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Best diy Non-Res Muley hunt
I live in Illinois, and one of my bucket list hunts is a spot and stalk Mule deer with a bow (obviously...). What do you all think is the absolute best bet for a guy who's never hunted Mule deer before to be able to head west on a diy hunt and have a good shot at killing a decent mule deer? I don't need to kill an absolute monster, but I'd like a decent shot at a mature buck....thoughts?
No idea whats the best, but backpacking in above timberline in CO may be an option. Not easy to stalk but the open country allows for finding them and eventually one will bed in the wrong spot or make some other mistake. Go as early as possible as bucks tend to vanish when they start rubbing velvet off.
If you're going to go early, CO has the best early season dates for many years to come in 2018. Do you have any CO deer points?
Arizona in Dec/Jan. Lots of 150ish bucks with a decent shot at something bigger. OTC tags and beautiful weather too.
I like the Wasatch Front bow only hunt in November here in Utah.
Whatever you decide have fun and enjoy
Good luck, Robb
November anywhere there are mulies is the best time to hunt them. Big bucks are down with the does. I am not a fan of early hunts myself, not into velvet racks or warm weather hunting. Cold Montana/ID/WY/CO/UT mid-November mornings are when you are going to find the best mulie bucks and get a chance at a decent shot IMO.
south Dakota,,,, lots of room and lots of fun,,,,,
I've read alot of good things about Nebraska believe it or not......
Probably the top unit in the entire Western US would be Henry's Mtns in Utah. May take a year or 2 to draw a tag!
You can come glass for me this fall in WY and see how you like it. I don't have much experience either, but I'm jumping in. Likely Region H.
2. Late season (Dec./Jan.) Arizona, OTC.
Studying for this hunt myself. Colorado website is awful for those of us with bad reading comprehension!!!
I would be BB's shadow- I think he can find tremendous animals like the INS flying Blackhawk helicopters with FLIR finds the trains of illegal aliens down in Arizona...
Where can you get an MT otc tag as a nonresident ? Last year all the mule deer tags gone after the draw. Seriously I have a great spot but can't get a tag and I would like to know where I can get an otc general mule deer tag in Montana lol
Timbrhuntr.......HA:) Sorry, I just meant its an easy tag to draw in MT, you are right, it's not OTC. If you put in, I think it's like 90% chance you'll draw a non res deer tag in MT with 0 pts. My math may not be exactly right but its pretty good odds to hunt here a lot.
Here's the best way to get a MT deer tag.
Buy the elk/deer combo. Much easier to draw, then either keep the elk tag or turn it back and keep the deer. Makes the deer tag cost about $700 but ups your odds.
Not really an OTC, but gets you a tag.
Lots of good units can be had in CO with zero points.
Nebraska can be good. There is limited public land compared to states farther west. Honestly I would look elsewhere. Pressure has increased the last few years the first part of the season. At least in the NW part of the state where bigger pieces of public are located.
South Dakota has good hunting. The areas I hunted this year had minimal pressure compared to other areas. There hunting app is very helpful.
In 2013 I drew a general tag in Utah. Had a blast and shot my buck on the 2nd to last day.
I don’t think any of these areas would be classified as the best but there good hunts.
South Dakota would be the place for you
Best? The state you get the best intel on.
It is VERY likely South Dakota will become a draw state for mule deer this year. If any of you are interested in SD in the future it would be a good idea to follow along in case you need to start buying points.
I couldn't waste your time/money on Utah limited entry hunts. For a non-resident, you'd be looking at 10-15 years for a lower tier unit. There is good hunting to be had on general units though.
The best mule deer hunt....any you have tag for. The thing I like best about mule deer vs say Midwest whitetail is the variety. One year I might be in a high country basin the next year I might be in the sand hill....and every other Jan I am in the desert. I love mule deer hunting.
I've hunted mule deer in a lot of places. My favorite and best hunts were in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and North Dakota. That being said, I killed my best one in Colorado. As others have said, there's good mule deer hunting in a lot of places. Do your research and most all of the western states will have some great hunting.
A lot of good option. I'll tell you in NM and AZ , Nov is definitely not the best time.
