Trinity County Blacktail

Sawfish

Very Active Member
Jun 9, 2011
742
60
Peoples Republik of Kalifornia
2016 Blacktail MMO.jpgBlacktail-003 (2).jpgThis is my 2016 Trinity County Blacktail. Not exactly what I was looking for antler wise, but a very large bodied creature, nevertheless. We spotted him sitting in the middle of an open prairie. The Rancher asked me if I thought he was trying to evade predators (mountain lions). This is a tactic commonly used by groups of Blacktail does that will bed in a circle with eyes looking in every direction for danger.

Bucks usually bed alone in heavy thickets. I thought this was just a very old deer way past his prime, taking advantage of the warm sun during his last days. We continued on our rounds and came back later to find the deer sitting in the very same spot. We agreed that he was probably nearing the end, and would probably not survive the winter. After some contemplation, I decided this was the right deer. At any rate, it would be a kinder death (if there is such a thing) for the old gentleman. Rather than being eaten alive by a mountain lion, or ripped to pieces by a pack of coyotes.

I found a good rest, and set up for the shot, which I had ranged at 166 yards. The 30/06 Encore delivered the 150 gr, Ballistic Tip on its mission of mercy, and the old deer died in his tracks. His body weight of 183 pounds was the heaviest Blacktail ever taken on the ranch. Even though he was a brute in body size, his headgear was only 2 x 3. Closer examination showed that he was in regression, due to old age. From the antler configuration we surmised that he was probably at least a 4 x 4 in his prime. He will be an honored guest at the Thanksgiving table.
 
Last edited:

Sawfish

Very Active Member
Jun 9, 2011
742
60
Peoples Republik of Kalifornia
I received a couple of PMs expressing concern that he might not be very good table fare because of his age. If you care about that sort of thing, here are the results. I kept a whole front shoulder to throw on the smoker with the Turkeys at Thanksgiving. I did it pretty much like it was done in the pioneer days. No special trimming. I left all of the silver skin and tissue intact. Basted it periodically with vinegar and vegetable oil. Light salting after cooking overnight at 250-265 degrees. It was surprisingly good, and we had guests coming back for seconds. I am anxious to try the backstrap. One good thing about a deer this large, the Flat Iron steaks are huge!
 

Tim McCoy

Veteran member
Dec 15, 2014
1,855
3
Oregon
Great ending! Congrats on the old warrior.

Surprising to me anyone would worry you about the table fare aspect. I've taken some very old animals, some were fork tender as steaks, some needed a little longer slower cooking, but all tasted just fine, with the possible exception of a couple very rutty mulies that were actually middle aged. To each their own I guess.
 

LCH

Very Active Member
Jun 28, 2015
753
211
Southern Indiana
Great buck, glad to hear it was good table fare. I still have to figure out how I'm gonna prepare my B-2 tag, because I'm eating it.
 

Sawfish

Very Active Member
Jun 9, 2011
742
60
Peoples Republik of Kalifornia
Great ending! Congrats on the old warrior. Surprising to me anyone would worry you about the table fare aspect. I've taken some very old animals, some were fork tender as steaks, some needed a little longer slower cooking, but all tasted just fine, with the possible exception of a couple very rutty mulies that were actually middle aged. To each their own I guess.
There is so much BS circulating on the internet about hunting and in some instances, the bad taste of venison, I thought it was probably curiosity, and did not mind answering the question. Hate to see someone pass on a good deer because they were afraid it would be inedible. Thanks for your comments.
 

Alpineman

New Member
Dec 16, 2016
41
0
Australia
I received a couple of PMs expressing concern that he might not be very good table fare because of his age. If you care about that sort of thing, here are the results. I kept a whole front shoulder to throw on the smoker with the Turkeys at Thanksgiving. I did it pretty much like it was done in the pioneer days. No special trimming. I left all of the silver skin and tissue intact. Basted it periodically with vinegar and vegetable oil. Light salting after cooking overnight at 250-265 degrees. It was surprisingly good, and we had guests coming back for seconds. I am anxious to try the backstrap. One good thing about a deer this large, the Flat Iron steaks are huge!
Flat iron steaks........ wow I have butchered many an animal on the farm in my life but never heard of this cut. Where are they from?
 

Sawfish

Very Active Member
Jun 9, 2011
742
60
Peoples Republik of Kalifornia
Sorry, Alpineman, but I just saw this post. Resting up from last season I guess. A Flat Iron steak is from the shoulder of the animal. Also known as petite steak, triangle roast, top blade steak, etc. Just a fancy name for a steak cut from the shoulder. Still tastes the same. First came across this name thirty something years ago in a book written by Merle Ellis "the Butcher" who hosted a TV show by the same name. I recently read on Wikipedia that this cut was "invented" in 2002 by university researchers. Not so, because I read about it in the Ellis book in the early eighties. Thanks.
 
Last edited: