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Author Topic: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!  (Read 2306 times)

Online Terry Green

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Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« on: August 04, 2008, 02:36:00 PM »
I'm gearing up for a mulie chase again this year, and I've got a lot more time than last year.....

I know a lot of mulie hunting is spot and stalk, and I will be doing some of that, but I found a few places last year that would make great stand sites...either on the ground or in a tree. I hunted two of them, and had 3 does in range coming through a funnel I found on afternoon, and that was the only time I hunted that stand.

Do any of you mulie addicts set up on em at ambush sites?
I like running 600 grain arrows with 4 Blade heads through animals with 60# + Bows!!!!!!

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Offline Yolla Bolly

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2008, 02:44:00 PM »
Yes sir, I do----but their daily movements are much more random than those of the blacktails.  Even when you can get access to a alfalfa field (or other magnet ) they often approach using variable routes.  
Their bedding areas, often ill defined, may be 10 miles from their night-time feeding and watering areas--and they may go 2-3 days without watering.
"Son, yeh gotta learn the Tehama 3-step."   Homer Whitten.

Online Terry Green

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2008, 03:50:00 PM »
Yeah Yolla.....that's what gets me....

I'm use to hunting whitetails from trees based on what I've found, and a 'pattern' I think I'm reading, and I feel confident in those set ups..

But, with mulies, it seems you are just 'blind' hunting a funnel that may or may not produce....there's something missing that makes the set up complete....and its hard to sit a stand waiting for a buck to luckily wander by.
I like running 600 grain arrows with 4 Blade heads through animals with 60# + Bows!!!!!!

tarz@tradgang.com

"It's important,  when going after a goal, to never lose sight of the integrity of the journey" - Andy Garcia

' An anchor point is not a destination, its  an evolution to execution' - Me

Offline Roadkill

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2008, 04:49:00 PM »
Terry, here in this state water is the key.  Our season started last Friday and one of our compatriots missed one as it fed towards a spring.  These guys do a lot of moving to get from bedding to feeding areas, but they have someplace they liket o find water ina and regularily travel to that spot-unless you are dense enough to camp on the only spring for 12 miles!  like happens every year!  We make dry camps and bring our own water to leave the sparse springs alone for al the animals that have to drink there.  Spend more money on good glass than on boots-and I wear expensive boots.  You have to be able to see a long way, and then have enough defintion in the glass to see what you're looking at.  Oh, one of our group had a lion bathe in the spring this weekend-and didn't have a tag!
Cast a long shadow-you may provide shade to someone who needs it.  Semper Fi

Offline dan ferguson

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 05:39:00 PM »
Not sure where you are going to hunt, I hunt in the high plains of Ne. and it is possible to catch them funneling in the country I hunt, the best method is still spot and stalk, as the wind determines which way they go to bed almost every day, We have stock tanks all over so water is everywhere for them. One thing I have found is if you glass up one you want either get him or wait until you can, If you push the big boys to hard they don,t think twice about putting alot of miles on to get rid of you. Another advantage is to really get to know the country your hunting I have hunted the same country for alot of years and am slowly getting it figured out still along ways to go.

Offline just_a_hunter

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2008, 06:14:00 PM »
Blind/stand hunting for mulies can be very difficult as already mentioned. Back in 2002, there was a really bad drought out west. Water was sparse at best. I had luck blind hunting them then, but haven't since. If there is a lot of water, it will be more luck then anything connecting on one when blind hunting, but don't underestimate lady luck. I'd rather be lucky then good any day of the week.

I like to glass until I find one, then put him to bed before I ever try to stalk him. Mulies are a lot more laid back and relaxed then whitetails, and if you have the wind in your face and take your time, it's very possible to sneak into the red zone.

The bigger bucks will usually be in bacholor groups the bow season time of year. These groups may have as many as 10 or more bucks in them. If thats the case, getting close is a huge challenge. If you are trying to stalk a group of bucks, look for the yearling 2xspike thats easily hidden in the brush. This is the deer that will bust you 99% of the time.

