Sitka Mountain Gear
Let's talk High Country mule deer...
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
EmbryOklahoma 05-Apr-16
DIYHuntingMaps 05-Apr-16
tkjwonta 05-Apr-16
BOHNTR 05-Apr-16
IdyllwildArcher 05-Apr-16
otcWill 06-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 06-Apr-16
midwest 06-Apr-16
Zackman 07-Apr-16
'Ike' (Phone) 07-Apr-16
Aaron Johnson 07-Apr-16
jims 08-Apr-16
warthog 09-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 09-Apr-16
HUNT MAN 09-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 09-Apr-16
orionsbrother 09-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 10-Apr-16
Treeline 11-Apr-16
Tim in Wyoming 11-Apr-16
Treeline 11-Apr-16
Tim in Wyoming 11-Apr-16
Treeline 11-Apr-16
Treeline 11-Apr-16
Tim in Wyoming 11-Apr-16
Tim in Wyoming 11-Apr-16
Treeline 11-Apr-16
Treeline 11-Apr-16
Treeline 11-Apr-16
COLO 3-D 11-Apr-16
Tim in Wyoming 11-Apr-16
Treeline 12-Apr-16
kiwi 12-Apr-16
elkstabber 12-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 12-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 12-Apr-16
COLO 3-D 12-Apr-16
kiwi 13-Apr-16
Treeline 13-Apr-16
Zbone 13-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 13-Apr-16
Brotsky 13-Apr-16
YZF-88 13-Apr-16
Scoot 13-Apr-16
Treeline 13-Apr-16
patdel 13-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 13-Apr-16
Treeline 13-Apr-16
Treeline 13-Apr-16
Ron Niziolek 13-Apr-16
Treeline 13-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 17-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 17-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 17-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 17-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 17-Apr-16
Treeline 17-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 17-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 17-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 17-Apr-16
AndyJ 17-Apr-16
BOHNTR 17-Apr-16
BOHNTR 17-Apr-16
BOHNTR 17-Apr-16
BOHNTR 17-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 17-Apr-16
BOHNTR 17-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Treeline 18-Apr-16
AndyJ 18-Apr-16
JLS 18-Apr-16
Treeline 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Treeline 18-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Treeline 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 18-Apr-16
Hoot 18-Apr-16
Treeline 18-Apr-16
BOHNTR 18-Apr-16
BOHNTR 18-Apr-16
BOHNTR 18-Apr-16
Droptine47 18-Apr-16
Droptine47 18-Apr-16
LUNG$HOT 18-Apr-16
Droptine47 18-Apr-16
Droptine47 18-Apr-16
Droptine47 18-Apr-16
Aaron Johnson 18-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 18-Apr-16
Treeline 18-Apr-16
Treeline 19-Apr-16
Treeline 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Treeline 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
kiwi 19-Apr-16
CD 19-Apr-16
elkstabber 19-Apr-16
BOHNTR 19-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 19-Apr-16
COLO 3-D 19-Apr-16
COLO 3-D 19-Apr-16
COLO 3-D 19-Apr-16
IdyllwildArcher 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 19-Apr-16
buzz mc 19-Apr-16
Treeline 19-Apr-16
longbow 20-Apr-16
Treeline 20-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 20-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 20-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 20-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 20-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 20-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 20-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 20-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 20-Apr-16
Treeline 20-Apr-16
Treeline 20-Apr-16
midwest 20-Apr-16
Zbone 20-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 26-Apr-16
Brun 26-Apr-16
IdyllwildArcher 26-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 27-Apr-16
ben yehuda 27-Apr-16
Treeline 27-Apr-16
longbow 27-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 27-Apr-16
longbow 27-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 27-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 27-Apr-16
Shug 27-Apr-16
Treeline 28-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 28-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 28-Apr-16
LUNG$HOT 28-Apr-16
Treeline 28-Apr-16
EmbryOklahoma 28-Apr-16
maravia14x24 28-Apr-16
Treeline 30-Apr-16
Paul@thefort 30-Apr-16
COLO 3-D 02-May-16
EmbryOklahoma 17-May-16
EmbryOklahoma 27-Jul-16
LUNG$HOT 27-Jul-16
05-Apr-16
I have a few points and should draw my mule deer tag this year in Colorado. I'm a rookie at mule deer hunting. I've been elk hunting a number of years and know the terrain and have somewhat of a gauge on where to find mule deer and how to kill them. But... I'd like to hear from you guys that have been successful on HC mule deer. Tactics? Deer habits? How you specifically made it happen? Things you look for? Not trying to over think mule deer hunting, but more curious of what made you successful. I'm down with seeing some hero shots also. Thanks!

05-Apr-16
With opener being on the 27th, look for them high and cool. Should be an easy year this year! I'm expecting to see a lot of big bucks taken!

From: tkjwonta
05-Apr-16
I'm certainly not an expert, but I've been on a few hunts in Colorado, Utah and Nevada. I agree with the advice to get up high, especially early in the season.

In my experience, the most effective strategy is to glass right away in the morning and try to find a bachelor group of bucks and watch until they bed. Then try to put a stalk on them, preferably from above.

Don't pass up a good opportunity on a bedded buck even if you don't think he's a shooter, you can usually learn something from each stalk even if you don't loose an arrow.

In the middle of the day you might be able to pick out a bedded buck hiding in the shadows, but your time might be better served resting up and planning where you want to set up and glass the next morning.

From: BOHNTR
05-Apr-16
Glass em' from a distance.......watch them bed.....wait for the thermals to flow consistently up-hill......stalk in close.....make the shot.

05-Apr-16
Prepare yourself for 90% of your stalks to be blown.

Or if you're like me, 99%.

From: otcWill
06-Apr-16
Rick, IMO in the area you're heading to the biggest obstacle is pressure. I think there is likely a bunch of people hiking/hunting the stuff above treeline as the road leads right up there. I'd concentrate on some of the lower transition timber below treeline. I'm pretty sure that's where Aaron killed his buck and saw a dandy. The stuff "on the way up" won't be as visually stunning as whats above treeline but it will likely result in a dead buck. Good luck!

