Contributors to this thread:
Mule Deer vs Elk With Bow
While I know most would rate elk higher than deer. I honestly cannot do that. I'd be just as ecstatic killing a 30" buck as I would a 380 bull.
There are things I love about both animals equally, with just as much passion, and loving hunting them!
What excites you about hunting both these amazing deer?
I'm with you. I will hunt elk someday, but for the time being, I can't imagine anything else more fun than chasing muleys. I especially like the variety of terrain where they can be found, rolling ag fields, sage brush flats, rimrock/juniper country and my personal favorite, above treeline high country.
I like screaming bulls!! I like Them a lot !! Hunt
I don’t hunt mule deer with a bow...why...because it’s during elk season!
And that's what I love about our January deer hunt John ;) Don't have to make that choice :)
Ever call in a screaming-drooling muley peeing down his legs in September? Apples to Oranges..... Muleys???; only thing I like about Muleys is that they are wrapped in meat ;>) , Sort of like whitetails without the survival instinct........ I think it's a personality type thing, the first time I hunted elk in the rut was the last time I hunted whitetails or muleys for anything except for their food value.
That's too bad Spook...you don't know what you're missing ;)
I like them equally for totally different reasons. I also think a mature mule deer via spot’n stalk is much harder to kill.
If I had to pick one over the other...it’d be elk. Fortunately, I can do both every year.
Elk taste better. Like, a lot better. Just sayin’.
C'mon man, you're telling us something we already know.....sheeze ;)
Don' t get me wrong trophy....... I Like mule deer hunting, but not like I Love elk hunting!!!!!!!.....Elk are a different kind of animal.... I like spot n' stalk muley hunting more than treestanding for whitetails but neither compares to my love for the wiley Wapiti!
"Elk taste better. Like, a lot better. Just sayin’.".................Agreed Poudre!
"I don’t hunt mule deer with a bow...why...because it’s during elk season!" Truer words have never been spoken USC!
This is also completely a personal situation/choice, but it's much easier for me to do a mule deer hunt justice in 4-5 days. Based on what I've gathered here, day 4 could just be the beginning of an elk hunt. And at this point, I just can't be away for more time than that.
Alright alright, I think you misunderstood the op. I didn't ask which tastes better, or pissed down his leg, which one you'd rather hunt etc etc. I simply asked what excites you about hunting each?
For me, nothing beats calling in rutting bull elk and the meat is way better. That said, if I could pick one tag, it'd still be a Henry Mountains muley tag. You can shoot a big elk in a lot of places. The Henry's are a special place for huge deer and I really want one really huge atypical muley.
Hello, my name is Paul...and I'm a elkaholic.
No animal I've hunted to date competes against a close encounter with a big screaming bull elk. That is simply an adrenaline rush like no other....IMO.
That said, spot and stalk mule deer hunting is quickly climbing my priority ladder. Saw the two biggest muley bucks I've ever seen last August while sheep hunting in Colorado. Can't get those two bucks out of my head.....just incredible specimens. I prefer elk hunting the second half of archery season....so that has me thinking....why not both!
I really want a high country, pencil necked, fuzzy horned muley. Maybe next year...
Those elk, tho.
Calling in big stud rutting posturing muleys is a terrific rush too. When they decide to come, they come, and calling one into spitting distance on the ground, close enough to hear him buzz, is as good as it gets.
I also love hunting screaming, pissing, drooling bulls too. But in heavily hunted CO areas the screaming (during daylight, anyway) is becoming rarer, and instead of marching in drooling and roaring like they used to, now they mostly sneak in silently. Its like hunting 700 lb ghosts.
Two different animals, two different kinds of hunting. I can't say I enjoy one more than the other.
I like mulies but elk all the way for me.
I have had dreams of big mule deer bucks since I was very young. My grandad had several big mule deer racks and one of my favorite was in velvet. They totally dwarfed his Central Texas whitetail racks and I loved hearing his adventures hunting mule deer in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico back in the 1920’s through the 1960’s.
He did kill one spike elk in those years with my Dad and said it was way more work getting that one out and he would never do that again!
As I got older, I started reading bowhunting magazines. The stories of whitetail hunting quickly became boring. I can remember reading articles by Marv Clyncke about hunting mule deer above treeline with a recurve and I became determined to hunt mule deer in those mountains. I made my first trip from Texas to Colorado on my own, playing a little hooky from college, when I was 20 and absolutely loved it. Made several more trips through college and actually killed a few deer :-)
I moved from Texas to Colorado as soon as I could after college to find a job that would support my passion.
