"Those that believe Whitetails are smart have never hunted Blacktails"
Generally I would say that is true, except during the rut...
We are blessed to have Mule, Whitetail and Blacktail Deer in this state. The Mule Deer is probably the most pursued inhabiting many of the popular hunting areas. Cougar predation has reduced their numbers and Mule Deer hunting regulations are the most restrictive - most areas requiring 3 points (western count) or better. Whitetail range is expanding and generally overlaps most Mule Deer range, especially in farming and more developed areas.
The Blacktailed Deer's range is on the west side of the Cascades, some say the only true (non-hybrid) Blacktails are west of I-5. Their habits are secretive and seem less adaptable to human development than the Whitetail. They haunt the thicker rain soaked forests and appear to thrive in younger mixed stands created by burns and clearcuts.
Yesterday while herding my neighbor's escaped cows I kicked up a nice 4 x Blacktail bedded down with a doe. I've not seen him before though I suspect I've seen his dad, grandpa and great grandfather in years past. All were beautiful specimens that usually met their demise during the rut.
After the cows were back where they belonged I went home to get my camera - I didn't have permission to hunt the property... so pictures will have to do. I went back to the area I saw him and sure enough he was still focused in on the doe. I got within rock throwing distance before he noticed me and stood up. He was a very cooperative photographic subject.
The Doe was similarly unconcerned and continued to feed but didn't feel like posing for any pictures.
As the photo session progressed I spotted another set of headgear strolling through the brush.
And then another.
The 4x is easily the nicest blacktail I've seen in a few years. He's got good body size - for a Blacktail - and he has a beautiful symmetrical rack with some nice brow tines.