"Disputed Champion of the of the Deer World"
By Dan Gibson

Sights such as this will bring you back to "BlacktailCountry" time and time again

"Disputed Champion of The Deer World" Is the title of the cover story in the August, 2001 edition of North American Hunter magazine. The article was written by renowned Whitetail hunter and author Jim Shockey and you guessed it, his choice, the Columbian Blacktail, although he realizes others may dispute his opinion.

Although Shockey is a life long whitetail hunter he states "being a journalist I am required to report objectively" and in his opinion the Columbian Blacktailed Deer is the most difficult deer species of all to hunt. "It took this whitetail hunter 10 seasons hunting in prime blacktail country on the west coast, to admit the awful truth. I was unworthy! unless I got professional help or found a blacktail buck that God messed up on, I'd never hang my tag on a big Columbian Blacktail".

Shockey then goes on to say "Fortunately for all us outclassed whitetail and mule deer hunters there are outfitters (masochist's) who specialize in guiding for Columbian Blacktails". Even with the help of well known Blacktail guides, Doug Gattis of Southern Oregon and Jim and Tina Marie Schaafsma of Arrow Five Outfitters. It still takes Shockey three more attempts to get the buck he has been searching for. Shockey ends the story by saying "I finally held in my hands the toughest of the deer to hunt, a big, mature Columbian Blacktail Deer.

All of us blacktail hunters owe North American Hunter and Jim Shockey a big thank you for giving the Blacktail Deer the respect and recognition it deserves! It is very refreshing to see a magazine and author who are not afraid to "buck" the system. I am sure there are many whitetail and mule deer hunters who will not like what Shockey has to say. In fact, in his opinion "Mule Deer and Whitetail, are the easiest deer species to hunt". I hope the whitetail hunters don't hang him for making such a blasphemes statement.

Harvesting a mature Blacktail like these two bucks is going to require a lot of effort.

I my opinion the merchandising of whitetail hunting has contributed to the whitetails now legendary status as the hardest of all deer to hunt. After all, if product manufactures were to admit that whitetails could be taken without tree-stands, camouflage, numerous scents, scent blocker clothes, special soaps, rattling horns, deer calls, and the hundreds of other products that fill the whitetail section of hunting catalogues, they would stand to loose millions of dollars.

For those of you who have been fortunate enough to hunt the Blacktail Deer, you know first hand what a rewarding and difficult proposition it can be. To me, it doesn't really matter if Blacktails ever get the recognition they deserve, I doubt they will, the money simply isn't there. As I sit here and write, I can't help but look at the heavy set of Blacktail horns sitting on the desk next to me. I wonder how different I would feel about them if I had gotten the buck sitting in a tree stand during the rut, or in a blind over a food plot, on a ranch that grows bucks like cattle. On top of that, using every advantage known to mankind. I just don't think it would be the same.

Instead, I hunted for two long months in the scorching California heat before finally taking the big buck I had been searching for. You tell me, which is more rewarding, and which is deer hunting the way it was meant to be? One thing is for sure, if you want a Blacktail, forget most of the paraphernalia, it isn't going to help you much in Blacktail Country. Your going to have to work long and hard to get your buck. Even if you're not successful I promise you, it will be a hunt you will never forget.