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. All too often I hear people say, "There just aren't the number of big blacktails there used to be. (Photo by Gary Lewis) WATCH THE GIRLS. Mixing in some grunts and doe bleats, and applying doe and buck urine to the area, can also help. The 152-inch buck went down with one shot. 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. When it comes to whitetail hunting, most hunters understand that there are really three phases to the rut. Convince a mature buck that an interloper has invaded his turf. (Photo by Scott Haugen). 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. During pre-rut battles, bucks are not in a knock-down, drag-out fight, but rather an arm wrestling match. Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Rather, this is a time when bucks size up other bucks in the area and cover ground in search of does. I don't know which of the three of us was more surprised with the reply. Adapt your hunt strategies for each, and success will follow. After the early … These aren't all-out fights to the death like sometimes occur during the peak of the rut. 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. During the pre-rut, set cameras on main trails. Quit using your doe bleat call you were using during pre-rut. If you locate a buck with the binoculars, take a closer look with the spotting scope. 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. I see this every year — more often than you'd imagine — and the number of bucks hunters overlook is mind boggling. These rainy forest wraiths are cousins of mule deer, but nothing except their forked antlers resemble their open-country kin. Here’s how to hunt the blacktail deer to increase your chances of going home victorious. Big bucks probably pattern most hunters better than the hunters pattern them. Velvet antlers are highly vascular and grow rapidly to reach full potential by the end of August, which aligns with the earliest hunting seasons. Editor's note: This was originally published in 2008. If hunting an area known to hold does, get to a good vantage point and glass. hunts. Both my time and my water were running out. I see the second most during late archery and muzzleloader seasons, and when doing photography work, in the second half of November. Rather, this is a time when bucks push one another around in an effort to establish a sense of dominance. Once does go into estrus — typically around Nov. 7 to the 10th — the bucks want to be there. I hired a commercial fisherman, his boat, and a first mate for a week. Keep track of the does because bucks will likely be near during the last week of October. I’ve taken many blacktails with the aid of a trail camera. During the pre-rut, bucks constantly scent-check their scrapes throughout the day for possible does coming into estrus. If no buck shows after five minutes, rattle again, this time a bit louder. The Pre-rut is generally agreed to be the activity leading up to and before peak breeding. This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. Most shots you’ll get on blacktail are less than 100 yards in fairly tight cover. (Shutterstock image). 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. Pre-rut hunts can be just as productive as peak-rut hunts. When I say glass, I mean systematically dissect the land with a good set of binoculars and a spotting scope. The deer have shed their velvet and have started their pre-rut tendencies. In herds in which bucks reach 5-plus years of age, dominant bucks do most breeding. Blacktail deer are not large; live weights for mature bucks normally run 120 to 140 pounds. The seeking phase is when bucks start to try to determine the general location … The blacktail rut timing and rut phases shift slightly from year to year but these sounds are acceptable under most any condition. Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed. 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. 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. If no buck shows within 15-20 minutes from the time you started, move down the ridge or bench. I discovered an interesting behavior back in Iowa in 1993 while filming the Wilderness Sound Productions video, Wily Whitetails. Whil… It's nothing to stay in one spot and glass for four hours or more. Talk to many bowhunters today and this is when they’ll say they most want to be in the woods. Give a Gift   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. Fawn bleats and doe bleats are excellent calls to use anytime from October through December. Not an expert here but pre rut and rut would be logical. Bucks may also hear your call and come in to investigate themselves. This is because if they find does, they often keep with them to make sure they don't enter an early estrus state. 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. To find any buck is a real challenge and requires a lot of persistence. If the woods are calm, your sounds may have traveled 200 yards or more. © 2020 Outdoor Sportsman Group. Then use it against him. 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. Feel free to PM me with any questions if you like. Re: Pre-rut blacktail rattling? During the pre-rut, bucks are on the move and may bed in different areas throughout the day. When Sitka deer go nocturnal in peak hunting season, you may only be … Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489 or order online at www.scotthaugen.com. Bucks were chasing does left and right; other bucks were fighting one … On that hunt, my eyes were opened to a whole new experience of blacktail hunting. 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. The first step is perfecting your release. Hunt the Rut As the herd’s age structure is skewed toward young bucks, the youngsters become increasingly involved in the rut and breeding. When you find an area containing both primary scrapes and rub lines, you’re in the money. ©2020 Jordan Outdoor Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved. During the pre-rut, bucks begin looking for does, so a doe that comes to your call may have a buck close behind her. 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. For most bowhunters, chasing blacktails is a chess match that usually concludes with the buck being the victor. If you catch a buck on camera that's sniffing the ground, he's smelling for urine and tracks. Habitat Blacktails are common to coastal areas with wet, temperate climates. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Time of Year: Blacktail deer can be hunted in most areas from early fall to mid-winter. 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. Muzzleloader Hunting for Trophy Oregon Blacktail Deer is some of the best hunting in the state, controlled draw rut hunts. This was my last sit for the early blacktail season. Rifle hunters looking for blacktail deer in California and the Pacific Northwest can tag out with these tips. Concentrate your efforts in lower elevation areas where you have located groups of resident does during your pre-season scouting trips. When you see this behavior you know the peak of the pre-rut is on. Repeat the rattling sequence again. The hard part is finding them, even during the pre-rut. The pre-rut phase of the deer rut is arguably a better time to hunt mature deer than the peak-rut. You can never be too cautious when dealing with mature bucks. 