Contributors to this thread:
Firsts... and Lasts
The Bowsite has been a go-to place to read about and share in other bowhunter's successes for many years. Several absolutely amazingly well written stories with fabulous photos just put up today by Kevin Dill and Squirrel! So many awesome bowhunting (and a few rifle) adventures that you just can't find anywhere else.
Sometimes, I even get lucky and get an opportunity to share an oh-so-rare, successful bowhunting experience. The feedback recieved make it kind of like telling the story around a campfire or just kicking back with your buddies and it really brings it to life.
Most of us have deeply imbedded emotions and detail burned into their memories of certain firsts. For most of us bowhunters, those most vividly etched into our synapses are things like that first buck or elk taken with a bow. Our firsts leave deep, lasting impressions in our minds that we keep fresh with the photos we take and mounts that we put on the wall...
Over time, our memory fades about many of the details that once were sharp and clear. Names, movies, birthdays, and the like are things that never really register in my boney noggin the first time around, much less do they last for any real stretch of time. My wife constantly reminds me of those things, and I have no idea how she can remember any of it.
We do tend to remember the last thing we did with more clarity. Our last meal, what we did a few hours ago, or our last good hunt.
This is a story about firsts... and lasts. And maybe a bit of the in-the-middle. I wrote this one up and have submitted it for a magazine but will expand and add detail along the way so it will be unique for the bowsite gang...
Although 2020 did turn up a pretty special antelope tag in my home state of Colorado that I used 23 points for, that was all I won in the application game.
Applying in multiple states for multiple species is a game of chance and with such limited resources and so many people in the game, the chances of getting one of those great tags seems to be less with each passing year.
Gotta think positive though, somebody has to get those top end tags!
A call from a friend from the Bowsite brought up an interesting proposition. He asked if I would be interested in a Columbian Blacktail hunt in November on an over the counter tag. The hunt was basically a tresspass fee on private land and he knew several people that had been successful there in the past. Columbian blacktail deer would be my last North American deer species so I was definately interested.
As I was talking to him about the hunt, I was looking up the timing for the steelhead runs... When I saw that November appeared to be a great time for steelhead, I told him that I was in!
The check to the landowner was in the mail the next day.
Looking forward to this one!
Blizzards, icy roads, COVID restrictions and cancelled flights had all been part of the initial adventure just to get from my home in Colorado to southwestern Oregon. I really started to question my sanity coming all this way on a nothing-special, over-the-counter deer tag when I stepped out into a downpour at the airport. These conditions were not at all good for wooden bow and arrows. But I was here and determined to make the most of it!
I had actually missed my flight due to a blizzard cancelling the flight out of Hayden and arrived a day after my friend. He had been busy and had shot a great buck on the first day while I was playing catch up! He picked me up at the airport and we made the trip to the taxidermist to drop his deer off before driving to the other small town we would be hunting out of. When we got to the taxidermist and he pulled out his buck I was amazed at how beautiful the 4x4 typical rack was. I was sure that there was no way I would even get to see a buck of that caliber on our hunt.
Ghost in the Mist
The rain forced sitting in a cold, soggy ground blind for the day’s hunt as it had for the preceding mornings. Crawling into the blind an hour before daylight and pouring several inches of water out of the chair, I was glad for my rain gear over layered, warming wool, as the old blind leaked like a sieve. I waited patiently and enjoyed the steady drip of rain from the trees, the smells of the wet, mossy woods and the rustling of unseen things moving around my ambush.
My thoughts drifted to the big 3x3 buck from the previous day. The stalk in the rain had been perfect and I had managed to get well within my effective range. When he had stood up, the shot sequence was solid and arrow flight perfect until it took a hard dive and buried in the mud beneath his feet. An unseen branch had foiled a chance at a solid Pope and Young buck.
I was still upset about missing, but anticipation was high that today could just be the day for redemption.
For some reason the rotation isn't working! Frustrating! Asked for help from someone that is better at getting pictures in than I am...
A gray dawn slowly unfolded beneath the clouds and persistent rain. Mist and fog swirled silently through the moss draped trees bringing thoughts of ancient spirits of the hunt. I thanked the Lord just to be able to witness a new day and opportunities it may bring.
The early morning light finally revealed two groups of does feeding under the nearby oaks along with one very amorous young spike. The yearlings would run from his advances but the older does viciously lashed at him with their sharp front hooves. He was nothing, if not persistent, and kept coming back for more.
Love was in the air and maybe, just maybe, a mature buck would show himself.
Gotta love a good bow hunting story!!
