"These deer are not considered the same animal as the pure Columbia blacktail found west of the Cascades. The record books treat them as mule deer, and the deer show a definite mule deer influence. They are bigger-bodied, have longer ears and sometimes more inches of antler than their cousins in the Willamette Valley. Every year, a few hunters here take bucks in the 165- to 180-inch class. The average mature buck scores between 120 and 150 inches.
The White River watershed, Badger Creek Wilderness, Fivemile Creek and Fifteenmile Creek canyons are some of the best summer (and early fall) habitat for deer. These areas are thick with vegetation at higher elevation, but burns and logging areas open up the view and make spotting easier. These blacktails, while they may have some mule deer blood in their veins, make good use of cover. Toward the end of the season, deer may move down toward their winter habitat in the oak trees and are easier to intercept.
Over the past three years, the buck-to-doe ratio has averaged 23 bucks per 100 does. Finding a good buck takes a commitment to tree-stand or still-hunting tactics. A hunter should spot one to three bucks a day. Patience is the key to finding a trophy. A hunting buddy and I hunted the first three days of the 2008 season and saw one buck the first day, two bucks the second day and filled both our tags on the third day. If a weather front pushes animals out of........(continued)