There’s a good reason why hunters refer to the blacktail deer as ghosts of the forest. Some of them emerge from their hiding places only in the last moments of light. They’re the smarter ones among them who return within minutes of daybreak to their haunts. However, this doesn’t mean that the blacktail deer are invincible. They almost never leave their haunts during their entire lifetime.
Once you’ve identified the exact spots of a blacktail buck, hunting it would be very much possible. This is easier said than done, as the task involves plenty of skill and patience. Successful blacktail hunters of coastal Alaska and northern California use the spot and stalk method to hunt these animals. This method is especially employed in Alaska for hunting blacktail deer during late-August and September.
This is when these animals come together in large numbers to feed in the alpine and sub-alpine regions. These areas are located at an altitude of above 2,000 feet. Physically fit hunters can reach these spots in a matter of hours beginning at the sea level.
Finding a good vantage point
During late-August and September, the fur of these animals take on a reddish color. This makes the blacktail deer quite easy to locate when they’re feeding in the open areas. While hunting under these conditions, you must watch for fresh tracks and trails when you enter the alpine areas.
This will be the key to improve your chances of success. After you’ve established the presence of blacktail deer in the area, find the right vantage point. You must ideally explore the regions of mixed timber and alpine muskeg. The peaks and slopes with grassy basins that surround such areas must also be considered.
Once you spot the deer you’re looking for, take some time to mark their location. Make a note of the navigational references with the help of the surrounding features.
The use of a secondary vantage point
It would be a good idea to move to a secondary vantage point instead of charging directly towards the deer. This vantage point must be within the rifle’s range, downwind of the blacktail deer’s general location. Upon arriving at the spot, you must ensure that you’re able to locate the hangout of the deer.
It’s also essential to make sure that it’s within a reasonable shooting distance. There are two possibilities if you’ve got a good vantage point. Either you’ll spot the deer and fire your shot or you won’t spot the deer and keep waiting. If you’re experiencing the latter, don’t be in a hurry.
If there’s no one to disturb them, the blacktail deer usually stay around a certain spot for days. So, it would be the best strategy to try again the following day. If you use archery for hunting, you can utilize the secondary vantage point for planning your final stalk.
Conditions prevalent in California
You’ll not always look at alpine zones while in California. The situations for spot and stalk method would be a bit different in this part of the world. Here, you’ll be looking at open grasslands, farming areas, and slopes abundant in timber. Nevertheless, you’d be applying the same principles.
You’d go scouting for the deer and verify their presence. Once this is done, the best strategy would be to step back and watch for these animals from afar. It would really be a bad idea to violate their sanctuaries and disturb them.