A. Go back to bed. The weather is too hot and the deer won't be moving, anyway.
B. Hunt a stand in a known shady bedding area.
C. Glass the properties early to locate a good buck, wait for him to bed, then devise a plan to put a stalk on him.
D. Hunt a stand over a watering hole.
Answers and new questions will be updated daily. Thanks for playing.
Stalking is NOT “work”; 70° is not “hot & sweaty” weather. And putting the sneak on an animal when you know where it is.... that’s pure hunting right there.
I HATE sitting on stand. I do it sometimes when filling the freezer is top priority, but jeeze Louise... I normally spend about 50 hours a week parked on the seat of my pants, and another 10 driving my commute. And SITTING is the absolute LAST thing I wanna do in the minuscule amount of Me Time that I get every year....
Sign me up, Matt! I think I’m gonna like this one WAY better than Pat’s...
Followed by E. Go KILL him!
My every day mule deer hunting plan.
Keep it simple.
Sit in the stand and rest up that guest coming in late evening will show you appreciation for your decision.
Obviously, you should never skip an opportunity to hunt during the rut, and going back to bed would be pointless after having coffee. Generally speaking , you should never hunt bedding areas, instead leave those areas as sanctuaries where the deer feel comfortable, so they stick around. I gave a partial score of 3 points for answer C, since spot and stalk is always an option. But, the dry, hot, calm weather would make stalking difficult, and the older bucks are always with does during the rut, which makes getting within bow range nearly impossible. Hunting over a watering hole is the best option, since the bucks are dogging does relentlessly, combined with the hot weather, they will need water at some point.
Stay tuned for Question #2
Here’s the setup. It’s a tree stand overlooking a watering hole on your neighbor’s property. It’s located only 30 yards from the landowner’s 2-mile long driveway into his ranch house. It’s a mile hike to the stand from your back door. It’s 1 hour before sun up, the skies are clear, stars are out, and there’s no wind. Should you …….
A) Leave now , under the cover of darkness using your headlamp, hike to the stand, climb up and get settled in well before shooting light.
B) Ride your e-bike to the stand using the landowner’s driveway.
C) Heat up a bagel, have another cup of coffee, visit the “reading room”, then hike to the stand with enough light to insure you don’t spook any deer getting in.
D) Fire up your pickup and drive to your stand, parking a short distance away, since the deer are used to trucks going back and forth thru the property.
Plains muleys are used to pickups and will stand and watch one drive past as long as it doesn't stop. Parked pickups don't bother them in the least.
Otherwise I’d hike in. Answer A. It’s a 20 min walk for a mile. Turn off headlamp.....you’re on a driveway. Would be set up half hour before sun up. And ready to kill.
Problem with hiking in is that you could scare everything along the way and in the open plains country where this hunt is taking place, they can see a loooong distance. You could scare the entire herd into the next county. Driving, not.
Didn't think this was a the real deal and Matt was just pulling Pat's d!ck, so I didn't answer question 1.
Keep in mind, Lou hunts further east of me in much more open and barren country on the plains, so his methods may vary from mine.
This is definitely a real hunt from last year, and I'm not manipulating the story to support my decisions.
Don't know squat about mulies, but with whitetails vary the approach so they don't pattern you and eventually you will punch a tag.
Back out, come back in the morning, deer will be dead in the thicket within 100 yds
AMSWER #2 - The correct answer is C.
It’s peak rut. Deer could be anywhere between your house and the stand. Quietly stalking your stand with enough light to see deer before spooking them is the logical choice. It could also result in a possible close encounter on the way to your stand. Besides, it’s always a good idea to put a little food in your belly after coffee, and rid your system of last night’s food before heading to your stand. Riding any type of vehicle to your stand is not a good idea. These are private ranches with metal cattle gates that can be heard opening and closing from miles away on a calm morning. While it’s true that most plains mule deer aren’t bothered by trucks as long as they are moving, if you stop and park, the deer are immediately alerted and will avoid the area. I gave a partial score of 3 for hiking in before daylight, but there’s really no point in risking spooking deer in the dark, just to sit in your stand for 45 minutes waiting for shooting light.
Question #3 shortly.