06-Apr-16
Good points, Will. I did notice that the deer were visible the first 2-3 days and then they pushed down into the timber or over the ridge. Good thing about the "pressure", is the majority will be elk hunters. We plan on hunting from up top, then down to the trailhead where you and AJ went in, primarily. Of course, if I can glass one early and get a stalk in, that will be an option. We will also have a GPS on us. ;)

From: midwest
06-Apr-16
Good luck, Rick!

From: Zackman
07-Apr-16
Excellent advice Roy! Don't make it anymore complicated.

Good luck, Rick

07-Apr-16
Pick Roy and Ed's brain...

07-Apr-16
I think you will have the best of both worlds which is nice. You'll have the open mountainsides and timber to chose from. The nice thing about the high timber is that a good number of bucks hang on the edges that time of year and it's great for stalking. You guys are correct, I killed mine below tree line last year and if I would of been patient, I would killed a really nice buck. Your a killer and that goes a long way wherever you are.

From: jims
08-Apr-16
Most of the high alpine in Colo has a lot of country with few deer. The secret is to find the few pockets of bucks that exist. Also be aware that once into Sept's OTC elk hunt there are gobs of elk hunters in the hills to compete with. Get up high and spend lots of time with your eyes doing the work! Some of the most gorgeous country available! The learning curve is astronomical for those first starting out.,.but rewards are also incredible!

From: warthog
09-Apr-16
As above. Pay really close attention to where the buck is bedded, Sometimes it is easy to relocate, other times you get around and above them and have no idea exactly where they are, make careful notes. Camp up high and be in a good glassing location before sun up, Find the deer, find where they bed and be patient. Use that time to make sure there are no other deer that will blow the stalk, get the bedding location carefully noted, move in when the wind is good. Take a camera, beautiful country that time of year.

09-Apr-16
Thanks for the tips everyone. Question, do you think mule deer are effected by pressure as much as elk are. The reason I ask is this... Three days in on the area I've hunted and the elk will vacate the area due to pressure. They will either move over the mountain ridge onto private or surrounding pockets of private. Something tells me it's going to be beneficial to 'get it done' during the first 3/4 days. Thoughts?

From: HUNT MAN
09-Apr-16

HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
I haven't hunted Mule deer as much as Ed and Roy. But I think the first 2-3 days is the best time IMO. Good luck like Arron said you are a killer and will be just fine. Hunt

09-Apr-16
Damn, HUNT... I thought that was a mini burro at first glance. Lol

09-Apr-16
Good luck Rick! I'll be looking forward to your story and pics.

10-Apr-16
Thanks, Rick. I'm hoping I didn't jinx myself by starting this thread and somehow not draw. That would suck. But, I think we're good.

Any other tips appreciated...

From: Treeline
11-Apr-16
Moved to Colorado almost 30 years ago to hunt mule deer above treeline...

Yes, they get harder to hunt every day of the season.

Mule deer bucks will vacate a basin faster than elk and typically won't come back. Maybe not for several years.

The biggest thing to deal with is getting in as good of shape as you can. The elevation and steep country will be hard on you coming from low elevation.

Will shoot you a PM.

11-Apr-16
High is good. High is fun. There's nothing prettier than the view at the top looking down through all those pretty basins. After those big bucks (and rams) up high above treeline see the first hunters up in their country, they dive down into the timber and you won't see them unless you get lucky. Hikers along trails, they see all summer and no problem. But once they get the drift of hunters off trail heading toward them, it's over. Where I hunt, I see trucks passing by in a cloud of dust, trying to get to the farthest trailhead before the next guy. And there are big bucks I'm after, and usually get outsmarted by, right up on those lower ridges in the low country watching the same world go by.

From: Treeline
11-Apr-16

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
This old buck was one of my favorites. Shot him one year in his bed and only cut him across the back. Managed to finally close the deal several years later.

11-Apr-16
No better trophy than that... what a great story and with a stick and string to boot.

From: Treeline
11-Apr-16
Yea, Wyoming is different kind of country. Have had better luck in the low country there and there are good bucks down there in the vast sage brush country year round. That high country over on the west side gets pounded in the early rifle season and those bucks drop to the timber real quick!

From: Treeline
11-Apr-16

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Here's another high country buck.

11-Apr-16
Yes, sir. That's exactly where I'm talking about.. G and H areas etc.. I camp along a creek 1 mile from the forest boundary, cross a dirt FR, walk across a half mile sage flat, cross a small creek and then up a steep hillside a half mile and there are nice bucks there that give me fits but lots of fun chasing. My hips eyes and knees are shot but it doesn't mean those big boys are out of reach.

11-Apr-16
Do you camp high on the ridges and glass down at first light or camp down lower just into the timber and decide on a way up after you spot a buck from that lower cover downwind early in the day?

From: Treeline
11-Apr-16

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Last year's mid-elevation buck - 8,000'. The first two were 12,600' and 11,800'.

From: Treeline
11-Apr-16
I usually camp down in the trees for cover and hike up before daylight to be where I can see a basin or two or three at daylight.

A lot of times I will glass deer several miles away. If I find a good one, I figure out a route that will close the distance and get to another vantage then make the stalk in the afternoon when I find them bedded.

A lot of the basins I hunt require dropping several thousand feet to cross and stay in cover then a long loop to get in position for the wind and get in close enough to make a shot.

Those sagebrush deer are fun, too. Here's one of your WY bucks.

From: Treeline
11-Apr-16

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Try again on the picture. That WY deer was late Sept up there just out of Rock Springs.

Love hunting up there in WY - lots easier to breath!

From: COLO 3-D
11-Apr-16

COLO 3-D's embedded Photo
COLO 3-D's embedded Photo
Great bucks guys! As for how much pressure they will put up with, that depends on how hard you bump them. I hunted a big buck in 2014 and had several stalks on him the first two weeks of the season. I only bumped him hard once. He came back 48 hours later. He was part of a big herd that simply had too many eyes, ears and noses for me to beat. It sure was fun trying though! The big buck disappeared during muzzleloader season. I moved on to a new basin and found a nice four point two hours before dark a few days before the end of the season. I hustled up the mountain and managed to slip over the top of a ridge and found him feeding below. One arrow through the vitals and 50 yards later and the easy part of the hunt was over.

11-Apr-16
Beautiful bucks. You really cover some ground gettin' around on those boys for a shot.

Once you bugger a nice buck, do you give up on him if he goes over a ridge? Or do you follow him up there and try to see if you could get on him again in a day?

