Western Hunter Magazine July/August 2019 #70 - Page 74

A classic later-season Sitka blacktail hunt in southeast Alaska, hunting near the beach. In late November and December, the highest percentage of deer are taken. Heavy snows will concentrate deer down lower and often have them visible on the beaches feeding off kelp. The draw- back is you may encounter severe weather. Most hunts late are done from a boat, so good weather is a key factor in success. The cornerstone for deer hunting in the West will always be mule deer. Mule Deer & Whitetail While most hunters have a good grasp on whitetail or mule deer hunting, I’ll outline a few OTC options for those that may be looking for a hunt for either species. There are a few great archery hunts available for hunters looking to pick up a last- minute tag, as well as a few good tags in Idaho that The author with a whitetail taken while he was on the quest for a deer slam with a bow. — Minimum Scores — Here is a list of the minimum Pope & Young and B&C scores for the species of deer in this article. These are to serve as a reference for comparative antler size. Species P&Y Typical Minimum B&C Typical P&Y Non-Typical Awards/All-Time Minimum Minimums B&C Non-Typical Awards/All-Time Minimums Mule Deer 145 180/190 170 215/230 Whitetail 125 160/170 155 185/195 Columbia Blacktail 95 125/135 115 155/155 Sitka Blacktail 75 100/108 NA 118/118 Coues dDeer 70 100/110 80 105/120 74 WESTERN HUNTER can be used for either mule deer or whitetail with a rifle. Location and OTC tag options for mule deer: Oregon: Archery – Oregon has some great OTC options for archery, as the majority of the state has some form of general archery hunt available. Idaho: some decent mule deer hunting can be done with either rifle or archery on the “general” deer tag. While the dates are in the hardest part of year, there are good options and a few hunters find some great deer on these hunts. California: some great OTC tags that can be used for either rifle or archery can be found. While they are a smaller subspecies of mule deer, there is ample public land. Most of these tags will be avail- able OTC and are valid in the D Zones, or archery hunters can pick up an AO tag and hunt multiple D Zones with a bow. The C-Zone tags can also be good and are pretty much guaranteed, but must be applied for since demand is higher. There also may be a few X-Zone tags available after the draw. Locations and OTC tag options for white- tail tags: Idaho: has whitetail-only tags that don’t sell out as fast as the general deer tag and include better rut dates. Washington: allows whitetail hunting on their general tag. Other: There are also some great states for whitetails that are easy to draw but require apply- ing. States like Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado have great whitetail hunting but you need to plan early to get in on those hunts. A Sure Bet Overall, a deer slam is a great goal to motivate you to try something new, check out new areas, and try new tactics. The accessibility of tags and the fact that many of these hunts can be planned after the draws makes them a great way to ensure a good hunt every year. It’s a fun way to motivate yourself to try something different and build some great memories in the field that you may have not expected. www.westernhunter.net