One For My Daughter
By BOHNTR )))---------->

Two future bowhunters and a proud father. Thats what hunting is all about.

After filling one of my tags over a week ago, I set out to arrow a monster I’d seen during the last rainstorm. A few close encounters with him were all I have had since the cooler weather came along. This morning I had planned on hiking up “killer hill” and going after him again, when my daughter (8) and son (10) BEGGED me to take them with me. Well, I knew my daughter would probably have a tough time hiking into that area, so I switched to plan B and went to another area that was a bit easier to hike.

Just a half-mile into the hunt, I spotted a buck looking at us from a fairly close distance. I decided I was going to pass him, when my daughter pleaded that I “get him”. She’s never been with me when I’ve arrowed something and I think she gets jealous because her brother has. After several, “please daddy” whispers from her, I caved in and snuck in on the buck, arrowing him from 30 yards. To say she was ecstatic would be an understatement!

Both kids got to blood trail the buck, help me de-bone and load it into my pack, and talk for hours about how they can’t wait until they’re old enough to arrow one! I guess arrowing the buck wasn’t such a bad idea after all, huh?

He’s nothing like the one I was after, but a great family buck for some future hunters. Check out those smiles!


Persistance paid of for James Erwick.

The Two Year Wait.
By James Erwick

I spent over a hundred hours building and sitting in my tree stand, after seeing this buck during the 2003 season. I didn't hunt him much last year because I was not prepared to put an effective hunt on him. In the spring of 2004 I set up my tree stand in a core rut area close to his home. When a doe in estrus ran by my stand in the morning, I knew it was just a matter of time before the big boys showed up. I waited until 4:00 pm and the hunt was on. Five bucks in five minutes passed by my stand!. I knew the one I was waiting for, and when he showed up, I planed on filling my tag, and I did. He had a huge body! After the buthcher was done with him I got 117 pounds of meat packaged into steaks and pepperoni.


Rick Hoskins took this exceptional buck Oct 31st, 2003 in zone D-5

#4 C.R.B.G. 4x4
By Rick Hoskins

The storm I had been waiting for finally came, so I bivysacked into one of my favorite honeyholes about 4 1/2 miles from the nearest road. The snow from the storm was driving the deer down. After a cold night sleep the next morning I spotted this big boy and was lucky enough to take him at 150 yds with my 30-378, using handloaded 180 grain Nosler Partions.
Bill Lentz from California Records of Big Game says he will be the new #4 typical, with a score of 165 4/8. Thanks for all the hard work keeping the site up. Nothing like seeing huge blacktails to get the blood boiling.


A Season Opener to Remember
By Mike Bosisto


Mike Bosisto (top) with five of six hunters he recently guided on a successful Washington hunt.
Pictured from L-R are, Ray, Chris, Jeff, Kurt and Todd. John (far right photo) had to leave early.

The season opened up here in Washington on the 12th of October. The day before we all met up and drove out to the property. Camp that night was the usual, lots of food, some drinks, and tons of male ego bashing sessions. The trash talking reached a fevered pitch at about 9:00 PM, and that is when we all decided it was time to hit the rack. We had to get up pretty early to get everyone set up.

The light crested the hills and put an orange glow on us down on the valley of alfalfa fields. There was a half hour of pure stomach churning excitement and anticipation as it became legal shooting light. ...Right off the bat we spotted a herd of 25 deer. We moved in through the other side of them to get closer and to keep the wind in our faces. I peeled off one hunter and we went up closer, and closer, until we had to low crawl up on the herd. It was then we saw the 3X2. We had to wait for him to wander a little bit to the left for a clear shot. I threw out some grunts and he moved off to the left on cue and with a thunder, the 7mm hit its mark and he buckled to the ground.

I moved back and got another hunter. An hour later we found two forked horns grazing the oak floor. We moved in tight, shifted up a little on his quarter. The hunter then took him took him with a beautiful quartering away shot that went in behind the shoulder and out the brisket. It had to be the biggest bodied deer that I have ever laid eyes upon. My hunter had a smile as big as his 300 win mag. It was a great kill.