I still hunt North Park and down around Leadville for these guys but it's way easier on the legs around home, for sure! Love that you're after them with a stick... I lost central vision in my right eye and have to shoot lefty now... my effective range is about a foot and a half these days. Reduced depth perception and shooting left-handed really raises the bar but it's still fun!

From: Treeline
12-Apr-16
Love that buck there COLO 3-D! Great forks!

Tim, it depends on the ridge! Where I hunt, there are some ridges that it is not worth going over and some that are on the divide for the unit boundary. Most of the time, I go looking for another buck group that is calm and give them some time to settle down. I may try coming in a different direction and find them again.

From: kiwi
12-Apr-16
Great info in this thread, thanks! I'm hoping to bow hunt WY high country mule deer in Sept and this info really helps.

From: elkstabber
12-Apr-16
This thread has got me all kinds of spun up. I've never focused on mule deer before but I've always wanted to.

This year I've got 4 points in NV and CO and expect to get good draws. I'll commit 10 days to northern NV and about two weeks in central CO (I'll have an elk tag also). I'll be getting after them with my recurve. My effective range is about 35 yards so I have my work cut out for me. Can't wait!!!

12-Apr-16
Awesome! Glad to see the new activity. Makes me want to go work out now. Honestly, I do need to shed about 15 lbs. but that's easy enough.

As mentioned, and as I've mentioned... Pressure will be my major hurdle. I think keying in on several Aspen/timber areas that are transition areas between bedding and feeding will be key. Since I have put my feet on this ground, I have seen some of the deers tendencies for the area.

Also, my wife should draw along with me. I've been on her butt, about getting into shape. The better shape I tell her, the better hunt. :)

Look forward to bouncing more ideas as the hunt approaches and sharing stories with all of you.

Nice bucks above!

12-Apr-16
COLO 3-D.... What does that buck score? I'm trying to get a gauge. I also want to set up realistic expectations for the area we will be hunting. I'm thinking I'll be good with 140" plus... :) Also, no, I won't let the score dictate the outcome of this hunt. Neither my wife nor myself have killed a mule deer. If she wants to kill a fork, I'm happy.

From: COLO 3-D
12-Apr-16
He scored 138". Like I said I was after a mid 180's buck, that vanished. Once he did, I decided getting a good representative buck was most important. Good luck in your hunt!

From: kiwi
13-Apr-16
That's a wonderful buck COLO 3-D. I would be over the moon with a buck like that!

From: Treeline
13-Apr-16
Look for that big boy in the same beds at the same time of year this year. Figure out what his daily movements are to feed and bed. There is a reason there was a big buck living there and typically there will be big bucks using the same pattern year after year.

From: Zbone
13-Apr-16
Great thread...

13-Apr-16
COLO... That's about what I'm looking for or bigger. I'd be happy with him, for sure.

I think one of my major concerns will be what to do with the head/cape if we kill one early? Can someone touch on this?

From: Brotsky
13-Apr-16
Lots of good info here guys! Mule deer hunting gets in the blood just like elk. September can't get here fast enough, this is the year I get the big mule deer monkey off my back. Good luck Embry!

From: YZF-88
13-Apr-16
Good thread indeed. A nice mule deer has been my nemesis for 6 years. I've had the absolute worst luck with blown stalks. Everything from wind, coyotes, bears and off trail ATV hunters have left an empty spot on the wall.

I really wish I wasn't consumed with elk because it distracts me from what I personally consider a much harder animal to tag (mature muley via spot'n stalk).

From: Scoot
13-Apr-16
"I really wish I wasn't consumed with elk because it distracts me from what I personally consider a much harder animal to tag (mature muley via spot'n stalk)."

Exact same deal for me YZF. I eat, sleep, and breath elk, but muleys are a blast too. They're dang tough IMO!

From: Treeline
13-Apr-16
Elk hunting has always seemed to be more of a necessary chore to me. Usually much easier to get into elk but after the shot it becomes serious work. Took 3 days to get my bull out last year. Lots of great eating and will last the whole year.

I have been pretty obsessed about bowhunting mule deer since I was in my teens. Made bowhunting trips to Colorado from Texas when I was in high school and college to chase big mule deer above treeline. When I dream about hunting, it is mostly about hunting mule deer in the high country to this day.

Kind of weird to me that most Colorado hunters are so obsessed with chasing elk and ignore the mule deer or just shoot one if it happens by. There is a good chance of finding a Boone and Crockett mule deer about anywhere in Colorado so Pope and Young class deer are even more available. A Pope and Young class elk is tough to get in Colorado and a Boone and Crockett bull is almost impossible even on private land in the best units in the state.

As for taking care of your cape and antlers, there are several options. If you can not get the head to the taxidermist within a day or so, you need to face out the cape and do some work on the antlers to save the velvet. You can get solutions to inject into the blood vessels on the velvet that will help preserve it, but typically, all you need to do is hang the rack upside down and cut the tips to drain the blood and rub borax into the velvet on the outside. If you know how to take care of the cape yourself (split the nose and lips, turn the ears, flesh, and salt) it really helps. If not, make sure to keep the cape in a cool area and treat it like you treat your meat.

You cut a lot of weight by boning your meat out, caping the face out and cutting just the skull cap out for the antlers. Early season mule deer bucks are usually really fat from the good grazing all summer. Getting the meat cooled quickly, keeping it clean, and then keeping it cool and dry will make for great eating! Make sure to get some good game bags to let the meat stay dry and keep the flies off.

From: patdel
13-Apr-16
Great Thread guys!

13-Apr-16
Thank you, Tavis, for all of the info. Very helpful. If in fact I do arrow one I'd like to mount, I believe I'll just burn a day and come off of the mountain. With that said, I will have some taxidermists on the ready. Don't they start to lose their velvet around the first week of September? I will also plan on deboning the meat, on the mountain. Caping the head as you described is something I need to learn.

This is consuming my thoughts now. A lot of planning and work to be done, but we are sure looking forward to it.

From: Treeline
13-Apr-16

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
You can expect the bucks to be in velvet until about the 10th of September and maybe as late as the 15th. After that they will mostly be stripped off.