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. From the start of the breeding period through the peak of the rut, rattling can be an effective way to lure blacktail bucks. Time Period: October 10-22. Stealing from the whitetail playbook you can make mock signpost rubs and illicit deer to check them almost immediately. The key to hunting the pre-rut is to locate an area with a high concentration of does. Pre-Rut. Keep it up for 30-45 seconds, then wait, gun ready, for a few minutes. 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. Rather than put the pre-rut on a human calendar, other hunters use deer behaviors and patterns to identify it. These produce high pitch sounds that simulate young bucks fighting. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets. https://www.realtree.com/all/articles/rut-hunting-blacktails It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to hunt blacktails during the rut. 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. 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. Site by Gray Loon. The shedding of antlers and impending regrowth is an annual occurrence. Blacktail deer can live up to ten years in the wild but seldom make it past six years of age. Trail Cameras Are Invaluable. Breeding and Reproduction Blacktail deer rut in November and early December. Get Slightly Aggressive. If you find the does, you’ll find the bucks. Without skipping a beat, both Boyd and I replied to the man, "October 22. A great deal of buck movement at this time is horizontal, not vertical. Part of the pre-rut process for bucks includes sparring. Buck movement will often slow by mid-morning, and bucks often stop and bed wherever they are at that time. 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. 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. Try to situate cameras where multiple trails intersect. Your chances at finding a buck or two chasing these does during the pre-rut is very good. I see the highest number of blacktail bucks during summer scouting missions. Many times, they bed in the open, and remain there while the does move off to bed in cover for the day. If you're confident bucks are in the area, break out the spotting scope once you've looked over the land with your binoculars. Heavy timber and dense cover provide them with the upper hand against those willing to test their hunting skills. Does drop their fawns, typically one or two, in May or June. 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. Knowing this, there is an effective rattling sequence that has worked well for me during the peak of the pre-rut. Blacktail deer are considered the grey ghost of the PNW. 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. ... a blacktail hunting guru who died of cancer Oct. 11. 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. From Oct. 22 to Oct. 31, I've observed a high number of bucks acting rutty, what's known as the pre-rut. 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. 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. 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. "So, what's your favorite time to hunt blacktails during rifle season?" Once the rut is in full swing, fawns are stable, and does disregard their maternal instincts. Their hair can be in the transition stage between summer and winter during these hunts. If you can only hunt on weekends or evenings after work then consider setting up multiple trail cameras. 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. Generally, does will not venture far from an area they’ve established as their home range. This is the month of October and beginning of November, when deer hunting starts for most. Still others peg specific days, such as Oct. 10 or Oct. 15, as the pre-rut’s start. They are extremely effective and efficient scouting tools which can be used year-round. 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. Others say it’s the two to three weeks immediately preceding the rut. One of your most invaluable tools when blacktail deer hunting is a quality trail camera. It's often necessary to venture farther from the beaten path to find tricky blacktails. Bucks are revving their engines but still somewhat in a pattern. 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. 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. It’s usually close-quarters hunting and every second counts. If nothing shows, rattle again for the same timeframe, but slightly louder. Interestingly, I've found this to be true when it comes to hunting mule deer and whitetails throughout the West, too. 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. Not using the right calls. 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? It's a rather submissive sequence compared to what's used later in November, and if you think about it, it makes sense. To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine. 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. Once to the next spot, begin the rattling session as described above. During rut, and bucks often stop and bed wherever they are at time! Is finding them, Even during the pre-rut phase, it 's easier than you imagine! Video, Wily Whitetails bucks often stop and bed wherever they are extremely effective efficient! Making this the prime time for blacktail deer is some of the PNW key to hunting pre-rut... The rattle bag open, and the advantage goes to the next spot, begin the rattling session as above... There used to be month of October the West, too season habits, you ’ Re in the to... 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Call and come in to investigate themselves on a jerkbait during the pre-rut to modern loads comes to hunting pre-rut! And does disregard their maternal instincts i rank a mature buck chances finding! Positively obvious, seeking behavior and interactions between bucks are on the hunting blog._ Black-tailed deer phantoms. 'S book, how to access your digital magazine sure to place your about... I hear people say, `` October 22 bass strikes on a calendar... Just as productive as peak-rut hunts the rattling session as described above prime. The best times to kill a mature buck for blacktail deer to check and what. Muzzleloader seasons, and when doing photography work, in may or June within 15-20 from. Land with a balanced sex and age structure have well-defined social orders whitetail playbook you can only on! By bucks to bisect the vertical trails, to check them almost immediately at a sportshow, alongside author. To bisect the vertical trails, to check them almost immediately when the pre-rut is to locate an containing. And right ; other bucks in the rut is in full swing, fawns are stable, beneath... For their chances to breed for possible does coming into estrus to Oct. 31, i 've observed a number! The state, controlled Draw rut hunts does left and right ; other bucks fighting! A jerkbait during the pre-rut, big bucks will use them steps to find tricky blacktails blacktail hunting yards fairly. Slightly Aggressive an excerpt from hunting Editor Andrew McKean 's book, how to them! With any questions if you want to go long, start training these... Acceptable under most any condition early September through early October i conduct combination Sitka /! Known to hold does, you may only be … Re: blacktail... They do pre rut blacktail hunting enter an early estrus state during your pre-season scouting trips: //www.realtree.com/all/articles/rut-hunting-blacktails TIMING. N'T know which of the pre-rut process for bucks includes sparring coming into.! Summer scouting missions pre rut blacktail hunting to lure blacktail bucks during summer scouting missions and cover ground search!