Summit Treestands
NonRes Mule deer hunt
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
PaKL2188 10-Dec-18
Mule Power 10-Dec-18
JL 10-Dec-18
Topgun 30-06 10-Dec-18
Buskill 10-Dec-18
cnelk 10-Dec-18
PaKL2188 10-Dec-18
PaKL2188 10-Dec-18
Branden 10-Dec-18
PaKL2188 10-Dec-18
Michael 10-Dec-18
PaKL2188 10-Dec-18
Treeline 10-Dec-18
Medicinemann 10-Dec-18
Franklin 10-Dec-18
Aces11 10-Dec-18
Adventurewriter 11-Dec-18
YZF-88 11-Dec-18
Mule Power 11-Dec-18
PaKL2188 11-Dec-18
Michael 11-Dec-18
PaKL2188 11-Dec-18
Treeline 12-Dec-18
smarba 12-Dec-18
PaKL2188 12-Dec-18
bowbender77 12-Dec-18
Craig 14-Dec-18
PaKL2188 15-Dec-18
PaKL2188 15-Dec-18
PaKL2188 15-Dec-18
Bow Bullet 15-Dec-18
PaKL2188 18-Dec-18
From: PaKL2188
10-Dec-18
Hey guys, new to the site and forums in general so i applogize if this topic is beat to death or in the wrong place. I am planning on doing my first Muley hunt early to mid sept of 2019. I am waiting to hear from a buddy of mine to see if he can go but may be heading out myself (I'm from PA). I was just looking to try and get some information on your tags (I saw you have to apply). Also looking for any tips on spot and stalking muleys, areas of the state to begin looking where to hunt ( what parts of the state have good population/ maybe less pressure). I am not nieve enough to ask for your spots or anything, I hunt Pa public ground trust me I get it. I'm going into the hunt with realistic expectations being its my first out of state hunt, I'm just looking forward to hunting new country and learning a new style of hunting and about a new animal. Can you camp in the field or do I need to look for camp grounds? Any other information you can think of that maybe useful, as I maybe missing something, I would really appreciate it. Feel free to DM me. Thanks guys, hope you all had a good 2018 season, and enjoy your holidays.

From: Mule Power
10-Dec-18
Whew where to start....

Anywhere I think is worth hunting mulies requires a point or two... or 7 to draw the tag.

If you’ve never hunted the west you might want to start with antelope.

You can camp anywhere on National Forest for 14 days (can vary by state a bit) before reloading your camp.

I live in Pa too. One thing I’ll leave you with before others chime in is the west is vast. There’s lots of country of all different types and different levels of difficulty that require different styles of hunting. But one thing is for sure compared to where you live you should be ready for the days where you don’t see any game at all. Unlike the east there’s not game in every square mile. Animals in the mountains have way bigger home ranges and can relocate seasonally.

Best of luck to you. We all had to start somewhere. You can do this!

From: JL
10-Dec-18
What state(s)?

From: Topgun 30-06
10-Dec-18
I think you're missing almost 100% of what you need to know based on that post! Do you realize that you haven't even stated what state you plan on going to and are you not aware that most need to have some preference points to even be able to draw a tag after you apply?

From: Buskill
10-Dec-18
There are places with decent deer that are over the counter tags .

From: cnelk
10-Dec-18
And there are places with decent deer that are Leftover tags [Colorado]

From: PaKL2188
10-Dec-18
Sorry guys, I didn't even realize I didn't post what state! (Friggin newb!) Anyway I am looking to head to SD or NE, most likely SD based on it being my first Mule Deer hunt and the tag is half the price of NE. I understand most states you need pref points l, however from what little information I've read online it appears ND and NE are pretty easy to get tags? I could be wrong?

From: PaKL2188
10-Dec-18
Sorry guys, I didn't even realize I didn't post what state! (Friggin newb!) Anyway I am looking to head to SD or NE, most likely SD based on it being my first Mule Deer hunt and the tag is half the price of NE. I understand most states you need pref points l, however from what little information I've read online it appears ND and NE are pretty easy to get tags? I could be wrong?

