Wow, what a season it has been. I entered the 2007 deer season with a distinct goal in mind. A goal that seemed hard to reach, yet not impossible. My goal was to harvest a very mature and good representative of a blacktail deer. If you have never hunted blacktails before, I highly suggest doing so. They are truly the “ghosts” of the forests. They are quiet, have highly acute senses, and the fact that they live in some of the steepest most brush chocked habitat is the reason they give hunters fits come deer season, but putting your tag on one of these blacktails can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your hunting career.
The beginning of the 2007 rifle season started off well. A recent rain quited the forest, and kept deer moving throughout the day. My cousin Brady Smith and I spent most of our time high atop ridges where we could get better vantage points for glassing. We ended up seeing a fair amount of deer, consisting of lots of does and smaller bucks, but nothing that particularly caught our attention.
On October 20th, Brady ended up slapping his tag on this very mature 4×4 blacktail. We spotted some does upon the very top of a ridge, and soon to follow was Mr. big. After a brief 20 minute stalk, Brady was able to close the distance and down this nice deer with one shot through the lungs at 215 yards. The deer ran only 45 yards before expiring. Our quest for a pair of mature bucks was half way over.
On Halloween morning I escaped out of the house to avoid the pesky doorbell ringers that would arrive later that night. Brady and I arrived at our sweet spot at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon and started glassing draws and hillsides, a little to early in the afternoon though for the deer to be moving well. A few hours later, with a small nap in between, we decided to glass some more from our vantage point and started picking deer moving throughout the oak and poison oak patches. Again, nothing buck smaller bucks with does. Thinking that this was going to be another uneventful journey, we packed up the spotting scope and started for the truck so we wouldn’t be tripping over logs and rocks in the darkness. Not 100 yards away from where we were sitting, we jumped a few does, and then noticed a set of deer legs stationary through a patch of Madrone trees. I quickly threw up my scope, yet couldn’t reveal the deers identity. Knowing that the body was bigger than usual, we slowly moved downhill to get a better vantage point. There was no mistaking this deer for a shooter, as soon as I threw my scope on the deer I saw a mass of headgear, wider than the ears, with good mass, by far the biggest buck I’ve seen all season.
The buck disappeared quickly after the 70 yard shot. After a few minutes of catching our breath and getting a hold of our nerves, we walked slowly down to where the deer stood. Not 30 yards from where the deer was standing, we saw his magnificent rack sticking up above the tall grass. With only 2 days left in the season, my wait for a special buck finally ended with this beautiful chocolate antlered 4×4. As night quickly came, I sat there in aw of what lied before me, smelling the fresh untainted air, sharing the experience with my best friend, and thanking the creator for everything I have been given. This is what hunting is all about!
An amazing hunt, and a true eye opener at that. My patience, hard work, frustration, and long days in the field payed off with a beautiful blacktail buck that I was more than proud of.
I know public land hunting isn’t the easiest, as thats where I have hunted all my life, but this goes to show, that if you put the work into it, and get out into the field and study your area thoroughly, you will see trophy class bucks, it all comes down to whether your going to be patient enough and have the determination of holding off at a shot, waiting for Mr. Big to show himself!