Kodiak Island Blacktail Deer Hunt Thread

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
I am going to do a rolling thread about my Kodiak Blacktail Deer hunt that is coming up in October 2019. I am so dang excited I can't stand it. This thread will be a way for me to talk about all aspects of the adventure. I will go over gear choices, work out plans, logistics, and will hopefully culminate this with a semi-live day by day account of the actual hunt. My hope is to provide insight and encourage others to chase their hunting dreams, and use this as a way for me to organize my thoughts and ramble about things.

I am going to start by telling exactly what brought me to this point and why I am doing this hunt. I have been an avid hunter since I was young. Started deer hunting in 1996 with my Dad. Dad was not a hunter and started hunting only because I wanted to. Over the years, we have hunted a lot together and had some great times. When I was young, we talked and dreamed of hunting elk out west and taking hunting trips to Alaska. To me, those were just pipe dreams. I thought you needed gobs of money to do stuff like that. And Dad would never take off during the middle of the school year to go hunting (teacher/principal). So, those dreams were just that...dreams.

In 2014, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. This changed everything for him and me. It hit Dad that he couldn't wait until he retired to do the things he always dreamed of, because he may not live long enough. It hit me hard, as well. Over the previous few years, Dad and I had not hunted much together. I realized I couldn't put off spending time with him. Dad fought the cancer and beat it. Soon afterwards, we started talking about chasing our hunting dreams. I finally decided no more talk, we were gonna do it. In 2016, we took off to Colorado to elk hunt, and we did it again in 2017. Late 2017, I read a story about hunting blacktails in Kodiak, Alaska. After reading the story, I realized I didn't have to be rich to hunt in Alaska. I told Dad, "Let's go hunt in Alaska." He said, "Ok, you just tell me when and where."

So be it. Now, it was time to start putting some things in motion.
 

Eric Revo

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
I remember as a kid reading in a magazine, probably Field and Stream, about a blacktail hunt using native american techniques. I still remember the bone deer call that they used to call the deer in.
I hope your trip is awesome and I can see why you're so excited. Any chance to hunt that part of the country would be amazing.
 

Buxndiverdux

Old Mossy Horns
Quite an adventure you have planned! I can’t offer any expertise, but I will certainly wish you guys the best of luck and follow along. Thanks for posting about it. 👍
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
I’ll be following along intently, sure to be a fun trip. How are you doing it I.e. staying on a boat for lodging and hunting, camping on the island, etc? On my list in the next 5-10 years.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
I’ll be following along intently, sure to be a fun trip. How are you doing it I.e. staying on a boat for lodging and hunting, camping on the island, etc? On my list in the next 5-10 years.
In the near future I will post details about my hunt choice and exactly why I decided to go the route I did. Stay tuned.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Why Sitka Blacktails?

When you think of hunting Alaska, it is doubtful that Sitka blacktail deer comes to mind. Most people think of grizzly bear, Dall Sheep, Mountain Goat, Caribou or Moose. So why did we choose to hunt Sitka Blacktails. I will tell you why.

One criteria for my hunting adventure was it had to be done DIY. Due to Alaska law, non-residents can only hunt Dall Sheep, Mountain Goat, Grizzly/Brown bears with a licensed guide (or a second degree relative). Guided hunts for these animals run upwards of $25,000. I am a nurse, that's out of my league, so those animals were out. And I have no family who live in Alaska.

Moose and caribou can be done DIY without a guide. But, access in Alaska is difficult. The vast majority of the state is roadless and only accessible by boat or plane. The few areas that are road accessible that harbor huntable populations of moose and caribou are either open only to residents or require years of applying for special permits to draw a tag. While flying into a drop camp and doing a DIY hunt from there is perfectly doable for moose or caribou, cost is a huge factor. Most air services charge $2500 a person (or more) just to fly you and your gear in. Tack on another $1000 for an an extra gear drop (if needed) and another $1000 to transport your harvested animals out, you are quickly looking at $6-8,000 for a DIY fly-in hunt. Add to the fact that the reputable air services (Tok Air, 40 mile Air, Brooks Aviation) are booked years in advance and have wait-lists in the hundreds, getting a spot with one of these groups is akin to winning the lottery. With cost being a big factor, and a goal of keeping this hunt at less than $5,000 per person door to door, a fly in drop camp for moose or caribou was out.

Alaska has a huge population of black bear that are easily accessible, but, I can hunt black bear within a 30 minute drive of my house. No need to travel 4,500 miles to hunt them.

