Mule Deer Hunting Tips

There is nothing as satisfying and exciting for a hunter as tagging a real mule trophy.

Big game hunters will tell you that mule deer hunting is not easy. These herbivores are a truly cunning game and understandably so. Mule deer live in a land of vicious mountain lions and coyotes, and they must always be alert to survive.

If the rugged landscape does not get to you, the mule deer’s craftiness will. To get your trophy, you must prove craftier, exercise patience and hunt hard. The following mule deer hunting tips have proven helpful, and so hopefully, they will also be for you.

Have the perfect gear

Smart hunters know the importance of having the proper equipment. The first in the list of mule deer hunting tips having good boots. You will need to move through the thick terrain and up the mountains. Remember that you are out in the wild and need an adequate footing for efficiency. Go for the boots with a good tread.

Some of us take pride in using arrows than a rifle. There is a warrior feeling bowhunters love and would not trade it for a gun. If your preference is for rifles, then I recommend the bolt action types. Bolt action has a better reload time than semiautomatic, and this is important.

Another thing that you can never be without is a rifle scope. I use [easyazon_link identifier=”B01BU1UD5O” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”bestscopeguide-20″ cloak=”n” localize=”y” popups=”y”]Bushnell Trophy Xtreme[/easyazon_link], and they have proven to be a decent piece of equipment. Other good optics that are a must have included 15x60mm and 10x42mm binoculars. As a smart hunter, you will be spending a substantial amount of time glassing. Good optics gives you an edge, and it keeps you conscious of your surroundings. As a long time hunter, I know the value of spending more time peering through the glass than giving your boots some service.

Be early

More and more people are finding hunting interesting. At certain times of the day, you will see that you are alone. If you have been sitting on the grass watching a herd of mule deer grazing on alfalfa, it becomes disappointing when a group of hunters scares them away. Less astute hunters are averse to walking and so go as much into the hunting lands driving their trucks. Being early also helps you with your plans.

To avoid situations where other hunters continually get on your nerves, start hunting early. It is a good idea to enter the hunting lands when the day is ending. Pitch a tent for the night and if you have a hunting companion, share stories of your hunting adventures and retire for a few hours. The idea here is to get up as early as 3 AM and start your hunt.

At such a time, light-gathering optics will prove valuable. Having a plan before venturing into the forest is critical. It will keep you from going in circles trying to find where the deer are hiding.

Go deep

It is natural for people to want things the easy way. They don’t love the hard work that goes into successful hunts, and so the majority of them will choose common paths.

In my hunting experience, I have found it better to create some distance with the masses. Backpack and travel deep into the less frequented lands. Some of the most successful deer hunters are backpackers that go into the heart of the hunting areas. They are never afraid to push their limits to scoop the prize.

However, don’t go deep for the sake of it. Do your homework beforehand by studying the map. Identify some of the areas that you have never been to and look like they may be having a good number of deer.

Watch out for things like remote springs. The deer love them as they are likely to quench their thirst undisturbed. Putting up to six miles behind you may be the only thing that separates you from the rest of the pack.

Search low

Most mule deer and elk hunters tend to concentrate their search on higher altitudes. They become active mountain hikers in the process, but sometimes, that is the only thing they get from the hunting lands. In my hunting experience, I have found that lower plains and other grasslands between mountains sometimes hold the majority of mule deer.

Good hunters do not assume there is no deer in desert plains. They comb every section of the hunting lands quiet and assess every area away from the road with a keen eye. As a matter of fact, most hunters may pass a number of mule deer bedding areas as they search for them on higher ground.

Go to higher ground when you need to survey the area appropriately. Climb a tree or hill so that you can determine what the plains down below hold.

Don’t be hasty to dismiss a nasty looking swath of land when deciding on your next hunting stop. No doubt lower areas contain less deer density, but they may be your only chance of scooping a trophy and going home victorious.

Know where to look

Knowing where to look as a hunter is a great ability. For some reason, mule deer seem to love white sand. You will not miss them in places where white sand is in plenty. Every time I come across white sand, I stop and look around in my optics. Most of the time while hunting mule deer in October, the white sands prove quite helpful.

Another thing that you should never miss is the tracks. Especially if you are in a new hunting area, be very keen on tracks as they are among the best indicators of deer.

