One of my friends once met the famous bow hunter Chuck Adams at a Cabelas book signing. And he asked him what he thought the most difficult big game animal to hunt on the planet was. Chuck said “trophy mule deer”. Having hunted mule deer since I was 15 years old I can 100% agree with that statement. And Chuck Adams being famous for killing some of the biggest trophy animals on the planet is definitely an expert on hunting big game. Any tips that can be given on hunting trophy mule are always welcome. I always love to hear new tips from anyone who has hunted mule deer before.
1. Hike hard and high: If you live in the Rockies chances are the trophy mule deer you’re hunting are going to be in the highest, nastiest places they can find. And that usually means having to hike hard and high. This also means being in good shape to get to those areas. If you’re not in good shape then forget about finding a trophy mule deer, unless you happen to get lucky and stumble across one.
2. Get good with optics: Spotting trophy mule deer can be a challenge in itself. During the hunting season mule deer change color to a shade of gray which helps them blend in great with their environment. I know I’ve passed over plenty of big bucks because I wasn’t patient and didn’t glass thoroughly. When you’re glassing for a bedded buck which is never easy anyway try looking for antlers or the outline of their bodies and this will help.
3. Learn their patterns: Mule deer, like elk and humans are habitual animals. They like the same canyons, watering holes, peaks, bedding areas and other places they generally hang out at. If you can find out where those trophy mule deer hang out at and their patterns then you’ll definitely have an advantage over them.
4. Find the off beaten path areas: If there’s a crowd of hunters and the mountain looks like there are a bunch of orange pumpkins running around on it then be rest assured that there won’t be too many trophy bucks hanging around that area. It’s best to try and find those spots that very few and if possible no one else hunts. Big bucks are reclusive and hang out where people aren’t.
5. When in their area always be ready: When you’re sneaking through their backyard you always have to be ready to take aim and fire in a split second. Trophy bucks never stick around to smell the roses. When they hear you or catch wind of you they’re off like a race horse out of the gates. And seldom do they turn around and look to see what’s chasing them unlike what the younger bucks are famous for.
I hope these tips help you with your mule deer hunt this year.
Be safe and good hunting my friends.