I've found that the only time the bigger bucks get any sleep at all is when he is with other bucks to help be look outs. A big buck that beds down by himself sleeps with one eye (very widely) open.

I must say that I have never killed a "big" mulie with my bow. I have killed a few nice ones though.

One 4x4 that I took, I just still hunted him. I was actually more concentrated on filling my elk tag at the time. I was just taking a step and stopping to look, listen, and feel. Take a step, then look. About half way through one of my strides, I seen a nice 4 point antler sticking out from behind a tree about 35-40 yards away. I kept his head hidden behind that tree and closed the distance to 15ish yards. I came to draw as I eased out from behind the tree and put a cedar shafted snuffer right in his ol' ticker. I was using an old Ben Pherson I found in my Grandpa's shed rafters. That was my first trad kill.

Another example....... I spotted a monster 4 point (185ish) in a bacholor group of 5 bucks early in the morning and watched them feed for a couple of hours. There was 2 yearling bucks, a 2 year old 3x3, a 3 year old 4x3, then the big boy. I closed the distance to 60 yards rather quickly and I could see all the deer except the 2 yearling bucks. I spent the next hour and a half getting about 40 yards from the big boy. I was hidden good, the wind was perfect and steady, I just couldn't see where those two little rascals were. The 3x3 was about 25ish yards away to my 11:00 o'clock and presented a good shot. The 4x3 was on the other side of the big one, about 50 yards. The big one was directly at my 12:00 o'clock. I couldn't for the life of me find those two little guys for nothing. I decided I had made a good hunt. Something just told me that this was about as good as it was going to get, and let loose on that 3x3 for a perfect hit. When my buck jumped up, one of those yearling bucks jumped up about 7 yards from me to my 2:00 o'clock position. Them being spread out like they were made things difficult. In order to get within 30 yards of the big one I would have had to of been 15 yards from the 3 point, but that never would have happened as that snot nosed little tyke would have blown the whole thing. I am as proud of that 3 point as I would have been the 185er. I wish Pope and Young thought the same way.......Just kidding of course. But not really....

Terry, I do wish you and everybody else in persuit of those velvet ghosts good luck this year.....We are all going to need it.....

Later,

Todd
"Before you get down on yourself  because you don't have the things you want, think of all the things you DON'T want that you don't have."

You'll notice the "luckiest" elk hunters have worn out boots.

Offline bob@helleknife.com

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2008, 06:25:00 PM »
Terry,

I think you really only have two non-rut choices...spot and stalk or some kind of "interception" point or place.

I use to try still hunting through good looking cover.  After countless hours I did mange to kill one that way but man what a bunch of work.  Impossible to go slow enough for any length of time.  And then you can't choose your buck...whatever you find you are apt to shoot despite your previous intentions.

Some guys try what I call a "moving spot and stalk"...stalking into moving deer.  Another huge waste of time unless you are really lucky.

Dan's right...blow the stalk and you probably won't ever see that buck again.

As important as seeing the bucks is learning to recognize the type of country they prefer.  Saves lots of time when you can eliminate un-productive ground you don't have to cover with your eyes.

Never have hunted WT so I can't compare...but I think MD can be "patterned" at lease in a general sense. As reliable as WT, I couldn't say but I am not afraid to try and find a buck where I saw him before.  

There is some reason he is there and unless something changes there is an excellent chance he will be there again.  If you find a nice buck in a certain draw/sage knob/etc. spend a lot a time looking there again a year later if you make a return trip.  He or another one should be there again (I am talking about bucks that are not influenced by argicultural plantings)  

Spot and Stalk is my favorite for lots of reasons we could go into if you are interested.