So, I landed on Sitka Blacktails. These deer are found in abundance in SE Alaska, Prince William Sound and the Kodiak Island Chain. Bag limits are generous, seasons are long and DIY hunts are relatively cheap.

We choose to hunt Kodiak Island chain due to several factors. One, being terrain. I could probably have saved a $1000 or more by hunting DIY on Prince of Wales Island. But, the island is covered in dense forest, is extremely steep, and has few open areas for glassing. Success rates are much lower on Prince of Wales than Kodiak. Kodiak and it's neighbors are more open terrain, better for glassing, less dense old growth forest to impede your pursuit.

Blacktails were introduced to Kodiak and the surrounding islands in the 1920's and have somehow flourished, despite sharing their home with the famed Kodiak Brown bears, the world's largest terrestrial predator. Kodiak blacktails tend to be larger in body and antler size than other areas of the state as well.

Now, we have decided on an animal and where to hunt. But, how are we going to hunt them? We can do boat based, fly in drop camp or lodge based hunt. In my next post, I will share what style of hunt we have chosen and why we chose it. Stay tuned for more...
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
Please say boat based, please say boat based (selfishly that’s my plan and I want to know what to plan on lol)
 

Aaron H

Twelve Pointer
Contributor
It will be an exciting hunt in beautiful country. Out of the question for me- I do not, hunt or camp with any of the brown bear cousins, period. I have camped and hiked in big cat country but I have a healthy respect/fear of browns.
 

bowhuntingrook

Old Mossy Horns
If I couldn't hunt moose I would have chosen blacktails as well. Everything about
hunting blacktail in that country looks interesting, it's so different then here. I enjoy the blacktail hunts most when I've seen them in Meateater or SoloHunter

Sent from my XT1585 using Tapatalk
 
Wow, what wonderful memories you and your dad will have, can't wait to hear the rest of the story, are you going to videotape some of the hunt it may be post it on YouTube?
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
There are essentially 3 ways to hunt blacktail deer on Kodiak Island. There are fly in drop camp hunts, boat based hunts and lodge based hunts.

Originally, I wanted to do a fly in drop camp hunt. These hunts can be done much cheaper than fly in hunts for moose or caribou (average around $800-1000 per person for flight). With these hunts, you hire a pilot, pick an area you want to hunt and they haul you and your gear out there and drop you off, and then come and get you 7-10 days later. When I presented the idea to my Dad he said "I'll be damned if the only thing between me and a brown bear at night is a piece of nylon, I didn't beat cancer to get eaten by a bear!" Since the ultimate goal of this hunt was to have fun and enjoy Alaska, I knew that if Dad was nervous about bears the whole time he was there, that he would never really have fun. Every bump in the night or eerie sound would keep him from sleeping. Dad has no experience in big bear country. I have camped in Montana and Wyoming in grizzly country, so I have some experience (not much). So, I nixed the idea of a fly in hunt.

Next option are boat based hunts. These are just what they sound like. You live on a boat for the duration of your hunt. The boat will transport you to different areas and drop you off and pick you up. Boat based hunts also allow you the option of fishing or shooting ducks when you don't feel like chasing deer. Boat based hunts are a popular option. These boats are well equipped, with mess hall, sleeping quarters, game processing and storage areas. I called and talked to several groups that did boat based hunts and really liked the options. But, cost was steering me away. The average boat hunt was going to run about $4000/person. With a $5000/person budget (door to door), that was really pushing the envelope. I was willing to fudge the budget a little if I had to, but I wanted to explore more options.

The final options is a lodge based hunt. Essentially, they are the same as a boat based hunt, except you don't sleep on a boat, you sleep in a lodge or cabin. There are many options for hunts like this on Kodiak, and they range from offering literally just a place to sleep at night (no food, no running water), to 5 star resort accommodations where they even leave a mint on your pillow. I decided to look for something in between those to options. After researching and making many phone calls, I stumbled on a lodge called Raspberry Island Remote Lodge. They are located on Raspberry Island, which is a small island in the Kodiak chain, directly between Kodiak and Afognak Islands. I will give more details later, as to why I chose to go with this outfit. In a nutshell, they fit the bill for what I was looking for. They offered DIY blacktail hunts at a reasonable price, they had nice lodge accommodations, and they fed you every day of your hunt! Their location also offered us the chance to hunt both Raspberry and Afognak Islands.