Having hell with the pictures. Can't get them to load and sometimes rotating and sometimes not...
Will move on with the story...
Something caught the deer’s attention up the hillside.
I looked in that direction, a dark shape materialized from the forest, slipping through a small opening in the big Douglas firs and thick undergrowth. A quick glance with the binoculars and I was stunned at what I saw.
I immediately had trouble breathing. Surely that was not real!
I ducked below the edge of the blind to try and pull myself together. When my heart rate finally settled down and I was starting to breath somewhat normally again, I dared to slowly peek over the edge of the blind. Luckily, the nearby does had not noticed my panic attack.
Easing my gaze back to the hillside, my heart sank. The apparition that I had seen for an instant was gone. Vanished back into the mist and poison oak infested forest from whence he had come.
My mind and the mist must be playing tricks on me, I thought. There was absolutely no way a blacktail buck could be that big! Get a hold of yourself, you are imagining things.
After shaking it off, I relaxed and settled in to wait for a real buck, not some fog induced fantasy.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, a slight movement in the thick underbrush. I slowly raised my binoculars and picked out a flickering ear. He turned his head and I saw part of a huge chocolate rack. Good Lord…it was real!
And he was coming my way.
The phantom slowly solidified into something real as he moved into an opening. He froze with his attention on the other deer flitting around and gave me my first good view.
Fifteen minutes before this, I was daydreaming and hoping for any mature buck and now here was a giant beyond my wildest dreams! My entire body started shaking. I started hyperventilating.
I had to look away.
I stared at moss-covered tree trunk on the other side of the blind in hopes of calming down.
My body was still trembling when I stole another glance toward the buck out the other side of the blind.
He had cut the distance in half again and was staring at the does. My heart felt like it was going to blow out of my chest. I forgot how to breathe, AGAIN!
Calm down, man! Deep breaths!
Stay silent! BREATHE!
My mind raced as I returned to a serious study of the rain running down the mossy tree bark.
Although always excited to see game, I have never been prone to Buck Fever. I had a double dose now. Maybe a triple dose! If I couldn’t get myself under control and make a good shot, no one would ever believe this.
My next glance revealed only the tips of dark antlers above the understory, moving along the trail toward my shooting lane. He was hot after a doe with his neck stretched and upper lip curled.
All opportunity to settle my nerves was gone.
Whatever was going to happen was going to happen in the next few seconds and I was still a total wreck.
My longbow came back to full draw and I locked into my anchor as he trotted after the doe and into my shooting lane.
He stopped broadside at 25 yards, posing for his doe.
I picked a spot low on his chest, pulled through my release and the arrow was away.
The fletching vanished into his ribs, but hit higher than I wanted.
Possibly through that dreaded "void".
I actually thought it might have just went through the backstraps.
Not sure if he jumped at the shot or if I just pulled it high in the excitement.
Although lucky to have even been able to draw my bow and release an arrow in the mental state I was in, my years of bowhunting experience told me that this could be very bad and result in a lost deer. My heart sank and I was hit with waves of nausea.
The chances of finding a deer hit poorly in the rain are slim to none.
Not only had I just seen an unbelievable, giant, world class buck, but I had also just likely wounded him with a low percentage shot.
But I also knew from experience that a razor-sharp broadhead just might find one of those sweet spots that lead to quick death, even on a marginal hit.
I had shot him, but reality kicked me square between the legs.
It looked to be bad hit, but still through the body cavity where arteries and veins cross. That sharp broadhead just must nick one…
That was the hope I would cling to. Hunting with a traditional bow and arrows, one must be the eternal optimist.
When the nausea subsided, I called my hunting partner and told him I had just shot a deer. He asked what kind of deer and I told him “A giant, an absolute GIANT.” He asked how big. “A FREAKIN GIANT! Like huge … huge main frame, kickers and drop points and mass, you know, this thing was crazy huge!” What would he maybe score? I blurted out “A LOT… I don’t know, like 180???!!” After a long pause, he replied “Come on… blacktails don’t get that big. I’m on my way!”
I eased out of the blind as my partner slogged his way uphill to the blind. The arrow had passed completely through, a good sign. Closer inspection of the arrow provided positive reinforcement that it was a lethal hit. We decided to follow a short distance to get a line on his escape route before the rain washed any sign away. The buck left deep imprints in the mud to the bottom of a draw and then disappeared in tall grass. I stuck the arrow where we lost tracks and we eased out to give him some time to expire. The thick cover and conditions were combining to make for an almost impossible tracking job.
