John's Journal...

Hunt in August for Big Game - Elk and Black-Tailed Bucks

Day 4: Parrey Cremeans’ Biggest Columbian Black-Tailed Buck – Maybe

Editor’s Note: Parrey Cremeans of Redding, California, works with the guide service, primarily in California, to take elk, mule deer and Columbian blacktails, and in Oregon for elk. Hunting season begins in August for elk and deer in California. Consider the possibility of an out-of-state elk hunt or deer hunt there. Most of us when we think of California visualize Hollywood, the Silicon Valley, vineyards, wild fires and earthquakes. However, the West Coast promises outstanding hunting. This week we’ll learn more about how you can plan an elk hunt or a deer hunt for August and draw an elk or a deer tag before many states even open their seasons.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewI took a monster Columbian black-tailed deer that scored 198 4/8-inches - probably one of the most blessed days of hunting I’d ever had. I was hunting in a place where I’d pretty much hunted my entire life, and I’d harvested nice deer in this area previously. But, I never had seen this buck until the day I took him. I spotted the buck, stalked in close to him, got a shot with my bow and never realized how big this buck was until I put my hands on his antlers. This buck was on the eastern side of California at an elevation of about 1200 feet, and he originally wasn’t scored as a blacktail. He was scored as a mule deer. However, I took him in an area where historically we’d only taken blacktails. I took the buck in 2007, and in 2015 the Boone & Crockett Club said if I would take a DNA sample from my buck’s antlers and send it to them, they would run a DNA test on that material. If my buck proves to be a blacktail through DNA testing, then the buck will be reclassified as a blacktail and may score in the top 10 of all blacktails ever taken with a bow in the Boone & Crockett Club Record Book. The reason I believe the deer is a blacktail instead of a mule deer is because he has a short nose and short ears like a blacktail, and the live weight of the buck was about 180 pounds, which by almost any standards qualifies him as a blacktail.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewJust for Hunting has taken some more possible big blacktails from this area, and all of them were classified as mule deer. So, we’re sending in DNA on all eight of those bucks too. We really want to know if these deer are truly blacktails and not mule deer. In California, there’s a dividing line east and west that’s supposed to determine whether a deer is a blacktail or a mule deer. On the east side of that line, the deer harvested are considered mule deer. On the west side of that line are Columbian blacktails. Some have suggested that these deer be considered as a separate species called Inland blacktails, however since B&C has set-up a program of DNA testing for the deer to determine if they’re blacktails or mule deer, we’ll find out for certain whether or not these deer qualify as black-tailed deer. Now if they are black-tailed deer, then there’s several bucks taken from this region that will qualify as trophies - extremely good trophies - for black-tailed deer in the Boone & Crockett Club Record Book. An eastern hunter who wants to come to California and hunt Columbian black-tailed deer very well may have a good chance to get a record book Columbian blacktail, if the deer we’re having tested prove to be as we think trophy Columbian black-tailed deer.

Just for Hunting can help any hunter to find tags and set-up hunts. Go to, or contact me at: 1-650-888-0808.

To get John and Denise Phillips’ free cookbook, “Miz Denise’s Outdoor Cooking: More than 35 Recipes for Elk and Mule Deer,” as well as other free eBooks, go to To learn more about elk hunting, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, “How to Find Your Elk and Get Him in Close,” “Secrets for Hunting Elk” and “PhD Elk: How to Hunt the Smartest Elk in Any State.”

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Prepare for Success by Knowing How to Care for Your Elk Meat

Check back each day this week for more about Hunt in August for Big Game - Elk and Black-Tailed Bucks

Day 1: Hunt Three Subspecies of Elk in California and Draw Over-the-Counter Tags for Oregon Elk and Deer
Day 2: Bet on Bugling Elk by Hunting August and September with Your Bow
Day 3: Bag An Elk Early During a 5-7 Day Hunt and Possibly Take a Black-tailed Buck
Day 4: Parrey Cremeans’ Biggest Columbian Black-Tailed Buck – Maybe
Day 5: Prepare for Success by Knowing How to Care for Your Elk Meat

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Entry 883, Day 4