Honestly, a lodge based hunt is really a blend between boat/lodge based. Every day, Dad and I will be transported by boat to hunting locations on the islands. If the weather happens to be too rough to go out by boat, you have the options of striking out on foot from the lodge. To me, the nice part about hunting from a lodge was slightly better accommodations than a boat, and the flexibility of how you could hunt.

I will give more details about why we chose Rasberry Remote Lodge in my next post.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
How did I come to pick Raspberry Island Remote Lodge as the place I would base our hunt out of?

In looking at doing this hunt, it is important to understand what it is and what it is not. I am doing a DIY, self-guided hunt. The lodge is a place for me to sleep, eat and store my game/gear while I am not hunting. These types of hunts (along with boat based hunts) are known as "transport hunts." Alaska law is strict about transport hunts. The people transporting you are allowed to do only that, they cannot assist you in the hunt in any way. Legally, they can't even point out game to you. But, you need a good transporter and good place to stay to make this a worthwhile adventure.

I researched many different lodges, and much like researching guided hunts, you must ask questions, look at the fine print and get references. Cost was a big factor in this hunt, so I immediately eliminated those lodges that were "5 star" and more aimed at luxury stays than actual hunting experiences. There are several lodges that offer relatively cheap accommodations, but you must read the fine print. One place I was very interested in that was reasonably priced quickly fell of my radar. The reason they were so cheap is because they did not included transport to and from the Kodiak Airport in your cost, nor did they include the cost of transporting to and from your hunting area everyday! With a bush flight from Kodiak to the lodge running around $700/each, and daily transport by boat to hunting areas adding on another $40/day, the reasonable price quickly became very unreasonable!

There are some lodges that simply are just that, a place to sleep. They offer no food, no running water, no transportation. While these places are very cheap, you have to throw in the added logistics and cost of bringing your own food. And, if I'm not going to have running water for a week, I am not going to pay the cost of a "lodge."

Raspberry Island Remote Lodge simply popped up on a google search. Their price was very reasonable and included transport to and from Kodiak, daily hunting transport via boat, 3 meals a day, private cabin with a toilet and other amenities. Some quick phone calls to the owner and a few back forth emails answered my main questions. No hidden fees, no surprises on the final bill, their price is their price. After that, I began digging. I got a list of references from them, and then I used that list of references to find other people who weren't listed and I contacted them. I also searched various hunting forums and found people who had used their services and I contacted them via email. Pretty much everyone had the same thing to say: "First class lodge, first class people, 5 star food, beautiful country and plenty of game, if you are willing to put in the effort." Even the owner of the lodge was very up front with me. He said "If you are not willing to hike up steep hills and put in some miles, you will probably not get a chance at a deer. My hunters that are willing to work always get deer, those that are too lazy or just too out of shape, generally don't have a good time and have little success." Dually noted.

After discussing everything with my Dad, we picked some dates and sent in our deposit to the lodge. No turning back now, with money invested, we were officially going to Alaska.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Now that I have talked about what where, I am going to start talking about some of my gear choices and why (or why not) I am bringing something. Most items I am bringing I have used extensively, some will be new items and I will review how they performed after the hunt.

First up is weapon of choice. Alaska does not have separate bow/gun seasons. Blacktail deer season opens August 1 and is any weapon until it closes in late December. Many people choose to hunt blacktails with a bow. Their curious nature and relatively light hunting pressure make them a fairly easy animal to stalk within bow range. But, I decided against taking my bow, because of two reasons. Number one being I wanted a weapon that would give me the highest odds of harvesting game. Number 2, since we are hunting in Brown Bear country, I didn't want to have to carry a bow and a sidearm for protection. So, rifle it was going to be.

I am fortunate to have a pretty decent selection of centerfire rifles to choose from. Blacktail are the size of whitetails, with mature bucks averaging 175-200lbs. Since my entire arsenal is geared towards whitetails, I had no need to seek a new rifle. I wanted a rifle that was relatively lightweight, weather resistant, able to shoot distances of 300+ yards. I have multiple magnum rounds (.300, 7mm STW, 7mm Rem Mag, .264 wing mag). But, after looking at all my choices, I went with my old faithful. My plain Jane Ruger M77 All Weather .270 Win. This is the ugly, "boat paddle" stock version. I bought this gun in 1998 after mowing yards all summer to save up for it. I have shot a truck load of deer with it. The gun is lightweight (8.1lbs ready to hunt), stainless steel, synthetic stock, accurate and will take a beating. It's topped with the same Leupold VX-I 3-9x40 I put on it in 1998. I have put hundreds and hundreds of rounds through this gun. I know I can kill deer out to 350 yds with it. And, it's chambered in one of the most popular, easy to find rounds of all time. If I get to Kodiak and realize "Oh crap, my ammo is lost/forgot to pack it." I know I can walk to the local sporting goods store and buy some rounds for it or I could probably even bum a box off some random person. When I go on out of state hunts, I follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple Stupid) as much as possible.

