I am in the early stages of planning a blacktail hunt in California. I have some family near Sacramento and am looking at doing a hunt while visiting them in a couple years. I have seen some maps showing where the different subspecies of deer are. I am thinking of doing a 3-4 day backpack hunt 3-5 miles in, probably with the rifle for blacktail. I am trying to figure out what units have blacktail and forest land to pack into. I am not to concerned with trophy size and would just like to find a good species representative. Would the Mendocino or Trinity National Forests fit the bill for this? I see a lot mentioned about Trinity for backpack hunts but not to much about Mendocino. Is there a map that shows the forests along with the unit boundaries?
Mostly I just want to narrow down where in the state I want to hunt before I start looking at what unit and if it would be a general tag or if I would need to apply. Researching California is new to me, but I think it could be a fun hunt that would also make the wife happy by seeing her family. Thanks for any direction.
Where are you coming from?
You will have all sorts of options that fit your criteria without having to draw a tag. The Mendocino NF would be your closest area to Sac to hunt true blacktails with an okay chance at success while backpack hunting. It gets HOT during the rifle season, and your best bet would be to hunt the last week or second to last week. That country gets a lot of pressure, but the animals are there. You may want to think about extending that 3-5 mile distance to 5+ for a much better chance to harvest. There are tons of road hunters, and also quite a few guys 3 miles in throughout the season. The hardest part about hunting that country is staying positive day after day of not seeing anything, but you just have to be persistent and don't get lax in glassing. There's tons of timber country for them to hide in, but sooner or later one will show.
You can download unit overlays for GE, and then use the GE forest boundary feature on top of that. A general B tag will allow you to hunt all B zones.
And watch out for grows there is alot up in the mendocino. Especially back packing you have to be very aware.
The Yollo- Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness is a good choice and you can access trails heads from the Sac valley. There were a few good burns last year so those areas should be promising the next few years.
In speaking to the biologist a few years ago he suggested going in " further than the day hunters but not as far back as the outfitters/ horseman",which makes some sense.
BigSurArcher is right about the road hunters and going later in the season. There are some great blacktails in there but they are smart old SOB'S!
Lots of good information. I am from North Dakota. If you are going in 5+ miles, are you taking a trail in for most of it? I prefer to hunt by glassing. Is that the most productive way to hunt or is there too much cover? How many bucks do you see a day?
Originally Posted by BigSurArcher
depending on where you go in, but for the most part, it is pretty brushy country and bush whacking can quickly become a nightmare.
use Google earth and follow some of the trails that will get you up high and into some of the more open country. My experience has been some days you'll see a few bucks and some days none.