Talk about raw excitement turning into feeling you had blown the biggest chance you would ever get in tens of thousands of lifetimes of hunting… how the hell was I going to live with that? We waited a few gut-wrenching hours and returned to take up the trail. We found nothing as hours and hours rolled by. Everyplace we checked was one less place for him to be and my heart sunk lower. I started to wonder if any of it had been real.
The landowner joined us after noon, and we went back to the last sign from the morning. We had found nothing past where I had planted the arrow. We worked together and gridded a large area to no avail. With no additional sign to go on, I sank deeper into depression thinking that there was a high probability of losing this buck, but I was determined stick to it.
Late in the evening, we had scattered in the hopes of finding anything in any direction. I was drawn back to an area in a straight line with the earlier tracks. There were several downed fir trees and a small pond surrounded by manzanita brush about 200 yards from the blind. I had walked by the area twice already but decided to give the area one more good look before calling it for the evening.
As I slowly eased up the hill toward the downed trees, I smelled the musky scent of wet deer. I raised my hand to my face to see if the smell was on my hands from my arrow.
Another step and I looked down on the tips of chocolate antlers poking up through the boughs. Oh Lord it was him! A primal roar fired by raw emotion from going through the lowest of lows to the highest of highs burst from my lungs!
Gratitude and relief washed over me. I was trembling and tears welled in my eyes. I got him! I found him! I thanked the Lord and the spirits of the hunt. I had found my buck, and as I freed him from the branches, what a buck! A huge 4x4 mainframe with double brow tines on both sides. Beautiful chocolate-colored antlers with unbelievable mass. Sticker points from both back forks… Two, no three drop tines! He just kept growing!
The landowner said that he had never seen this deer. The experience was that much sweeter in these days of trail camera usage to know that this buck had lived a long life as an unseen ghost of the forest until he made a single mistake.
Excellent stuff so far, Tavis!
What an incredible buck and story! Thanks so much for sharing! There really aren't many Columbia blacktail stories posted.
Back at the hotel, I finished caping and my hunting partner couldn’t wait to put a tape on him. I cooked the tenderloins on the grill, and we celebrated this amazing deer. After dinner, we printed a scoresheet and meticulously measured.
The final green score came out at 184 6/8” gross and 178 6/8” net that would put him at #2 all-time Pope and Young non-typical Columbian Blacktail. The official score was slightly less but will be confirmed at panel measurement by Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett. He will be #1 or #2 in the Boone and Crockett recording period and the largest blacktail ever taken by a traditional bowhunter.
Don't worry Rocky, fishing is coming...
The reality of the experience has been slow to sink in.
My First Columbian Blacktail was my Last North American deer species.
Having chased giant mule deer above tree line, big whitetails in the prairies, Coues in the desert Southwest, and Sitka blacktails on Kodiak, I certainly had no expectation for a buck of this magnitude.
Over many years of hunting, I have been blessed to have taken many great animals on several continents, including a few that are truly exceptional. Killing one of the largest blacktail bucks of all time with a bow and the largest ever with a longbow is beyond comprehension.
Months later I am still having trouble wrapping my head around it. Be persistent and stay positive, you never know what even a marginal opportunity or over-the-counter tag may bring.
Sometimes, that Ghost in the Mist becomes real!
Congrats again, Tavis. You just had to go and get one (ALOT) bigger than mine :) Glad it worked out for you guys
Incredible...thanks for sharing. And congratulations!
Wow! That’s a once in a lifetime buck. Great story as well. Thanks for posting it.
Shotgun - good listener for the long drive home!
Shotgun - good listener for the long drive home!
Although I had flown out on this trip, I did not want this buck to be messed up getting it home. I decided to cancel my flight and drive home. I could take all of our meat in a cooler and get it all home without the extra bag fees and potential for it to get lost or broken.
Holy cow! Congrats! What a buck and story!
I sent in teeth for aging and DNA samples to learn everything possible about this amazing deer. I wanted to be sure that he was a true Columbian Blacktail and not a mule deer or cross breed.
The DNA confirmed that he was, in fact, a Columbian Blacktail, and the tooth aging placed him at 6 ½ years old.
Yes sir!!!! Congrats buddy. That’s a great buck. I’m just glad I didn’t have to experience the lows that happened. It makes me weak thinking about it.
Justin, that day certainly put me through the ringer, emotionally! From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows to the highest of highs! Definately glad for the way it turned out!
Oh, and not to forget Rocky D, I got to check another box with the fishing!
Since we had both tagged out early, we wanted to try for steelhead. The neighbor of the landowner we were hunting on is a guide on the river so we set up an afternoon float for one day and a full day float for the following day.
