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"Good Looking Blacktail Buck for Ron"
Photo provided by: Ron Dykes

Ron Dykes writes, "It was a hot opening day but glassing some good high coast range units is always a good way to watch the sunrise. First view was a nice herd of Roosevelt elk with a nice 6x6 150 yards out.

In our country its not untypical for good blacktail bucks to hang close by elk. In fact, I find it pretty typical. I was glassing this series of units because I had seen a pretty nice buck during the velvet months earlier this summer.

As I glassed the closer areas first I was seeing a few does scattered around and the more I looked the more promising it seemed as I spotted a few more elk and scattered does around the lower elevations of the unit. As it started getting lighter, I was able to expand to looking more around the top section of the area about 1000 yards out.

I saw a couple animals in the upper right corner and as I watched them the distance was so far I really could not make any definitive decision whether they were bucks or not. As I kept watching I made out a few more animals which brought the total in the group to 5. They seemed to be in a good zone to potentially be bucks and the more I looked they appeared to have that blockier look bucks have in their posture.

I could not see horns until the sun started to shine, being so far away. Then wow what a reflection off the larger bottom animal. With the sun coming up and the group slowing feeding towards the timberline it was time to make a move or Id never get there in time.

I cut it to 427 yards in 20-25 minutes, but the wind was 20-30 mph sideways up the valley I would have had to shoot across. I opted not to do that, but circle the top of the basin and come down from above them hoping they did not timber up before I could get there.

I managed to scramble around the top of the basin and cut it to 200 yards straight downhill with a good pack rest on a stump and took him from there. They were right on the edge of the unit against old growth timber by that time. Shot him about 9:00.

The buck measured 17.3 wide x 14.2 tall breaking the T-spread magic 30 barrier we judge big coastal blacktails by. That and the 2 inch eye guards puts him in the top 10 buck category taken by my family in this area since the late 70's. Not an easy group of trophies to add to."

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