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. 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. Still others peg specific days, such as Oct. 10 or Oct. 15, as the pre-rut’s start. Velvet antlers are highly vascular and grow rapidly to reach full potential by the end of August, which aligns with the earliest hunting seasons. In reality, there's not the amount of public land access there used to be, there's not the amount of logging that creates prime habitat that there use to be, and general rifle seasons don't run well into November like they used to. Sitka Blacktail on Kodiak Island is an adventure of a lifetime. I like setting up atop a bench where I can rattle my way along it over the course of the evening, or atop a ridge, where I can work my way down to the bottom while rattling. Some people refer to the period from opening day until mid … Trail cameras can reveal a lot and are your eyes in the woods when you're not there. If they can establish dominance now, without having to possibly incur bodily injury, all the better for their chances to breed. 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. 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. Time of Year: Blacktail deer can be hunted in most areas from early fall to mid-winter. Bucks may also hear your call and come in to investigate themselves. These produce high pitch sounds that simulate young bucks fighting. As the doe-to-buck ratio approaches 1-1, seeking behavior and interactions between bucks are maximized. Does move down these trails in the evening to feed and back up them in the early morning to bed. This is the sound most commonly heard when bucks clash in October as the fights are timid and the engaged bucks are usually immature. Muzzleloader Hunting for Trophy Oregon Blacktail Deer is some of the best hunting in the state, controlled draw rut hunts. If the woods are soaking wet and it's windy, your sounds may not have covered 75 yards. Quit using your doe bleat call you were using during pre-rut. Rather, this is a time when bucks size up other bucks in the area and cover ground in search of does. If you can only hunt on weekends or evenings after work then consider setting up multiple trail cameras. Updated Jan 09, 2019; Posted Oct 30, 2015 . From the start of the breeding period through the peak of the rut, rattling can be an effective way to lure blacktail bucks. Glass for parts of bucks, not the whole deer. It's a rather submissive sequence compared to what's used later in November, and if you think about it, it makes sense. 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. My biggest California blacktail came on Oct. 22. The Pre-rut is generally agreed to be the activity leading up to and before peak breeding. I see the highest number of blacktail bucks during summer scouting missions. Outside, the temperature registered 106 degrees; inside the ground blind, it was much hotter. I see the second most during late archery and muzzleloader seasons, and when doing photography work, in the second half of November. 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. 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. _This is an excerpt from Hunting Editor Andrew McKean's book, How to Hunt Everything, which is available here. If no bucks respond within 20 minutes, keep moving. 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. Bucks are revving their engines but still somewhat in a pattern. Hunt the Rut Not using the right calls. 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. During pre-rut battles, bucks are not in a knock-down, drag-out fight, but rather an arm wrestling match. Not an expert here but pre rut and rut would be logical. All Rights Reserved. Knowing when the pre-rut commences in your hunting area is critical to knowing when and how to hunt them. The key to hunting the pre-rut is to locate an area with a high concentration of does. I’ve taken many blacktails with the aid of a trail camera. 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. (Photo by Scott Haugen). ", Southern-Style Fried Shellcrackers Recipe, 6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow, 10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together, Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You, Deer Skills: Make Your Own Rattling Antlers, 5 Intruder Tactics to Trick Whitetail Bucks During Rut, Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power, Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months, Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations, Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod. Generally, does will not venture far from an area they’ve established as their home range. © 2020 Outdoor Sportsman Group. 7 DAY TROPHY MUZZLELOADER RUT HUNT – Draw only . EDITOR'S NOTE: For signed copies of Scott Haugen's best-selling book Trophy Blacktails: The Science Of The Hunt, send $20 (includes S&H), to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. 