You successfully get to your stand without spooking any deer. There is still no wind, and none forecasted. What should your next move be?
A) Immediately crawl up into your stand and get ready.
B) Carefully glass the immediate area to make sure there are no deer within sight, then crawl up into your stand.
C) Confirm there are no deer within sight, set off a Buck Bomb at the base of your tree stand, then crawl up into your stand.
D) Do a short rattling session from the ground, then quickly climb into your stand and get ready.
To the previous question, I've found that plains muleys aren't spooked by a vehicle stopping as long as they cant see it stop. Depending upon where I'm hunting, I can often drive to within a few hundred yards of my natural ground blinds in full view of the deer, parking in a ditch, behind a rise, or other feature.
If you've already stalked to your stand it should be clear to climb up.
I’m not trying to be a d!ck but in 40 years of bowhunting, I honestly never remember checking the weather and seeing “no wind” forecasted. Light/Variable maybe, but that usually never lasts a whole day. So that clue is a head scratcher. From the photo posted, the country doesn’t look flat, and with the warm temps forecasted, I’d at least expect rising thermals through the am, so I’d certainly be set up in bow range on the uphill side of wherever I expect the deer to be coming into the water, regardless of where the stand is. So, I’d use my wind check powder the verify the wind direction (again I’ve never seen the powder just drop to the ground), and if it’s variable I’d be uphill, if that’s where the stand is I’d climb in, if not, I’d brush in somewhere if possible. If there were no good spots to brush in, I’d back off uphill and glass, then go from there if a good buck showed up. I didn’t see this option so I guess I get a zero!
And Fubar, you make a good point about Pat. The real problem with this game is we will never know the right answers unless he plays.
The e-bike answer was thrown in for entertainment value. I didn't own an e-bike until a month ago. Even if I had one for this hunt, I wouldn't have used it. Despite the advertising claims, e-bikes are not as quiet as walking on loose gravel roads. And there's also the problem of 3 cattle gates between my house and the stand, which are extremely noisy. The option of a short 1 mile sneak thru timber, versus a 3-mile e-bike ride thru multiple gates on noisy gravel roads is a no-brainer for me.
You make a good point about thermals, that's why my stand is located on the uphill side of the watering hole.
Always scan the immediate area before climbing into a stand. There’s nothing worse than getting busted when you are half way up the tree. But I didn't choose B, I chose option C. I have a box full of Buck Bombs that I had never tried, so I said WTH. The bomb’s hissing sound was lot louder than I was expecting, and I also took an indirect hit to the side of my face from the spray. I nearly gagged. Rattling during the peak of the rut is mostly pointless. The older bucks have already established their pecking orders and are usually over their fighting stage. Occasionally you’ll see a full-on brawl at this point in the rut, but it’s not too common with Mule deer.
Question #4 in a few.
You've settled into your stand with the aroma of deer piss still reeking on you, and in the air, when you get your first nicotine craving of the morning. It's still early, and you don't expect deer to show up at the watering hole until later in the morning when the temps get real hot. What should you do?
A) Leave the cigarettes in your pocket, man up, and get over your disgusting nicotine habit.
B) What for 15 minutes and hope the craving goes away.
C) Go ahead and fire up a smoke, if it makes your sit more enjoyable. Nothing could overpower the piss smell, anyway, and the deer won't be there for a few more hours.
D) Have a dip instead, because deer love the smell of Cope Wintergreen Long cut.
If it makes a difference in seeing a deer or not you may never even know.
Hunting should above all be fun and smoking may make it more fun for you.
Taking any of this too seriously is silly
I've gotten grief from purists who believe muley hunting should only be spot-stalk, because I call and use decoys. I hunt for fun, and calling with decoys makes it more fun for me. Hunt how you want.
You're a smart man. The whole point of this is to demonstrate there are no absolute correct answers when it comes to hunting, unlike what some people seem to believe.
You should quit a nicotine habit, not because it may improve your hunting, instead because it may improve your health and happiness for the rest of your life. I gave a partial score of 3 points for answer D. Back when I dipped, deer routinely came in and licked branches that I had been spitting on below my stand. But I didn't do either of those. I chose answer C, because that first smoke of the morning is always so nice, especially while watching a gorgeous Colorado sun rise from a treestand.
