Chris Palomo

Bowhunter Tags Giant Velvet Blacktail After Hunting It for Three Years Leave a comment

Chris Palomo was glassing acquainted terrain for blacktail deer excessive on a northern canyon ridge at 7 a.m. on Aug. 19. The 29-year-old was on the lookout for an elusive large Columbia blacktail he’d hunted the final two seasons; he was decided this 12 months can be his final.

It was opening day within the northwest a part of California. Palomo was searching with an OTC tag on nationwide forest land—a spot he prefers to not title however, having hunted the realm for seven years, is aware of effectively.

“I noticed the massive blacktail buck that morning [Aug. 19], and I used to be surprised, as a result of yearly I hunted him beforehand he simply disappeared as soon as the season opened,” Palomo tells Outside Life. “I attempted utilizing path cameras to sample him earlier than the season, however I by no means may get him on digicam. I might find him with binoculars and recognizing scopes from lengthy vary earlier than season. However when archery season started, he simply disappeared.”

Chris Palomo

Palomo closed the gap to the buck, lastly sneaking into bow vary. The buck remained bedded, and Palomo waited for the deer to face to get a very good shot.

“He simply wouldn’t rise up for me to make a clear shot, so I waited, and waited, and waited,” says Palomo, a carpenter’s union consultant from Fairfield, California. “However 5 hours later, I used to be nonetheless ready for him to face so I may shoot. Then the climate began to deteriorate with a storm constructing.”

The wind rose and swirled with the storm, and finally it shifted so the buck caught Palomo’s scent—and bolted from its mattress and disappeared into thick timber.

“I labored across the canyon for the remainder of the day, stalking and glassing for him, however I by no means noticed one other deer all day,” Palomo says.

Palomo was again on the canyon ridge at daybreak, glassing to see if he may find the massive deer once more. At 9:30 a.m., he noticed the buck—simply 200 yards from the place he’d spooked it the day gone by.

“I took off working alongside the ridgeline and got here in from behind the bedded buck. About 11 a.m. I slipped in to about 80 yards from the place I’d final seen him, then began shifting slowly and glassing the realm fastidiously.”

A bloody arrow after a bowhunt for deer.
signal. Chris Palomo

Palomo took his time, watching and glassing and ready. Lastly, at about 2 p.m., he noticed motion.

“I noticed his antlers just under me at 36 yards, then he stood up, and stepped into a gap—head down, feeding.”

That’s when the adrenaline hit him onerous. Though Palomo is a lifelong hunter and has been a bowhunter since for almost a decade, the buck fever hit him onerous.

“I believed I used to be all set, and began to attract my arrow, however the shaft wasn’t on the remainder so if fell off the bow, clanking because it dropped,” he mentioned. “The buck heard that sound, turned, checked out me, and we stood looking at one another for the longest 10 minutes of my life.”

Lastly, the deer dropped its head because it returned to feeding at 40 yards. Palomo nocked one other arrow, drew, and launched.

“I glassed the deer and noticed blood and I knew it was a very good hit,” mentioned the California bowman. “He ran about 50 yards and disappeared into some timber.”

Nonetheless, Palomo waited almost an hour earlier than on the lookout for blood. He took off his boots and stalked to the spot the place he’d seen the buck final. If the buck was nonetheless alive, he didn’t need to spook him.

“I acquired to the timber, and he was mendacity useless simply 5 yards contained in the woods. He didn’t run 60 yards from the place the arrow had hit him.”

Chris Palomo big columbia blacktail.
Chris Palomo

Palomo packed the buck out and delivered it to Racks and Tracks Taxidermy in Hidden Valley Lake. The 4×4 blacktail has cut up forehead tines, with a large 29.5-inch antler unfold – a large blacktail buck by any measure, however particularly for a public-land archery buck. For reference, the state-record blacktail in California measured 175 2/8 inches. That buck was killed in 1981 and its biggest unfold measured 23 inches (hard-horned and after the obligatory drying interval) .

Bear season is open in northern California, and Palomo plans to return to the identical space quickly.

“I’ve shot a number of deer, small recreation, and a few turkeys with my bow. A bear on high of my velvet blacktail buck would actually make 2023 one thing particular.”

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