Sitka Blacktail Deer
These little deer are only found in the coastal rainforests of Southeast Alaska and north-coastal British Columbia.
While they aren’t much in the trophy department, they are tons of fun to hunt, and many hunters list them as their favorite. Pope and Young minimum is 75 inches, and Boone and Crockett is 100 for the three-year awards, and 108 for the all-time book. An average mature buck will score in the low to mid 80s, and are typically unsymmetrical with broken tines…bucks over 100 inches are VERY RARE. Keep that perspective in mind and you’ll have a ton of fun.
Success is almost guaranteed if you’re willing to work a little bit and have a decent plan. Although there are other spots, if you want to hunt bigger bucks Prince of Wales Island, tand Kodiak Island are the hot spots. We will discuss those below.
Hunting Season Starts in August
Early in the season, Sitka bucks will be orange and stand out like a sore thumb in the bright green foliage. This is a mountain hunt, somewhat reminiscent of hunting dall sheep. The deer are high, and the bears are down on the salmon streams, so there is typically no need to worry about them. Be ready to get your spot-and-stalk on! If you’re in a descent area, you should get multiple stalks per day, making it a great archery hunt. One great reason to hunt early is that the meat is better, and you can combo your hunt with a fishing trip!
Mid-September to Late October
Just as deer hunting is everywhere, midseason is the toughest time to hunt blacktails. Deer aren’t concentrated up in the high country anymore, so it’s not so much like sheep hunting anymore. They’re scattered across their range, making them tough to find. Another obstacle is the bears…this time of year they’re covering country foraging in preparation for hibernation. weather can be obstinate this time of year as well, ranging from pleasant to zero degrees in a blizzard. that said, a good deer hunt can still be had if you hunt hard, shoot straight, and have a little luck.
The Rut is in November
Do you want to have some fun? Then hunt Sitka blacktails during the rut. It usually begins by the first of November, and peaks mid-month. Weather can be inclement at best, but gear up properly and you’ll be fine. Also, you’ll need to keep a watch out for bears…always the bears. Take bear spray with you. This time of year, the action is fast, and you should get multiple opportunities at trophy-sized bucks.
Sitka bucks come in easily to calling and light rattling. A whitetail grunt call that is adjusted to not be quite so deep and raspy works well. Another good thing about this time of year is that they’re very distracted and easier to stalk.
In December, the deer are concentrated down near the beaches eating kelp. This is the easiest time to hunt them, and lots of hunter cruise the shorelines in boats looking for shooter bucks. Keep in mind that bucks start dropping their antlers on December 10, so hunt the first few weeks. Also, the bears should be sleeping, so that’s good.
Kodiak Island or Prince of Wales?
Both islands have some amazing deer hunting. Winters aren’t quite as bad on POW, so the bucks can be slightly larger, but you’ll see more deer on Kodiak since it is more open. Only black bears live on Prince of Wales…and Kodiak is notorious for its brown bears. Don’t write off the smaller islands surrounding Kodiak and POW or the mainland between Juneau and Ketchikan. A good rule of thumb is the more expensive and difficult it is to get to a spot, the more likely it is that there will be bigger bucks and fewer hunters.