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Thread: Mule deer hunt

  1. Default Mule deer hunt

    Hello fellas, have a question for yall that has experience mule deer hunting, either yall that hunt every year or the ones that just go every other year. Ive been wanting to go on a DIY mulie hunt out west, havent decided what state yet thats part of the question. Id love to kill a giant for my irst mule deer (wouldnt everyone) but i realize thats not always possible. Id like to be able to draw a tag in a few years 2-3. What state would yall recommened that i focus my time on applying for a tag? I mostly bow hunt but for my first mule deer hunt i think id rather do a rifle hunt. If yall had one state to pick to apply for your mule deer tag what state would yall pick? Wis we had mule deer here in Western Kentucky! If any of you fellas ever plan to come hunt western kentucky for deer or turkey let me know! I appreciate the info in advance, take care!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kybowhunter64 View Post
    Hello fellas,.. Id love to kill a giant for my first mule deer (wouldn't everyone) but i realize that's not always possible.
    I've been chasing Blacktail bucks for 55 years now and going out of state at muley bucks for 45, taken my share of good ones, never have taken a "Giant" yet. What's that tell you? It ain't easy... unless you can afford to Buy a great hunt, you get extremely lucky, or you draw a very unlikely tag that few will ever draw. I've seen it happen so don't let my words stop you. South east Idaho is a place that doesn't get mentioned a lot but it has potential. You can get Giant in most any Western State, Calif Included, doesn't mean that you will. It's all about going,.. and the Hunt!

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    Tell us what type of hunt your after
    Truck camp, back pack in, mountains, desert (dessert is my favorite to hunt) etc.
    That will help people narrow it down for you.

  4. #4

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    In Wyoming with 2 PP you can get a nice buck in a less publicized area. They are out there but take some work. Find an area with a later season and you'll improve your chances.
    Some regions can be drawn with 1 or no PP and plenty of decent bucks if you have the time and patience.

  5. #5

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    I would recommend hunting the rut if possible. Montana would be a good place to go and break the ice. Archery can be tough in the mountain states because it is usually earlier in the season and bucks are up high.

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    I would probaly truck camp an hike and glass all day. An it would be a mountain hunt. And i dont expect to kill a giant, i understand that some people o a lifetime without killing a giant. Its the same way with whitetail hunting, every hunter dreams of killing a "giant" but most are left with just thoughts and wishes. My first hunt or 2 if i dont even fill my tag i wont be disappointed, ill learn fron my mistakes and better myself for the next trip. Redman, Montana is one of the states ive been researching about online. Ive also been reading about the Dakotas. Any of you fellas ever mulie hhnted North/South Dakota?

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    Id be doin truck camp, mountain hunt buddy. I should of said that in the first place lol

  8. #8

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    I have hunted South Dakota a lot, but not on public land.

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    Are you resident or NR of south dakota? If your a NR how long dod it take to draw a tag? If you mule deer hunted it?

  10. #10

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    Non resident archery you can get a tag every year. Rifle I have drawn with 1. I suppose it depends on the unit.

  11. #11

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    Colorado is tough to beat for Mule Deer.

  12. #12

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    I was in the same boat as you 2 years ago.

    This year I'll be going on my first mule deer hunt to Montana. Was planning on hunting southeast MT but with the winter kill I'm researching other units. Probably southwest MT as that's where I'm elk hunting anyways.

    I'm sitting on 2 points in Wyoming and 2 points in Colorado. Surprisingly LOTS of solid units in both those states I'm looking at for next year.

    I would go to MT with a general tag year 1, as you build a couple points in CO/WY to get a decent hunt.

    Best of luck!

  13. #13

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    Dang near every mule deer looked like a giant to me compared to the year and a half old whitetails I was used to back east!

  14. #14

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    My advice to 1st timers out West for a new species is to go with someone who has successfully hunted that species in that terrain a few times. Or, bite the bullet and pay for access to private or hire a guide. Getting skunked while having a memorable adventure is not so bad. Being lost or injured or caught in rapidly falling temperatures or a white out is putting your life at risk.

    Day hikes or road glassing is not that interesting to me but others might enjoy the heck out of a day of that sort of thing. The best glassing is often the first 30 minutes and last 30 minutes of light so you need to be hiking way before daybreak if start each day from a trailhead and then stay until dark so get back to your truck way after sunset. If you get a large buck down at sunset, you are spending the night on the mountain ridge. Not everywhere has grizzly bears but they should be respected and do realize if you shoot one there will be an investigation similar to if you shot a person claiming self-defense. The other 4-legged predators out West are dangerous but you are more likely to get hit by lightning or die of hypothermia than from canines. Early season temperatures might mean encounters with rattlesnakes which rarely inflict a wet bite into your flesh due to missed strikes, dry bites and wet bites that are stopped by boots or clothing.