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. Keep track of the does because bucks will likely be near during the last week of October. The window of when a mature blacktail makes a mistake and is in the open is very small, and you have to be ready. Mature Buck Hunts Bow/Rifle (3 day): $4,000.00. I organized an unguided hunt for four of my friends and myself in 2016. Give a Gift   Rifle hunters looking for blacktail deer in California and the Pacific Northwest can tag out with these tips. May 22, 2019   |  Brow Tines and Backstrap. Bucks in healthy herds with a balanced sex and age structure have well-defined social orders. Habitat Blacktails are common to coastal areas with wet, temperate climates. (Photo by Gary Lewis) WATCH THE GIRLS. Once the rut is in full swing, fawns are stable, and does disregard their maternal instincts. Follow these steps to find any deer you've hit, whether struck by bullet, slug or arrow. Convince a mature buck that an interloper has invaded his turf. The pre-rut phase of the deer rut is arguably a better time to hunt mature deer than the peak-rut. 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. … Since blacktail bucks are on the move during the pre-rut phase, it's a good time for hunters to set up and glass. When Sitka deer go nocturnal in peak hunting season, you may only be … Buck movement will often slow by mid-morning, and bucks often stop and bed wherever they are at that time. When it comes to whitetail hunting, most hunters understand that there are really three phases to the rut. 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. Click here for more deer hunting articles and videos. 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. Stage 1: Transition from Velvet to Hard Antler, Start of the Pre-Rut. You can start to consider doing a little bit of deer calling. I see the third highest number of bucks between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4, during the pre-rut. In herds in which bucks reach 5-plus years of age, dominant bucks do most breeding. 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. Talk to many bowhunters today and this is when they’ll say they most want to be in the woods. ", Be patient and glass often to locate elusive blacktails. Both my time and my water were running out. Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. 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. 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. 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? As the doe-to-buck ratio skews toward does, bucks spend less time seeking because females are readily a… Subscriber Services. Breeding and Reproduction Blacktail deer rut in November and early December. Stealing from the whitetail playbook you can make mock signpost rubs and illicit deer to check them almost immediately. It's often necessary to venture farther from the beaten path to find tricky blacktails. Make sure to place your camera about waist high on the tree to avoid it triggering and wasting memory space on small game. ... a blacktail hunting guru who died of cancer Oct. 11. Blacktail deer can live up to ten years in the wild but seldom make it past six years of age. one hunter one guide – $7,500. If you didn't pick up anything with binoculars, strategically grid the land with your spotting scope, making sure to cover every inch. Pre-rut hunts can be just as productive as peak-rut hunts. 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. Fortunately for us, there comes a time during the year when all mature blacktails seem to lose their edge and temporarily become vulnerable — the 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. I don't know which of the three of us was more surprised with the reply. Blacktail deer are not large; live weights for mature bucks normally run 120 to 140 pounds. 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. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets. When you see this behavior you know the peak of the pre-rut is on. Rather than put the pre-rut on a human calendar, other hunters use deer behaviors and patterns to identify it. True, peak rut is a great time to be in your tree stand from sunrise to sunset. It's easier than you think — and will put more big bass in your boat. It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads. 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. The hard part is finding them, even during the pre-rut. Part of the pre-rut process for bucks includes sparring. The deer have shed their velvet and have started their pre-rut tendencies. You can never be too cautious when dealing with mature bucks. Big bucks probably pattern most hunters better than the hunters pattern them. Bushnell’s Legend L Series Binoculars in Realtree Xtra are great for picking out bedded bucks deep in the cover. 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. Time Period: October 10-22. The blacktail rut timing and rut phases shift slightly from year to year but these sounds are acceptable under most any condition. Site by Gray Loon. Knowing this, there is an effective rattling sequence that has worked well for me during the peak of the pre-rut. If no buck shows within 15-20 minutes from the time you started, move down the ridge or bench. Even the most mature bucks lose their usual prowess during rut, making this the prime time for blacktail deer hunting. Your chances at finding a buck or two chasing these does during the pre-rut is very good. Their gestation period is 180 to 200 days. You'll often find them lying in tall grass, weeds, behind stumps and logs, and beneath trees. 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. This was my last sit for the early blacktail season. After a couple of experiences like this I’m a firm believer in Scent Away. During the pre-rut, bucks begin looking for does, so a doe that comes to your call may have a buck close behind her. 