1. Find the Groceries: Blacktail deer depend primarily on browse. Some of the most nutritious food sources include buck brush, vine maple, and trailing blackberry.
2. Vagabonds: Blacktails spend their summers at higher elevation, and in the fall and winter migrate to lower elevations. If hunting in the Cascade Mountains during the early rifle season, it’s recommended to hunt above 3,500 feet in elevation. Drop in elevation as the season progresses. If, however, hunting on the coast, or in northwest Oregon and Washington, it’s recommended to hunt less than 1,500 feet in elevation.
3. Love Sick: It’s no secret that bucks become less careless during the mating season. Each year blacktail begin to show signs of rutting in mid- to late-October and lasting throughout November and into December. One way to take advantage of hunting during the rut is hunt the late archery season, or apply for a late-season muzzleloader hunt.
4. Home Bodies: Each deer varies, but a blacktail deer’s home range varies from 12 to 500 acres. Make a note of the aforementioned tips and use them accordingly when hunting a small area.
5. Know Your Logging: Blacktail favor logging clearcuts that are between 5 and 10 years old with a strong shrub component.
6. Find Sign, Stick To It: Knowing that blacktail deer have a small home range, it’s best to stick close to areas with sign (droppings, rubs) and proven habitat.
7. Where There’s One, There’s Some: Because deer are not strongly territorial, and home ranges of different deer overlap, it is not unheard of having as many as 20 deer per every square half mile. Which is to say, find one deer and you’ll find more.
8. Habit Forming: Blacktails are an edge-adapted specie hiding in the cover during the day, and emerging in the morning and evening to feed. Translation: Hunt early and late.