One of the most-elusive trophies on the North American continent, to many a public land blacktail deer buck might as well be a ghost. HuntStand’s Josh Dahlke had never hunted blacktails, so when an opportunity arose he jumped at it. An old friend he’d met in Alaska invited him to hunt blacktails in Oregon. They’d be tackling pre-rut conditions in the area’s stunning, mountainous terrain. Game on.
Ideal Blacktail Habitat
Looking to give blacktails a try? Fire up HuntStand and look for a combination of terrain and habitat where they’re most likely to be. Look for ridge systems with canyons and bowls, and mixed timber between thick stretches of evergreens that offer security and thermal cover. Also look for grassy hillsides that offer food, and stands of oaks that are dropping acorns. Throw a good water source or two into the mix and you’ve found good blacktail habitat. The more of these factors you can have on your side, the better. If you can find one area with all of these things, it’s time to start your hunt.
A Fateful Encounter
Did we mention hunting blacktails is not easy? As the hunt is winding down, shortly after first light on Day 5 it begins to rain. As Josh slips on his raingear, a buck suddenly materializes out of the fog somewhere below him, down the mountain slope. A quick, accurate shot, and a dream has been realized. It’s the only deer glimpsed in five long days, but that fact cannot diminish this well-earned Oregon public land blacktail success.