It might help you to visit a taxidermist and maybe get some pointers on how to take care of a cape. Here's a picture facing out a caribou. The salted, dry capes were just kept in the shed and the antlers drained and boraxed to save the velvet.

A salted, dry cape will weigh less than 1/2 the original weight. A mule deer head will weigh 5-8 pounds that you can get rid of.

From: Treeline
13-Apr-16
Those capes and antlers were stored for up to several months before getting sent out. I took that one that is being caped with me. It was quite fun on the airlines... Made it home in 1 piece though! Got him mounted in velvet and still holding up well.

From: Ron Niziolek
13-Apr-16
Tavis, that elk pack out last year was a butt kicker for sure!

From: Treeline
13-Apr-16
Ron, you were a life saver for sure!

Not sure if I can ever repay all the help!

From: Paul@thefort
17-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Rick, if you noticed, the areas were these above pictured bucks were killed had a variety of bedding cover. This cover (willow and ground pine islands) also allows the hunter to get close.

From: Paul@thefort
17-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
17-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
17-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
17-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and just to wet your appetite

From: Treeline
17-Apr-16
Beautiful pictures, Paul! Guess I should take more time to get good pictures rather than just trying to kill them...

From: Paul@thefort
17-Apr-16
Hi Tavis, You have a lot of expertise to offer concerning mule deer hunting. Thanks for sharing that with us.

my best, Paul

17-Apr-16
Those pics are awesome, thanks, Paul! I'm really glad this thread was started. I'm going to be jacked by the time season rolls around.

Plan is... To get up on the mountain 3 days prior to season and get acclimated. Then start glassing, looking over certain transition areas and formulate a game plan. Also, we plan on taking a pre-scout trip up there in July with my buddy Aaron Johnson.

This all contingent upon drawing the tag. :)

I love the pics, dead or alive. It gives me something to gauge off of.

From: Paul@thefort
17-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Well, here are to of the local mule deer bucks that raid my bird feeder.

From: AndyJ
17-Apr-16
This is a great thread! I got bit by the mule deer bug last rifle season. Now I'm pretty obsessed with shooting a big one. I'd like to think I know a lot about hunting quite a few animals, mule deer are not one of them. Still I have managed to pick up a few tid bits of info. First is find out if your area has an early high country rifle season. If so, find out how popular it is. I hunted a unit in CO that was absolutely packed with HC rifle guys. I'm not exaggerating when I say perched a top literally every peak, sat one or two guys in blaze orange for the entire season. As a result, it was extremely rare to see bucks above treeline. I know the HC hunt is the dream hunt. It's the romantic hunt that gets you excited, but don't ignore the low marshy areas and clear cuts. By far the biggest mule deer I have seen have been in those areas getting completely ignored while all the hunters are up high fighting for glassing spots. Just my two cents. If someone else says I don't have a clue what I'm talking about, believe them because they probably know better than I do.

From: BOHNTR
17-Apr-16

BOHNTR's embedded Photo
BOHNTR's embedded Photo
....they'll bed right in the open above 12,500' sometimes too!

From: BOHNTR
17-Apr-16

BOHNTR's embedded Photo
BOHNTR's embedded Photo
'Too high' is not in a big buck's vocabulary.......this one lived all summer above 13,200'. Check those rocky areas that look void of edible food sources.

From: BOHNTR
17-Apr-16

BOHNTR's embedded Photo
BOHNTR's embedded Photo
No trees here either.....first light glassing at its best.

From: BOHNTR
17-Apr-16

BOHNTR's embedded Photo
BOHNTR's embedded Photo
....through the spotting scope almost a mile away. This was a high scoring typical (far left) that I never got a shot at.

17-Apr-16
Roy, is this Colorado?

AndyJ... You touched on something that I've been thinking about. The area I've been to and my tag is for, I have elk hunted. Never Mule deer hunted it. Up top, it seems to get some traffic. I think the only rifle season open during that period is for bighorn sheep tags. There are several elk hunters along this mountain range, that I do know. I did see several good mule deer in the meadows up high, early. Also, on ridges a good ways away. What I and others did notice, there were some really nice deer just below treeline that I called transition areas. I'm sure they've seen the occasional hiker, elk Hunter and passers by on the mountain road, from the basins up to tree line. These are the deer I will be after. Of course, I'll be glassing early in hopes of finding one I can put a stalk in too, at tree line.

Good stuff guys!

From: BOHNTR
17-Apr-16
Rick:

All of the above photos are in CO

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Rick, here is a typical bedding area and many times they will use it year after yard as long as they do not get pressured out. This buck was feeding higher up at timberline but ended up in this bed after feeding. I got withing 30 yards and the wind switched. Gone.

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
There are two mule bucks to the right and one in the clearing to the left. Looks like a perfect place to make a stalk and it took me over two hours to circle around and get above them.

While the trees and brush look short and one might be able to see through them to locate the deer, it turned out that the trees and brush were well over my head and thick. It ended up I did not find these bucks even after waiting a few hours in the area.

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Here is a group of non stalkable bucks. All you can do is watch them walk away.

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
But then on the other hand, maybe one will just walk your way.

Good luck, Paul

From: Treeline
18-Apr-16
Paul has excellent photos of the bucks and type of cover that they will get into in the middle of the day. Most of the time, they will bed in the open earlier and just watch for anything out of the ordinary.

If something is out of the ordinary (hiker with a dog, lion, guy trying to sneak up on them with a bow in his hand, etc) they are very likely to leave the basin over the top. Then you will probably see something like BOHNTR's pictures of them going over a high ridge and out of the basin to somewhere quieter and harder to find.

Sometimes they will be back in a day or two if they were not bumped too hard. Sometimes that is the last you will see of them.

They do get harder to get on as the season progresses, though. I think there are a couple of reasons for that.

1 - There are hunters out there trying to kill them. When they see those hunters moving around trying to get up on them or just bumbling along, they get more skittish and tend to drop into heavier cover. 2 - The frosts start burning back their food above treeline earlier and they start foraging on lower food sources. 3 - Their hormones start kicking in and they strip their velvet. It almost seems like they get sick or something right after that and they drop into the timber and don't move much at all during daylight hours until they show up down in the low country (below 8,000') to rut in November.