While the .270 Win may not be the ideal "bear stopper" if SHTF, it's better than any sidearm I could carry and much better than a bow! With weapon picked, it's time to start practicing and time to start sorting/picking other gear.
 

nontypical

Six Pointer
With that arsenal available, and the sheer size of the Kodiak brown bear, I would consider the .300. I'd bet the local sporting goods stores would have ammo for it on the shelves as well!
 

woodmoose

Administrator
Staff member
Contributor
Local store in town of Kodiak has .270 ammo, already called and asked. I will be staying in town night before we head to the lodge so I can hit up a store if I need to.

excellent - thought you meant walk to town from some fly-in location!
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
With that arsenal available, and the sheer size of the Kodiak brown bear, I would consider the .300. I'd bet the local sporting goods stores would have ammo for it on the shelves as well!
My .300 wieghs over 10lbs. I am not lugging it around.

A little note on Kodiak Brown Bears. I am not worried about them nor do I fear them. I have a healthy respect for big bears. I am not going to do anything to intentionally put myself in a situation that could cause problems. The odds of being attacked by a bear are very, very small. But, hunting in bear country increases those odds, since hunters engage in high risk activities, such as sneaking around the woods and being around dead animals. Vigilance is going to be key. When we shoot an animal and begin working on quartering it up, one person will work on the animal and one person will "stand guard" during the process. Deer are small enough that two people aren't needed to break one down, and I have quartered enough deer in the field that I know I can break one down in about 15-20 min by myself. Deer are small enough that the 2 of us can easily pack one out in one trip, so no need to worry about returning to a kill site. We will also not be hunting alone. It will be two of us together at all times, no striking out on your own to check out the next drainage. Also, we will avoid areas that bears are more prone to frequent, such as mouths of streams/rivers where they are eating fish and dense patches of alders where they like to bed. We will have weapons or some sort of protection on us at all times. If your gun has to be more than arms reach from you for whatever reason, bear spray will be on our hips at all times. I have my qualms with bear spray, but it's more effective than my fist. Since we are staying in a lodge, I don't have to worry about camp safety and storing food. I will be perfectly honest, if I were sleeping in a tent in big bear country, I would be a little more on edge. I have camped in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho in grizzly country. Never had a bad experience, but the first night is always rough. Every damn bump/sound wakes you up and puts you on high alert. After that, you calm down, which is both good and bad because that is when you get too relaxed and make mistakes.

I have spoke at length with the owners of the lodge about bear safety. They told me that being "bear aware" is the best thing do to. The bears on Kodiak, Raspberry and Afognak are hunted. They have a healthy respect for people, since they are not protected like their lower 48 cousins. Negative encounters are rare, but they do happen. Hell, there was a hunter severely injured on Afognak just a few months ago. So, thinking that "It can't happen to me" is just a recipe for disaster. The owners know where the bears tend to frequent the most and try to steer their hunters clear of those areas. But, they can be anywhere at any time. We will be vigilant and safe, but I am not going to worry myself to death over these bears.
 

nontypical

Six Pointer
Sounds like you have it well thought out. I lived up in the interior for about 3 years, and during the last moose season I was up there I managed to kill a moose with my 30-06. While we were cleaning it an interior grizzly came in downwind within about 200 yards. My buddy carried a 35 whelen and he fired a round off to send the grizz on his way. It was still a little tense to say the least. Those Kodiak bears are way bigger than the interior bears I was seeing.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Traveling to Alaska. Since I am doing this hunt DIY and trying to keep the cost down, I am looking for any ways to save money. Nothing in Alaska is cheap. Even getting there is an adventure and can be costly. Flights from the lower 48 can easily run $1000/each if not purchased at the right time. But, there are ways to get to Alaska and have nearly no expenses in your flight.

