Mule Deer Hunting: Tips for a Successful Hunt

If you want to hunt mule deer, there are some things you need to know. This article will show you how to hunt mule deer successfully. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hunter, read on for some helpful advice!

Scouting Is the Foundation for Your Hunt

If you want to find good places to hunt, you need to scout beforehand. When you get there, it will give you more time to look for good spots, hike, and glass. You’ll also be able to stay mentally focused instead of just sitting in your truck and trying to figure things out.

Preparation is very important if you want to hunt deer. Knowing where to find the deer and what it’s doing is helpful. Deer you can see during the summer months are usually in the same area during the hunt. Mule deer might not always do the same thing, but they typically stay in areas like drainages, basins, and other places they like. If you see a deer do something twice, there is a good chance you will get him on the 3rd try.

Tips for Glassing Mule Deer

To find mule deer, look for an excellent spot to see them and then find some shade. Mule deer usually like to be in the shade, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look for them elsewhere.

When choosing when and where to glass, think about where the mule deer live. The place where they live will tell you when they usually bed down and wake up. Deer who primarily live on slopes that face east go to bed earlier than deer on slopes that face west. The opposite is true when they wake up in the morning.

Do not look for deer that are red. If you are used to looking for deer in the summer, you will miss the trophy deer starting to change into winter coats.

Be in your hiding spot before the sun comes up. It will help you stay hidden and also give you time to rest before you start looking for a big deer.

Many hunters only hunt or drink in the early mornings or nights, so you should be prepared to glass all day. Deer move throughout the day, often altering their bedding as the light changes. And in the evening, drink till it becomes impossible to see. You will comprehend and value “emerging out of the woodwork.”

Making the Stalk

It is essential to read on even if you are hunting with a rifle or muzzleloader. Some deadly tactics can be used when hunting with a gun.

If you are rifle hunting, getting within 200 yards of the deer you want is not very difficult. It is great news. But for archery hunting, getting within the bow range of the deer can be more difficult.

Find landmarks that you can quickly identify before you start stalking. Memorize the way the terrain looks where the animal is located. It will often look different when you are on the same ridge as the deer than when you were looking at it from a distance. Consider taking a picture with your camera of the landscape so you will have a reference if you lose your bearings.

Keep an eye out for other animals and deer, and always be aware of your surroundings. It is essential when you are near livestock. A feeding mule deer doe can attract bucks, leading to problems if you’re unprepared. Remember, bucks are rarely alone.

Keep an eye on the other side of the hill. If you have help from someone else, one person will stalk towards the deer while the other person stays back and uses hand signals to guide them. It is most helpful when the animal is moving or hiding in a place where everything looks the same—knowing if a buck gets up and moves while you are stalking it. You can’t see it can also be beneficial.

Avoid Mule Deer’s Eyes, Ears, and Nose

You need to go undetected to get a shot at a deer. It means not triggering the deer’s eyes, ears, or nose. It can be challenging to do this, but many hunters are successful every season.

It would be best if you tried to stay unseen when hunting. You can do this by using camouflage patterns that make you look like the environment. Make sure to keep out of sight when possible, and if you have to move, do it very slowly and carefully, so the deer don’t see you.

You can use the terrain to your advantage. If a ridge, bluff, gully, or tree line is nearby, use it to hide from the buck you are trying to find. You can also move quickly without being seen, heard, or smelled if you go out and around. However, if you do not see an opportunity, be willing to return, take another route, or wait for a better chance.

If you want to sneak up on an animal, you should be very quiet. You can take off your boots and walk softly in socks or moccasins. Make sure your pants are soft, like the KUIU Tiburon and Attack Pants. These are hunters’ top picks for stalking.

To be successful at hunting deer, you must be very quiet and use the wind to your advantage. You also must practice a lot, especially if you want to hunt bigger bucks. When you get close, try practicing by drawing your bow back. It will help you feel better about yourself and might show you any flaws.

Watch the Weather and the Moon Stages

If you notice that it will rain in the afternoon, you should go out and try to hunt deer. Deer will come out into the open more when it is cool and cloudy outside. They will also come out to feed when it has been raining.

You should pay attention to the moon phases. There are a lot of online resources and phone apps that can tell you when it is an excellent time to go hunting. But don’t let a bad day stop you from going out. Animals still change their patterns according to the moon but are not entirely gone. During a full moon, you may encounter deer that fed under the moonlight the night before feeding in the open during the day.

In areas with free-range livestock, be aware of what they are doing. The deer will likely be there if the cows are all in the shade.

Employ Whitetail Deer Tactics

Many western hunters have had success hunting deer by using the same tactics as eastern hunters. The time of year that a mule deer ruts depends on where they live. Mule deer aren’t as aggressive as whitetail deer but are curious. If you use a mule deer call or rattling antlers at the right time under the right circumstances, you may attract an interested buck.

Suppose you don’t want to hunt by spotting and stalking the deer. In this case, you can use a treestand or a ground blind near a food or water source or in a place where deer tend to gather.

Off-season Training

One way to become a mule deer expert is to spend time with them in the wild. Some states only allow hunting for a few weeks, which isn’t long enough to become an expert. Your deer season will last longer if you scout before and after the hunt. Watching deer for a long time, you learn more about their habits and tendencies.

Trail cams or game cameras can be a great hobby and tool to help you learn about the habits of mule deer. If you’re hunting in a state that lets you use trail cameras, they can be a great way to extend your hunting season.

If you love hunting for deer, you’ll love hunting for their sheds (the antlers they lose yearly). Shed hunting is an excellent way to challenge your physical ability and sharpen your skills at looking and tracking.

You might also like to learn more about the deer in the hunting unit or zone you want to hunt in. Deer need food, water, and shelter to survive, no matter where they live. You can increase your chances of getting a deer by using tips and tricks specific to your hunting area.

Read more: The Art of Hunting Deer the Old-Fashioned Way

Frequently Asked Questions About Mule Deer Hunting

Where Is the Best Place to Mule Deer Hunt?

Colorado is the most popular destination for people who want to go on a hunt for a mule deer. Colorado is considered the best state for hunting mule deer in the U.S., with the country’s largest population of mule deer. However, getting a tag to hunt a mule deer in Colorado can be tricky since they are only available through a limited draw system.

Can Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer Mate?

Whitetail bucks will breed with mule deer does. The offspring usually have the whitetail features. Mule deer and whitetail bucks will breed. The offspring frequently have whitetail characteristics. Mule deer bucks are more uncommon than whitetail does. So, where the two species share a standard range, the whitetail tends to be more common.

What Is the Lifespan of a Mule Deer?

A mule deer’s lifespan in the wild is between 9 and 11 years; however, when kept as a pet, they can live considerably longer. These deer are 3.0-3.5 feet tall at the shoulder, 4.5-7.0 feet long, and have a 5.0-8.0 inches long tail. They weigh between 130-280 pounds.

What States Have No Deer?

White-tailed deer live in every state in the United States, except for Alaska. They also live in a small part of Utah, Nevada, and California. The mule deer lives mostly in western states. There are different types of each deer.