Wowzers! Congrats on a great buck
Great story, Tavis! I knew about the buck from the photos you sent, but the story is fabulous. Excellent all the way around.
We caught native sea run cutthroats and both native and hatchery steelhead. My buddy got on the board early with the spinning setup and caught quite a few steelhead and cuts.
Sea run cutthroat are beautiful fish! We caught some nice ones!
I fell way behind my buddy in numbers until about the halfway point of the float.
I had brought a couple of fly rods and the one I started with was not working well. I was not able to make good mends and my tropical flyline was definately not acting right in the cold water. I switched over to the long two hander and it made a world of difference with the line handling!
I got on the board with my first steelhead!
Unbelievable Blacktail! No wonder your heart and head were slamming around like a pin ball! And that amazing buck couldn't have slipped up to better hunter. Very fitting. Huge congratulations Tavis!
Is it my imagination or does Colorado have more than its fair share of legendary bow hunters?
A good cast in tight to the boulder strewn bank and the indicator dove under like it had on several snags before. However, this one moved! Fast! I had hooked up on a really nice steelhead and he took me into the backing hard several times. I was certainly thankful to have this fish on the longer rod to be able to at least have some control. Big steelhead in a strong current are unbelievably strong fighters!
We had to follow him down through a rough section of the river with the boat and finally got him in to the net!
What a fight!
My word! Sincere congratulations on a world class buck. What a way to make the record books!
This had been a trip of many firsts, a few lasts, and a lot of in between!
The skull cleaned up and at his new home!
The skull cleaned up and at his new home!
It is amazing how many solid bowhunters there are in Colorado! Some of the very best bowhunters in the world are Colorado guys whose names very few would recognize. I have certainly been blessed to get to know some of them and learn a few things from those unknown, unsung legends.
We certainly had an amazing trip!
See Rocky, told ya I would throw in some fishing!
I think you're right Tavis. Those are the guys who quietly go about their hunting and their accomplishments would be legendary if they were known. Which convinces me that they are hunting for all the right reasons. Love of the craft, the animals and the land, and not the notoriety. Unsung legends, I suppose.
And you're one of them.
I'm sixty eight, have been hunting my whole life and have never killed an extraordinary animal. So I have an idea of what it might take to be one of "those guys". Rare breed, indeed.
What an incredible experience!
That buck is just unreal! Some things are just meant to be, I'm truly happy for you, Tavis!
That is awesome Tavis. That is an incredible animal.
Where did the arrow end up hitting the deer at?
Amazing buck! Congrats, well done and thanks for sharing.
Great update to the story! Glad he DNA'd to be what he looked to be...a GREAT Blacktail! What a buck! Congrats again Tavis on a flat out AWESOME Blacktail! Just an amazing critter!
Wow Congrats and thanks for sharing.
Your story gave me the chills. Too cool. Described your feelings in the moments perfectly. Thank you for taking us on this ride with you!
Thanks, Rod. And I know better! You have certainly taken some world class animals...
The arrow hit mid-lungs about 1" below the spine and broke two ribs on entry. The buck was slightly quartering to me and down hill about 10' below my shooting elevation. The arrow exited mid-body, half way between the ribs and the rear leg.
I was using a 200 grain, 3-blade, 1 1/4" diameter VPA and my arrow setup was 505 grains off a 60# Blackwidow longbow.
I cut the femoral on the right side, cut through the back of the right lung, through the liver, diaphram and intestines on the left. The left side had a piece of gut plugging the hole and the right side was really high. There was a little blood where I hit him and then nothing. Tracks for about 100 yards and then nothing. He went about 200 yards total. I shot him at about 7:30 AM and found him at 4:30 PM. He was not stiff when I found him so he had been alive for most of the time. I know I was within 20 yards of him at least twice during the day and he probably burrowed under the spruce when he saw me nearby.
Although there was a lot of pressure and he may have jumped a bit at the shot, I am not proud of it and have been working diligently to improve my consistency since. Spent a day with Tom Clum, signed up for the Solid Archery Mechanics online tutorials, and have been working on improving my form and reducing target panic/buck fever issues... I've spent a lot of years flinging arrows, and occationally getting lucky. I love bowhunting, the animals I hunt, and really want to be the best that I can be when that moment of truth is in front of me and not fall apart!
