Goharley, Sultanshooter has given you pretty good advice. I've hunted both Blacktail and Mule Deer all my teen years and adult life, with rifles, muzzle loaders and bows. First and foremost, make yourself invisable, both sight and smell. Always move slow by taking a few steps and stopping to look around and listen. If you do see a deer and it sees you, freeze! Don't move anything but your eyeballs. If the deer you see is a doe, remember, a buck could be close by, and he may be following the doe. Before you start your hunt go to a local sporting goods store and buy a good map of the area, or find out where you can get a Geological Survey map of the area. These maps will show you roads, jeep trails and sometimes paths where roads once were. They will also show you elevations and streams. They will show you what lies ahead and where you are. I would also get a good GPS, for $99 you can buy an Etrex (yellow in color) they work well enough and are very easy to use. Spend some time in the woods and learn some of the habits of deer. Take your wife with you, pack a picnic lunch, and make a day of it. If you run into something you have questions about, ask some questions.
Well just because you see game trails and a scrape or two doesnt necessarily mean that you are in a good area. Most of Western Washington has those. I think that if you have gone out a couple of days and havent seen anything you might want to consider going to a different area. I'm no expert but have spent plenty of time hunting areas that had very little deer or elk for that matter. Now when I hunt I almost always see deer everytime I go out, and elk atleast every other day. So maybe try some new areas. I'd look for some old clearcuts and stay off of the game trails, which is something probably better suited for archery hunting. You dont need to read a book unless you have time to kill. I could go on, but I'd say look for a new spot.
So you've booked an outfitted hunt this year. And you're going to get to ride horses into the mountains to save your legs and your back.
I've met lots of guys who've been in this same situation. They figure, "heck, how hard can it be?" But, I assure you, if you don't learn to get along with your mount for the week, it's going to be a bumpy, scary, noisy, and life threatening experience.
First, let's start with the horse itself. A horse trained under western style has 4 gears. The walk, trot,...