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. Re: Pre-rut blacktail rattling? Pre-Rut. Nov 28 – Dec 4 . It was amazing! This is a long phase generally starting once summer patterns stop, velvet is shed, bachelor group’s break, and bucks switch their core home range. 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. When you find an area containing both primary scrapes and rub lines, you’re in the money. Try positioning cameras where trails intersect. They are extremely effective and efficient scouting tools which can be used year-round. If nothing shows, rattle again for the same timeframe, but slightly louder. Adapt your hunt strategies for each, and success will follow. 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. Keep it up for 30-45 seconds, then wait, gun ready, for a few minutes. These aren't all-out fights to the death like sometimes occur during the peak of the rut. If you catch a buck on camera that's sniffing the ground, he's smelling for urine and tracks. Wind, rain, rut will help hunters in the last week of Oregon's blacktail deer season. 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. If you find the does, you’ll find the bucks. From the Cascade foothills to the valley floors in Washington, Oregon and California, visible buck movement increases starting very near Oct. 22. The shedding of antlers and impending regrowth is an annual occurrence. 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. 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 first step is perfecting your release. 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. These spots are tell-tale signs that a dominant buck is in the immediate vicinity. However, during the pre-rut, big bucks will use them. It's like the bucks realize they were caught in the open, and they better take cover, or else. "So, what's your favorite time to hunt blacktails during rifle season?" All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. Pre-Rut. These rainy forest wraiths are cousins of mule deer, but nothing except their forked antlers resemble their open-country kin. Feel free to PM me with any questions if you like. Try to situate cameras where multiple trails intersect. 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. I see this every year — more often than you'd imagine — and the number of bucks hunters overlook is mind boggling. 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. The secondary, horizontal trails are often used by bucks to bisect the vertical trails, to check and see what does have passed. The western Oregon general blacktail season, for instance, usually runs from late September to early or mid-November. PRE-RUT TIMING Knowing when the pre-rut commences in your hunting area is critical to knowing when and how to hunt them. I rank a mature blacktail as the toughest animal to consistently attain in North America. Trail Cameras Are Invaluable. Get Slightly Aggressive. Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed. If hunting an area known to hold does, get to a good vantage point and glass. Editor's note: This was originally published in 2008. Once does go into estrus — typically around Nov. 7 to the 10th — the bucks want to be there. It’s usually close-quarters hunting and every second counts. (Shutterstock image). hunts. If no buck shows after five minutes, rattle again, this time a bit louder. Their hair can be in the transition stage between summer and winter during these hunts. 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. Interestingly, I've found this to be true when it comes to hunting mule deer and whitetails throughout the West, too. The Seeking Phase. When it occurs all slates are wiped clean and the advantage goes to the hunter. Trophy Buck Rut Hunts Bow/Rifle(4 day): $6,000.00 Archery Dates: 7/13-08/04 Rifle Dates: 8/10-9/22 However, during the pre-rut, they may bed anywhere. For most bowhunters, chasing blacktails is a chess match that usually concludes with the buck being the victor. 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. Repeat the rattling sequence again. 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. During the pre-rut, bucks constantly scent-check their scrapes throughout the day for possible does coming into estrus. 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. Heavy timber and dense cover provide them with the upper hand against those willing to test their hunting skills. We had a blast! After the early … One of your most invaluable tools when blacktail deer hunting is a quality trail camera. Once to the next spot, begin the rattling session as described above. Field skills: If you want to go long, start training with these tips. Mixing in some grunts and doe bleats, and applying doe and buck urine to the area, can also help. If the woods are calm, your sounds may have traveled 200 yards or more. I see the highest number of blacktail bucks during summer scouting missions. Little if any breeding takes place during the pre-rut. It's nothing to stay in one spot and glass for four hours or more. If you're confident bucks are in the area, break out the spotting scope once you've looked over the land with your binoculars. 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. 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. ©2020 Jordan Outdoor Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved. Whil… Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489 or order online at 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. 