Probably the hardest thing for me to learn and accept is the fact that some bucks bed in areas where you just can't get up on them  OR when they stand up you can't weave your arrow through the brush.  Its tough as hell to walk away from a good buck but if he is not in a favoarable position it's wise to do so.  Save him for another time.

Good optics a must!

I could tell you about the MONSTER I missed three years ago at less than 20 paces...but then my tears would probably short out the keyboard.  

Truly a buck of a lifetime.

Bob
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Don't give up what you want most for what you want now.

Offline zilla

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2008, 06:35:00 PM »
I set up all the time over water or a trail bottleneck.. You are much more visible in my experience walkin around the country, even slow as in still hunting than if you are sitting still..  I prefer to find a natural blind to hide in.

And now that I drew a tag in my preffered area, I have been out scouting a few times a week..
Damn Nice guy

Offline bob@helleknife.com

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2008, 06:45:00 PM »
Todd,

I drew a 22 tag this year.  Will be hunting around Pieance Creek the last two weeks of the seaon.

I know the oil companies have really screwed things up but its just something I try to work around.

Todd, last year I spent a lot of time looking in sage "flats" that have deeper creek bottoms in them.  I keep thinking that big smart bucks will bed down in them. I use to think that big bucks would only bed where they have a good view...but after what I saw last year and the year before I am not sure that is always true.  

Bucks and good ones would bed down in a little draw that had over hanging branches and I bet they couldn't see 10 yards...so it really changed my thinking. Then I spent a lot of time hunting for them in a similar situation but came up dry.  Have you experienced any thing like that?

Also I think bigger bucks will bed in situations where their bodies are in the shade and velvet antlers are in the sun...trying to harden them up??  Any truth to that or just my imagination?

Did you draw a tag this year?

Bob
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Don't give up what you want most for what you want now.

Offline just_a_hunter

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2008, 07:30:00 PM »
Quote
Originally posted by bob@helleknife.com:
Todd,

I drew a 22 tag this year.  Will be hunting around Pieance Creek the last two weeks of the seaon.

I know the oil companies have really screwed things up but its just something I try to work around.

Todd, last year I spent a lot of time looking in sage "flats" that have deeper creek bottoms in them.  I keep thinking that big smart bucks will bed down in them. I use to think that big bucks would only bed where they have a good view...but after what I saw last year and the year before I am not sure that is always true.  

Bucks and good ones would bed down in a little draw that had over hanging branches and I bet they couldn't see 10 yards...so it really changed my thinking. Then I spent a lot of time hunting for them in a similar situation but came up dry.  Have you experienced any thing like that?

Also I think bigger bucks will bed in situations where their bodies are in the shade and velvet antlers are in the sun...trying to harden them up??  Any truth to that or just my imagination?

Did you draw a tag this year?

Bob
Bob,

I work for EnCana which is probably one of the biggest oil companies in the Pieance area. Don't worry, you by no means offended me as I'm the first to admit we indeed have changed things there to say the least. The deer and elk will get used to it no doubt, but the folks that knew that country before it was changed never will. Sorry for that.

I love hunting those sage flats. Especially in the higher elevations. I have seen many a buck in them and many a buck have seen me in them. Sage brush and mule deer go together like peanut butter and jelly. While you probably won't see as many deer there this time of year, big bucks do indeed live there. 22 is an awesome unit. I wish I knew it better to help you out more.

I have indeed experienced the bedding situation you described. If I know a deer is bedded in that kind of stuff, I won't waste my time trying to hunt him. Like you say, you could be 10 yards from him, but no way in heck could you weave an arrow through that stuff. I have notice they love to bed in the thickest oak brush cluster they can find. They can see everything approaching, but nothing can see them until it's too late. They love that thick, tall, nat infested sage as well. I have however noticed, if they have the comfort of more eyes and ears, they are less likely to bed in the real thick stuff.

I don't know about the antlers out in the sun and the bodys in the shade to harden their antlers. I do know I usually see there antlers in the sun and bodys in the shade and that makes perfect sense as to why.