Colorado has ruined a number of great high country buck areas by implementing the early rifle seasons and then continuing to keep them year after year. The first couple of years, the majority of the big bucks get pounded out of the above timberline country and the younger ones start figuring out that it is probably better to just stay in the timber so they don't get shot. The numbers of mule deer that spend their summers above timberline in units that have the early rifle season are much lower than in units that do not.

In the units with the early rifle season, you will find bucks on the lower fringe country - around 8,000' living in the broken sage and aspen pockets. They are very, very difficult to get up on in that kind of country with a bow and different stratagies are needed to close the deal.

From: AndyJ
18-Apr-16
I know you hunt when you can, but for you more experienced guys do you prefer to try to make a move when it is really windy if possible? Are there conditions when you are more apt to "go for it" than others. I get the wind must be of a favorable direction, but I consider that a given.

From: JLS
18-Apr-16
There is a wealth of experience and information in this thread, truly. It's amazing the knowledge that one can glean from Bowsite.

AndyJ, I've found that so long as it isn't too windy to shoot, it's easier to stalk in the wind. The only caveat is that a 30 yard shot might be too far if the wind is blasting you so hard you can't keep your bow on the target :^).

I'm not even in the same league as these other guys, but I figure if the wind is relatively steady, I can make it work regardless of how hard it is blowing. I'd rather have a 30 mph steady wind than a 5 mph shifty breeze.

From: Treeline
18-Apr-16
The wind is your friend - up to a point. If it is really windy (20 mph+) first thing in the morning, you may not see any deer. That does not happen very often in the high country, though. You will usually have at least an hour or two in the morning where it is calm and you can find the bucks.

Bucks will bed up tight in deep cover if it is really windy and it may be very difficult to find them. I know of several bedding areas where there are literally holes dug out under stunted pines that they will get into. Those holes are so deep that the only thing showing will be the tips of a buck's antlers. You can be within a few feet of one of those beds and never see that buck until he blows out. Different bucks have been using those beds for maybe hundreds of years. If you know where they are bedded, you can get really close. You just have to make sure you don't bump other bucks on the stalk.

If you have a storm with rain/sleet/snow come up in the afternoon, are on a stalk, and can keep from getting scared off the mountain by the lightning you can literally get in petting distance of a bedded mule deer buck. That is too close. Have made that mistake more than a few times.

It's better to get to a spot maybe 20 yards (10 if you shoot as bad as me!) from where that buck is bedded where you have a couple of good shot angles to cover potential spots where that buck may step out and sit tight.

Plan on sitting tight for several hours - till after dark if necessary.

Make sure you have water and food with you.

Stay patient and on full alert - ready to shoot.

Get your mind cleared and calm to set up for that buck to walk into one of your shooting lanes.

Don't lose your cool and move too soon. When you get to your spot, do not move unless you have blown the bucks out or it gets dark and you didn't get a shot.

Sneak out of there as quietly as possible in the dark with no flashlight if you don't get a shot so you don't blow the bucks out of there. Don't spook anything in that basin or you may never see those bucks again.

Kill that buck when he steps out.

Take pictures.

Pack him out.

Share your pictures and experience on the Bowsite!

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
To just wait for him to stand up, or throw a rock??

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
or the use of a doe bleat call?

From: Treeline
18-Apr-16
Totally AWESOME pictures, Paul!!

If these are in order:

Pic #1:

You have made it in range of a great buck! Congratulations!

Focus on killing that buck, not screwing around! If you are throwing a rock or messing with a call, your hands are not on your bow and he is likely to see the movement and blow out of his bed with no shot opportunity and you probably will never see this buck again.

Tough stalk angle because he can see you and pick up motion through the grass. No shot that will get to the vitals. You are in range. Get ready. Watch his ears - if they flick quickly, he is getting ready to stand up.

Pic#2:

If your camo is good, stay put as he is looking right at you. He probably caught you moving. If the wind is right and you stay perfectly still, there is a really good chance he will stare at you for a while and then turn around and drop right back into his bed. You might get a shot when he looks away and turns his body. Right now, it is not a good shot angle as he will most likely jump string. If you hit him, it will most likely be a bad hit.

You should have an arrow on your bow and ready to draw with minimal motion. Hopefully, your body is in position to shoot - I usually want both of my knees under me to be able to rise quickly and get a shot off. If you are shooting a compound it would be good to have it held up vertically with both knees under you with your bow hand on the bow and your release set. For longbow shooters, I have found it really works well to have my bow just off the ground and horizontal with pressure on the string to make a quick shot.

Pic #3:

The wind must be right because he is still there. He is not really looking at you in the third picture, but listening for anything out of place and his nostrils are flared so he is trying to get any scent that is out of place as well.

You have to be 110% focused on making the shot and not get distracted when his head whips back your way. He might see you draw and turn his focus back at you in that third picture but he will give you a second to get drawn as he has already looked up your way and not seen anything to make him bolt out of there.

Put an arrow thru his lungs...

18-Apr-16
I like your assessment, Tavis. Thanks again for the photos, Paul. That buck would definitely have me on edge and the heart rate elevated.

For the record... Thank you all for the conversation and additional info. Like I've told, Tavis, I am a sponge. It's only April...

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Little did I know there were two bucks within feet of each other.

From: Treeline
18-Apr-16
The bigger boy was hid better:)

Probably in a deep dished out bed under those pines.

Used the younger buck as his alarm system!

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
here is one bed

From: Paul@thefort
18-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
you called it correct, the other bed.

I have seen tunnels in the pine limbs that go back 10-15 ft to a hidden bed.

From: Hoot
18-Apr-16
more please!

From: Treeline
18-Apr-16
Guys, those pictures above from Paul are some of the best you will ever see of the habitat and habits of treeline mule deer. Really top end photos! Thank you, Paul!

There is one other type of habitat that they really like above treeline - the willow patches. They will use the willows (alders) for a food source as well as a bedding area. Most of the time it is really damp around those willow patches and they will have a water source up there in those patches as well. When you see a high patch of willows on a really steep slope, look hard for a dark branch sticking up in the leaves - could be the antler of a big old buck...

From: BOHNTR
18-Apr-16

BOHNTR's embedded Photo
BOHNTR's embedded Photo
Did someone say willows? Alpine willow is a high-country magnet for mule deer. Here's a photo of the largest and tallest willow patch I've hunted.....it sits at 12,050' and is 6' tall in some areas. Bucks were feeding, bedding and drinking all in the same 300 yard long patch. Hard to hunt them in that stuff!

