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What does he score?
Mule Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Oryx35 08-Jan-21
Oryx35 08-Jan-21
Oryx35 08-Jan-21
Oryx35 08-Jan-21
Bowboy 08-Jan-21
JohnMC 08-Jan-21
Drnaln 08-Jan-21
Bowboy 08-Jan-21
LKH 08-Jan-21
BOHNTR 08-Jan-21
Oryx35 08-Jan-21
greg simon 08-Jan-21
LKH 08-Jan-21
GF 08-Jan-21
Chief 419 08-Jan-21
Oryx35 08-Jan-21
Oryx35 08-Jan-21
Hondolane 08-Jan-21
Oryx35 09-Jan-21
Bowboy 09-Jan-21
Oryx35 09-Jan-21
Oryx35 09-Jan-21
GF 10-Jan-21
wildwilderness 10-Jan-21
From: Oryx35
08-Jan-21

Oryx35's embedded Photo
Oryx35's embedded Photo
Edit---now a semi-live hunt!

And should I have released the shot?

I'm on the 5th day of a New Mexico mule deer hunt, in an above average unit. If mule deer tasted as good as elk I'd probably be packing meat right now. However, the freezer isn't critically low, and my wife isn't a huge fan of mule deer meat. So, the goal for a mature mule deer, net P&Y, was set. It's actually a goal I've had for a long time.

I'm thinking this buck is mid 130s, but I'm not great at judging deer. He has solid front forks, but is a 3 +brow tine on one side. With the thinner and lighter rack I'm guessing he's a younger deer.

I want to know what the experts think since I have 4 more days to hunt and may run across him again. I drew and let down twice today. I'm sure that temptation will grow, but you can't shoot the big ones if you shoot the little ones. This buck actually had a larger 5x5 and a smaller 4x4 with him. I just couldn't find the 5x5 when I got down into them. In addition to those bucks, there is a much larger 5x5 in the area. I had him bedded and in range three days ago, but never had a clean shot. He went from bedded to behind a tree in a flash.

From: Oryx35
08-Jan-21

Oryx35's embedded Photo
Another one.
Oryx35's embedded Photo
Another one.
I'm posting from phone. Hopefully the image quality isn't too terrible after they are uploaded. I can zoom in clearly with the originals, but I'm not sure about the bowsite compression. I may need to crop and zoom them and retry.

From: Oryx35
08-Jan-21

Oryx35's embedded Photo
Cropped
Oryx35's embedded Photo
Cropped

From: Oryx35
08-Jan-21

Oryx35's embedded Photo
Cropped
Oryx35's embedded Photo
Cropped

From: Bowboy
08-Jan-21
Nice picture but hard to judge with the brush. Do you have any good side views?

From: JohnMC
08-Jan-21
Looks like 3x4 if so no way on P&Y, even if he is a 4x4 and his right matches his left I don't think he makes P&Y. If that is your goal I would forget about him.

From: Drnaln
08-Jan-21
Let him walk

From: Bowboy
08-Jan-21
After looking at the new pictures. I agreed with JohnMC he won't make P&Y. Good luck!

From: LKH
08-Jan-21
Have a 5x5 plus brows that misses PnY because of the 6-7 inches of stickers. It's a fair bit bigger than yours. I think 130 is a good guess.

From: BOHNTR
08-Jan-21
125”

From: Oryx35
08-Jan-21
Thanks, it's good to hear my gut was right! 4 more days...

From: greg simon
08-Jan-21
Definitely a young deer. Good luck on the rest of your hunt!!!

From: LKH
08-Jan-21
Okay, now that that's done, how about some stalk, etc. stories. It's January and we could use some.

From: GF
08-Jan-21
So I guess you’re not asking if you should have taken that shot or not… good to know...

Yeah, he’s a pup. But like Mel said - “ A dog is a fine meal.“

(I have no idea what a P & Y minimum Muledeer looks like, but even I know that’s not it…)

From: Chief 419
08-Jan-21
He won't make. Move on and find a bigger one.

