The Black-tailed deer, or Blacktail deer, (Odocoileus columbianus) is a species of the deer found in western North America, specifically in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California regions. Black-tailed deer once lived at least as far east as Wyoming. In Francis Parkman's The Oregon Trail, an eyewitness account of his 1846 trek across the early West, while within a two-days ride from Fort Laramie, Parkman writes of shooting what he believes to be an elk, only to discover that he has killed a Black-tailed Deer.
The Black-tailed deer is currently common in northern California, western Oregon, Washington, in coastal and interior British Columbia, and north into the Alaskan panhandle. There remains confusion, however, over its proper classification. It is a popular game animal.
The black-tailed deer was once believed to be a subspecies of the North American mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), however, recent DNA testing has proven this not to be the case. In Valerius Geist's book Mule Deer Country he explains that by testing the mitochondrial DNA of the three species (blacktail, whitetail and mule deer), researchers have now determined that it was the mating of whitetail does and blacktail bucks that gave rise to the mule deer, and not the opposite as was once suspected, therefore not falling under a subspecies of O. hemionus and rather as its own species O. columbianus.
It is now believed that millions of years ago the whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) expanded its range down the east coast of the United States, across Mexico, and then back up the west coast, where it eventually evolved into the blacktail deer. Thousands of years later as the recently evolved blacktail's range spread eastward and the whitetail's range again expanded westward, the two deer species again met. At this point, the blacktail bucks displaced the whitetail bucks, and bred the whitetail does. Researchers now believe that it is this hybridization that produced what is now commonly known as the mule deer.
Summary by Wikipedia.org
|Whitehart Island||Redfeather Falls|
| Blacktail Deer|
|Deer "Bleat" Call||Deer "Grunt" Call|
You cannot miss the Blacktail Deer if you start at the Causeway Lodge in the Whitehart Island reserve and head west. The Blacktails are almost exclusive there. Some deer can sleep during the midday hours, but even then you will come across plenty of activity. The only other animal competing for your attention here is the Roosevelt Elk. You will not regret if you take the necessary time and walk to the northern parts of Redfeather Falls. You can fast travel to the campsite there or to a tent that you placed there earlier. Spotting can be a challenge, as in some areas you have a good distance view on the Blacktails, especially in the swamps. Luring them however and planning a shot is relatively easy compared to the thick woodwork of Whitehart Island.
The Blacktail Deer is a herd animal, however you can also find single bucks. Blacktail bucks can travel alone, in groups of 2-3 bucks, or along with other males and females in larger herds. Any group constellation will not exceed 3 bucks. The does start as a group of 5 or 6, and they can travel along with or without bucks. If you find stray females, they could be from a group that was parted by spooking or getting stuck in certain territory or vegetation.
There is camouflage clothing available that provides various advantages specifically against all deer species.
Sense Reduction Values (1 = some; 6 = excellent)
|Boone & Crockett||5 / 6||2 / 6||1 / 6|
|Doc Monsignor||3 / 6||2 / 6||3 / 6|
|Army Outfit||5 / 6||2 / 6||1 / 6|
|Trapper Outfit||3 / 6||4 / 6||1 / 6|
|Outback Outfit||1 / 6||1 / 6||1 / 6|
You will quickly see a big difference when using any of these outfits with the deer species when you have approached them with a regular outfit before. When in prone, the animals will almost step on you before they notice the danger and run. These clothes have the same effect on any map, environment and vegetation, as opposed to certain camouflage clothes which only unfold their advantages when in certain areas such as forests, but provide zero camouflage otherwise.
Scent Eliminator and Wind Indicator
This species has a sense of smell and will detect players around them. Especially when upwind, you will see close-by animals stick their nose into the wind, then run away. The Scent Eliminator works against all animals with a sense of smell. Apply it when you want to get close to the animal of your choice. Also, make sure to pay attention to the wind direction by observing objects tossed around or by using Wind Indicator. Use it and follow the smoke with your eyes to see in which direction it is blown. As a general rule of thumb, the wind will blow towards the North-East on all maps. If you are not sure about the wind conditions, apply the Scent Eliminator just in case. It doesn't hurt to use it once too often if you want to be on the safe side and not regularly spook animals by your smell.
Weight does correlate somewhat with the score. Follow tracks from heavy bucks. If you find tracks from a group of bucks, always follow those. There is a chance that one of these males will have a decent score. If you hear a call no matter what gender, lure them towards you. It could be a single Blacktail or a group of up to eight of them. The bigger the group the better the chance for a high scoring male.
Use the Deer Bleat or the Deer Grunt to lure Blacktails. Both callers have the same luring effect, and the effect is the same for both males and females. You may use Blacktail Deer Urine Spray which lasts a lot longer than the caller, and lets you safely move into a hiding place or stand.
When you spot Blacktail bucks, look for one with large antlers with long points. Soon you will be able to field judge the antlers and tell a small score from a big one. When luring in bucks, make sure to look out for other males before taking a shot on the first spotted.
Dealing with groups (herds, packs, flocks)
If you fancy shooting any gender, roam around and look for their tracks or listen for their calls. If you are after the big male, leave signs of females behind and keep going until you find the according presence of males. When you encounter a group, check the map and look for a good ambushing location. Call from a 30-50m (100-165 ft.) of your hiding spot or use scent spray if available, then move there and wait. If the group has a big male, it can be the first animal to react to the lure just as much as the last. It is therefore important to always be patient and try to spot all animals in the group before taking a shot. Spotting all animals also has the positive side effect of increasing your spotting skill for this species.
Shooting the animal
The shot must be well prepared. Search a good place where you can stay undetected. Avoid hasty shots. A good spotting skill will support you picking the right animal if there are severals. Wait until the animal of your choice has come close enough for a good shot, or until you can safely hit a vital from the side. It is not always possible to set up an ambush, or to move away on time. Stay alert for other animals (e.g. from a group) that might have come very close to your lure, and make sure to go for a shot before one of these could spook and flush everything around them.
If the animal flees
If you spook the animal of your desire, follow the tracks crouching. Use your optics and try to spot it, and also look for tracks or vocal signs. Do not go too fast. The animal can stop fleeing abruptly and return to roaming, and the roaming can be in any direction including coming right back at you. If you end up bumping into the animal it will flee again. Take your time. If the animal is worth it, a few more minutes will pay off.
Quick Start Locations
Start at the following lodge(s) for quickly finding this species.
Organs and Bones
1 = Skull
Blacktail Deer Missions
After a long and mysterious absence from the EHR the famous tracker and general outdoorswoman "HoneyBee" has returned to deal with the growing and increasingly problematic Blacktail population.
|Breaking Ice||any permitted||n/a|
|Dying To Impress||Pump Action||n/a|
|By The Book||any permitted||n/a|
|A Long Distance Relation||.308 Rifle||n/a|
|Anywhere But Here||any permitted||Rangefinder or Rangefinder Binoculars (optional)|
|Making Nice||.50 Cap Lock Muzzleloader||n/a|
|Getting Serious||any permitted||n/a|
|Moving In||any permitted||Treestand|
|12 Counts of Affection||any permitted||n/a|
|Tying Up||Recurve Bow||n/a|
Blacktail Deer with Non-Typical Antlers can occur but are rare to find.
See full list here.