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Unique California Blacktail and Thoughts

MarvB

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2001
Messages
6,504
Location
₵tral Oar-e-gun
It looks like a couple of them you preserved the velvet? Archery? Them are some hog archery bucks if so. My best friend is a better archery shot than I am, so when we stalked into the the biggest buck I’ve ever seen- I said he should take the shot. His rangefinder said 60 yards and mine said 35 yards, we bickered while 13 bucks sat at 35 yards. It was comical looking back, ultimately I told him to just shoot for whatever he wants and that I wasn’t going to argue. His rangefinder didn’t account for slope, mine did. He shot over. All hell broke loose and we single handedly educated 13 bucks that it was opener.

I’ve wrote off the X zone I used to hunt because I prefer the Coastal zones. In my experience there is more deer in the B zones than in the X zones but it’s a lot easier to see the deer in the more open X zones making it seem more deer dense.

Both were OTC B zone bucks. The one in “velvet” I had redone as the original velvet went to crap, too long in 110* temps before I got it treated. The hard horn was out of the Alps, about killed me getting it out. Only buck I saw, saw 2-3 bears for every deer lol.

Have hunted all 4 B’s, all 4 C’s, A, one G (Three times), one M (Twice), and 3 of the X zones multiple times. All held decent amounts of deer and good bucks if you could put up with the temps, poison oak, cats, and cartels 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

lastlight

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
371
Location
Northern California
I’ll bite.
I should have specified on the forked horn comment, its not just about a forked horn because there are some mature deer in this state that are only forked horn. Its the fact that most of the deer here killed are 1.5-2.5 years old on public land. It mainly only a problem if you're after quality. If you're just hunting for meat that's one thing, although I always argue the more mature the buck the more meat you get. A little trigger discipline would go a long way for all of us.

The fact that we can buy two buck tags unlike most western states that have more deer is pretty crazy right? I spread mine out to two zones for a few reasons.

I agree that if its one thing we've got is bears, and (I should keep my mouth shut) we possibly have the highest population of trophy boars as any state. The problem is in promoting the opportunity is not everyone will be able to go on a guided guaranteed hunt with YOU. If I was a non resident coming here to hunt bears in the fall it would be a tall order to find and kill one. If we were able to hunt May-July it would be a slam dunk. I'm not trying to argue something, just making a point. There are a few western states including Alaska that are far better in opportunity to kill only because SPRING season.

You bought a lifetime license incase you move out of state because you have memories and know your areas well, as do I. I may do the same because there are spots in the Sierra Nevadas and Coastal areas I would always enjoy hunting. My point was if I was a non resident who didnt have endless days in a decade to get to know an area here I would pass on CA on my list of places to hunt. The numbers of nonresident apps and attitude back up my statements. There are many pockets of the Sierras that are almost entirely void of deer, the migration of these areas will take decades to recover if it ever happens. The resident deer populations along the coast may be different story.

Regarding our game birds: All of those species you mentioned are in peril minus dove and (maybe) valley quail. I would be interested in any recent studies you can link that suggest otherwise, however.

Wild pigs are mainly on private. Ive killed many, and only one on public and I spent 5 years looking for them on public so it was very rewarding. I think most would go to a state like texas to hunt hogs. Cheaper access fees, here the going rates are over 1,000 now for a guided pig hunt. Maybe cheaper further north.

Waterfowl - I am not a enthusiast here so take with a grain of salt. All my friends that hunt big private blinds and refuges tell me the hunting has been terrible the last 5 years. I'm sure some areas are still producing though.

I'm not quiet sure why you're upset that non residents and insta famous hunters/TV shows arent showing up promoting blacktail hunting in CA. How would that benefit CA? You want less opportunity to hunt your home state? Because that is whats happening all across the west due to the over hype from these outlets and ease of the process of getting tags. I'm not that worried though, the success rates and quality speak for themselves.

As a nonresident its also a point to ask yourself if you were coming our west, hunt elk during their rut or go to CA and hunt the pacific gray ghost? They are hunting coues deer in AZ because you can hunt Nov-January.

Unfortunately our state department is mainly interested in predator research and there is very little focus on deer. The amount of funding and influence the department receives from anti hunting organizations is more than alarming, and they all could give a rats ass about deer and deer hunters. I have a handful of inside information and belong to a certain org that I have to leave out so my statements arent exaggerated.

For the phone tripods try something like this that only weighs a few ounces. I cant find the exact one I have but its maybe 3 ounces, this one is 5.
 

Fowl Hunter

Active member
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
322
Location
Bellevue ID
Have been hunting the A zone on public land on and off since the 70's. Have hunted it 15 seasons or so over the years. Enjoy hunting in the heat. Deer are small enough so getting the meat on ice and cooled quickly isn't difficult. And it's the earliest season!!!

