Contributors to this thread:
First Whitetail and Blacktail
Hi, so I got my first Whitetail with a Bow in Wisconsin, and looking to start Blacktail hunting. For Whitetail you are stand hunting. From what I am reading it looks like Blacktail hunting is mostly stalking. Is that true, and why is that? Also, I can not imagine trying to stalk a Whitetail. Are Blacktail less wary, or are their senses not as strong?
In the midwest, you can have deer densities of upwards of 100 deer per square mile, but 30-40 per square mile is not uncommon. In California, as is the case in most Columbian Blacktail habitat, 1-10 deer per square mile is more common although there are exceptions; more so on private land. When you have a ton of deer, all you have to do is find a good place where deer are traveling and eventually, one will walk in front of you. Last year on public land in Nebraska, I shot 4 white tail in 6 days. In California between 2010 and 2015, hunting public land hybrid blacktail-mule deer, I hunted close to 300 days, saw less than 30 legal deer, and killed 3.
That's one reason. Another is that they don't move in predictable patterns like white tail. They generally are not as dependent on agriculture and river bottoms and range all over the place so finding a place for a stand where you can reliably have a deer walk within bow range is a very difficult prospect.
Another reason is that most of the blacktail seasons are not during the rut. If you're hunting deer in velvet, spotting and stalking is the way to do it unless you've patterned a particular deer, unless you plan on getting very lucky.
As far as their senses and being wary, people will disagree with me, but it's my opinion that pretty much all deer in North America, with the exception of Coues deer, are all equally wary given equal hunting pressure. Heavily pressured blacktails become nocturnal and skiddish just like white tail and mule deer. Anything that's hunted by humans and especially by human predators and animal predators, will become hyper-alert at all times and very nocturnal in order to survive.
Good luck on your hunts!
Wow nice message and thank you so much.....
Don't let me scare you away from hunting them though. If you want to hunt them, tell us what your goals are and what you're looking for and you'll get good advice. Are you looking for a guided hunt? DIY hunt? How much are you willing to spend on this venture? Are you willing to draw and/or wait?
Ideally I would like to do DIY hunts for Blacktail. I would like to take off a week during archery season focusing on Blacktail. Not really sure where to go in Northern California. Willing to draw and wait if that makes the most sense. On another note, I want to do a Spring Turkey Hunt and may seek a guide. What are you thoughts on both?
I don't know why you'd come all the way to California for turkey.
Public land blacktail are difficult. Your best bet is to look into a tresspass fee for private land in one of the B units or A north, which are OTC. There's one good blacktail rut hunt, the Covelo hunt, but it takes 5 points to draw.
I'll send you a PM with some info.
Appreciate the additional information. I am a resident of California.
Oh, I assumed you were still in WI. That changes things. Whereabouts?
South Bay Area....Thanks!
You must be around Hwy237 then, Fremont-Milpitas-Sunnyvale-SJ. I'm in the East Bay east of Oakland. You have a couple of great archery shops down your way where you can get good intel, Archery Only in Newark which is OK and Predator's Archery down in Gilroy, really great people. There are several clubs near you as well. I belong to Golden Ram and haven't hunted public land in many years. That said, there is plenty of BLM and other pockets of public land around the delta and north that get little traffic. Good luck to you.
I hunt whitetail in Maryland, but may be moving to the Oakland area. I am very interested in hunting blacktail if I move out there. Seems the prey are a little different, but the laws are very different. How much are hunt clubs out there? Can people get by on BLM and public land alone?
Clubs seem to range in the $1500-$3000 depending on your package, i.e., there are clubs within the clubs. So you have some hunting leases retained by the club's for premium memberships. IdyllwildArcher sums up Blacktail vs Whitetail behavior well in the above post. I did very well on National Forest and BLM land in North Nor Cal before going private club. You just have to get farther off fireroads and hide in any funnels during the opening weekend and let the road warriors drive them to you. Well maybe not quite that simple but it was a successful strategy for me. Good luck.