    Be prepared to deal with hypothermia, knife jabs while breaking down a carcass and twisted legs/snapped ankles if take a tumble. The impact of altitude is real and can be life-endangering so read up on altitude sickness.

    Look for places with few services such as gas stations, motels, eateries and not within 100 miles of a city with over 25,000 people and you should be in for some peaceful hunting. Look into emergency beacons, have a good gps system with plenty of batteries. A good First Aid kit. Flat repair kit and portable pump for tire and jump starter. A set of chains for tires is useful for mud early and snow later.

    If can't get away from the population centers and are not interested in paying to access private then invest in gear to hike in light and camp 2 - 4 miles from nearest trailhead/road. Some units with a lot of forest roads or oil/gas activity are often criss-crossed with roads so no way to get away from the road hunters. Best bet there is to figure out what the deer do when are pressured and they might get pushed to you. I do not enjoy that type of hunt as is deer behaving in non-typical ways vs. following natural patterns.

    I hunted whitetails in the Midwest as a kid and upon moving to the West much of my outdoors gear was a poor match for what is needed to pack 2 - 4 miles from a trailhead with a light backload, glass big country and deal with large expansive valleys and ridges and big timber that can disorient a casual hiker traversing uneven terrain forced from time to time to take detours to get around creeks, blow downs and ledges. A person who has successfully hunted the terrain or a guide will have some gear that you benefit from as figure out what gear you should buy to make things a bit more pleasant. For example, a 12 pound rifle with sling, bipod, scope and 4 rounds loaded is not too noticeable hiking around foothills at 1000 feet elevation for a few hours. That same rifle going up from 8000 to 10000 feet of elevation in the dark while sucking thin air will feel like a sack of lead shot. The boots for the foothills may grind up your feet and jam your toes in the steep stuff. More than one new hunter to the west has lost toenails weeks after a hunt from the jamming as go down steep stuff.

    Do get out West and hunt. Take care with planning and stay safe.
    Last edited by LopeHunter; 05-13-2018 at 08:33 PM.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by wytex View Post
    In Wyoming with 2 PP you can get a nice buck in a less publicized area. They are out there but take some work. Find an area with a later season and you'll improve your chances.
    Some regions can be drawn with 1 or no PP and plenty of decent bucks if you have the time and patience.
    what he said ^

  16. #16

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    Just curious, what's your definition of a giant buck? Everyone has a different definitions of what's a big deer, especially if it's your first time out chasing mule deer.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by vanish View Post
    Dang near every mule deer looked like a giant to me compared to the year and a half old whitetails I was used to back east!
    hahaha isn't that the truth!

  18. #18

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    I went on my first public land DIY archery mule deer hunt last year. I was in your same boat, and I had 0 points in any state, so I knew I would be going over the counter. Luckily as a bowhunter there are a lot of really quality OTC units in many western states.

    My suggestion would be to go for an OTC hunt so you can get your feet wet before putting a lot of time/money/points into trying to go after a big one on a hard to draw unit. If you do your homework and get further back than most you have a great chance at being successful.

    I was lucky enough to get this awesome buck on my 2nd day of the hunt. It was an amazing experience and I can't wait to do it again.

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  19. #19

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    Great buck UintaYeti! That's exactly what I'm dreaming of being primarily a bowhunter. What state did you hunt? If you don't mind me asking.

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    Regardless of which state he was in, there are good early archery opportunities in CO, WY, NV UT, and ID.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ttannahill14 View Post

    I would go to MT with a general tag year 1, as you build a couple points in CO/WY to get a decent hunt.

    Best of luck!
    ^^this

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by guf54 View Post
    Great buck UintaYeti! That's exactly what I'm dreaming of being primarily a bowhunter. What state did you hunt? If you don't mind me asking.
    Thank you! This was in UT on a unit that you have a good percentage chance of drawing with 0 points for an archery tag.

  23. #23

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    You will do better hunting the same unit year after year than you will waiting 3 years and getting high expectations for a better unit.

    Hard to draw tags does not always equal big bucks or easy hunting. I know a NR who burned max points on an WY elk hunt last year and ate the tag.

    If you are dead set on hunting one of the hard to draw units see about whitetail tags, doe tags, antelope tags, etc to get some experience in the area first.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by UintaYeti View Post
    Thank you! This was in UT on a unit that you have a good percentage chance of drawing with 0 points for an archery tag.
    Nice! Looks like some awesome country in the background! Seems to be some good glassing ground too.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by guf54 View Post
    Nice! Looks like some awesome country in the background! Seems to be some good glassing ground too.
    Getting up high where you are able to glass lots of good deer habitat was key for me. Nothing like sitting on top of a mountain watching the sunrise and seeing deer pour out of the woods. Is it August yet?

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