Hadn't hunted it for 10 years or so then have hunted the last 3 seasons, area burned 5 years ago, deer numbers are up and easier to see, still tough to kill.

Bought a life time license and deer tag back in the 90's when a resident.

My days per animal killed is high, only 3 forkies over the years, one was older and about 140 pounds on the ground. However, getting glimpses of nice bucks is not uncommon. Seen some 20"+ 4 pts but haven't killed one - missed a dandy with my bow in '05 that still haunts me.

I would recommend a A or B zone blacktail deer hunt to non-resident diy hunters.

With the fire issues B zone would probably be easier to hunt most seasons.
 

sureshotshane

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
29
Location
CA
I should have specified on the forked horn comment, its not just about a forked horn because there are some mature deer in this state that are only forked horn. Its the fact that most of the deer here killed are 1.5-2.5 years old on public land. It mainly only a problem if you're after quality. If you're just hunting for meat that's one thing, although I always argue the more mature the buck the more meat you get. A little trigger discipline would go a long way for all of us.

The fact that we can buy two buck tags unlike most western states that have more deer is pretty crazy right? I spread mine out to two zones for a few reasons.

I agree that if its one thing we've got is bears, and (I should keep my mouth shut) we possibly have the highest population of trophy boars as any state. The problem is in promoting the opportunity is not everyone will be able to go on a guided guaranteed hunt with YOU. If I was a non resident coming here to hunt bears in the fall it would be a tall order to find and kill one. If we were able to hunt May-July it would be a slam dunk. I'm not trying to argue something, just making a point. There are a few western states including Alaska that are far better in opportunity to kill only because SPRING season.

You bought a lifetime license incase you move out of state because you have memories and know your areas well, as do I. I may do the same because there are spots in the Sierra Nevadas and Coastal areas I would always enjoy hunting. My point was if I was a non resident who didnt have endless days in a decade to get to know an area here I would pass on CA on my list of places to hunt. The numbers of nonresident apps and attitude back up my statements. There are many pockets of the Sierras that are almost entirely void of deer, the migration of these areas will take decades to recover if it ever happens. The resident deer populations along the coast may be different story.

Regarding our game birds: All of those species you mentioned are in peril minus dove and (maybe) valley quail. I would be interested in any recent studies you can link that suggest otherwise, however.

Wild pigs are mainly on private. Ive killed many, and only one on public and I spent 5 years looking for them on public so it was very rewarding. I think most would go to a state like texas to hunt hogs. Cheaper access fees, here the going rates are over 1,000 now for a guided pig hunt. Maybe cheaper further north.

Waterfowl - I am not a enthusiast here so take with a grain of salt. All my friends that hunt big private blinds and refuges tell me the hunting has been terrible the last 5 years. I'm sure some areas are still producing though.

I'm not quiet sure why you're upset that non residents and insta famous hunters/TV shows arent showing up promoting blacktail hunting in CA. How would that benefit CA? You want less opportunity to hunt your home state? Because that is whats happening all across the west due to the over hype from these outlets and ease of the process of getting tags. I'm not that worried though, the success rates and quality speak for themselves.

As a nonresident its also a point to ask yourself if you were coming our west, hunt elk during their rut or go to CA and hunt the pacific gray ghost? They are hunting coues deer in AZ because you can hunt Nov-January.

Unfortunately our state department is mainly interested in predator research and there is very little focus on deer. The amount of funding and influence the department receives from anti hunting organizations is more than alarming, and they all could give a rats ass about deer and deer hunters. I have a handful of inside information and belong to a certain org that I have to leave out so my statements arent exaggerated.

For the phone tripods try something like this that only weighs a few ounces. I cant find the exact one I have but its maybe 3 ounces, this one is 5.
You bring up some good points. It is worth pointing out that you will have to work for whatever game you are pursuing if you come here. I don't know of any DIY western public land hunt that is a slam dunk. I don't want to imply it's going to be easy if you do come here and try to hunt blacktail, bear, or any game.

I don't want to harp on the bear subject because we seem to agree but. My experience is that I find more in the fall because food sources are concentrated. I've never hunted bears in Alaska so I'll take your word they are easier to find in the spring vs fall there. I don't think it would be a tall order for a non-resident to come here in the fall after doing a little bit of research and kill a bear all on their own. There is forum post after forum post of people giving reports of very specific areas where they saw 5 bears for every buck, or something of that nature. Hunters are traveling to and from all over the place to hunt deer, elk, bears, everything. Many a new hunter every year travels east to west to hunt elk, never having stepped foot on the landscape and getting it done... Or not. That's hunting. My biggest advice to any new hunter wanting to go to a new state is to just go. I've spent thousands of dollars on out-of-state hunts and didn't kill squat but had a blast doing it.