.The third deer was bumped out of a thick clump of buck brush. He turned around to see what was after him, only 70 yards off. I set up the hunter for an on target neck shot, that he took. The buck turned out to be a very nice 2 point. It was only about 10:00 AM.

The fourth deer came a bit up in the day, around 2:00 PM. I glassed him with a herd of 50+ does bedded down together in a field. Me and this other feller watched him for nearly and hour and realized he was napping. His horns would go up and down. We had watched for a bit when a doe came over to him and every once in a while, he would kiss her face. I decided that I had seen enough. We moved in for a kill. We had to wait for him to stand up in order to get a clean shot. So, we waited, and waited. Then I stood up and made them all get up. The buck was the last to stand up and with a roar the bullet hit the mark and bedded him back down. It was a huge 2 point in my book. The only thing that killed him was patience.

The fifth buck came an hour before dark. It was a small forky that at first looked like a spike. He meandered near us and was put down. Not much of a story there. Just a nice young forky for the eating. We then went back to camp. Now everyone thought that they were the hunting gods of the entire world, except one fella, the one with a tag left.

The next morning I grabbed him and we went down into the scrub oaks were we met a nice 4x4 and so did his 30-06. It was so nice to have the last man get the biggest deer. After all of that we were alive and safe. We celebrated into the evening and then took off for home.


A Pair of Washington Blacktails
By Ryan Krizan


Ryan Krizan enjoyed a successful Washington Blacktail Hunt

The first picture is of a buck I took this year in western Washington. He was roughly 180 yards away although the terrain was very deceiving. I figured it would be a 250 yard shot, but wasn't positive because I had inconveniently forgotten my range finder. I aimed high and hit the deer right where I had aimed, he was closer than I had originally suspected. When I first located the buck, I had positively seen a 3x3. I then changed positions and found the deer again. Needless say, buck fever set in and I shot. I was very excited, it was only my fourth year hunting (I was 17 at the time) and my first deer. As I approached the deer, I immediately noticed it was a 2x2 , and was surprised to see the buck that I had originally spotted run off. I was a little shocked, but none the less very happy. The deer I had taken was very nice and weighed roughly 165 lbs dressed.

My hunting partner shot the second deer two days later, in the same spot, and I believe it to be the first buck I had seen two days before. Ironically he also took his deer with my rifle. His was getting the scope replaced on his, so I had loaned him my gun. It was a very well fed heavy bodied buck. As you can see in the photo, he has a small fork on his right-side which is not quite big enough to be considered a fourth point. My hunting partner Cory Bauer was very pleased with his big 3x3 and decided to have it mounted. Both of these deer were taken in western Washington, in Pierce County and had been feeding heavily in the Corn fields and Blackberry patches.


Vancouver Island Blacktail
By Steve Kane


Steve Kane with his big Vanouver Island Blacktail

It worked, I just got home with a beautiful 4x4 blacktail, what a comedy of errors tonight was. It was the most uncomfortable sit I've ever had. The only good tree to hang my stand in was a big maple and I couldn't get the stand level, it was sloping out real bad. I had to sit there for three long hours, WOW, never again, gotta go fix that.

Sitting there with my buddy Tim across the field in a ditch blind, I watched as a big black bear came out fifty yards down from him and walked across the field in front of him, only 30 yrds out. When the bear got to his tracks (I had sprayed vanilla on his boots when we left the truck) he turned and walked straight toward Tim. I was chuckling to myself because Tim always gets spooked when there's bears around. Tim stood up and in a loud voice asked the bear what he wanted. Man you should have seen that bear move. He clear a 7 ft wide ditch in one jump and kept on going.

It was real quiet for a long time after that and it was getting late. I saw a doe and two fawns cross the field out about 400 yrds, but nothing else. I reached in and grabbed my call and let out a doe bleat, waited a few seconds and let out another, then tucked it down my shirt. Five minutes later another doe came out twenty five yards to my right and worked her way over right under my stand. ..Next a small 3x2 jumped into the field from about the same spot, under a big old fir tree. Then a big 4x4 came out and worked his way over right under me, eating the leaves off of our cuttings from earlier that afternoon. Then another deer hopped the fence to my right, but I wasn't paying much attention, because I had already fell in love with the big 4x4.