Determine the direction that the tracks are going and follow. This needs a special kind of skill but don’t let that intimidate you. Hoof tracks will face in the direction that the game is moving and so be keen. If the tracks are leading to some sort of bush, follow. Once you know where they are grazing, then you are all set for the hunt.

Position yourself well for the hunt

Don’t rely on luck when deer hunting as you easily get frustrated. Use your brainpower to determine the best position to be. Mule deer have acute senses, and so you must know how to beat them so that you can scoop your prize.

Stay downwind at all times since you can fool the mule deer’s eyesight and hearing but never its smell. Deer can stare at you for a few minutes, and if you stay still, the animal may fail to notice you are there. However, if they small you against the wind, they will vanish as you have never seen.

You need to know that the scent control products never work effectively in mule hunting. The hard work you put in leave you sweaty. This makes it hard to mask your smell, and this easily betrays your presence.

One of the mule deer hunting secrets includes knowing how to play the wind. Move around if you have to but don’t let the wind ruin everything. If you can’t-do this simple thing, then it would be best you find something else to do. Hunting may not be your thing.

You can make use of calling

Good hunters know some of the best mule deer hunting tips, and that includes calling. Even though the mule deer are not as responsive as other species such as the elk, they can still heed your calling.

When you notice that the cover is thick and visibility low, you can rattle or grunt like a whitetail. This will make the game move towards you, and you will scoop your prize.

Another one of the mule deer hunting tips is distress calling and fawn bleats. In my hunting expeditions, I have had bucks run towards me to see what was happening. But remember that calling will not excuse you from the hard work you need to put into the mule deer hunting.

Calling only works when you are within the hearing distance of the mule deer. You will have to track, search for their bedding places and stay downwind. You will also need to cover the long distance to where they are in order to attempt the call.

Patience pays

Many are the times that I have let the excitement of finding the mule deer overwhelm me. As a result, I make hasty decisions that cost me dearly. It takes real skill in patience to search for the mule deer for almost the whole day without success and not give up.

On finding the game, you must keep calm and watch the movement of the mule deer before deciding on what to do next. Determine which side the wind is blowing and position yourself appropriately. Success at this point largely depends on how well you play your cards. Don’t be in a hurry to shoot. Yes, you have spent the large part of the day burning boot. But remember that you can quickly lose what is within your sight.

Among the great spot and stalk mule deer, tips include sitting on the grass and assessing your surroundings with your optics.

This also calls for patience. If you have found the area where the mule deer are, then let patience kick in as you observe and study the movement of the game. Half an hour of studying the mule deer beats a whole day of tracking.

Be as quiet as you can be

One of the many mule deer hunting secrets is knowing to be silent. These animals have big ears and can pick your presence if you happen to move on dry leaves.

Watch where you are stepping and make sure that you are wearing quiet clothing. There are many times I have forgotten to be careful of the ground I am moving, and the splitting twigs have spoilt everything.

Be wary of making any unnatural noise and if you must talk to your colleague, let your sound be not more than a whisper.

And if you know how to hunt mule deer with a bow, then you need to move slowly and quietly to the now range. Bow users need to be even more careful and silent as they move into position. They need to be closer to making the perfect shot.

Catch them while they go to sleep

In my hunting experience, I have come to learn that some of the large bucks are nocturnal. They do all their activities at night even rutting and come to bed by daybreak. If you want to be successful as a hunter, then you need to ask yourself this question; where do mule deer bed down?  

The answer to this question comes from the time you spent scouting the area to determine the feeding and bedding areas.

Dealing with a deer’s bedding areas is among the hardest, but it is one of the high country mule deer tactics that you need to be privy of. If you know their bedding areas, you will need to be there before the deer start moving there.

Position yourself appropriately in a way that the deer will neither smell nor hear you. If you are careful, you will catch one of them as it goes to bed at first light of the day.

Final word

Mule deer hunting is both exciting and challenging. Success depends on several factors that the faint-hearted cannot take. In my long hunting years, mule deer is yet one of the most challenging to hunt. You need to be extremely patient, silent and determined among others.

Mule deer is one clever game that has the advantage of acute senses. As a result, you will need to be at the top of your game to ace the hunt. The above mule deer hunting tips will hopefully help you on your next hunt.


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