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Mule deer Private vs Public Diy hunt
Long story short after a long nasty custody battle and divorce I'm finally in a position to start enjoying life again.
Made myself a promise once my divorce was over I'd do one bucket list hunt a year , NO EXCUSES.
Over the past year when my ex made me mad instead of doing something stupid or running my mouth. I wrote down a animal or hunt that I really wanted to pursue. Let's just say the list is long.
Printed out the list last night , cut out the hunts individually , folded and put then into a fish bowl. Let my son draw one this morning and for 2020 its Mule deer.
As someone with no points and hunting experience is strictly treestand whitetails. Would a guided hunt be a better option than even attempting a diy ?
-Realistically I would only have 10-14 days to do this hunt , travel from NC included. - Opportunity for P&Y would be nice - budget 8k max
Go to Canada with a Bowsite Sponsor and hunt for a giant! Best of luck!
Western North Dakota or Eastern Montana DIY for plentiful chances at 145-160 inch mule deer. Normally, you'll need several opportunities to seal the deal. And there's always the dream for something bigger to wander by. No need to pay for this hunt as there's plenty of public land and probably a few landowners that will turn you loose if you ask.
Depends on the kind of hunt you want and your expectations. I like DIY, public land but if seeing lots of deer with a good chance of killing a big buck were paramount, I'd go guided. Probably eastern Colorado or Alberta Canada.
With $8k you can get a helluva hunt.....is that for you and your son or just you?
with an 8k budget I am going to Alberta or getting my feet in some primo private Colorado ground and holding out for 180 plus. However you said you be happy with a 145 plus buck...in that case I wouldnt spend a dime and I go would on my own. I haven't been to many places thats I couldn't stumble on a 150-160 mule deer. Put the cash towards another hunt that you cant do on your own.
I’d go on my own, save the money. With a little research you’ll find a decent deer. I hope your hunt is great !
DIY all the way. P&Y mulies aren't that hard to find, and the satisfaction of doing it yourself is so much greater, even if you don't score, IMO.
X2 what Nick said! I never really was intrigued by mule deer but a friend wanted to go to Alberta. So I we went with Mike’s Outfitting and it was definitely the right decision. Now I in the point game planning a DIY.
8k budget is everything included flights, food , travel expenses and tips .
I agree with Grey Ghost, DIY all the way. Find a state with lots of public land, and maybe get some advice from bowsite folks from that state. Maybe you don't kill one, but the satisfaction comes from doing it yourself.
I'd strongly suggest Alberta.
Depends, you can kill a good buck either way. With 10 days Alberta guided would be the way to go if you like that type of hunt. I have hunted whitetail a couple times with an outfitter. Killed a 183 gross NT with one. It was not what I had expected, no effort on my part other than to make the shot. I want to work for my animals. Shawn
It's cool that you asked but the answer is really simple.
You have been through a lot You are on the good side now
Go do the hunt that YOU think you will have the the most fun with
If it was me there would be no issue at all. GUIDED. have fun relax and kill a big deer. You have lots of time to think through and plan other hunts. This one is to go and enjoy being free!!
Another vote for Alberta and Mike’s Outfitting. He has some real gaggers up there. Spot and stalk too.
I'd think for $8K you could do a two-fer.....a muley and elk hunt combo. You could apply for a Montana NR big game combo tag and go DIY.
Shawn was that a bow kill or gun?
Looks like you should give this a call
For the short notice you have specified (2020) your best option is probably an eastern plains Colorado private land outfitted hunt during the rut. You will see a ton of rutting bucks and have plenty of stalks. Alberta is known for greatness but might be a couple or three years wait in line with the better outfitters.
There's also Arizona if you don't need a monster buck.....bowsite sponsor Steven Ward or Wards Outfitters could probably set you up. He also has great Mexico hunts, but you might have to expand the budget slightly.
Agree, Canada or Colorado would be my choice. Don’t sleep on the pan handle area of Texas either.
It surprises me how many of you think eastern Colorado is still a destination hot spot for big mule deer. That was true 2 decades ago, when it was relatively unknown, but it has changed significantly since then.
Times getting short to plan a diy trip
Genesis it was bow, don't gun hunt out of state and rarely in my home state. I do like the post about western ND and that would be the way I would give it a go but I would want at least 15-18 days of actual hunt time. Shawn
Ive done both guided and DIY. The guided hunt was with a rifle and so were several of the DIY hunts. I had way more fun on my 1 DIY bowhunt. That said with that budget, you could easily do a great guided hunt. And as many here have said, Mikes Outfitting is the place to go. I hunted moose last fall while 4 others were pursing velvet mule deer, Shot 2 180s, a 155 and hit/lost another good buck while I was there. 100% opportunity. I am heading up there this fall to do a rifle hunt with my dad in November (hes not a bowhunter and its his dream to chase a giant). Someday I will do the velvet mule deer hunt.