The 4x4 and 3x2 started sparing at fifteen yards, so I slowly stood up and drew my bow. I was having a hard time finding my pins in the fading light. I squeezed the trigger and missed, I couldn't believe it. I could barely get my bow back to begin with because my body was so cramped from sitting and trying to brace myself for three hours. The deer stopped fighting and ran off about ten yards and looked straight at me. I figured the jig was up so I just stood there frozen. The two bucks then relaxed and started feeding toward me once again. I managed to slowly and quietly knock another arrow and with much difficulty, drew my bow again By this time I was shaking like a leaf and having even more trouble finding my sight pins. Finally the 4x4 came out from under a big branch that we left for a bit of cover. I put what I could see of my pin on his vitals and squeezed, he went down like a ton of bricks.

Man, what a night! In spite of all the errors. A big buck for these parts and proabably the most uncomfortable and yet most exciting bowhunt I have ever had. To top it all off, Tim said he was watching the whole thing through his 10x50's and that the last deer that came out (that I wasn't paying any attention to) was also a buck, even bigger than the one I got. I guess we will stay away from there for three or four days and then see if Tim can get one of them big boys too.


Echoes of September
Setting obtainable goals

For me, the magic of Deer Season is in the anticipation that it arrives with. I work all year and save my pennies for the upcoming season. It brings new opportunity every year. So many seasons have come and gone and yet the adrenaline and excitement never seem to stop. Why is that? Wouldn't you think that I would take it for granted after so many hunts? I don't understand it myself, how could anyone else. Once a friend said " man you really get excited!"… I guess I do.

Sometimes I wonder in regards to all hunters, doesn't everybody? It is not just taking an animal; anyone that can shoot can do that. For me it is the challenge of meeting new personal goals. In the past I have set trophy standards for myself. Sure I know that hunting is not all about the size of the horns, but goals are all right. I still set standards for myself. Setting them is the easy part, keeping them a whole different thing. Too many times I have taken an average buck, or bull because I lacked the willpower to keep my finger off the trigger. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for each and every critter I have taken. They are the reward of planning, work and dreams. That said, goals fulfilled from patience make a hunters dream even more special. The point that comes to mind for me is how my goals have changed with the years.

The first time I packed an elk tag, all I wanted was an elk. Size was secondary, sure my dream was the same…a large bull. But what was first was the filling of my tag, with luck the years would bring the "big" one. On the same note, what if you're in an area that is new to you? Yes, think about it, first year in a new hunting spot…my policy is to set obtainable goals. I don't go into a strange area I don't know expecting it to produce for me the way it would for a hunter that has hunted it for several years. Every area has it's own potential, to glean that out takes knowing the country. This comes from years of experience, or if your lucky a friend to show you.

My first trip to Idaho was on an invitation from a good friend. With a family and all I was nervous about was the costs. To justify the trip I felt I HAD to fill my tag. So to be safe I just bought a deer tag. I had a blast! I rode my horse, played cowboy, saw moose (Wow) and on and on. It was the time of my life, and my goals were to just enjoy the moment, see some country and learn. Often I read of someone in new country asking for advice, my thoughts are don't expect much for the first few years. If you get meat, great consider it a success. I keep preaching this to myself now that I live in Alaska. I look forward to an interior moose hunt, but the cost is substantial. Once again it pressures me for the need to fill the tag. We have to chuckle don't we, September still brings those challenges. I haven't taken an Alaskan deer and already I am worrying about interior moose hunts. I know, I know, one thing at a time! Hunters, we are a rare bunch! Knowing what to do is one thing, doing it is something else. Reminds me of a time in the high country.

I was deer hunting Washington's Blacktails and it was opening morning. The mountain was mine alone. As far as I knew there were no close hunters. I was hoping for a large buck, and knew there were some good ones in the area. Daylight broke and patiently I waited for enough light to look over the hill behind me. Finally I belly crawled up to the rim. It looked like a setting out of a magazine. The morning sun was just hitting the tips of the rocks before me. Catching the first morning sun…there he laid! It was incredible; a gorgeous buck laid not seventy yards away! He was beautiful and regal in his setting, but what he wasn't was large. I lay there and scoped him trying to make his horns grow but he was still a three point. I admired him as he 'played' the role of Mr. Majestic on his rock pinnacle. Thinking of it now I still marvel at his countenance…he was king! You guessed it… in about ten minutes of watching him my season ended with one shot.

