Sitka Mountain Gear
Mule deer in October?
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
huntinelk 05-Mar-17
LKH 05-Mar-17
huntinelk 05-Mar-17
LKH 05-Mar-17
The Old Sarge 05-Mar-17
IdyllwildArcher 05-Mar-17
jims 05-Mar-17
Buskill 05-Mar-17
swampokie 05-Mar-17
APauls 06-Mar-17
Deone H 06-Mar-17
Treeline 06-Mar-17
Treeline 06-Mar-17
MathewsMan 06-Mar-17
Treeline 06-Mar-17
Dakota 06-Mar-17
From: huntinelk
05-Mar-17
I've only hunted mule deer a couple times, once in early September and once in January in AZ. Are there many worthwhile opportunities for hunting mule deer in October? Or is it similar to the lull time of hunting whitetails in October?

Thanks,

Gene

From: LKH
05-Mar-17
First off, with the exception of the Dakota's most western states are in rifle by the last part of October. MT has 2+ weeks of bow in October.

Are you willing to bow hunt in October or are you talking rifle?

There are advantages to hunting prior to the rut, but it involves either very slow work in timber or a lot of glassing. The advantage comes from the bucks not chasing. When you bed them, they will probably be there for a while. Not so once they start rutting.

From: huntinelk
05-Mar-17
Talking bow hunting opportunities.

From: LKH
05-Mar-17
Montana allows bow during rifle. So does Wyoming. Not sure of CO, but I believe they do.

05-Mar-17
Idaho doesn't even have "rifle" seasons. They are often called that, but it's a misnomer. They are "any weapon" seasons, so, yes, there are plenty of Oct archery opportunities for mule deer in Idaho.

05-Mar-17
I've killed a few small mule deer in California during the October rifle season. It's a tough time to spot and stalk because the deer are nocturnal and in the thick stuff. All my spot and stalk kills were during the first or 2nd rut in Nov/Dec. My October kills have all been sitting a ridge line or a pinch point in a treestand between feeding and bedding and catching them on their way to bed early, just like you would hunt a WT - and although I've seen a couple nice ones, the only ones I've managed to kill have been small deer. I used to hunt the entire month of October for mule deer - now I work October so I can hunt Sept/Nov.

What kind of hunt are you looking for? Your options are going to be different for a guided hunt than a DIY hunt.

From: jims
05-Mar-17
There's a big difference between hunting sagebrush vs higher elevation bucks in Oct. After muley bucks shed their velvet they generally head into the trees where they often hang out and hide until the rut kicks in..usually in mid to late November. It's obviously a lot easier finding bucks in sage/rimrock during that time than trying to find them hidden in the aspens, oakbrush, or timber. If it's warm they also may not move much other than first daylight and dusk.

From: Buskill
05-Mar-17
I've seen plenty of mule deer bucks in Idaho during Oct trips there. I did not bow hunt for them, however. I imagine it would be fine .

From: swampokie
05-Mar-17
Its the toughest time to kill a muley buck. Period

From: APauls
06-Mar-17

APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
APauls's embedded Photo
My 2nd October Alberta Mule deer. Alberta treated me well in Oct going 2 for 2. First hunt was mid October, second hunt later October
APauls's embedded Photo
My 2nd October Alberta Mule deer. Alberta treated me well in Oct going 2 for 2. First hunt was mid October, second hunt later October
If you've got money for an outfitted hunt take a good look at Alberta for Monster Mulies. I did it DIY style with a buddy and I've gone 3 times. First time was Early Sep and I hit a 170 right in the shoulder bone and lost him. My buddy sent one just over the back of a 185 with a nice flyer. His bow broke and he was using his dad's had a quick range questimate that didn't work out for him.

Next two times I went were in October and I tagged out both times. I'll attach pics. Both trips I had opportunities at literal giants. I was sure I had one dead to rights had him cut off from where he I thought he was going at 60 yards. About a 190" deer with 2 drop tines. He was feeding on some snowberry. Then for whatever reason he just decides to walk the direction I never would have suspected and out of my life, until my buddy had him the next morning at 30 yards, but that's another story for another day! Even up until the end of October when we went we found the mulies to be as patternable then as they are early season. Still going the same general routes to food and hanging out in bachelor groups. I've heard they don't really split up as much as whitetails. Either way, there were big bucks to chase morning and evening. Tons of fun and if October is the only time slot you have I'd giver. I thought they were a great animal to chase in that October time period.

From: Deone H
06-Mar-17
I have had my best luck finding deer right at the end of October. They start to get "snorty" and seem to get up and start looking and become way more visible. I prefer this time frame way more than the rut when they are in giant herds. Speaking for plains style hunting, have no idea about mountains during October.

From: Treeline
06-Mar-17
Eastern Colorado has an archery season that starts the 1st of October and runs thru the end of December (with a couple of rifle seasons and a muzzle loader season thrown in that cut you out of some of the total time frame). Very little public land out there, though.

They are still in buck groups for the beginning of the season out there and then they start breaking up in singles toward the end of October. Can be a good time to sneak up on a buck bedded out where you can see him in cut milo, weeds or tall grass. Possibly catch them moving from food sources to bedding areas. Corn can be a nightmare to try and hunt, though.

The younger bucks will be in with the does until the rut kicks in and then the bigger boys will come out of the woodwork. Not sure where some of those bucks come from out in some of that really open country. The rut usually peaks out the middle to the end of November.

December can be very frustrating, especially if there have been rifle hunters in the area you are hunting. The bucks tend to be nocturnal and do not move during daylight. If you can't find one bedded up by glassing, you may not be able to find one. Snow and nasty weather can help get them moving to food sources but really tough staying out there in that weather.

From: Treeline
06-Mar-17
PS - Mountain mule deer are a totally different animal, at least in Colorado. Almost impossible to find a good buck in the timber.

PPS - Sagebrush deer can be pretty good in October. Not as good as the prairie, but similar.

From: MathewsMan
06-Mar-17
We have completely given up on archery Mule Deer season and bowhunt during the rifle seasons for deer now. Rutting bucks are much easier to hunt regardless of what your hunting them with.

From: Treeline
06-Mar-17
That was sure a bomber you got last year, Scott!

From: Dakota
06-Mar-17

Dakota's embedded Photo
Dakota's embedded Photo
The South Dakota archery season does traditionally start the last Saturday in September. We have had pretty good luck in guiding for mule deer in this time frame but this is all private land and low-pressure deer hunting. You can find the same on public land around here with a little work. Archery licenses are guaranteed even though you have to send in a application. Rifle licenses might take you a couple years as a nonresident to get.

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