From: BOHNTR
18-Apr-16

BOHNTR's embedded Photo
BOHNTR's embedded Photo

From: BOHNTR
18-Apr-16

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BOHNTR's embedded Photo

From: Droptine47
18-Apr-16

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Droptine47's embedded Photo
This buck blended in well. He was hard to find.

From: Droptine47
18-Apr-16
This buck blended in well. He was hard to find.

From: LUNG$HOT
18-Apr-16
Ok droptine47 I give up. Where's waldo?

From: Droptine47
18-Apr-16

Droptine47's embedded Photo
Droptine47's embedded Photo

From: Droptine47
18-Apr-16

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Droptine47's embedded Photo

From: Droptine47
18-Apr-16

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This is through the spotter no zoom.

18-Apr-16
Wow! That's a stud!

18-Apr-16
This is going to be fun! April and I'm getting pumped.

From: Treeline
18-Apr-16

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Here's a picture of bucks in the willows that I found. Sneaking up on a buck in several hundred acres of that tangle and figuring out how to get a shot can give you nightmares. Dang hard to get a shot off without tangling up in willow branches, too!

From: Treeline
19-Apr-16
Get yourself in shape. High country ain't easy on the unprepared.

From: Treeline
19-Apr-16
PS - I missed that buck in the willows 4 times.

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

19-Apr-16
I will be in shape. Unless I have a medical emergency, I'll be there on that mountain, ready to unleash the RMDH on them. Now... The wife, she might be hunting closer to camp. ;)

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Treeline
19-Apr-16
Obviously, I need to take more pictures when hunting and scouting...

Paul, Droptine and BOHNTR have some awesome photos!

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Yep, Willows

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
70 yards and just out of range.

The end.

My best, Paul

From: kiwi
19-Apr-16
Thanks for all the excellent photos and info! While I have done a lot of high country bow hunting in New Zealand (for red deer, tahr and chamois) mule deer is a completely new challenge that I'm looking forward to. I'm hoping the experience I have will transfer to Wyoming mulies, guess I'll find out in early sept!

From: CD
19-Apr-16
Very nice photos for sure. Thanks for sharing!

CD

From: elkstabber
19-Apr-16
Thanks for sharing. I'm getting pumped for August!!!

From: BOHNTR
19-Apr-16

BOHNTR's embedded Photo
BOHNTR's embedded Photo
Some high-country areas have small alpine tree-groves......especially in the 11,500' range. Make sure you check those areas for bucks moving there to bed for the day. I got within 40 yards of this buck (left) on an opening morning as he and his buddy were looking for a place to bed. He wasn't quite what I was looking for, so he got a free pass. Never saw a better buck all week. Grrrrr

19-Apr-16
Roy... He would do just fine for my first. :)

Thanks for the photos, everyone!

From: COLO 3-D
19-Apr-16

COLO 3-D's embedded Photo
COLO 3-D's embedded Photo
Here is the buck that eluded me. He hung out in a large herd and I never managed to get within range of the big one.

From: COLO 3-D
19-Apr-16

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COLO 3-D's embedded Photo
Here are a few more that got a pass.

From: COLO 3-D
19-Apr-16

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COLO 3-D's embedded Photo
Here are a few more that I got close to, but passed.

19-Apr-16
Paul, that picture above with the rock that has orange moss on it at the bottom of the picture is absolutely breathtaking.

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Hi Idy, when one is high up hunting mule deer and with their head in the clouds, it is all good.

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Camping in a willow patch with deer just over the hill

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The deer in their beds pictured above, were just to the upper left of the light colored slide rocks.

Good deer country.

I hope to be up there somewhere this late August.

my best, Paul

From: Paul@thefort
19-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
And here is how you get up there. One step up at a time.

Rick and others, HAVE FUN.

Paul

From: buzz mc
19-Apr-16
Wow!!! This is an amazing thread. Thanks to everyone for sharing their knowledge and photos.

From: Treeline
19-Apr-16
Keep coming back to this thread just to see the photos. Several of these are spectacular examples of what high country mule deer bow hunting is all about. With all the years of hunting in the high country, I have missed out by not taking more photos of the whole experience.

On top of that, I had a huge number of irreplaceable pictures lost when I had a computer stolen last year.

From: longbow
20-Apr-16
Treeline,

Can you touch on the use of trad gear on these hunts. I am attempting this same hunt with the stickbow in August.

Do you feel its an advantage or disadvantge? minus the extened range?

From: Treeline
20-Apr-16
There are advantages and disadvantages using traditional gear and stalking animals in the high country. You have to work a little bit harder to get a little closer than with a compound, but not much in the overall scheme of things.

For me, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages:

1. No sights, arrow rests, stabilizers, cables etc. to bump off. In order to get close on a stalk, you will spend time crawling, belly crawling, and sliding on your butt to stay low and out of sight. You also have to pack your bow in with your backpack or on a horse. A 2-piece take-down longbow is the easiest to manage for this kind of hunting with a 1-piece a close second. Over the last 30 years hunting and guiding, I have seen an unbelievable number of failures of compound bows on hunts. So far, I have only seen one failure of a traditional bow - a recurve delaminating due to having been smacked on the side when the hunter fell in the rocks. Longbows are the toughest type of bow and I have not seen any failures of longbows. Take one spare string that is tuned to your bow in your pack and you are good to go!

2. Lighter weight. Compounds have come a long way in the last 30 years as far as weight goes, but they are still a lot heavier than a longbow. My takedown bows tip the scales at 2 pounds with a quiver and my 1-piece bow is right at a pound. You spend about 99.9% of your time on a hunt hiking/packing your bow. Believe me, every ounce counts when you are pounding it hard climbing and covering the country looking for a critter to get an arrow into.

3. Quicker. You can get a shot off much quicker than a guy with a compound. When you are in close to an animal, things happen fast. It is a totally different timing for the shot than a compound shot. With experience getting really close to animals, you learn to anticipate their movement and can get an arrow off and into the lungs as they are turning and not focused on you. Less chance for a string jump.

