E-Mails to the Editor
Not A Blacktail

Just wanted to comment on the current "Hunting Memories" Rifle Season Bow Hunt submitted by Steve Baker of Placerville, California. Not to knock a beautiful animal and a proud moment for any hunter, let alone a bowhunter during rifle season..... but that deer actually is not a blacktail. The "Official" boundary for both Boone and Crockett and Pope and Young for blacktail is anything west of Interstate 5. In case you are not familiar, Placerville is about 45 miles east of that border. That deer would have to "officially" be either a California mule deer or a hybrid (muley-blacktail mix). That would account for: "The 3-point buck was heavy for a blacktail, approximately 122 pounds field dressed, and had 4-inch eye guards" as stated in the article. You can also see in the picture that the eyes are much farther apart than on a pure blacktail and the coloring gives it away as a hybrid as well. Just thought you may want to know and or pass this information along to the hunter so that he may more accurately know what his trophy is.

Thanks again for the great publication!

John Bright

Editor's Note: John you are right regarding the boundary for the record books. But as a deer hunter who first began to hunt these same foothills in the late 1950s, we always called them blacktails. It was because of the black that went down the length of the tail as opposed to the mule deer in the higher Sierras that had a white tail tipped with black. Over the past 40 years our knowledge and that of the DFG has increased to the point that we realize there are six subspecies of mule deer in California. But many of us still have the old habit of calling these deer, blacktails.

Two-Tone Deer

The coloration of Tom Tolleffson's deer in the photos in last week's "Picture of the Week" depicts what is called piebald, which is not the same as an albino. I believe that the occurrence of this condition is much less common than the true albino, which possess the pink eyes and a total absence of pigmentation in the skin, causing the all-white appearance. I have only seen one other photo of a piebald deer and it too was taken in Washington state, by a now retired Idaho F&G wildlife educator. I would be interested to know just where the photo was taken as I am not familiar with that lake.

I used to have a bowhunting acquaintance in northeast Nevada who harvested an all-black forked-horn mule deer in the Independence Mountains north of Elko approximately 35 years ago. The story that the old bowhunter told was that he was in the act of closing the gap on a very large buck when the black buck came into view. Due to the unusual nature of the smaller buck, he elected to pass on the monster and whack it to the smaller buck. For many years this unusual buck was featured on postcards sold in that region. It was mounted life-size and the mount used to reside in a tavern/store/license vendor across the highway from Wildhorse Reservoir, also north of Elko. The last time I saw the mount was about 1986. This color variation is also quite rare and is termed melanistic.

Brian Farley
Hayden, Idaho

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