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Joined: 11/14/2007
Posts: 20
Colorado Mule Deer

Hello Guys

I am looking at a Colorado Mule Deer rifle hunt this year. I am hunting horns, like everyone else I am sure, but looking for advice on what areas to apply for. I live in Arizona and have hunted New Mexico all of my life as that is where I grew up. Hunting mule deer is not new but Colorado is. I have a list of of questions that I am sure you guys can help with.

1. What units to apply for
2. What hunts in those units
3. Ability of acquire landowner tags, if so what units
4. I have three people, can we all apply together on one application
5. Outfitters, if I have to use one, any suggestions. I would prefer a self guided hunt if possible but your input is required.
6. If you were going to apply would you suggest another state as well, Utah, Wyoming. All experience is greatly appreciated.

I am realistic about the chances of getting drawn in Colorado and that is why I am interested in the possibility of landowner vouchers.

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exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Colorado Mule Deer

Colorado runs a true preference point system, so the very best areas are impossible to get without drawing. However, Ranching for Wildlife properties have transferable tags ( I think thats how they do it) and there are also private land only tags readily available.
Since you seem willing to go with an outfitter, I'd suggest you take a look at the Colorado Outfitters Association website.
The best units are in the West/central through northest part of the state. However, many big deer come from private land in the eastern plains also.
Since you can't hunt public land on the kind of units you want to hunt, I'd suggest talking to the outfitters first, and try to get onto a large ranch.
If you're willing to hunt public land in the best areas you can hunt without a preference point, I could try to steer you in the right direction. You'll want to hunt the 3rd or 4th season whereever possible.
It's too late for Wyoming or Utah.
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Joined: 11/14/2007
Posts: 20
Colorado Mule Deer

Thanks for the great info. Yes I am willing to hunt public but private land owner tags are preferable. I would like to get around the outfitter if possible. Mostly all they get me is access and a little knowledge of the area if there are mule deer I will find them just need access. So any ideas on how to locate private land tags would be great.

Thanks again.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
Colorado Mule Deer

The DOW has private land tags in every unit. You will not get access to anyplace worth hunting without an outfitter in Western Colorado. That is the whole reason for using the outfitter, most of us know how to hunt, but we don't have access to the great spots. I'm not sure if that tactic has ever worked for you, and if it does, I'd like to hear how you go about it.
You still must apply for the private land tags, but it's almost gauranteed in most places. Many of the really good ranches are involved in the Ranching for Wildlife Program.

elkkill06's picture
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Location: Fruita Colorado
Joined: 02/02/2009
Posts: 1946
Colorado Mule Deer

The private land tags are usually only for the private land. If you pick up a voucher tag you can hunt anywhere in the unit. I feel the muledeer have come back when it comes to the older, bigger bucks. Almost all the units on the Western Slope have been pruducing great bucks. I think almost anywhere in Colorado you have a great chance a taking a great buck. Even in the heavily hit units,with snow, there were good bucks taken in 2008. How many preference points do you guys have? What type of country do you like to hunt?

HeavyC's picture
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Location: Greeley, CO
Joined: 07/19/2008
Posts: 635
Colorado Mule Deer

Well, you have the right mindset though, you really need to look at all options to improve your chances and sometimes it is a great benefit if you have to pay a little extra for a license. However, not for me...though I am not really a horn hunter but a carnivore! Yes Kinda like that guy on Easton Bowhunting TV, who always shoots the first things that he comes across! Evil! When doing a combined hunt, I also shoot the first thing I see, and then look to be a little more selective on the other species be it either deer or elk, but I am digressing and need to quit...

I would strongly suggest paying close attention to a couple of things in order to improve your chances for a wall hanger:

* First, learn the these fricken draw systems! I only hunt big game in Colorado and still screw something up every year and start freaking out about it, I have no idea how these guys do it for 15-20 years, that is crazy! ...I always worry I will be the next guy we read about who made a mistake on their draw and wasted 15PP on a GMU that only takes say 4-6! OUCH! I just might quit and not bother trying for another 15 years! Heck, I do not try and bank them now... Statistics are available on the DOW website, but they do take time to disect! I for one wish they did not come in Adobe as I only have a cheap version and cannot grab text!! I would surely like to throw the data into Excel myself and just keep track of things if nothing else! The numbers always seems off to me too and I get frustrated even trying to interprit it all! (i.e... if I truly was readin it right...I think I was looking at the statistics before the season last year and saw that a place like "Three Forks Ranch" on avg needed something like 4-7 points for either deer or elk not sure which one was which, but then after the draw I was looking at the results and it was something like 13-16PP that it actually took to draw!) I give up, I think I am getting a good grasp on the public land thing and I am going to stick with it. You can play around though, and go to different places each year and hunt for trophies, you just have to do it carefully. A downfall is that you do not 'get to' hunt the same area every year and as a non-resident probably not too familiar with the area, you do not get a chance to learn an area like you really need to in order to consistantly give yourself chances at big bucks. Which is my passion, though not my obsession! The understanding of how to play the system leads me to my next suggestion, which I myself have been avoiding as I am as stubborn as they come and fighting w/ my inner demons to just do it by myself.... Laugh

* Next would be; if you are not already, subscribe to Eastman's magazines! Not pitching them, as I myself do not even have a subscription, but I have talked with them as much as possible when they are around, I have also looked at my buddies versions of the MRS sections and they really do a great job of analyzing the statistics for you! ...and for pretty much every state. After talking to the guys on several occasions and reading one of Dave Long's books, I think they are amazing. They share a lot of great suggestions on how to get it done, w/o giving it all away as they hold you accountable to go and do your part! WORK HARD! Dave Long is a legend on big muleys and he does it all year long, every year and mostly on public land by playing with the system! Most of the things they talk about have been successful for me too. cool

Guess it means that if you truly want to improve your chances of trophy class muleys, they and I suggest:

* Go HIGH regardless of the season! Practically as high as you can!
* Always work down from higher ground and not up hill!
* Never, ever walk across the open areas in middle of a valley no matter
size, you WILL clear everything out for miles around and they will not
come back for at least several days!

Good luck! Big smile

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