4. Less movement for the shot. I want my bow arm extended toward my target, with an arrow nocked and my finger tips on my string when I am in range. There is minimal movement to come to full draw from that position. The worst thing is to be over bowed - have seen countless animals blow out when they see all the gyrations of a compound shooters that has to raise the bow over their head and crank it down to get it drawn.

5. Quieter at the shot. A longbow is the quietest at the shot. Many times, an animal won't know what is up when you shoot and you can get a follow up shot. Coues deer are probably the most wired critters in North America and I have had multiple follow up shots on Coues with a longbow that have resulted in a dead deer. Same with mule deer, elk, whitetails, and Dall Sheep. Recurves are much louder and you are less likely to get a follow up shot. Compounds are louder still and it is extremely rare for a compound shooter to get a follow up on an alert animal. Elk - possibly but Coues deer - never!

6. Ability to shoot from different angles and lower to the ground. Most of my shots are from one or two knees (good reason for knee pads...). Many times you have brush, rocks or other stuff in the way that keeps you from getting that bow straight up and down. I practice shooting from those positions a lot because they are much more effective at hiding the human form when you are close. It really helps to be able to shoot with your bow angled to miss the stuff in the way and still get a shot off and on target. Pretty rare to get a shot after stalking from the upright-squared up-feet shoulder width on level ground position.

7. Built-in monopod. I put a rubber protector on the lower nock of my bows to allow me to use them for glassing. Amazing how much steadier you can be that way. You will find more animals if you are glassing from a steadier position.

From: Paul@thefort
20-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Excellent points Tavis.

Here is an important fact about high country mule deer hunting in late August and early September that these photos do not tell.

THUNDERSTORMS AND DANGEROUS LIGHTING!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been forced off the mountain numerous times by heavy storms that came rolling in that brought with them, rain, lighting, and even snow. One time I was holed up in a small cave until the storm passed by.

Then, sometime the next day, because of the moisture, the fog was so thick, I could not go hunting that day.

So be on alert for storms.

Following are a few more picture from the high country. Now, this does not mean that all of the mule deer are up high, but up here the scenery is surely grand.

From: Paul@thefort
20-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
deer on the sky line

From: Paul@thefort
20-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
20-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
20-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Tavis, I think you have been in this valley

From: Paul@thefort
20-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
20-Apr-16

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Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
20-Apr-16
and one more

From: Treeline
20-Apr-16
Yea, Paul - have put a few boot tracks up that valley and the ridge lines. Couple of your other photos that I could probably give you GPS coordinates for as well:)

Love that treeline country for sure. Will be spending lots of time up there in a couple of months when the snow melts back a little. Pretty sure the trout up there in the high lakes and creeks will be happy to see my flies and need to check up to see which bucks made it through the winter. Can't wait!

From: Treeline
20-Apr-16
Headed out for a few days up in WY to chase the fish and maybe get a shot at a nice fat bear! Will check up on this thread again when I get back. Will make sure to grab a camera and try to remember to take pictures...

From: midwest
20-Apr-16
Paul, I was just going to ask if you've had to deal with some lightening storms up there. Can't imagine one coming through at night when you are camped in that spot in the willows. I would be peeing my sleeping bag!

From: Zbone
20-Apr-16
I lived in Colorado a couple years... Wasn't going to say anything, but yeah couple photos I think I recognized the area too...8^)

What prompted me to post again was the most frightened and fearful for my life was in that Colorado high country when a fast moving electrical storm hit... There was no place to go. Lightening bolts wider than houses hit all around... Never felt so small on earth as that day... Father and son hunters were killed by lightening the next ridge over during that storm I'll never forget...

Again, great thread and photos, thanks much for sharing folks...

26-Apr-16

EmbryOklahoma's embedded Photo
EmbryOklahoma's embedded Photo
This is my workout hill. It's all I have to train on, but it's a GREAT workout. I just wanted to post this as a way to keep myself accountable. I haven't drew the tag yet, but hopeful. I'll keep my progress here, for shitz and giggles. :)

4 trips up/down is a 1/2 mile. I did 5 trips today with 15 lb weights. The best thing about this is it's free, outdoors and close to my house. Time to burn. 220 lbs now... 190 by August 15th.

From: Brun
26-Apr-16
Great pictures and information guys. Thanks

26-Apr-16
Rick, the whole idea of the hill is lost if you use the 4-wheeler.

27-Apr-16
You get an atv in there and the police will be all over you. That's a highway embankment. :)

27-Apr-16
Man this is an incredible thread.

From: Treeline
27-Apr-16
You are on the right track. Just keep after it!

In mud season here and still getting snowed on. Putting in a few miles fishing and poking around for the bears, but can't wait for the high country to open up!

From: longbow
27-Apr-16
Treeline,

Whats you average shot distance been with the stickbow?

From: Paul@thefort
27-Apr-16
Rick , that hill reminded me of the year 1988 and my first trip to Colorado to elk hunt, and from Ohio.

No hills where I lived on Lake Erie but there was a 30 ft embankment on the local golf course and that, like yours, served as my mountain training ground.

Yea, a backpack with two and then three gallons of water in it served me well for the challenge. Break in the boots you will be wearing.

my best, Paul

From: longbow
27-Apr-16
Paul,

What has been your average shot distance ? Do you find it hard to get 25 yards and in??

27-Apr-16
I'm wearing a badlands pack now, Paul, at around 15 lbs. I'll get to my carrying weight in the next two months, which should be around 25 lbs with gear, food and water. Boots are going to be started breaking in this weekend, which leads me to a question... I've always been concerned with sweating in them so much from workin out, that they might smell by the time we head up. Maybe I should break them in and then put them away? Thoughts...

From: Paul@thefort
27-Apr-16

I would expect after hunting a few days, the smell from your boots vs the rest of your body is marginal.

There are sprays and powers that can be applied inside of the boots to reduce smell. I like to use a liner sock to allow the foot to breath better and not sweat as much.

Shot distance with a compound bow? 30 yards and under. A recurve bow, 20 yards and under.

From: Shug
27-Apr-16
Great stuff guys

From: Treeline
28-Apr-16
Longbow, I typically try to stalk to within 10 to 20 yards. Sometimes I get too close. You should practice shooting out to longer ranges and know what you can and can not do. It is really tough to get a shot on a buck at under 10 yards, but it can happen. You would probably be shocked at how many bucks I have seen missed at under 10 yards (bedded or even up and calmly feeding). Don't try to shoot them in their beds as their vitals are really covered and many times there are a lot of branches in the way. Not sure of my average shot distance for killing mule deer but it is probably over 30. Much easier to get a close shot on elk and my average is probably under 20 for bulls.