As for our upland game being in peril... Back when I was in school I didn't think it was very important for me to be learning about White-crowned Sparrow songs or the vocalizations of Vervet monkeys or whatever other mundane critter of the week. Instead I'd use my free JSTOR subscription and the physical library finding every journal article on grouse, quail, blacktail deer, and elk - especially as it related to my hunting areas in CA. With that said, I'm genuinely curious if you know of articles to the contrary to what I've read.

Mountain quail usually benefit from fire, I don't know of any studies in CA that have concluded they are in peril and if someone did draw that conclusion on a large scale I'd be skeptical. Idaho they aren't doing so hot. I would definitely be all ears if someone knew of a state with more Mountain quail than in CA.

Also not aware of studies that indicate Sooty Grouse are in peril.

California's Ruffed Grouse population only occurs in a limited area of the northwest part of the state and was never very extensive. There is practically no studies on them but from observation they are doing fine. They are just as hard to hunt here as they are everywhere, living in terribly thick riparian areas choked with alder. I know a professor a few years ago was starting a Ruffed Grouse study along the Northcoast.

I bet if a person was determined, and was in the right area, he could kill Mountain Quail, Sooty Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Band-tailed Pigeons, cottontails, and squirrels in the same day and not ever get in a vehicle to move locations (and if the season was concurrent you would also be able to add Turkey, dove, and Valley Quail to the list).

It's true Band-tailed Pigeons have been in a general decline but the fact is only a few states have them and where they do occur they are plentiful enough to have a little fun and harvest a limit. Certainly not what they used to be and the bag limit is only two. I'm not saying a person should come here from New York just to hunt our 1 week long season, for 2 birds a day. They can be a lot of fun to pursue after a successful deer hunt and it can make for some difficult retrieves for the dogs.

I've had some good and bad days of waterfowl hunting the past couple years. I don't keep up on the studies honestly but I never go out waterfowl hunting looking for a limit. I've hunted on clubs with guys who are apologetic because we didn't shoot a limit, they should be easier on themselves.

Turkeys are thriving on public and private. They may not be as locally dense as they were a few years after introduction. Certain areas exploded beyond carrying capacity I believe. The population is probably healthier now and I see turkeys in new areas every year.

100% agree that wild pigs are extremely difficult to come by on public land. Pig hunting in Texas vs spot and stalk pig hunting in CA is very different experiences.

To be clear - I'm not "upset that non residents and insta famous hunters/TV shows arent showing up..." This forum is meant to be a place for conversation and I'm interested in why the blacktail and our other unique species haven't garnered the attention like other species/subspecies. Others have expressed that they don't understand why that is either. Your opinion appears to be that it hasn't gained attention because it ain't worth it (low deer numbers because poor (no?) management, lots of hunters with no self control)? I respect that opinion.
 

old roper 42

Active member
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Messages
105
Location
Black Forest, Co
You bring up some good points. It is worth pointing out that you will have to work for whatever game you are pursuing if you come here. I don't know of any DIY western public land hunt that is a slam dunk. I don't want to imply it's going to be easy if you do come here and try to hunt blacktail, bear, or any game.

I don't want to harp on the bear subject because we seem to agree but. My experience is that I find more in the fall because food sources are concentrated. I've never hunted bears in Alaska so I'll take your word they are easier to find in the spring vs fall there. I don't think it would be a tall order for a non-resident to come here in the fall after doing a little bit of research and kill a bear all on their own. There is forum post after forum post of people giving reports of very specific areas where they saw 5 bears for every buck, or something of that nature. Hunters are traveling to and from all over the place to hunt deer, elk, bears, everything. Many a new hunter every year travels east to west to hunt elk, never having stepped foot on the landscape and getting it done... Or not. That's hunting. My biggest advice to any new hunter wanting to go to a new state is to just go. I've spent thousands of dollars on out-of-state hunts and didn't kill squat but had a blast doing it.

As for our upland game being in peril... Back when I was in school I didn't think it was very important for me to be learning about White-crowned Sparrow songs or the vocalizations of Vervet monkeys or whatever other mundane critter of the week. Instead I'd use my free JSTOR subscription and the physical library finding every journal article on grouse, quail, blacktail deer, and elk - especially as it related to my hunting areas in CA. With that said, I'm genuinely curious if you know of articles to the contrary to what I've read.

Mountain quail usually benefit from fire, I don't know of any studies in CA that have concluded they are in peril and if someone did draw that conclusion on a large scale I'd be skeptical. Idaho they aren't doing so hot. I would definitely be all ears if someone knew of a state with more Mountain quail than in CA.

