Mathews Inc.
Finding Dessert Deer
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
ChasingFAHL 26-May-20
RK 26-May-20
Buffalo1 26-May-20
ChasingFAHL 26-May-20
Treeline 26-May-20
ChasingFAHL 26-May-20
Ermine 26-May-20
BOHNTR 26-May-20
Fuzzy 27-May-20
Treeline 27-May-20
Jaquomo 27-May-20
LKH 27-May-20
Treeline 27-May-20
ChasingFAHL 27-May-20
Drnaln 27-May-20
Jaquomo 27-May-20
BTM 27-May-20
Treeline 27-May-20
Yellowjacket 27-May-20
Jaquomo 27-May-20
Treeline 27-May-20
Whocares 28-May-20
pirogue 29-May-20
Jaquomo 29-May-20
Fuzzy 29-May-20
From: ChasingFAHL
26-May-20
Hey All! Im a whitetail hunter who really wants a decent mule deer. I hunted a unit last year and we found a TON of deer in the desert portion of the unit. The one morning we seen 160 does and 1 spike. We hunted several days seeing 40-60 does and no bucks. We ended up happening into a buck eventually for my dad to fill his tag and I found one in the mountains. Im hoping to get the tag again and trying to figure out how to hunt these desert deer. We were there October 1 and have a tough time beliveing that the ratio is that far out of whack. Any thoughts or insights would be appreciated!

From: RK
26-May-20
Jeff. What unit. What state What menu?

From: Buffalo1
26-May-20
Are you hunting for dessert deer or desert deer? Sorry, I could not resist.

From: ChasingFAHL
26-May-20
wow. whoops. i messed that title up haha Not sure how to change it either...

From: Treeline
26-May-20
Some big differences in where mule deer hang out in the desert across different states.

Generally, October is a very tough time to find a decent mule deer buck anywhere.

August to mid-September for bucks in velvet or late November through December in the rut are typically better times to find bucks across most mule deer “desert” country.

December-January is good down in the real desert on the New Mexico- Arizona/Mexico border. Still prefer the early season down there but you have to deal with a lot more snakes...

From: ChasingFAHL
26-May-20
This is a unit within Wyoming and the tag is only good for a couple weeks. We seen plenty of hunters shooting some good bucks but we struggled to turn up much. This was my 2nd mule deer hunt which is vastly different from the way I hunt whitetails. We walked from high spot to high spot and glassed. Deer were everywhere but we only seen 4 bucks in a week of hunting. None of which were anything to write home about.

From: Ermine
26-May-20
At that time of the year the mature bucks are hidden. Like Tavis said around that time it can be very hard to even find a buck in a lot of places. Come end of November mature bucks will show up out of thin air.

From: BOHNTR
26-May-20
Desert mule deer in WY?

From: Fuzzy
27-May-20
sweet clover food plot

From: Treeline
27-May-20
Wyoming sagebrush country is kind of desert. Quite a bit different than Southern Arizona though!

October is the toughest time of the year to find a good buck. The mature bucks tend to go nocturnal and brush up tight during the day at that time of year. Any additional pressure from vehicles or people tromping around and they will go invisible.

Bucks will be scattered and break off into singles or maybe doubles that time of year.

Good glass is key to finding them. A set of 15’s or even 10’s on a tripod and spend a lot of time standing/sitting behind the glass. Figure on spending 10+ hours a day glassing. Top end glass will allow you to stay at it much longer than the lower end stuff. A spotting scope to confirm and judge what you find in the binos.

Look for them in the roughest, most out of the way places that you can find. Look hard in any patches of taller brush, aspen pockets or along rimrocks.

Don’t skyline or bust into an area to glass like a bull in a china closet. Don’t be yakking! They can year you whisper over a miles away on a calm morning. Sneak in and use cover all the time. Figure on finding a bedded buck at least 1/2 mile away with only an antler tip showing in a sage bush. That good glass can help you find bucks 2 miles or more away. Be ready to have a buck blow up at your feet.

You might catch a mature buck up early in the morning but stay after it all day long. You should be looking for an antler tip sticking up In the brush from a bedded buck.

The locals have a lot more experience and time hunting those areas year after year. They also can run out morning and evening and scout or hunt through September so they have a HUGE head start on you coming in from out of state.

Although it can be hot, early September archery hunting is usually a lot better for seeing more bucks.

Good luck!

From: Jaquomo
27-May-20
Tavis is right on. One thing I would add - when you are glassing, get away from where others might be able to glass and glass "backward". That is, back toward where others might be glassing from. Mature bucks don't get old by getting killed. They hide in spots where they aren't seen, and usually have an escape route where they can bail when hunters come from the obvious direction.

On my one and only rifle muley hunt in WY I experienced what you described for 8 days. Then I started glassing backwards and found a huge gnarly old nontypical bedded in a "bathtub" under a tree on an open hillside less than 1/4 mile from my camp. Truck after truck of glassing road hunters had passed by and couldn't see him lying there a couple hundred yards off the road.

Three truckloads of guys watched me belly crawl across the sagebrush to within about 70 yards of the buck, where I shot him in his bed. They never saw the deer.

I've killed some really big bucks with a bow, but I count this rifle buck among my most treasured hunting accomplishments.

From: LKH
27-May-20
Reread Tavis. When I first started working for a fellow in WY I learned the hard way how good those ears are.

Make every effort to sneak up on your glassing spots. Crawl the last bit if you need to.

From: Treeline
27-May-20
Lou makes an excellent point above.

There are tons of roads in that Wyoming sagebrush country and every ridge top has a two track running down it to the “best glassing spots”. Those bucks grew up seeing hunters drive out on those ridges and will bed right under the edges where they can’t be seen from above.

A big mature mule deer buck can live through a lot of hunting seasons by bedding on a ridge with a road on top and several miles to any roads in the bottom where they can be easily seen.

Have seen that over and over again up there.

Get out and walk with your pack and glass up to the ridges.

From: ChasingFAHL
27-May-20
Thanks everyone! A few great ideas in here!

From: Drnaln
27-May-20
Glass all day. Bucks move as they lose their shade. Remember what other bucks are with your target animal. Lots of times a smaller buck will expose himself & the big guy is right there close. I keep a small tablet with me to jot down which bucks are together.

From: Jaquomo
27-May-20
Drnalin, good advice, but I'm not sure that's true in October. At least it isn't where I am in NoCo/southern Wyo. By that time, they are pretty solitary and almost totally nocturnal. And in the cold they like the sun.

From: BTM
27-May-20

BTM's embedded Photo
BTM's embedded Photo
Here's your dessert (wedding cake) deer. Ooops! It's a whitetail.

From: Treeline
27-May-20
What deer?

Lou, you see a deer?

I see a very nice pair there...

From: Yellowjacket
27-May-20
What a rack!

From: Jaquomo
27-May-20
He has droopy ears...

From: Treeline
27-May-20
Who?

She looks pretty perky to me!

From: Whocares
28-May-20
You guys! The cake impressed me!

From: pirogue
29-May-20
Sagebrush does not mean desert.

From: Jaquomo
29-May-20
The OP referenced the high desert in Wyoming in his questions. Which is sagebrush country.

From: Fuzzy
29-May-20
I likea da cake!

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