Now all that said, A DIY hunt will be MUCH cheaper, Look at your list and see what you can do on your own and what will take a guide. If you have sheep or moose on that list, Start saving for those and do your diy hunts now.
I could be wrong but from the original post it looks like he wants a two person hunt for mule deer and $8000 is his max budget. I’m not sure some of these suggestions fit the bill.
Out of all the animals I have tagged, my public land DIY general season archery mule deer is the trophy I stop and look at the most. Even more so than any of the 6 elk taken over the last 7 years. It’s not even close due to the effort put forth.
Research Eastern Colorado Mule Deer hunts, great opportunity for a big buck.
"Research Eastern Colorado Mule Deer hunts, great opportunity for a big buck."
Really? What recent personal experience do you base that on?
Appreciate all of the input. I will say I my biggest concern is time restraints with a diy.
I'm a traveling pipefitter/welder. My work requires alot of extended stay travel out of state. I might be in texas or New York the days leading up to my hunt. Staying in a hotel might be my only option on a diy hunt.
Look into the Texas Panhandle or west Texas. You could do your mule deer and add something like javelina or perhaps aoudad well within your budget. Use the left over cash to fund your PP til you can draw a nice DIY tag somewhere, or go on a drop camp elk hunt the next year.
With zero points in any western state I would definitely go guided...Chances of shooting anything over 145 inches on a zero point unit or over the counter state are slim. Go with a good guide and yes I would look into Alberta. Then start playing the point game and plan a DIY
The OTC AZ late season bow tags and a good outfitter (I've been with Big Chino a few times). You'll see a ton of P&Y bucks and a couple of 180 plus type animals. Pick up a Javi tag and you'll have a great hunt around xmas thru new year timing (edit- you might be able to secure a chance to hunt velvet bucks in the early season and then if unsuccessful go back during the late....you'd have to research the licensing as I've been out of the game for a bit...)
Another option is to pay an access fee, which is really the best way to do it I think. I have several friends have done really well in Nebraska and South Dakota doing this
Do the one where your son can go...
Son is 3 . He will be joining me this fall in a few blinds I specifically set up for him. Also have set aside certain hunts for him to join me Africa, guided elk, and Alaskan moose. At what age can I start putting him in for pp ?
I really appreciate the PM's and input from everyone.
Now if someone can make a 3 year old understand why his arrows bounce off the deer target, I'll gladly buy a case of any beverage you choose.
He keeps telling me his bow is broken lol
Good job surviving your divorce. My first marriage ended after a year-long tour in Mosul. The divorce was worse (I hadn't fell out of love) - and I was wounded in Iraq! Given your circumstances, I would seek a guided hunt if your monetary limits allowed it. In any other circumstance, I would DIY western South Dakota where I have observed some great mule deer. Best of luck.
You should look at J and D Outfitters for the eastern plains of Colorado. They have some really good deer and lots of leases. I don't know their rates, but it's worth checking into.
"Really? What recent personal experience do you base that on?" Matt Teter (Grey Ghost), I base that on some of the big bucks that I've been measuring the last 24yrs for hunters and Outfitters that come from Eastern Colorado. It's no secret Matt, anyone can find the information via record books, web postings, etc.
And some of the biggest bucks in the last 6yrs, most of this land is leased and you would have to go through the outfitter to get to these big bucks. Dennis-
I had a wonderful hunt with Hidden Valley Outfitters in eastern Montana. I killed a 167 velvet buck and had stalk opportunities every single day with multiple opportunities a couple days. I’d highly recommend that hunt as it was one of my foundest memories. You would be significantly under your budget.
Another one is Full Draw Outfitters, Fred & Michelle Eickler, they cater to bowhunters and are reasonably priced.
Cant thank you all enough for the help.
Contact us here at Ward's Outfitters. We specialize in archery hunting. Go check out our Outfitter reviews on Bowsite. I promise you will have a great hunt.
Having experience your situation a "couple" times & having done several Mule Deer bowhunts I'm voting DIY, Public. I managed 13 Mulies. No biggies but I was never into horn hunting. I've also done a couple private land, unguided with no better results. Out West public land is still an awesome trip & plenty of room for everyone. SAVE your cash for a Newfoundland Moose/Bear combo for under 8K. New Mexico is where I've seen my biggest Mule Deer (public land too). Colorado I've always seen the most numbers. Put this in your bowl, Alaska Dalton Hwy (bowhunting only on both sides). I've been blessed to bowhunt 15 states, DIY, Public & never disappointed. Favorite Whitetail states (Wisconsin, Ill., Ia) Favorite Mule Deer (Colorado, New Mexico). Good luck in whatever you decide. I was single TWENTY years after my 2nd D & now married almost 22 to a great gal.