From: Branden
10-Dec-18
You might look into ND also. It is a draw but decent odds. Also there are a a good amount of deer. I feel the quality is down on the top end bucks but there are decent bucks around. Good luck

From: PaKL2188
10-Dec-18
Branden, thank you I will look into ND for sure! I had tried to google information on ND and one of the first things I found, was someone from another forum saying deer numbers were down there and it was a tough draw. That was a few years old though, so I'm glad to hear things are getting better for you guys.

From: Michael
10-Dec-18
Nebraska archery tag is cheaper then SD. You have to put in an app for a SD tag but you will get a tag.

Both states have an online hunting atlas that shows all the public land you can hunt. There will be NF, National Grasslands, Army Corp of engineers as well as private open up to public walk in.

In Ne I had better luck on the prairie and badlands country then the timbered areas. The next guy might have a different take. There isn’t as much public in Ne as SD.

As for SD goes. You can find mulies from the Missouri River west to the Wyoming border. I know the NW corner sees a lot of pressure. There are even spots east of the river that hold decent mulies. However public land is more limited.

From: PaKL2188
10-Dec-18
Michael, thank you for clearing that up for me! I had read the price for the state wide buck tag ($600), I didn't see they had a separate archery tag.

From: Treeline
10-Dec-18
You are in for a life changing experience.

Hunting mule deer is addictive.

The vastness of our western states will be a shocker. Where you are thinking about is mostly plains/rolling prairie with small patches of cedars, big cottonwood creek bottoms and interspersed crop lands. It can be intimidating for someone used to hunting small areas in the east. Just seeing game in the vast western landscape can be a challenge. After finding an animal, you typically have to go to them rather that them coming by you in range for a shot. Stalk routes are many times measured in miles rather than yards.

Optics are key in this game - a whole thread or 100 are out here regarding optics. You will want to get your hands on the best optics you can afford. Learning how to use them effectively takes a lot of practice and experience for most. Finding a bedded mule deer in the shade under a cedar at 3 miles away is not uncommon. Then, if you have the optics to prove that he is worthy of a stalk, you gear up and head out after him.

But not before you spend enough time to figure out how many other deer are bedded around him and their exact locations. Then plan a stalk route with any landmarks that will keep you from being seen or smelled during your approach. Once you have a plan, do not vary from it!

Bucks will stay locked down through the hottest part of the day in a very small area. When they are in their little pocket, they will not move unless blown out by a predator in close.

These deer use their eyes like you will not believe until you see it yourself. I have busted mule deer at crazy long distances by making a mistake and sky lining myself at a mile away. You have to use every last bit of terrain and cover to your advantage all while keeping the wind in your favor. If you do it right, you can sneak up on that buck to within spitting distance.

Keep your faith when you get to your final marks on your stalk and use your binoculars to look into the bedding area for antler tips.

In most instances, you will need to set up at a reasonable distance and wait for the buck to stand up. 99% of the time you do not have a good angle through the vitals for a shot when they are bedded.

Wait for him to stand. It may take a while. Have patience. What the hell better do you have to do than sit tight in range of a buck of your dreams? Several hours is not out of the question. Be ready to shoot as soon as he stands up but keep your wits about you as far as shot angle is concerned and wait for the perfect shot angle.

Kill him when he is in the right position.

Take some good pictures. Quarter and pack him out (whole mother thread worth of info on this).

Give the boys and girls a recap on Bowsite when you get home!

From: Medicinemann
10-Dec-18
The search command on Bowsite may not be as effective as it once was, but you can still learn a LOT just by visiting previous threads.....and on a blustery winter day, it is a great way to occupy yourself. Just go "surfing" on the forum...….and watch the hours melt away....

From: Franklin
10-Dec-18
"Might not be effective".....I don`t think it works at all...lol My advice is to pick a spot you have the best chance of getting and just go. Your first few years will be learning years and if you get lucky you will kill one. Experience is you best teacher.

Once you have decided on a spot start asking your specific questions. Meanwhile start applying and get your feet wet with experience so when you do draw you are ready.

From: Aces11
10-Dec-18
You have to apply in ND for a NR. Certainly a good hunt if you get drawn. I feel top end bucks are down like a Branden said, but there is still some great ones around.

11-Dec-18
"If you’ve never hunted the west you might want to start with antelope."