I have a passion for pursuing the challenge of finding and stalking into longbow range of big mule deer above treeline. I actually have had a lot of velvet mule deer that were spectacular table fare and would pick mule deer over elk for flavor. And I am very picky about any gamey flavored meat. I have fed mule deer to lots of people that swore they would never eat deer after choking on bad deer meat sometime in their past. They were shocked that it was deer after their second plate!
Elk hunting is a fun way to put a lot of good meat in the freezer. Having bulls bugle all around is certainly exciting but I would rather hunt them in August when they are acting more like mule deer and I can target a specific animal. Hanging out in the open up above treeline in their bachelor herds where I can sneak up on a specific bull and kill him. I get very frustrated beating the bushes in the deep black timber chasing noises with no idea if that bull is even legal and when they don’t talk, it is really frustrating! Then, all the fun is over when you drop that string! I can usually get a boned out mule deer in one or two heavy loads. An elk takes WORK! I have had several pack outs of elk that took as much as 3 days. Then, butchering takes several more. It is a ton of work!
I like hunting anything that moves and some stuff that doesn’t. I LOVE hunting treeline mule deer!
Elk sure are a rush. Nothing beats the bugling of bulls. I dedicated a lot of my hunting to hunting elk.
But there is something Speacial about mule deer for me. I really enjoy hunting them. Few years back I caught the mule deer bug and it puts elk on the back burner
Boy, that is a tough choice. I would have to go with mule deer. It is the best cat and mouse game there is. What could be better than to glass and watch mulie suck in the morning rays and then bed down. Now your work begin. Planning the stalk. Take the whole day making your moves. Does not get any better.
Mulies for me....it`s the only animal that gives me uncontrollable "buck fever". Not whitetail....not elk...not even grizzlies, but I fall apart on a muley. Very strange.
Thank God Mule deer don't bugle! Elk for me!
Ha Ha Dave, you know my answer! Elk, Elk, & more Elk on the brain! Muleys don't even register on my personal have to do scale! I know I'm weird! (grin)
Interesting thing about Elk is I don't care if I shoot a 4X5 or a 6 point as long as I'm elk hunting & calling bulls. Nothing in my book compares! Good Luck Dave, never lose your passion bud!
Mature mule deer....more difficult of the two, IMO.
I haven't hunted elk but I bow hunted moose for years and nothing compares to getting 1500 pound animal grunting and coming in to under 10 yards but this past fall I hunted mule deer for the first time and I must say I agree with jake. If I ever get to hunt elk maybe I'll have a different idea who knows but having called huge bull moose into 3 yards drooling and rolling side to side I doubt it could beat that rush with a puny elk lol.
The difference; The meat
At least for me. Those high country mulies are gamey- they taste like the scrub they've been eating...they just don't eat nearly as good as those elk that eat grass.
My one elk hunt was one of the top 3 most exciting moments of my life but I had an excellent caller along who got me smack dab in the middle of a rut frenzy.
Mule deer have proven to be my arch nemesis with the bow to take a mature buck. Idk if striking out several times caused it or if it was the early childhood dreams of big velvet bucks above tree line, but mule deer are my number one animal in the L48 I want to pursue. Problem for me is my entire hunting season up north is very short, and 95% of archery seasons down south conflict with the season up north.
I mainly hunt for food...no comparison in the amount of yield with elk vs muley.
I use all my vacation up every Year on elk. That being said, pulling a slow stalk on a bedded deer, can be just as exciting, as running and gunning for a screaming bull. Either way, it's the rush that keeps you coming back for more.
Man I just love bowhunting anything from squirrels to elk. I can't get enough of it. That said, bugling bulls make my soul sing!
You can bowhunt something besides mule deer?
I save points to kill a big mule deer. When it comes to elk points I’m like a kid with a dollar in a candy store. I think about elk hunting every single day. The quality of meat aside there’s just something about those long sweeping tines, that big dark hide with the yellow rump. I just think a bull elk is the most majestic critter that walk this continent.
I know this about mule deer and elk but I i guess you've never had a giant bull moose plunge into a river that's almost a rapids and swim across like Michael Phelps then pull itself up 6 feet onto a bank from the river with its huge muscles rippling and then walk with in 3 feet of you as you hunker down trying to be a bush and then tower over with its head and that massive rack held up 8 feet in the air as he looks from side to side for his challenger without a fear in the world hoping your partner will wait a couple steps before he lets an arrow loose lol
Muleys hands down, love crawling into a bedded buck.
Timberhunter, no but I did have a CO moose walk past me at 14 yards while elk hunting one year after I watched him guzzle half the water in a pond, and eat half the hydrilla salad in that pond. He never knew I was there!