From: Oryx35
08-Jan-21
Day 1--I went to the far end of the unit. Unfortunately, two other trucks beat me to the trailhead. I spent some time glassing from the trailhead and found the other hunters. They went south, the direction I had most heavily scouted and had intended to go. O well, I turned north. I ended up seeing 11 deer, with the biggest confirmed buck being a medium fork.

From: Oryx35
08-Jan-21
Day 2-- Right at sunset on Day 1 my buddy shot a buck in an adjacent unit. I spent the morning of Day 2 helping him track it. We gave it a good effort, but quickly lost the blood trail. Not my story, but as an aside, he ended up finding the buck alive 2 days later. Based on photos of the exit wound I cannot believe he is alive, but he is. Pretty crazy. He and I both shoot Slick Tricks, but that shot might be a good argument for mechanicals on deer. He is still trying to get another shot in him.

With my hunt cut short, I decided to check a small patch of public that I've been eyeing for years. Within 30 minutes, I found a big 5x5 bedded in an arroyo with a doe. Perfect. I stalked in to 55 yards when he made me. He went from bedded to behind a tree as I made it to full draw. As he exited the other side I couldn't get him stopped before he made it out of range.

In the three hours I was out hunting, someone stole the catalytic converter off my truck. That put a damper on things, but not much I can do about it. It certainly gives me pause parking in certain areas now. Talking to the Toyota dealer and insurance reps, it seems to be occurring more frequently. The insurance rep said it was mostly a California problem prior to 2020. 2020 was a rough year for lots of people. I'm thankful for how well my family has done through the last year.

From: Hondolane
08-Jan-21
125 if your lucky

From: Oryx35
09-Jan-21

Oryx35's embedded Photo
The larger 5x5 is center left.
Oryx35's embedded Photo
The larger 5x5 is center left.
Day 3--I got my truck to the shop and borrowed my father-in-laws old truck to go back to the small chunk of public. After a little hiking and some time behind glass, I found the big 5x5 and hot doe. In addition to the big boy she was now being followed by a smaller 5x5, 5x4, and two 4x4s-- all counting brow tines. It was quite the party. The big 5x5 and 5x4 were both fully rutted up with swollen necks.

I planned an approach out into the rolling pinyon-juniper country. I made it inside 100 yards before something went sideways. I'm still not sure if one of them saw me, or if the wind swirled slightly. They weren't badly spooked, but I did get a snort from one of the smaller bucks as they slowly moved off. Rather than push them, I backed out as I was near the public land boundary.

This is the best photo I got, as I was more focused on trying to kill the deer than take photos.

From: Bowboy
09-Jan-21
That's a pretty nice buck. Hope you get an opportunity.

From: Oryx35
09-Jan-21
Day 4-- Lots of hiking and glassing with only 5 deer spotted. The largest was a small 4x4 from the previous day.

From: Oryx35
09-Jan-21
Day 5 brings us around to the deer at the beginning. I glassed the smaller 5x5, 5x4 at the top, and the smaller 4x4 from the last few days. They were bedded, feeding, and sparring in a rolling pinyon-juniper bottom.

After picking some landmarks, I dropped back over a ridge and worked 90 degrees around them to an adjacent ridge to get better wind and put the sun at my back. Once I was inside 200 yards I dropped my pack and boots for the final stalk. While I was out of sight, I heard them sparring, and lost track of the 5x5.

I made it inside 60 yards of the bedded smaller bucks without relocating the 5x5. They eventually stood to look at me, but didn't spook or move off. Unfortunately, I had family commitments, and had to back out before I was able to relocate the larger buck. With perfect wind, I was able to back out without spooking them. Perhaps I'll be able to find him on Day 6.

From: GF
10-Jan-21
Sounds like you’re chipping away at it…

10-Jan-21
For Mule deer please DO NOT count the eye guards/brow tines when referring to a buck. So you are chasing a nice 4x4 with eye guards is how you would refer. Or you can say a 4pt and we would know what you mean.

To make net P&Y will most likely have to be a 4x4 (not counting brows :)) and probably about as wide as it’s ears and equally tall. Good luck

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