A great story and hunt with no real regrets but if you want to take big bucks, more times than not, you will need to pass on the younger ones. My experiences on the subject of letting younger bucks go is it is a 'learned' thing. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. I am glad I still struggle with the patience, it keeps the hunt exciting wondering what to expect, and how I will react. Just last year I took a satellite bull, a small 5 point, when he hit the ground I could hear the rest of the bunch running off…oops! Hey! That's hunting, I love it! This year I plan on taking a big bull…if I see him first. Ha! Ha! Or, this season I am looking for a big Sitka Blacktail, unless I see a smaller one right spot. I'll try to keep an obtainable goal, and perhaps adjust it as my Alaska hunting experience grows.

Dave Wood
August 2, 2001


Two Brothers and Two Bucks
Rick Bennet

Click for larger view........................Click for larger view

These two great Oregon Blacktails were taken by brothers Rick and Jim Bennet,
within a hundred yards of each other in successive seasons.

.My name is Rick Bennett and I live in Dallas Oregon, which is just west of Salem. I stumbled on to your website and really like it. I have two photos to share. The first one is a 5x6 non typical that I shot on the last day of the 99 season here in Polk County. I laid down a scent trail and used my grunt call and he came in close enough for a twenty yard shot.

Notice the drop tine on his left side. No one I have talked to has seen a blacktail with one. It is estimated that he was 61/2 to 71/2 years old. He is now hanging proudly on my wall at home.

The second picture is of a buck my brother Jim killed late in the 98 season. This deer was his first buck and scored a little over 117 B&C.

The two deer were taken in successive seasons, within a hundred yards off each other! This past season a large four point was missed by my hunting partner in the same location. You can bet we will be set up in the same spot this year. Keep up the good work.


The Pocket Buck
By Dave Wood

Silently the buck slipped behind a huge boulder, still uncertain, I moved and sited into the next opening…he never showed again. Had another elusive Northwest Blacktail slipped away…time was yet to tell.

September in the Buckhorn, it’s an exciting time to prowl the Olympics if you’re a deer hunter. Washington State provides an early season to take advantage of great weather and fat bucks. Camping on site, or day trips from the ‘grid’ it is fun either way.

This hunt finds us packing into one spot that was soon to become a favorite. My neighbor and friend, Del Sage (called sourdough by his friends) was our ramrod for the pack; he was the ‘cowboy’ of the bunch! There was Del, PJ, Dwight, Fred and myself. We made quite a bunch of ‘story tellers’. We pick up the story on opening day, having packed in and set up camp the day before.

Day 1, 4:30 AM

As I left camp and hit the trail I noticed two flashlights blinking in the dark on the hill far above. "Dread" I thought this meant some hunters from another camp had the jump on me! Knowing too well the early riser usually gets the buck I simply put my head down and took off. Soon I was high on the rim resting against a boulder. As I lay back catching my breath, I wondered where the two lights had gone. In the meantime the view of the ever-lightening sky was incredible. Across the valley, the far ridge was just a rugged silhouette…awe inspiring. Minutes later I saw the glowing end of a cigarette about two hundred feet away, hmmm, the hunters. With the eastern sky still just a light glow I moved to a position closer to let them know I was in the area. We met and talked and it was decided in respect to them I would move on to the next basin down the ridge.

Daylight broke with me moving on and enjoying the solitude in spite of the ‘company’. I could not help but notice all the flowers; the rocks were covered with colorful lichens, the meadows full of wildflowers. Contrasted with the blue of the cloudless sky, it was the only place on earth I wanted to be at the moment!

