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Coastal Blacktail

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I filled my late season tag on Monday. I was about 5 miles back, hunting solo in a damp coastal canyon. There were numerous mishaps & unexpected events on the way in that all conspired to keep me out of my usual camping & hunting spot. So I bushwhacked my way to a backup location that had never hunted before. The only place I could hunt required me to hike about 500’ straight up a steep grade through poison oak (I only leave camp in coveralls) to a ridge finger where I eventually saw some deer. On day 3, I went ahead & took this young buck at about 60 yards to close out my stay. All combined, it was about a 90-lb load getting out. We had heart steaks on the first night back and had venison burgers ground up with bear bacon tonight. Great eating.

This is my third deer out of this place with a muzzleloader and my second with home cast bismuth alloy round ball. In full disclosure, my shot was terrible — must have caught a branch I didn’t see. I still can’t figure out how it all happened with the shot angles & such. But the ball hit him in the head and he was tumbling downhill toward me before the smoke cleared, dead instantly. That was pure luck and I’m just glad that it didn’t err on the opposite side of him.

But I’m glad to have filled both my tags this year. It has been a great year of hunting. Still have a bear tag to fill, though.