To be clear I was not knocking your shooting. Always seems you can shot a trad bow better than most. I was just curious where you hit him. Since you think he was not dead long when you found him, probably answers this question. But after your experience shooting a deer in the rain. Would you recommend following up right a way or still backing out even though you know blood will be washed away. So risk pushing him but have a blood trail. Or no blood trail but better chance of finding him grid searching closer to where you shot him?
Treeline, if that buck didn't give you a least a little buck fever then there's something wrong with you;) You did fine, don't beat yourself up. Bow hunting isn't an exact science. If it were then it would be too easy.
I've been waiting for this story for a while, almost exactly a year in fact, and it didn't disappoint.
Congrats, Tavis. That is truly a OIL buck, and I'm glad he's yours.
Every one is different. If my shot had been two inches lower and two inches forward, pretty sure he would not have made it 100 yards and would have been laying where we lost the tracks in the grass. As it was, I knew it would be a tough go so followed tracks that were in the open till they stopped then backed out for a few hours.
I know you weren’t knocking my shooting! I was! Should have been better able to control the shot. Time enough for getting buck fever after a good, solid shot that you know will result in a good, short blood trail and recovery!
Really cool, congrats and thanks for sharing with us
Wow Congrats and thanks for sharing.
That may be the prettiest buck I've ever seen , and you got it done with traditional tackle . Damn Impressive. I enjoyed your recount of a fine hunt. Thanks Tavis.
Incredible buck, Tavis. Randy shared the pics with me last year when I told him I booked my BT hunt. Truly a special animal and I appreciate now having a story to go with the pic.
Awesome Tavis! Congrats again. What a deer, what a memory. Your writing was phenomenal as usual. Couldn't happen to a better fella.
What an incredible blacktail ! Congrats Treeline, and thanks for sharing the story with us !
Tavis that is a once in life time Blacktail buck! I grew up in Marion County Oregon where the current typical record buck was shot. Big bucks like yours are very elusive and almost ghost like. Congrats on a magificent buck and holding it together at the moment of truth. Thanks for posting!
The rest of the story didn’t disappoint either! Congrats on an incredible buck, Tavis!
Giant buck! Congrats! Your the man
Amazing buck and story! Congrats man-that puts the nail in the coffin of an awesome quest. Thanks for telling us the story.
Another congrats Tavis! Couldn't happen to a better bowhunter. Thanks for sharing
The day you sent me those pics last fall is one I won't soon forget Tavis! My jaw about hit the floor when I saw him! What an incredible buck and it couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy! Congrats again on an amazing buck, a great hunting story, and some damn fine fishing as well!
Congratulations again, Tavis, on a beautiful Blacktail. Looking forward to authenticating it at panel!
Congratulations for that great blacktail and story. As I cut my teeth rifle hunting blacktails as a teenager before I went bow only about 1958, I can say that big blacktails might be about the hardest animal to take by bow. I know a lot of us can relate to your feelings as related in your well told account. Also, for me steelhead can be a number one fishing experience. Thanks for sharing, Badbull
Congratulations Tavis! Thanks for the great write up.
I agree with your original statement about the recent write ups and was thinking of posting about the writing talent on here. You followed suit with great story and spectacular animal. I remember some other big ones. Congrats and thanks for writing.
I enjoyed the write up. Congrats on an exceptional animal!
Tavis - congrats again. Glad to have the complete story to go with the pics from last year. What a unique adventure - encompassing the full spectrum of emotions. Glad it ended the way it did. Happy for you my friend.
Tavis, I have known you since 1999 when you helped me with my Mt. Goat hunt. I realized then you were a special hunter with the long bow, and this story confirms your passion for the hunt and for the more difficult way to launch an arrow. This story, this hunt, this buck just did not happen by chance. It happened because of you and your hard work and commitment, not to do it the easy way.
Nicely done. my best, Paul
Wow, great story and great buck! Thanks for sharing, score one for the good guy!!
UNBELIEVABLE!!! Thanks for taking the time to write and keeping us all on the “edge of our seats!” Been waiting a long time for that story to materialize, was starting to wonder, if among all your other accomplishments, you had forgotten that you flitzed an arrow through a world record blacktail! Nice that you got the DNA confirmation, that must have been a gruelling nail biting wait too. All around outstanding Tavis, couldn’t have happened to a better guy, someone who has a pure passion for the hunt
Congrats Tavis! Hell of an accomplishment
Man the Steelhead fishing and pics alone were worthy of the story. Let alone the magnificent deer.
Thanks for the kind words. My thoughts on the DNA were that if it came back as having mule deer in him above the limit, I would not enter him in the books even though he would make it as a mule deer as well. They have to come in at a over 90% match to their blacktail baseline to be considered a blacktail. Definately happy with the results!