In comes the Alaska Airlines Credit Card. If you are planning on going to Alaska anytime soon, get you one of these cards. I signed up for the card last year, and received 30,000 bonus miles for making $1000 in purchases in 90 days. Plus, you get a free companion airfare if you buy a full priced ticket, and you get yearly $99 airfare with the a full price ticket. I burned my free ticket last year when my wife and I went to Alaska. I continued to bank my miles until it was time to purchase a ticket to Kodiak. As soon as flights were available, I began searching. After a couple of weeks, I found my flights. For 32,500 bonus miles, I purchased round trip first class airfare from Charlotte to Kodiak and back. After fees and taxes, I had a whopping $36.28 in my ROUND TRIP FIRST CLASS ticket. Boom. Big time savings.

Another benefit of the card is that by having it, you get one free checked bag, and then all bags after that are only $25, instead of $50. Since we could potentially be checking 5-6 bags of meat on the way home plus luggage and guns, this is a significant savings. Instead of $300-400 in checked bag fees, we will get out with half that. Bringing the meat home on the plane is much cheaper than shipping. I've investigated shipping costs and a 50lb cooler with meat would run me about $127 to get home, and that's just one cooler. With a bag limit of 3 deer each, we could have 6 coolers full of meat. That would be over $700 in shipping fees. For $25 for each cooler, I can stick them on the plane with me. That decision is too easy.

That's my shameless plug for the Alaska Airlines Card. In the last year, I have purchased 3 plane tickets to Alaska. I paid full price for one ($551.48), my wife's was $22 with fees and taxes, and Kodiak one was $36.28. 3 airline tickets for right at $600, I'll take it!!

Saving money on the ticket leaves me more money in my budget for making a couple gear purchases :)
 

Dead Eye-NC

Eight Pointer
good deal on the credit card savings. now go get the Cap One Venture if you spend $3000 first 3 months, you get 50,000 bonus points which is $500 for travel expenses. No fee year 1. If you cant get that one, no fee Venture get 20,000($200) bonus points for spending $1000 first 3 months. Play the game and you can travel for almost free.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Exercise, exercise, exercise. Got to stay in shape, especially "mountain shape" for this hunt. While I don't have to worry about altitude adjustment for this hunt like I do when hunting out west, I still have to be able to climb mountains. All hunts start at sea level every day and will require hiking 1000-1700' elevation to get in the prime spots. So, I need strong legs and strong lungs. Also, all deer that are killed will have to be quartered up and packed out to the beach for pick up. No dragging, because a bear is likely to take it right out of your hands (it has happened!)

In my workouts, I try to simulate hunting conditions as much as possible. For example, last week. I strapped on my backpack with 55lbs of gear in it and went on a hike. I wore the same boots and same clothes that I plan on hunting in. I picked a local park that had a nice trail that featured an 800' elevation gain in about one mile. I hiked to the top on the trail, and then hiked back down, then hiked back up again, and then back down. Being able to get down is just as important as going up. All told, per my GPS, I hiked 4.17 miles, gaining and losing over 1600' elevation. Pretty decent simulation. Next week, I will hit up a route that I have done several times. It's a 5.8 mile round trip, that features nearly 2900' elevation gain during the trip. I will continue to build up my pack weight as I do these hikes. My personal limit on pack weight is 100lbs. I have carried up to 150lbs, just for testing purposes, on flat ground. While my pack can handle the weight, that is just too much of a load for me to safely carry in uneven terrain. My risk for injuring myself increases greatly. Previous years testing and workouts have shown that 100lbs is what I feel safe with in a hunting situation. Per the lodge owners, the average weight of a quartered out blacktail buck is about 65lbs. So, with a days worth of gear (about 20lbs) and the meat, I'm looking at 85-90lbs.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Also, a little note on gear. I have already highlighted my weapon of choice. Since I mentioned backpacking in my previous post, I will talk about my pack choice.

I will be using a Kuiu Icon Pro Frame/Suspension with a Kuiu Ultra 6000 ci bag. I have owned this set up for the last few years. It has served me well for elk hunting and deer hunting. I really like the weight of the Kuiu frame and suspension, and the lay out of the 6000 bag. While the bag is way too large for simple day hunting purposes, I want it for the ability to carry all my game down inside of the bag if I am successful at killing a deer. I am not a huge fan of "load slinging" meat (placing it in between the bag and frame), although I often do that while hunting whitetails, since I am using a smaller bag during those hunts.