Another year in CO I walked up on one 5 yards on accident and started taking pics and video. Pretty cool to see.
Ya but you gotta have them coming to you with love or fighting on their mind that steps it up a bit lol ;) sorry for hijacking your thread well not really there's always too much elk talk here lol
I've had a moose hunt me and try to kill me. Had another one close enough to touch. I see them almost every day at my cabin. They can go to hell. I'd like to kill one someday for vengeance.
Chasing rutting mule deer with my bow in January is the highlight of my season. Elk are in 2nd place.
Biggie bucks, how high was the fence?
Muleys are a little lighter to carry out.
I like muleys better, because I can find them. I can't find an elk to save my life. @!#$%^ elk!
I consider elk the ultimate game species, bar none.
Elk are kinda' like world's biggest mulies, so have to go with elk, but hey, I just took the airgun world record mule deer in Mexico at 15 yds...but I digress.
David, airgun? Really? That's actually pretty awesome IMO! Pm me with details.
Elk for me. Honestly, I could pretty much quit hunting everything else and not be real broken up about it.
Elkaholism is a problem... deer what are those ???
Well, since I am very old & my Elk years are over I gotta say, I did both. In the day of no or few draws I chased both many times & with a Combo non-resident tag that cost me like $25 over the counter. My 1st trip to Co. was in 1964 & my last was like 1990 & I don't think I missed over 2-3 years in that time AND sometimes I went twice in one year. I did public land, in a tent. I cannot remember a trip I was not in Elk or Mulies. I loved it. A big Mule Deer is pretty spectacular in my eyes & though I never tagged a monster, I saw plenty..
Elk are a lot of fun to hunt.....but at this point in my life i would give my left ( you know what ) to kill a nice mule deer.
Willieboat, I dream of the day I kill a 30” buck ;)
I just dream of hunting open hilly country. Give me a tag for either and oh how my heart will sing!
Muleys have bailed out an elk hunt a couple times with a combo tag...... =D
Different hunts. I don't think I'd build points for a mule deer hunt, nor spend the money like I have to for elk. To be honest..... they seem to be on prozac half the time...... once glassed up and bedded it's more about the spot and the wind than getting on em. Most times it's more the wind that is the challenge than the deer.....
I'm a mule deer guy with an elk problem. It's a good thing we can hunt both!
Since in the OP compared getting a 30" muley buck to a 380 bull, I'd probably lean toward the elk since I've already been fortunate to take a 30"+ muley. Before doing so, I probably would have chosen the buck over the bull if I could only taken one trophy of those classes. However, I find elk hunting far more exciting that deer hunting, and if I could only choose to hunt one species from now on, it would be elk. The simple fact that they bugle is a big factor for me. I love being in the woods when the elk are calling and fighting.
If I was forced to choose between hunting mule deer or mule deer, I would choose mule deer every single day! It is the ultimate test of will as a bowhunter. In my opinion, once a mule deer gets past its fourth birthday, it basically becomes a different species. Calling them in during the early season, isn't really an option, so it's up to your knowledge, patience and ability to stay focused waiting for a bedded buck to stand and then relying on your skills to deliver in the heat of the moment, is the best!
If I would have started spot and stalk mule deer hunting before I started elk hunting I doubt that I would have ever elk hunted. Just way to much fun.
Love mule deer hunting and think they’re incredible animals. That said, I’m not sure how you could even compare with the hunting of an elk, especially in early season. The size of the animal, the size of the antlers, their Smell, the bugles, the tree demolishing, the intense chaos put elk at the top!
I hunt elk maybe once every 3 years as I'd rather spend my time chasing mulies. Might end up with an elk tag in my pocket this year though cause the wife likes elk meat better and she's getting hangry for it.
AZBugler, I love hunting both for different reasons. Wasn't trying to compare the two ;-)
A 30” mule deer is what I day dream about on my long drive to work.
Elk for me... the meat is as close to beef as you can get. Nothing like chasing bugles and playing that poker game with a rutting bull. You can hike drainage after drainage with nothing, totally worn out then you get to that magic drainage and let out a bugle and you get that beautiful response, all of a sudden you're brand new again and those wobbly legs are fresh you look over at your hunting buddy and say 'game on'!!! Nothing like it
Henry brings up a good point in that muley bucks aren't called in during early season. Really, early season and late season bucks are two different animals. They just look the same. Both exciting to hunt and require different skill sets, and I can't say which is "better". Same with muleys to elk. But I get how one thing can really trip a trigger. Sheep guys. Whitetail guys. Turkey guys. Carp guys .