X-2 really fun hunts ......high success...always seeing animals and bucks too....great way to start the west...

From: YZF-88
11-Dec-18
I strongly recommend reading Dwight Schue’s book Hunting Open Country Mule Deer. It’s a great read!

From: Mule Power
11-Dec-18
Jake you’re a poet and you don’t know it! Lol

From: PaKL2188
11-Dec-18
Guys, thank you so much for the information! I really appreciate it. Between work, my toddler and remodeling our house and prepping to build our new one, i dont get to spend much time online researching. So any information is a big help, and will allow me to focus the time I do get on E-scouting. Again thank you all for the information given so far!

I do plan to apply for ND as well as look more into Nebraska. Also if I end up going myself, I may even end up looking for antelope as some have stated.

Any ideas on if it would be wise to buy a pronghorn tag along with a deer tag, if we primarily plan to hunt deer?

Also what kind of weather will i be looking at? Early sept, I'm assuming will still be pretty hot?

From: Michael
11-Dec-18
I have done combo muley antelope hunts in Ne. It can be successful. It can also be difficult.

In my opinion the hunting is better for antelope on opener Aug 20th. Deer opener isn’t until sept 1st.

The nice thing is they can be in the same areas.

From: PaKL2188
11-Dec-18
Ok, my main focus would probably be mule deer unless im going alone and change my mind. Just curious if it would be a good idea to have an amtelope tag incase I would be seeing them fairly often.

From: Treeline
12-Dec-18
Time is key. If you are pretty limited, you may want to focus on the deer only your first trip.

From: smarba
12-Dec-18
"I strongly recommend reading Dwight Schue’s book Hunting Open Country Mule Deer. It’s a great read! "

Ditto: get, read, digest, and re-read this book and you'll be on the right track with a whole lot of stuff not only related to mule deer but hunting all species.

From: PaKL2188
12-Dec-18
Treeline, Im going to have about 8 to 10 days. However I agree, I feel like it being my first trip hunting muleys, it would be better to just stick with one species and learn about hunting them as much as I can in the time I have. Smarba, I am going to order the book as soon as the holidays are over!

From: bowbender77
12-Dec-18
Arizona has over the counter mule deer tags but the success rate is less then 10 %.

From: Craig
14-Dec-18
Idaho has otc hunts. I was there this fall and it was awesome if your willing to climb some mountains. Lots of deer just never connected with a big buck. Could of shot some smaller ones. The terrain and views did it for me I will be going back. Hope you find a great hunt.

From: PaKL2188
15-Dec-18
Craig, always wanted to hunt Idaho! I wont rule it out in the future for sure! Trying to stay a little closer to home this year though, and I've always wanted to hunt prarie mule deer. Thank you!

From: PaKL2188
15-Dec-18
Well guys, I do believe I have decided on the SW part of the state. Ive picked out about 6 or 7 spots on the map that intrigue me, and plan to focus my e-scouting on them. Any one ever been through the Custer and Fall River county areas? Looking to get an idea of the topography in the area, looks pretty decent to me. Also any whitetails in the area? I plan to focus on mule deer but wont discriminate on a good whitetail.. haha

From: PaKL2188
15-Dec-18
Well guys, I do believe I have decided on the SW part of the state. Ive picked out about 6 or 7 spots on the map that intrigue me, and plan to focus my e-scouting on them. Any one ever been through the Custer and Fall River county areas? Looking to get an idea of the topography in the area, looks pretty decent to me. Also any whitetails in the area? I plan to focus on mule deer but wont discriminate on a good whitetail.. haha

From: Bow Bullet
15-Dec-18
I haven't hunted south of Custer but I've driven though the area many times. I have hunted the northern side of the Black Hills though. I would say if you are near Custer you are probably more likely to see whitetails than muleys. The pine forest of the Hills is mainly whitetail country. If I was scouting for areas to hunt muleys I'd look for open, rough, eroded, badlands type terrain with brushy draws. And if you find those kinds of areas with alfalfa fields nearby that's better yet. That type of terrain will be more in the Edgemont area but I'm not familiar with the public land boundaries around there. Definitely talk with the local Game, Fish, & Parks biologist.

From: PaKL2188
18-Dec-18
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