By the way, we were very impressed by the blacktail meat! It was amazing! I made up sausages, jerky, and steaks and it was all yummy! Ranks right up there with axis for flavor!
Thanks for sharing the story!
Love making up good smoked sausage! So yummy!
Sausages look great!
Did you notice a rutty taste to the meat?
I have had August Sitka Blacktail many times which is amazing. Mule deer I don’t care for at all. So would be nice to try a Columbia BT
WW all of the meat from that blacktail was wonderful! Ranks right up there with axis or Kodiak Sitka for flavor. No rutty smell or flavor at all.
Have had a few mule deer that were really good but that is definately the exception to the rule...
Wow great story and a great buck! On a side note just to show what kind of person Treeline is he once bought two tickets for me and my brother to a CBA banquet and doesn't even know us. I came away very impressed.
Thanks for posting. AmAzing animal and story!! This made me smile!! Hunt
Outstanding in every way, story, deer, stress levels, etc... could you imaging finding a shed off of that deer. Thanks for posting -- what mag did you submit your story too?
Wow, what a special hunt and an extraordinary buck! A lot to be proud of, including your persistence in the follow-up search. Congratulations Tavis!!
Fantastic write up and story!
I take my hat off. What an amazing story, experience and outcome. First class all the way from start to finish. I have hunted out of blinds with Trad gear too. But my shots where always high. Some I missed, some scrached the hide and the last one hit the back straps. Fortunately the deer survived. I always practice shoot at camp and was hitting with my arrows perfectly. It was driving me crazy. Then some time after that I heard that when you shoot from a blind the dept perception makes you feel like the animal is further away than it is in reality. Meaning that your shots are always higher. My question is: Is this true and if yes this is maybe an explanation why you hit high?
WoW # 2 in the world-------->
I too hoped we'd be hearing of this one. What's to say that hasn't been said? Dream buck for a great bowhunter. It's perfect. Congrats my friend and thanks for posting!
Pocoloco that could definitely be part of the issue. I will typically practice out of a ground blind before an antelope hunt or any hunt I anticipate doing out of a ground blind. I had not practiced shooting out of a ground blind for this hunt…. Good point!
Thanks for sharing! Amazing adventure and incredible buck! Congrats Tavis!
Thanks for taking the time to post and congrats on the buck.
Congrats Tavis! Great blacktail for sure!
Zack, thanks for helping out with the aging! I still owe you a beer or two!
Great story! Congrats Tavis!! Hope to see him in person at the next PnY convention!
Have always shot too high instinctive out of ground blinds
Wow! Congrats on that beauty of a deer. I'm impressed, but not surprised! That's a deer of a lifetime!!
Awesome write up Tavis! Congrats!
Unreal Blacktail and great write up! It’s hard to lose a wounded animal but one of that caliber must be gut wrenching. Good luck seems to come to the the ones that put in the most! I’m glad you found that buck and congratulations on an animal of a lifetime
Wow and Awesome. I always enjoy your hunts but you truly put extra effort into this recovery and write up. Thank you and Congratulations!
Great story, and congratulations on a monster Blacktail.
Some of us spend a lifetime waiting on a Columbian blacktail of that caliber. Congrats Tavis on the buck of all of us blacktail hunter's lifetimes!!!!
Travis, that is one hell of a Columbian blacktail, WOW! One hell of a congratulations.
Good stuff Tavis. Hell of a buck.
Congrats Tavis!!! Great buck and great story!
Wow....really enjoyed that! Amazing buck and well deserved! Hope to see it at the next PnY convention. Congrats Tavis!
Congratulations on an absolutely INCREDIBLE buck!
Thanks for sharing the story and for the picture of the skull buckled in, I got a chuckle out of that.
Awesome work Tavis! What a cool deer. Thanks for sharing the story and congratulations once again.
What a story and a BEAST of a buck, Tavis! Thank you for sharing this.
Thanks, guys. Definitely appreciate all the responses and enjoyed telling the story here. Just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Will post up a picture of the mount when I get it home.
Congrat's what a story and one hell of a blacktail!
Awesome story Tavis. Congrats!
Tremendous buck & a Great story....Kind of nice they can DNA a buck just outside the boundary & prove it's a true Blacktail. I sent a sample in a few years ago that was taken within sight of the line & it failed the test by a few % points. Hope to see your buck in Reno!
Excellent recap. I think there should be another icon for epic hunting recaps that these can all be poured into.
Great buck Tavis! I am not surprise though your a hell of a hunter!