The first hole I looked into was empty, not even a doe. The next stop would be the ‘Devils Hip Pocket’. Picture the top of a rocky mountain ridge with a ridge forking to the left from the main ridge, the bowl between forming a steep sided pocket of talus rock. The bottom full of boulders and debris from above, it was rugged beyond belief but totally cut up with deer trails. I had not taken a buck out of this spot, but had found ‘sheds’ in the timber below. My excitement level was high as I bellied up to the rim and glassed the basin below. Moving to a new vantage-point every little while, I slowly worked down the left side ridge. Soon it was clear I had made an error, the sun was clearing the ridge opposite me and blinding my spotting. Just then two bucks stepped from behind one of the huge boulders in the basin floor; one was above average and gray, the other a small 3x. In and out of site they went with me desperately trying to get a ‘good’ look at each one. I would loose them for a minute, then there they would be. So it went till they were plumb out of site! "Dread!" I couldn’t believe it!

At camp that evening I shared my tale of woe, and got a little ribbing for not getting meat. It was not like me to not even get a shot. I was fairly certain that one might have been a 4x. Well we will see what tomorrow brings!

Day 2, 5:30 AM

Dawn broke in the Buckhorn that second morning with me up on the mountain and not a soul around. Hidden in an outcropping of rock we appropriately called ‘The Castle’, I spotted all sides. I gleaned three small bucks and two does from the brushy basin, not good enough, I moved on. Nestled in the rocks on the rim of the next basin, I spotted intensely the valley floor. With no luck, I slowly moved up the ridge, then there he was…a decent buck feeding on a talus slope.

Studying him for a few minutes, the range I guessed at 200 yards. He looked to be a 4x with something on one side of his rack; it was kind of weird. OK, I needed a closer look at the antlers; it was decision time on the hill! "BOOM" at the sound of the shot he dropped like a rock! The echo of my 243 faded away as I gathered my gear and headed to check him out. What an awesome place to take a nice buck! It turned out he was indeed a four point with eye guards. The ‘weird’ side was a tine busted off and reattached horizontally. The buck was fat as a butterball, but not huge. The antlers I guessed at 16-17 wide, maybe 14 high, a nice deer for the peninsula.

It wasn’t long till I was packed with meat and headed up the hill towards the basin rim. The satisfying feeling offsetting the grueling climb. From the top it was down to the trail and up to camp. I took my time, enjoying the view and the moment! On the trail only minutes, I met James (my son-in-law, or soon to be) and Andrew; they had just hiked in for a ‘day hunt ‘. They checked out the buck and of coarse I shared the "details"! Then it was off to camp! In camp it was great to share the success of a new ‘honey hole’. To write this story and share the memory is to bring it to light again for me!

Blacktails in the high country! Does it get any better!


Three Bucks in Three Hours!!

Click for larger view ..Click for larger view

Joe and Earl Willis with their three California Blacktails, taken within three hours of each other.

After a heavy rain the night before, Joe Willis and his brother Earl left their camp well before daylight. They wanted to get to an area before first light, where they had seen many good bucks in the past.

Shortly after sunrise the pair decided to still-hunt through a deep canyon filled with oaks. The two split up and began working out the numerous draws. Joe would walk the tops of the ridges while his brother paralleled him a 100 yards below. ....Almost immediately Joe spotted a big buck bedded down only 30 yards away. He was sure by the size of its rack that it was a 4x4, so he quickly raised his rifle and fired, dropping the big Blacktail in his bed.

As Joe approached the downed buck he was surprised to find that it was actually a huge forked horn, not a 4 point as he had suspected. He was however very pleased, he had always wanted to kill a big “Forkie“ and now he had. Joe's buck had a 21 inch outside spread and a giant body, he estimated the live weight at 180 pounds.

While Joe field-dressed and quartered his buck, Earl continued to slowly hunt through the oaks. Not long after he had finished he heard two quick shots coming from the canyon below. Knowing it was most likely his brother, he set out to find him and see if he could be of some assistance.

Joe couldn't believe what he saw when he finally found him. Earl had come across two exceptional bucks and managed to dropped them both (you are allowed two bucks in any of California's B-zone's). The bigger of the two carried a heavy 19 inch wide, 4x3 rack and the other was a symmetrical 4x4 with nice eye-guards.

The two brothers spent the rest of the day quartering and packing their bucks the 4 miles back to camp. It was long after dark before they finished, but what an incredible hunt it had been. Three bucks in three hours


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