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How do Blacktail differ from Whitetail?

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  • How do Blacktail differ from Whitetail?

    I know, I's got a black tail and the other has got a white one!

    but characteristic wise, what kind of differences?
    how about the rut?
    buck/buck, doe/doe, buck/doe interactions?

    I would consider myself pretty knowledgable when it comes to whitetails, assumed the only difference in a blacktail was the color...just thinking I should be doing more research before I head out next year. Suggestions on reads would be helpful.

    Thanks in advance,

  • #2
    Sitka Blacktail primer

    For starters, the ADF&G "Wildlife Notebook" has a good primer:

    Sitka blacktails are smaller than Columbian blacktails that occur in Oregon, too.

    I've never hunted whitetails, but one key difference from talking to people and reading about them is that Sitka blacktails tend not to have established bedding areas separate from feeding areas. You can't rely on ambushing them early and late on their way from one to the other. A deer that eats where it sleeps can sometimes be a real challenge to find.

    Oh, and all but the really big old bucks are about the size of a Newfoundland dog, so you get more meat off a whitetail.


    • #3
      I've hunted both, as well as Columbias and mule deer. You ask a good question, but like everything dealing with deer there are more trends than rules and their behavior differs depending upon terrain and pressure.

      In general Sitkas fall kind of in between whitetails and mule deer in behavior, but land closer to whitetails than to mule deer, while Columbias have a lot more in common with mule deer except right in the coastal ranges of the NW.

      Sitkas tend to be a whole lot sneekier when pushed, rather than simply taking off for the horizon like muledeer often do. I've had them hold tight till you were within a few feet if they think you are going to pass by without seeing them, more or less like whitetail. Sitkas respond to calls and rattling during the rut and sometimes out of it.

      Of the four, I have to say that Sitkas are about the best eating on average, with very mild meat and sweet fat. They're the only ones I will leave a little fat on when cutting steaks. Corn fed whitetails or Columbias and muled deer out of alfapha fields are awfully sweet too, but for run of the mill I'll take Sitkas any day. Considering some of the rough terrain they like, it's probably a good thing that they average a little smaller, too.
      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
      Merle Haggard


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