I have used several different brands of packs, including big names like Kifaru. I have stuck with the Kuiu because I like the weight and the organization of their bags. I will fully admit that Kifaru carries heavy weights more comfortably than the Kuiu, but Kifaru bags and frames are extremely bulky and I despise the layout of their bags. Pictured is my bag with roughly 55lbs of gear in it for training purposes.26116
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
Been a little while since I posted anything on this. Still just counting down the days and messing around with gear. Talked to owners of the lodge last week and got great reports about the winter. It was a mild one, accumulating snowfall was minimal. They have high hopes for the deer this year. A few mild winters in a row really helps the deer population and allows more mature bucks to survive.

I have been hiking quite a bit. Recently did a little over 8 miles roundtrip on Greybeard Trail in Montreat. Pack weight was 60lbs, total elevation gain was nearly 3000'. Planning on hitting up the old Mount Mitchell Trail in the next couple weeks. It's over 11 miles round trip and gains over 3500' feet. It's a real quad burner.

One piece of gear that I will not leave home without is trekking poles. I have been using the Cascade Mountain aluminum trekking poles for a few years now. They are $22 for a set on Amazon. These things are awesome. Really save your knees, provide extra stability. Crucial when packing out heavy weight on mountainous/slick terrain. They can also double to help set-up tarp/shelter for relief from weather. And, they are $22. I know people who spend $150 or more on trekking poles. Not this dude. If I was thru hiking the AT or PCT, then maybe, but for my purposes, those poles do what I need them to do. They haven't failed me yet and I have hiked a few hundred miles over the last few years with them.
 

ncstatehunter

Twelve Pointer
Which month were y’all going again? Wife wants to go to Alaska in the future for our anniversary (early October) and thinking a week hunt on Kodiak and then a week exploring the mainland might be something I can talk her into. Interested to know how the October hunting is pre-rut after they get down from their summer/early fall alpine areas, if that’s when you and your dad are going.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
We are going last week of october. Word to the wise. Many touristy things close in Alaska around mid to late September. So, if you are wanting to explore, for vacation purposes, take that into consideration. The RV place we rented from last year stops renting after September. Towns like Talkeetna essentially shut down. Bus tours in Denali get more limited as well. Just something to think about if you are vacationing.

My wife and I went first week of September and that was a pretty good time. Weather was great, everything was still open, but huge discounts were available due to season end. We paid 60% less for our RV rental compared to August rates. And crowds were not bad. Even the big tourist spots didn't have many people.
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
It's been a while since I posted anything. Just kind of in the lull period here waiting for the time to roll out! I have been shooting my rifle and have it dialed in. Well, it was already dialed in, I've just been practicing shooting from different positions, such as resting on my pack, off shooting sticks, prone unsupported and kneeling.

Had a few issues with flights pop up. Not really surprising since I booked so far in advance. I think those have been pretty well worked out. We will now just have to spend an extra day in Kodiak after our hunt ends. I am not complaining. Give Dad and I chance to sort our gear, rest and explore Kodiak a little and not be rushed to get to the airport.

Now, I am just deciding exactly what pieces of clothing and other gear I am going to take. In terms of optics, I am taking my trusty Nikon Monarch 10x42s that I have had for 15 years. Dad has a pair of Leupold's 10x42's that he has had for a long time as well. I have a inexpensive spotting scope, a Simmons that I purchased years ago. It is actually pretty clear and has served me well for range purposes. I think I will bring it. I am not going to buy a new spotting scope for this hunt. I really need something that will just help me pick out animals, I am not really concerned about trophy quality, so I don't need anything that will help me measure inches at 1000 yards. I have a friend who has offered to lend me his $1500 Vortex. Generous offer, but I don't think I want to be responsible for that!!
 

timekiller13

Twelve Pointer
I mentioned previously that I am not really concerned with trophy quality. My goals for this hunt are pretty simple. I am allowed to harvest up to 3 deer. I will have 3 tags ( you can purchase individually). My goal is to basically harvest the first buck I see. After one is on the ground, I then would like to look for a nice, representative animal. For a blacktail, that would be a at least a 3x3 buck. If I am able to get that second animal on the ground with time to spare, I will be looking for a trophy animal. That would be a 4x4 or better.

All of this is fluid, of course. Historically, at this lodge, hunters have had little issue harvesting 2-3 quality bucks over the duration of 5-7 days of hunting. There are no minimum requirements in terms of size of bucks. Does are legal, but the lodge owners prefer you don't shoot any does.

Hopefully, I can just put a couple bucks on the ground. I really want some of this Sitka blacktail meat. I have read and heard from many, many people who have said it is the finest big game meat there is.
 
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