Also not aware of studies that indicate Sooty Grouse are in peril.

California's Ruffed Grouse population only occurs in a limited area of the northwest part of the state and was never very extensive. There is practically no studies on them but from observation they are doing fine. They are just as hard to hunt here as they are everywhere, living in terribly thick riparian areas choked with alder. I know a professor a few years ago was starting a Ruffed Grouse study along the Northcoast.

I bet if a person was determined, and was in the right area, he could kill Mountain Quail, Sooty Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Band-tailed Pigeons, cottontails, and squirrels in the same day and not ever get in a vehicle to move locations (and if the season was concurrent you would also be able to add Turkey, dove, and Valley Quail to the list).

It's true Band-tailed Pigeons have been in a general decline but the fact is only a few states have them and where they do occur they are plentiful enough to have a little fun and harvest a limit. Certainly not what they used to be and the bag limit is only two. I'm not saying a person should come here from New York just to hunt our 1 week long season, for 2 birds a day. They can be a lot of fun to pursue after a successful deer hunt and it can make for some difficult retrieves for the dogs.

I've had some good and bad days of waterfowl hunting the past couple years. I don't keep up on the studies honestly but I never go out waterfowl hunting looking for a limit. I've hunted on clubs with guys who are apologetic because we didn't shoot a limit, they should be easier on themselves.

Turkeys are thriving on public and private. They may not be as locally dense as they were a few years after introduction. Certain areas exploded beyond carrying capacity I believe. The population is probably healthier now and I see turkeys in new areas every year.

100% agree that wild pigs are extremely difficult to come by on public land. Pig hunting in Texas vs spot and stalk pig hunting in CA is very different experiences.

To be clear - I'm not "upset that non residents and insta famous hunters/TV shows arent showing up..." This forum is meant to be a place for conversation and I'm interested in why the blacktail and our other unique species haven't garnered the attention like other species/subspecies. Others have expressed that they don't understand why that is either. Your opinion appears to be that it hasn't gained attention because it ain't worth it (low deer numbers because poor (no?) management, lots of hunters with no self control)? I respect that opinion.
I was born and raised in Calif and moved to Co 1977. I did hunt in Calif, deer/bear/ducks and pheasant.

As a Non Resident if I was to hunt deer Calif I would put in for X Zones and maybe 6/7 yrs get tag. Cost be same for 1 blacktail. We have same here whitetail tag or mule deer. I don't think you come to Co shoot whitetail.
 

RobertD

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
1,629
Location
Southwest Georgia (GA)
Thanks for the story. I don't know why blacktail deer, (or at least Columbia blacktails anyway) don't get as much attention from NR hunters. I would bet that it's as much a marketing issue as it is an issue of difficulty of the hunt.

I'd like to come to out and try it one day. I've been to some of the central and northern parts of California and I love it out there.
 

hank4elk

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
6,218
Location
SW NM
Nice buck!
Seen a couple drop tines but never a triple beam.
I was lucky to have grown up on the central coast and hunted & fished all over the state. It was good.
Looking at a big 4x4 and my regressive 3 points with eye guards hanging. Blackies.
 

oldschool.06

Active member
Joined
Nov 8, 2016
Messages
112
Location
Kommifornia
Sweet Buck !!! Congrats.
I know all about California's limitations which is why I go out of state to hunt deer. We do slay a ton of pigs here though they are mean fun and delicious to eat. The best part is they are non native so I have no issues with gettin after them.
 

sureshotshane

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
29
Location
CA
Seven weeks from today. Might be there for the opener. Just finished shooting my bow again.
I generally don't spend much time in the A zones, mostly because I'm from and have spent a lifetime in the B zones. The heat can be a killer that's for sure. I have hunted the B4 zone which starts earlier than other B zones and heat is a problem unless you are right on the coast - which is where everyone goes.
 

Fowl Hunter

Active member
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
322
Location
Bellevue ID
Bring bug spray. Full moon is July 13.

Making plans anyway for the first week.

My spot is on a cooler north slope at 3200', in a multi-storied canopy of Doug Firs, Sugar Pines and Ponderosas too. Oaks and manzanita were mostly killed by fire 5 years ago.

Just east of the Redwoods. Have scouted a few areas in the them but few deer found.

Afternoon ocean breezes usually keep it from getting over 90.

See rattlesnakes once in a while.

Poison oak is coming back well, the deer eat it.
 

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Firedad

New member
Joined
Dec 16, 2018
Messages
10
Location
Reno, NV
I’d have hunted CA this year if I hadn’t drawn tags. Maybe politics plays a small part why people refuse to go to CA. Not saying it’s a major factor but I bet it plays a part. There’s a lot of hate for the state.
 
Yeti

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