You're enjoying your smoke, and thinking about your empty freezer and all the bucks you've passed on to this point in the season, when you hear rustling in the bushes directly behind your stand. You turn to see a doe at 30 yards heading right to your tree at a quick pace, with a respectable 4x4 buck in tow. What should you do?
A) Quickly put out your cigarette and get ready to shoot.
B) Forget about the cigarette and get ready to shoot.
C) Pass on shooting the buck, because he's not one of the monsters that you've seen in the area.
D) Shoot the doe. You have an either sex tag, and she'll be better eating anyway.
That's my choice
Our guest will be with us for the next 7 days, and our plans don't include any hunting time for me. There's a 2 week long late rifle season starting on Dec 1st. My next opportunity to hunt will be Dec. 15-31.
What I did was option B. I was tired of horn hunting and eating tag soup over the last few seasons. I've never had much luck in the last leg of the season, after the rifles hunters have blasted the crap out of them. And I don't shoot does in my area because I'd like to see the herd grow in population. I was ready for some venison, and I was going to kill this buck if he gave me the shot. I forgot all about the cigarette in my mouth.
There will be blood, I promise.
You carefully grab your bow and get your release clipped on to your loop. The doe is now directly under your stand, still walking quickly, with the buck just a few feet behind her. You're committed to killing this buck, if you can. What should you do?
A) Wait until the buck is directly under you, then draw your bow and wait for a shot opportunity.
B) Wait for the doe and buck to get out in front of you 10-20 yards, draw your bow, and stop him with a soft doe bleat.
C) Wait for the buck to water, then draw and shoot him while he's drinking.
D) Realize you still have the damn cigarette hanging in your mouth and quickly spit it out.
No guarantee he won't water facing away, then walk straight away.
At the pace the deer were moving, they didn't look like animals that were going to stop for a leisurely drink, to me. Spitting the cigarette out never crossed my mind. Besides, the spitting sound could have alerted the deer, or the cig could have landed in my lap and burnt a hole in my brand new First Lite pants. I gave a partial score of 3 points for B. But, stopping deer that are moving quickly straight away from me didn't seem right either. I chose A. I got to full draw when the buck was directly under me, then I tracked the buck with my pin and waited for a shot.
Only 2 questions left, so far I'm the only one to get all the answers correctly. ;-)
About the time you start thinking the desperation doe bleat might be necessary, both deer stop, and the buck presents a perfect 5 yard slightly quartering away shot. You take the chip shot. It looked and felt perfect. Both deer bound away. You can see your blood soaked arrow sticking in the ground, as well as your still lit cigarette below your stand, after it was ripped from your mouth by your bow string. What should you do?
A) Wait 30 minutes, while watching your cigarette closely to make sure it doesn't start a forrest fire.
B) Text the classic "BBD, BABY!!" message to your 2 closest hunting buddies.
C) Immediately climb down and put the damn cigarette out, you big dummy. Then wait 30 minutes before tracking.
D) Climb down, put the cigarette out, and go retrieve your deer. He won't be far.
The buck only bounded 15 yards, stopped, looked around as if wondering "WTF just happened?" Then he toppled over dead. The pic above was taken seconds after he piled up. Can you see him? Obviously, the cigarette was a priority, so I climbed down and smoked the rest of it as I walked up to my buck.
Your buck is down. The weather is heating up quickly. You're a mile away from your home and your truck. What should you do?
A) Gut the deer, drag him to a shady spot, then go get your pickup.
B) Do the gutless quartering method, then pack him out as quickly as you can.
C) Walk to the rancher's house and borrow his pickup.
D) Have another smoke and reflect on a perfectly executed hunt.
There's no hurry. The deer has been dead for less than 2 minutes. Thank the hunting Gods for their blessings, and vow to earn their blessings for many more years, by quitting your stupid nicotine habit. I gave a partial credit of 3 points for C. But, the landowner/rancher is in his 80s, and I didn't want to bother him. I gutted the deer, drug him to shade, went back for my truck, and had him skinned, halved, and to my trusted processor by noon.
Thanks for playing.
Congratulations on a great buck and good luck kicking the habit!