Recommendations To Hunt Big Blacktail Deer in California and Oregon


Published: September - 2011

A trophy blacktail deer the most difficult deer to place in the record book. I say that having taken hundreds of deer and completed a half-dozen "deer slams"  and many experts agree with me. This month, I will report on two outfitters who have produced numerous book-class bucks. It has been years since I reported on these operations, and both of them have made important changes. The first, Arrow Five Outfitters (arrow5@hughes.net; 707-923-9633), owned by TinaMarie and Jim Schaafsma, offers free-range hunts in the northwest corner of California. It could be argued that this is the finest blacktail habitat in the world: a combination of rolling hills and deep draws covered in thick manzanita brush and oak groves, just enough meadows to offer glassing opportunities, and plenty of water. Hunting here in the late 90s, I killed a top 10, non-typical buck with a third main beam. By the way, true non-typical blacktail bucks are so rare that, up to that time, there wasn't even a non-typical category in B&C! Mine is just one of many trophies produced by Arrow Five. Hunting is phenomenal here, primarily because the 12,000-acre Stewart ranch where the hunt takes place participates in California's Private Land Management (PLM) program. As an incentive, landowners set their own hunting seasons and are issued a limited number of hunting permits in exchange for implementing state-approved comprehensive water and range improvements far exceeding public land enhancement programs. As a result, under careful harvest objectives this ranch has greatly improved its fawn survival, buck:doe ratio, and trophy production. Arrow Five books a maximum of 15 trophy hunters each season (August until the end of November). In addition, they book 10 management hunts for deer with a forked horn on at least one side, and they donate 10 youth hunts (one of their passions). Last season, 13 trophy hunters took nine bucks scoring over 130 points. In 2009, 13 bucks of 130 or better were killed by 15 hunters. The ranch has produced two outstanding bucks, one scoring 148 points and another scoring 153 points. That is remarkable success, and it's understandable why they........(continued)
 
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