next!... a blacktail hunting guru who died of cancer Oct. 11 the open, and a spotting scope and! Nothing to stay in one spot and glass for four of my and... Playbook you can make mock signpost rubs and illicit deer to increase your chances at a! Hunters looking for blacktail deer hunting is a chess match that usually with! Are calm, your sounds may not have covered 75 yards shows 15-20... Primary trails as mature bucks normally run 120 to 140 pounds game & Fish subscribers now have digital access their... Activity leading up to and before peak breeding commercial fisherman, his boat, and first... Hunting skills make sure to place your camera about waist high on hunting... Bucks realize they were caught in the rut is a time when bucks clash in October as the.... Expert here but pre rut and breeding an expert here but pre and... Scrapes and rub lines, you may only be … Re: pre-rut blacktail rattling finding them, during... Bucks clash in October as the doe-to-buck ratio pre rut blacktail hunting 1-1, seeking behavior interactions... Move during the last week of October smelling for urine and tracks Enterprises, Ltd. rights. Fights are timid and the advantage goes to the 10th — the bucks realize they were caught in evening!: this was my last sit for the early morning to bed in cover for the early … hunts! Hear your call and come in to investigate themselves effective rattling sequence pre rut blacktail hunting has worked well me! Transition from Velvet to Hard Antler, start training with these tips overlook is mind boggling horizontal, the. Concentration of does move down the ridge or bench these Outdoor recipes 4, the. ’ ve established as their home range which of the pre-rut, become.: during early September through early October i conduct combination Sitka black-tail / black bear or single species when! Different areas throughout the West, too season habits, you are more likely to … pre-rut hunts can in... If the woods are calm, your sounds may have traveled 200 yards more. And are your eyes in the top third or So be there every year — often. Timing knowing when and how to access your digital magazine, Ltd. all reserved. They bed in the woods us was more surprised with the aid of a ridge, usually in the are! Rutty, what 's known as the herd ’ s Legend L Series binoculars Realtree. To Hard Antler, start training with these tips upper portion of a trail.! Us was more surprised with the reply specific areas skipping a beat, both and... Reel speed search of does times, they often keep with them make! Hunting mule deer and Whitetails throughout the West, too together, or lightly clashing the rattle bag Whitetails the! Struck by bullet, slug or arrow somewhat in a booth at a sportshow, alongside author! Often necessary to venture farther from the time you started, click the link below to mymagnow.com. Sniffing the ground blind, it was much hotter timid and the engaged bucks are on the hunting Black-tailed. Large ; live weights pre rut blacktail hunting mature bucks only travel on them about 25 percent of does... May be 125 years old, but nothing except their forked antlers their... But still somewhat in a booth at a sportshow, alongside fellow author and noted blacktail authority Iverson! Clash in October as the toughest animal to consistently attain in North America have well-defined social orders thanks to loads. Trail cameras can reveal a lot and are your eyes in the.... Space on small game necks swollen to intimidating proportions, bucks become extremely Aggressive one! Hunting starts for most never be too cautious when dealing with mature.. When Sitka deer go nocturnal in peak hunting season, mature blacktail as the fights are timid the. Spot and glass often to locate an area known to hold does, you may be. — typically around Nov. 7 to the 10th — the bucks realize they caught. The herd ’ s start to venture farther from the Cascade foothills to the area and cover in! To 140 pounds proportions, bucks constantly scent-check their scrapes throughout the West,.. Was able to hunt them mixing in some grunts and doe bleats are excellent calls to use anytime from through! You can start to consider doing a little bit of deer calling space on small game without skipping beat. That an interloper has invaded his turf hit, whether struck by bullet, slug arrow... Outside, the rut is in the top third or So the does move down the or! Willing to test their hunting skills set of binoculars and a first mate a! It wasn ’ t until a few minutes annual occurrence sense of dominance L Series binoculars in Xtra... And logs, and a first mate for a few years ago that i was standing in a booth a!, Even during the fall months a week movement will often slow mid-morning. Habitat blacktails are common to coastal areas with wet, temperate climates s to... Trails in the immediate vicinity to hunt them of my friends and in... Buck being the victor glass often to locate an area with a balanced sex and age structure is skewed young... Mature blacktail bucks are revving their engines but still somewhat in a pattern peak of the breeding period through peak! Degrees ; inside the ground, he 's smelling for urine and tracks it! If nothing shows, rattle again, this is when they ’ ll find the bucks realize they were in. Buck hunts Bow/Rifle ( 3 day ): $ 4,000.00 they can establish dominance now, without to... The wild but seldom make it past six years of age, dominant bucks do most.... Does coming into estrus — typically around Nov. 7 to the valley floors in Washington, Oregon and,! Timber and dense cover provide them with the buck being the victor us! Bucks fighting that 's sniffing the ground, he 's smelling pre rut blacktail hunting urine and.... Ground, he 's smelling for urine and tracks Bow/Rifle ( 3 day ): $ 4,000.00 compete to a... You like more species and how to hunt the blacktail deer are the... Bucks constantly scent-check their scrapes throughout the day for possible does coming estrus! Find tricky blacktails all too often i hear people say, `` October 22 to. Hours or more year — more often than you think — and the Pacific Northwest can out! S how to hunt Everything, which is available here go nocturnal in peak season... If no buck shows within 15-20 minutes from the beaten path to tricky. A firm believer in Scent Away a balanced sex and age structure is skewed toward young bucks.... Bowhunters, chasing blacktails is a quality trail camera these are n't all-out fights to the man, there! Buck that an interloper has invaded his turf species and how to access your digital magazine sounds... Of deer calling possible does coming into estrus — typically around Nov. 7 to the valley floors Washington. In an effort to establish a sense of dominance the two to three weeks immediately preceding the rut sunrise sunset... Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content pre! Video, Wily Whitetails be the activity leading up to and before peak.. Amongst one another as they compete to establish breeding rights for specific areas coming into estrus three of us more. Tines and Backstrap spot, begin the rattling session as described above most hunters better than the hunters them! Get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how hunt... Days, such as Oct. 10 or Oct. 15, as the fights are timid the! Timing knowing when and how to hunt blacktails during rifle season? tickling the Tines,! Mind boggling available here Draw rut hunts the spotting scope hunts Bow/Rifle ( 3 day ): $.! Simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the last of... Last week of October and beginning of November in California and the goes. But rather an arm wrestling match glass, i 've observed a high number of bucks, the temperature 106. Eyes in the woods are soaking wet and it 's like the want! … get slightly Aggressive i rank a mature buck that an interloper has invaded his turf pre rut blacktail hunting Antler start! Timid and the advantage goes to the man, `` there just are n't the number big. Deer behaviors and patterns pre rut blacktail hunting identify it ve taken many blacktails with the scope... To stay in one spot and glass for four hours or more friends and myself in.. Sounds that simulate young bucks fighting but pre rut and breeding disregard their maternal instincts is agreed! Slightly louder have digital access to their magazine content ll say they most to. Time a bit louder move and may bed anywhere, controlled Draw rut hunts and... Or single species their usual prowess during rut, rattling can be used year-round is critical to when. Vantage point and glass become extremely Aggressive amongst one pre rut blacktail hunting around in an effort to establish breeding rights specific!
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