Western ND if you can get a tag. Lots of public land options and some really good bucks.
AZ in early Jan. OTC tags you can get every year.
It is sad when I can go hunting in a heavily populated eastern state and have a better chance at a 160 class whitetail buck on public ground than it is to kill a comparable mule deer out West.
Pigsticker, i disagree 100%. With that said alot of archery mule deer are shot road hunting. You can hunt above timberline and it can be a 'poor man's sheep hunt' but you do not have to be Fred Bear to kill a mulie buck.
Glunker, I hope that you are right but I’m not feeling it with OTC based on the above comments.
How many 160 mule have you killed in otc units?
There are some great Mulies in the mountain states. You just need to locate them.
Second choice tag
Second choice tag
Zero point unit
Zero point unit
Second Choice tag
Second Choice tag
There are plenty of good areas with 160+ mule deer (and much bigger!) that you can hunt every year. All public land bucks.
One thing for sure....you won`t kill one from Illinois. Pick a Unit in Colorado and GO. I like NW Montana but the tag is expensive, but you get your choice of deer and they have top end of both whitetail and muley. Plenty of public land too.
I agree that there are some great mulies and obviously there are more public land 160 mule deer than the same with whitetails. The problem is in all this conversation I do not see a real strategy for straight OTC buy a tag and go mule deer.
A couple of years ago a friend and I bought drew Wyoming tags that were practically automatic and he killed a heavy 158 buck. I saw several 160 class deer and turned down a 150.
Treeline how easy is it for the nonresident to get that same leftover tag and I assume that both second choice were obviously not OTC for a nonresident.
That tag was my buddy who is a non-resident.
Picked up a left-over or returned tag when they went on sale on-line.
The leftovers-returned tags go on sale OTC and anyone can buy them.
It seems easier to kill a 160 whitetail based on the numbers of 160+ whitetails in the book vs. 160+ mule deer. Lots more places to hunt whitetails and lots more of them than mule deer.
Problem is that there are lots of areas of the country that you may have a hard time finding a 125" whitetail, much less a 160. Heck, my family put up a high fence around their ranch and feeds protein and corn and the best deer that has come off there was low 150's gross after over 6 years!
You can find 160" mule deer across their range - kind of equivalent to a 135" whitetail. Also, there is much more public land to hunt them on across the western US. Now finding 180" to 190" + mule deer is a different issue. They are a lot harder to come by and you will want to focus on areas with historically good genetics so that hopefully you have enough of them around to have a chance at one with a bow.
Treeline I don’t know where your family is located but they may be battling a DNA problem or the neighbors helping manage the herds age structure.
Given the choice, which would be better, North Dakota or South Dakota? Are they the same, pretty much?
"...but they may be battling a DNA problem" So, what you're saying is there exists a natural selection for mule deer that have genes that produce high P&Y scoring racks? (LMAO)
Don’t save points for a first hunt. Get your feet wet. I have found lots of good bucks. Blew out every one. My Indian name is “onesteptomany!”
How in the hell do you find out which units are OTC in CO. The online pamphlet is terribly confusing!!!!
Steve H., DNA comment was referencing his family’s whitetail’s inability to get past 150 while you are LYAO!
Shiloh, There are not any OTC deer units in CO.
As for elk goes I would just do a google search. It’s probably the easiest way to get it. The link will be to CO wildlife and parks.
I have read that every county in Colorado has produced at least one B&C mule deer. Pick a unit you can draw and go.
I've been on that site and read through much of the pamphlet, but it is still confusing. I guess there are some that you can DRAW with zero points would be the way to say it then??
No matter where you go, it will be fun. Spot'n stalk mule deer hunting is very different than stand hunting. I suggest finding a copy of Hunting Open Country Mule Deer by Dwight Schuh.
Shiloh, yes. You can look it up under the statistics for deer cross referencing the regulations and unit map of Colorado to see which units you can draw with however many points you have. Easier to use the app on GoHunt. Will say that they and other hunting resources do miss a lot when talking trophy potential.
Thanks for the help Treeline!
Shiloh, not sure if anyone has suggested it yet but toprut.com is pretty user friendly for filtering through draw odds and it's free.