It's good conversing with you, Bob. I can tell you have put a lot of time and knowledge into your hunting, and you have some very solid advice/knowledge when it comes to hunting them.

Good luck,

Todd
"Before you get down on yourself  because you don't have the things you want, think of all the things you DON'T want that you don't have."

You'll notice the "luckiest" elk hunters have worn out boots.

Offline Chad Panattoni

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2008, 08:27:00 PM »
Terry
  99% of the time We get up high and glass for them. But my Dad found some water last year and sat on it and got a nice so cal buck.my friend and I are going to try a blind on water first while it is still hot out. Good luck!
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Offline IB

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2008, 08:56:00 PM »


Get yer self a HUGE piece of property where ya plan on huntin. Then hire a couple fellas just to watch yer game for you. Show up and hope like heck they can put ya on something.  :pray:

Online Terry Green

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2008, 09:14:00 PM »
OK Vance.......I think I know where and who!!!

Maduros and guava berry floats are currency     :readit:  

Now go mark those boundaries for me.    :biglaugh:
I like running 600 grain arrows with 4 Blade heads through animals with 60# + Bows!!!!!!

tarz@tradgang.com

"It's important,  when going after a goal, to never lose sight of the integrity of the journey" - Andy Garcia

' An anchor point is not a destination, its  an evolution to execution' - Me

Offline hormoan

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2008, 09:20:00 PM »
Done and Done Vance

Now a little luck, we know he can shoot  :D  

Maybe he ain't tipping ya enough?  :jumper:

Online Terry Green

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2008, 09:36:00 PM »
Vance gets looked after don't ya know    ;)

BTW.....great stuff guys...keep it coming!!!

I'm chompin at the bit!
I like running 600 grain arrows with 4 Blade heads through animals with 60# + Bows!!!!!!

tarz@tradgang.com

"It's important,  when going after a goal, to never lose sight of the integrity of the journey" - Andy Garcia

' An anchor point is not a destination, its  an evolution to execution' - Me

Offline elkbreath

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2008, 10:04:00 PM »
lot of good advice here, not much I can add.

Patterning a mule deer is like gettin a bead on barry sanders.  Who knows what hes going to do.
BUT I have found that big bucks consistently use the same beds.  In fact, I killed two big 4x4's three years a part in the exact same bed!

Spot and stalk works, plus its a blast.
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Offline Roughcountry

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2008, 10:06:00 PM »
Terry
I've had a couple almost worked and one did work deal on intercepting feeding bucks. Twice were morning intercepts while the bucks were heading to bedding areas and I guessed a little wrong on the route. The passed up wind so no harm.

The time that worked was a buck feeding down a draw in wheat feilds heeding toward water. Get Vance to plow everything but the path to water  :D

Online snag

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2008, 10:58:00 PM »
Bob,
   I agree with them bedding down in creek bottoms tucked back under over hanging limbs. I was heading over to hunt eastern Oregon. I took off the main road to relieve myself of some morning coffee. I walked out this closed gravel road that ended at one of these creek bottoms. I busted a buck down below me...I think I may of hit him...not with an arrow...scared the @@@@ out of me!
Isaiah 49:2...he made me a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.

Offline joe skipp

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2008, 11:41:00 PM »
Besides spot and stalk...setting up in coulies where they travel from their feeding areas. Spend a few days glassing and watch their pattern then setup with some cover, just like you would for whitetails. Not sure what area or foilage is like where your hunting but ASAT or Desert Camo works well in the praries.

Water....find a good water source and set up nearby. Like Antelope, Mule deer will come to water. First light and last light are prime times.
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Offline hormoan

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Re: Mule Deer Tactics - Lets hear em!!!
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2008, 01:00:00 AM »
Terry I have it on very good authority, that this place deserves a evening watch over. I'm relatively sure you know how to get there.

 


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