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gatorfan's picture
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How far do you walk in?

I've been reading a lot of posts on this site as well as some others that I belong to, while simultaneously reading Cameron Hanes' Backcountry Bowhunting, and it got me wondering.  How far does the average mule deer hunter honestly walk in to their hunting spot?  Primarily, I hunt in a relatively small archery-only area that is riddled with nature trails, roads, and fire breaks.  In order to get to one of my favorite spots, I usually walk almost a mile to get there.  However this is an extreme for the area and I actually could cut that distance in half if it weren't for not wanting to walk through the area in which I am hoping to see game come from.  Most areas that I hunt require no more than a 30-minute walk and I am usually no more than 1/2 mile or less from a major trail or a road.

How many of you actually travel several miles (5-10+) in order to get to your favorite spots?  Do you stay overnight?  Inquiring mind(s) want to know...

 

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Let's see.... Park, get out

Let's see.... Park, get out of truck, follow fenceline, hop over downed log and through small field, hang a right, climb in tree.  Total about 5 minutes and 150 yards...... Yes

But you know how it is up there........ lol

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In the area I have been

In the area I have been hunting them, Imusually have to walk in around 2 miles before I start to see the bigger bucks.  I am sure if I hunted closer to the rut they may not be that far away from the trails.

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I havent done any back

I havent done any back country hunts yet but I am planning a 10 day back country hunt next season. I primalrily still hunt and in a average 4-5 day hunt that i do i will hike about 35-40 miles in those days. it breaks down to be about 5-6 miles a day. I do try to read my maps and stay atleast 1 mile from roads but sometimes thats not possible in some of the areas i hunt. BTW Back country Bow Hunting by Cameron Hanes is a great book. i think you will enjoy it.

CVC
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I hunted mule deer in WY a

I hunted mule deer in WY a few years back.  Hunters complained that they weren't seeing bucks because they were still high up.  They were hoping for snow to push them down.  In thinking about the hunt, it occurred to me, we should have backpacked up the mountain and camped out, going where the deer were.  I've been thinking about trying that the next time if I can convince one of my hunting buddies to do it with me.  I think, based on what I've seen on tv, if you are going to DIY, you need to go where most hunters are unwilling to go.  Nowadays, many just like to use ATVs and drive around so maybe backpacking is the way to go.

Let me know how your plans develop.

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There is no catch all answer

There is no catch all answer to that question. I have helped harvest a great buck in a wilderness area above timberline. It was a backpack hunt and we were out there for 5 days. The spot that we got the buck was seven miles (as the crow flies) to the trailhead. And because I don't fly, you can bet that the distance covered was a heck of a lot more than that.

The place that I have been muzzle loader hunting the last couple years allows you to hunt far from the trails or very close to where I park the truck. It is nice being able to decide between the two options.

The area that I normally rifle hunt is a good mixture of the two options. I normally hike in 2 to 3 miles in every morning, set up for the morning hunt, cover an extra 2 or 3 miles if I don't take something on the morning hunt and then head back to the trail head. You really just have to look at the area and the situation at hand and then decide how far in you will be going.

CVC
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I really prefer hunts where I

I really prefer hunts where I have to hike and break a sweat, but where I whitetail hunt, I usually only have to walk a 1/2 mile for one site and a 1/4 mile for the other.  Then it is sit, sit, sit which i find painfully boring, but it is exciting when I see a shooter.

I say see a shooter because i don't get excited just seeing a deer that isn't a possible shooter.  Yesterday when the doe walked in and I thought about shooting her, my heart started pounding and then when I saw the buck that might be a shooter the same thing happened.  My heart was pounding so fast and hard it hurt.

Now when I saw the little bucks I knew right away they weren't a shooter so no rise in the pulse.  i love the feeling when a shooter whitetail appears under my stand, but I prefer active hunting to just sitting.

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Seems like the majority of

Seems like the majority of the time I end up 2-4 miles from the camp, truck or atv.  That doesn't necessarily mean I'm that far from a road though.  Some of the areas I hunt most frequently have quite a few roads.  The trick is to head for the areas that can't be reached on two or four wheels & can't be seen from the road.  A large majority of hunters in these areas these days can't quite remember how to hunt on their boots - or so it seems as they rarely get far from the seat of the atv or truck.  This might be several miles but just as easily could be a long rifle shot from the road.

CVC
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Seems like the old saying

Seems like the old saying about getting off the beaten path really applies to hunting.  it has been made more difficult by the frequent use of ATV's but it can be done.  I watch Eastman's hunting and they do their hunts on DIY.  They have problems with crossing paths with other hunters, but it is surprising that they can go that little extra distance and have an area all to themselves. 

It can be done, it just takes a little extra effort I guess.

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Mule Deer

Guys one thing that most do not understand is the fact that mulies are very unique. When I hunt muledeer I don't always have to go further than anyone else. It is amazing the little places that are overlooked and even driven past that these bucks, and sometimes giant bucks, are living in. It does not take much to move a big muley when you do hunt him, but if he is not bothered he will stay very close to even traffic, homes, and even camping areas.

It is one thing when hunting high country muledeer and backpacking in. You have to walk a long ways to them.

I cover miles and miles when hunting elk, but when hunting mulies you have got to slow way down, glass, and hunt smart not hard.

Quinton

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I agree with elkkill, with a

I agree with elkkill, with a lot of animals you don't have to wear out that boot leather to get the the big ones.  This last muzzleloader hunt in Utah I was after a real nice 200+pt 5x5 and at any given time he was never more than a 1/4 mile from a road and most of the time he was closer.  It was just that he had found a little area that you could not see him from the road.  I found him when a herd of elk came through his living room and he followed them out to where I could spot him.  Then the chase was on.  I had fun trying to out smart that buck but I didn't manage to do it.  Even after he was shot at by a couple other hunters he really didn't move that far but he would stay in the thick trees longer before he would come out to feed. 

I also think that elk are about the same.  While I was hunting for a spike bull in Utah this year the couple of herds of elk that we were watching were within a few hundred yards of a main road.  You just couldn't see them because of the hill that they lived on.  There was one hunter that  shot a spike out of one of the herds that was planning on packing it for about a mile to where he knew there was a road.  You wouldn't believe the look on his face when we told him just where the main road was from where he killed the elk.  Between him and a couple of his buddies they took that spike out whole with no problems.

The biggest elk that I have shot a 7x6 bull was only 50 yards from a road and I have taken a few others that were with in a baseball throw of one.  But then I have also packed a few out over a couple of miles too.  I also plan on getting a cow elk in a little over a week and if the herd hasn't been pushed out she will be with in a 100 yards of a road (I hope).  You never know.   
 

So the only time that you really need to wear out that boot leather is when you are scouting but don't overlook the closer areas. 

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