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? The 152-inch buck went down with one shot. Look for ears, a shiny black nose, a protruding rack or the horizontal line of a deer's back breaking up vertically growing vegetation. From Oct. 22 to Oct. 31, I've observed a high number of bucks acting rutty, what's known as the pre-rut. To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine. Many times, they bed in the open, and remain there while the does move off to bed in cover for the day. Most mature bucks bed toward the upper portion of a ridge, usually in the top third or so. December 18, 2020   |  Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes, December 16, 2020   |  Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes, These Elusive Creatures Aren't Impossible to Find. 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. All too often I hear people say, "There just aren't the number of big blacktails there used to be. 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. A great deal of buck movement at this time is horizontal, not vertical. Fawn bleats and doe bleats are excellent calls to use anytime from October through December. The seeking phase is when bucks start to try to determine the general location … Then use it against him. Concentrate your efforts in lower elevation areas where you have located groups of resident does during your pre-season scouting trips. 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. Bucks were chasing does left and right; other bucks were fighting one … I hired a commercial fisherman, his boat, and a first mate for a week. 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. |   September Hunting: During early September through early October I conduct combination Sitka black-tail / black bear or single species. (Photo by Scott Haugen). 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. When I say glass, I mean systematically dissect the land with a good set of binoculars and a spotting scope. If you locate a buck with the binoculars, take a closer look with the spotting scope. Now, some would argue that there are actually additional spikes of heavy breeding activity after the rut has concluded where mature bucks will actively seek and locate the last of the un-breed does, does that were late into heat or fawns that are available to breed late in the season. To find any buck is a real challenge and requires a lot of persistence. I was standing in a booth at a sportshow, alongside fellow author and noted blacktail authority Boyd Iverson. Does drop their fawns, typically one or two, in May or June. (Shutterstock image). 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. Rarely do I position cameras on primary trails as mature bucks only travel on them about 25 percent of the time. As the herd’s age structure is skewed toward young bucks, the youngsters become increasingly involved in the rut and breeding. 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. Others say it’s the two to three weeks immediately preceding the rut. 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. I discovered an interesting behavior back in Iowa in 1993 while filming the Wilderness Sound Productions video, Wily Whitetails. Start rattling by tickling the tines together, or lightly clashing the rattle bag. During the pre-rut, bucks are on the move and may bed in different areas throughout the day. Rather, this is a time when bucks push one another around in an effort to establish a sense of dominance. By observing their pre season habits, you are more likely to … This approach can be too aggressive during the pre- and post-rut periods when targeting just any blacktail buck, as they know they don’t want to engage in a fight with the big boys. This is because if they find does, they often keep with them to make sure they don't enter an early estrus state. 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. The pre-rut can be one of the best times to kill a mature buck. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to hunt blacktails during the rut. 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. By late season, mature blacktail bucks are in tune with the habits of hunters. But they don't usually stay on them for very far. quizzed a show goer. This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. Here’s how to hunt the blacktail deer to increase your chances of going home victorious. There are the pre-rut, the rut, and the post-rut. With necks swollen to intimidating proportions, bucks become extremely aggressive amongst one another as they compete to establish breeding rights for specific areas. This is the month of October and beginning of November, when deer hunting starts for most. Blacktail deer are considered the grey ghost of the PNW. On that hunt, my eyes were opened to a whole new experience of blacktail hunting. During the pre-rut, set cameras on main trails. 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. 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. Most shots you’ll get on blacktail are less than 100 yards in fairly tight cover. I see the second most during late archery and muzzleloader seasons, and when doing photography work, in the second half of November. Keep an eye out for more species and how to hunt them here on the Hunting blog._ Black-tailed deer make phantoms seem positively obvious. Without skipping a beat, both Boyd and I replied to the man, "October 22.