A Recommendable Hunt For Columbian Blacktail Deer In California


Published: September - 2009

California is home to large numbers of Columbian blacktail deer and mule deer/blacktail hybrids. California is divided into five main deer management zones. The pure coastal deer is found in A-Zone, west of Highway 101 from Ventura County up to Mendocino County and into the B-Zone through the middle of Trinity County. Farther inland, the hunter can still find pure blacktails, but as mule deer and blacktails mix east of I-5, the deer get bigger and show different physical characteristics than the coastal deer.

According to Craig Stowers, Deer Program Coordinator for the California Department of Fish and Game, B-Zone hunts in northwestern California offer the most opportunity. "If you are hunting for blacktails, concentrate on the B-Zone complex. There is lots of public ground with good access, and tags can be purchased over the counter," Stowers says.

A large percentage of the best blacktail habitat, however, is on private property. These tracts of land act as a reservoir for deer, and this is where outfitter Parrey Cremeans offers hunts for trophy blacktails and feral hogs.

"We watch them all year," Cremeans says. "We hunt both deer and pigs on our properties, and we see the bucks grow during turkey season."

Cremeans hunts in Shasta and Tehama counties in the B-Zone and the C-Zone. His B-Zone bucks run anywhere from 115 to 145 Boone and Crockett, with most of the bucks in the mid-120s to low-130s. The Boone and Crockett minimum is 135 and Safari Club's is 105, so we are talking about good trophy bucks here.

Cremeans leases hunting rights to several ranches in these two regions. Two B-Zone ranches west of Red Bluff encompass 5,300 acres and 9,600 acres respectively. West of I-5 where these properties are located, the ground rises up toward the coastal mountains. It is semi-open and oak-covered, with conifers at higher elevations. Acorns, ceanothus and other browse and grasses are the main food sources for deer and hogs. Elevations range between 500 and 1,100 feet above sea level. Later........(continued)

 
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