Sitka Blacktail Deer

Seminar by Jon Martin, Assistant Hunting Guide and owner of North Pacific Saltwater in Sitka

North Pacific Saltwater

Sitka blacktail deer are the subject of this seminar, and your subject-matter expert is Jon Martin, a resident of Sitka, Alaska. Jon has been hunting blacktail deer in southeast Alaska for most of his life. In this seminar he’ll talk about their biology and preferred habitats for different times of the year. He also discusses the logistics of hunting them while they are in the summer, high-alpine habitat.

Hunting Sitka blacktail deer is a true backcountry experience. The environment is stunningly spectacular and hasn’t been impacted by man. The habitat is much like it has been since the last ice age.

The “alpine” in southeast Alaska starts at 2,000 feet or so. Once you’re up there, it’s open country without many trees. This is the kind of country where good optics are important. You’ll spot the deer from afar, then attempt to stalk into range.

Sitka blacktail deer are a mule deer subspecies. They are smaller than other mule deer subspecies, mature bucks are 120 to 200 pounds. Does are usually 80 to 140 pounds. Does continue to have fawns until they are 10- to 12 years old, and they often give birth to twins. Bucks are usually in their prime around five years of age. These deer are not known for large antlers, but the chances of harvesting mature bucks are good.

Seasons in Southeast are generally long. For example, in unit 4, the season runs from August 1 through the end of December. However, for the summer, high-alpine hunts, August through the first half of September is the best timeframe.

Hunting for Sitka blacktail deer in Alaska can easily be a do-it-yourself (DIY) adventure with sufficient logistical planning. If you have the means and are not comfortable with the logistics or the self-sufficiency required for a DIY hunt, there are guided options, too.