Tavis congrats on a truly special animal! Thanks for taking us along in the blind with you.
Holy flipping Moly! I almost missed this one. Congratulations Tavis! Awesome deer and what a great trip.
I'm just seeing this thread Tavis. Congratulations on a world class deer. Sometimes good things happen to good people. Your willingness to take a chance on average OTC hunt turned out to be the hunt of a lifetime, maybe 10 lifetimes. I still disagree with your measurers method of scoring the left side. Curious to know where the final score will end up. Congrats again.
Wow what a buck! I saw some big blacktail when I was growing up but nothing like that guy. Excellent eating too, huge congrats!
Do you have plans to mount him or remain the euro? I personally really like euros. It's hard to explain, but a dead animal looks more natural as a dead animal. Looks like nature finished the process.
I’m doing both, Rod. I am doing reproductions for the antlers for the mount and will keep the euro. The picture is the reproduction getting mounted now. I like euros too and it will be easier for the panel scorers as a euro.
Congrats on an amazing animal! Thanks for the story!
Best of both worlds, Tavis. I'll be interested in your assessment of the finished mount with the cast antlers. Some of the ones in Cabelas/Basspro are indistinguishable from the real ones. At least at five feet.
That’s great idea! He needs to be mounted forsure!
Outstanding story, glad you shared it. Congrats on an amazing buck.
Stopped by my taxidermist over the weekend. He’s almost got my buck finished up…
Tavis, somehow I missed this thread until now, although I had heard through the grapevine you shot a whopper. Hearty congrats to you, well deserved, and a great write-up!
Awesome shoulder mount Tavis!
Magnificent animal. Looks like it is going to be a great mount as well. Any guess as to what it weighed on the hoof? Congratulations!!
Tavis - When can it be officially measured?
Jake, I estimated around 150-160 live weight. Not really big deer. Really pretty though.
Brad, he’s going to have to go to panel score at the next B&C convention next year.
Coolest critter I have been blessed to take for sure…
Definitely another first for this old arrow flinger…
Absolutely incredible blacktail. Can't even imagine having one like that in stickbow range.
Wow, congratulations twice!
I missed this first time around. Glad I saw it now! Congratulations!!! What an awesome hunt, and accomplishment!
Just reread this one. It was worth it. Over the years I’ve had trouble shooting out of ground blinds. Always shot high. I thought it was from perspective because the animal looked farther than it was. Left some turkeys and antelope with creases across the top. Even when I was shooting very well
Viewed this buck, up close and personal, at the recent CTAS banquet near Grand Junction. Every bit a good one!
Glad this came back to the top because I missed it the first time, apparently. I knew you had shot that amazing blacktail but never knew the story. Congratulations, Tavis, you’re definitely a killer with that stick, and I respect that! Amazing animal!
WOW! The write up and the buck are both amazing!!
Made B&C’s “More to the Score - 16 Heart Stopping Entries”
Congrats again Tavis. That’s a trip I’d like to do again in a few years.
Slammer! I missed this first time around. Glad to catch it. Congrats on an amazing accomplishment.
Incredible deer! Congratulations, and thanks for sharing the story.
Just an update to the score. The Boone and Crockett Panel score actually bumped it up a bit to 175 0/8" Net (183 4/8" Gross). Goes to show that the panel measurements do not always result in a lower score!
In fact, from a B&C measurer:
“the MAJORITY of panel measured animals maintain their original score. B&C has 1400 measurers in North America and the quality is excellent. Very few entries are lowered at panel and very few are raised.”
I bet you are happy to have him home! Congrats again!
Not yet, Kelly. B&C will have him on display at the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum in Springfield, MO from May 1 till July 23 and the B&C Awards Banquet.
Well, Treeline, he doesn’t get any smaller ! Amazing animal, and congrats again !
Tavis’ Columbian Blacktail
Tavis’ Columbian Blacktail
On display at Bass Pro, World Headquarters in Springfield, MO starting May 1.
Congrats again Tavis.
Great Tavis! It’s really good when things work out.
Congrats again Tavis!! What an animal!
A buddy sent me a text saying he saw me at Bass Pro. I was a bit confused and asked when and why didn’t he say howdy. Then he sent this. Guess it’s another first…
I'm late to the party, but congrats on a great buck Treeline! What a stud buck and great recap of your hunt. Thanks for taking us along!
Pretty dang cool Travis. Congrats again and thanks for the story. Those heart pounding shakes is why we bowhunt instead of tipping cans over with guns. Don't know I'd ever want to get over them.... be like not caring to look a pretty girl again. Best in my world is just be able to function somewhat through them.... bowhunting I mean....
DNA'd too! I grew up in northern CA in the 60s, early 70s ("Real" northern CA.) To shoot a blacktail like that we had to drag em across the highway after...... =D
The display at the B&C Convention at Bass Pro is spectacular. Congrats on your tremendous animal .
Yep I got to see it a few weeks ago at the museum! What a stud, congrats again!
So, my deer was honored at the Boone and Crockett Banquet over the weekend with a very special award of first place for the recording period of 2019-2021. Definitely humbling to have had the privilege to take a deer of this magnitude after over 40 years of flicking pointy sticks at them!
I was honored with a second award that was totally unexpected and really blew me away. After I had accepted the previous award and was walking off the stage, I felt a hand on my shoulder and Justin Spring said “Come back up here, you aren’t done yet!” I was a bit confused and went back to the middle of the stage.
They announced that I would be getting a second award for my deer. Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young issue this award, voted on by the Board of Pope and Young, to recognize an exceptional bowhunting entry into B&C. It has only been given twice, the Pope and Young St Charles Award.
Glenn St Charles is a legend to bowhunting and was one of the founders of Pope and Young. I count him as one of my heroes. Luckily I had the opportunity to meet Glenn and his wife Margaret at Pope and Young and even visit them once at his archery shop near Seattle once back when it was basically the Pope and Young museum.
Needless to say, I got a bit emotional. Another FIRST and most likely never to be topped!
Congratulations again on a well deserved and exceptional honor!
Congrats, Tavis. The Glenn St. Charles award is a very prestigious award given jointly by both Clubs and your Blacktail was definitely worthy of it! Can’t wait to see him again in Reno!
Congrats Tavis! The Glenn St. Charles award is very special. Looking forward to seeing your buck again in Reno.
Congrats Tavis! Well deserved!
Congrats Tavis!! A moment you will remember forever!
Congratulations on both awards!
Great buck! Really cool award!
Huge congratulations Tavis! What a buck, deserving of your two awards. I remember when I first saw a couple photos of him and was floored by how nice he was....well I still am and so is everyone who sees it!
Another congratulations to you Travis on a fine bowhunting trophy! Well done sir! Don't forget to thank the good lord for your good fortune. Again, well-done sir!
Congrats again, on a great animal, as well as your awards in recognition of your accomplishment, Tavis!
Wow Travis, what an outstanding story and buck. Well deserved awards!!!
Again… super cool congratulations
A very cool honor! Congratulations again on a great buck.
This is terrific. Congratulations!!!
I still can’t wrap my head around that buck. Unreal Tavis, way to go. That has got to be one of the prettiest bucks of all time
Amazing Tavis! One helluva buck. I think he could have used one more year :)
I'm late in commenting on this thread too. Congrats on your accomplishment Tavis, truly amazing but not surprising.
I'd also like to add that I'm among the many bowsiters who consider Tavis a friend. Back in 2010 I had an elk tag in a Colorado unit that Tavis is very familiar with. We connected thru bowsite and he shared a lot of info with me. I had a NM tag that year too and killed a bull there before I went to Colorado. Once I got to Colorado I met Tavis at a local establishment for some lunch and a couple beers. He graciously allowed me to put the meat from my NM bull in his freezer while I hunted in Colorado. He also opened his house to me and let me spend a night there before I started my hunt. I remember marveling over his mounts and him telling the story of spotting one of his huge mule deer bucks and having to descend the mountain 1000 feet or more and then climb back up 1000 feet or so on the other side of the drainage to stalk the buck. I said "and after all that, you shot it with a long bow!". He looked at me with a little smirk and said "you have to give them a chance".
In 2020 I had that elk tag again and also a deer tag. I spent a lot of time on the phone picking Tavis's brain about muley hunting because I'm a rookie at it. At the time I didn't own a spotting scope and was contemplating buying one. Instead, Tavis generously lent me one of his spotting scopes and mailed it to me. Who does that?! Later when I was talking to him after the hunt he said he felt bad and should have sent me his Swarovski instead of his Leopold. Seriously!?
It's rare that you meet such a generous, helpful hunter/person who is also so humble and without an inflated ego. Good things happen to Tavis because he truly is a good person.
Late to the dance here... but was nice to read the whole deal at once. Great deer and even greater story! And with a stick bow ! Way to go sir!
And one for the guys that love a big 'ol buck...
This is a classic. What a deer
Missed this one. Shamelessly bumping it again to make it easier for me to find again so that I can leisurely enjoy it later!