Embry, you might want to work yourself up to a 90 pound pack so that you know what it will do when you load it down with a deer. Keep working up gradually, though. Anything you can do to get in better shape will help you on the hunt!

Packing in, I will work hard to keep my pack at under 50 with food and gear. I have learned that you are best off to hunt with your pack on and not drop it (or your boots!) in your stalk. You may lose a full day or more looking for your pack or boots if you drop them somewhere on the hill in a stalk and in the process will probably blow out every deer in that basin. I will hunt with my big backpack on with only a little water and food for the day plus a 1st aid kit, knife and game bags. Cinch all the straps tight down and wrap the ends back in to keep it close to your back so it doesn't make noise or hang up on stuff and get in the way. Saves an additional trip back to camp and up the mountain just to get your pack to pack your animal out and may save you a full day of time.

I got some stuff called Fresh Fogger from Cabela's that really works for stinky boots (as well as stinky dog beds!) and I am sure there are some other products out there. Although it is tough to keep your scent down, it does help to keep the animals calmer in your hunting area.

When I am backpacking and camping, I try to be as clean as possible and not stink up the whole mountain. I will take those towels/wipes with me to rub down with and keep my body odor down. I also keep the scent around my camp down. I don't build camp fires as they really stink up everything and the scent soaks into your clothes.

Wool clothes really help hold your scent down as well - the merino wool stuff from First Lite is really good for early season high country hunting - not too heavy or warm but will keep you comfortable over a wider temp range as well as keeping you warmer when you get wet. Synthetic stuff really starts getting stinky after a day or two. An added advantage of wool is that it is really quiet when you rub up against brush or draw your bow which will let you get much closer in your stalk and possibly get off a shot at close range that you would not otherwise.

28-Apr-16
I will be adding weight to my workouts as my legs get stronger. One thing is a given, when an animal is on the ground, my mentality changes and work mode kicks in. I WILL get it out. How much average weight, do you think a boned out mule deer will be?

My wife and myself will be base camping and striking out from there. I think she, maybe myself as well, can get it done within a 1/2 mile of where we will be camped. She will be less picky. I don't have the gear at this point to bivy camp. I would love to although. There will be days that my wife will not feel like hunting, which will allow me to go further out in search.

I'm only 4 days in my climbing regimen and my legs feel SO much more stronger. I just hope and pray no physical ailments detour training.

Thanks for the tips Tavis!

From: Paul@thefort
28-Apr-16

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Just like most wild game boned out. figure 1/3 of the live weight of the animal. So a 200 mule deer should yeld 70 lbs of meat. And then figure 30 lbs for cape, head and horns.

this mule deer might have been 300 plus lbs

Paul

PS-- not mine

From: LUNG$HOT
28-Apr-16
Embry- The last Mule deer I took weighed in at 183lbs on the rail. This is no hide, head, guts and cut off at the knee joints. So you gotta figure much less once it's totally boned out. Don't have an exact number for you but that gives you an idea at least. He was a big bodied, heavy 4 point. Good luck on the training program and don't hurt yourself before the hunt actually happens.

From: Treeline
28-Apr-16
If you face out the skull and cut out the skull plate and antlers, you can lose another 8-10 pounds. I figure around 80-90 pounds with boned out meat, antlers and cape (minus the skull). Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. Still, doable in one load if you are in good shape.

Really will help to do at least some workouts with your pack loaded to that range to see how or if it works. Have broken several backpacks trying to pack out an animal and that really stinks... Makes a hard job that much harder.

Does help to have someone along to take at least some of the load.

Lots less weight for packing than an elk, though!

P.S. Bomber buck, Paul! Even if it's not yours! That's what we all dream about and what keeps us climbing those hills:)

28-Apr-16
Paul, one just like that would make me post it on bowsite at least 20 times in the next 18 months. That's nice!

Thanks for the weight difference advice from all of you guys.

Joe... I'm going to take it slow. Workout in graduations. When I'm feeling sluggish, slow down a bit. I also have a problem with trying to go too hard and along with my calorie intake decreased, I need to be careful. My steps on the hill I have been very calculated with my foot planting. At times I've been known to work my right side harder than my left. Thinking about my steps and making them even has helped.

Tavis you've been a great help. I will definitely be going back through this thread and the emails we've exchanged to soak it in further. Especially my options on caping out the animal and removing skull and removing antlers with skull cap. Also preserving the velvet if it is in good shape.

Keep any advice coming...

From: maravia14x24
28-Apr-16
I know those valleys Paul. Been hunting them since the late 90's. Mostly for elk, but I have taken a couple of deer out of the area. And a goat a little ways to the north east. and a sheep in between.

From: Treeline
30-Apr-16

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
Paul, just to wet your whistle, here is a buck that was at my taxidermist when I picked up my mule deer from last year. He was shot last year in the unit you are trying to get this year - 205+/-...

From: Paul@thefort
30-Apr-16
Yep, a buck of a life time and they are still around, somewhere. Maybe I will find his brother or better yet, is grandfather. Wow, great buck.

Paul

From: COLO 3-D
02-May-16
The great thing about hunting mule deer in the high country is that there are big bucks in every unit, you just need to put in the time to find them. Some units have more than others, but they are there. I am fully convinced the P&Y world record will be broken before long.

17-May-16
Guess it's game on according to the "591", on the Colorado backdoor. Yippee!

Pack is up to 25 lbs, have been hitting the local hills with regularity. A mule deer is gonna die. :)

27-Jul-16

EmbryOklahoma's embedded Photo
EmbryOklahoma's embedded Photo
One month away! Looking forward to getting up on the mountain and getting started at the cat/mouse game. :)

My wife said she would be fine with this buck. He was hanging out where we will be camping...

From: LUNG$HOT
27-Jul-16
"I am fully convinced the P&Y world record will be broken before long."

Yup I agree, most likely gonna be me... Or Rick, Who knows, but for sure one of us will break the record this year! :)

Lookin good Rick I'm stoked for the season the begin too. One more month and counting....

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