1 reply [Last post]
Joined: 03/11/2012
Posts: 1
a little help on a muley DIY

hey everyone this is my first post on your forum, but i have been reading on here for awhile and it seems like you guys have a good one.  everyone seems to give plenty of feedback which is very helpful.   my dad, brother, brother in law and i are in the planning stages of a mule deer hunt for fall of 2013 or 2014.  the states we are looking at are colorado, nebraska and wyoming, and we would like mid to low elevation.   we would like to see some 140"+ bucks.   this is going to be a rifle hunt by the way. if anyone has any personal experiences or websites with public land, success rates, hunting pressure etc. it would b greatly appreciated. this really leaves it wide open, but we just need a good starting point.   thanks for the advice!! 

exbiologist's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
lots of options

Well, i've hunted all three of those states, plus a few others.  Nebraska will certainly have low to mid elevation, plus a little public land and OTC-capped tags.  Logistically, it's probably one of the easier places to hunt, plus the game density is quite high.  However, so is the pressure and there's only a short season.  Trophy potential isn't great on the scattered public lands, but the big bucks are around there.  The Pine Ridge is really the only unit to consider.  The Sandhills have some great deer and a little public land too, but not as many deer.

Wyoming deer densities generally aren't quite as high, though they do get up there in some parts around the Bighorns and the Black Hills.  Tags can be very easy to get in some units, not so much in others.  If you focus on hunting a limited unit, 140" bucks are totally within reason and hunting pressure can be reasonable if you're used to western public land pressure.  Other units can be miniscule.  Lots of low to mid elevation BLM lands to hunt outside of the usual higher elevation National Forests.  However, most of Wyoming's seasons are much earlier in the year, like Oct 1 to Oct 15 start dates.  

Colorado has generally better deer density than Wyoming and similar trophy potential, but that again can vary wildly depending on the management of each unit.  If you hunt an OTC elk unit, then there's a good chance you'll be seeing a lot of hunters, even though they won't all be hunting deer.  So make sure you factor the elk hunters in both Wyoming and Colorado into your hunting pressure estimates.   However you'll want to avoid the units with significant high altitude given what you're looking for.  So, grab a good atlas, then take a loot at your options.  One way to narrow things down is to look for units that require just one nonres point to draw, ideally in 3rd season instead of 2nd season (bucks will be lower and might be in pre rut, fewer elk hunters, but tags harder to draw).

Also, make sure you get an idea of what it takes to draw each unit now.  You may need to start applying for preference points in Wyoming or Colorado if you want to set yourself up for a hunt in 2013 or 2014.  Some units will also be completely out of reach, so get an idea of what is actually available now.  Most of the totally limited Wyoming units are going to be out of reach, but this one or two units that only take a point or two to draw.  In Colorado, it's all over the board, however, the most you'll have by the 2014 draw is 2 points, so consider getting that point now.


Some 1 point options for Colorado 3rd season:

5, 11, 31, 49, 52, 71, 77, 82.

That little list all requires 1 point for 3rd season.  There are a lot of units that require less, but since you're planning ahead, you can pull this off either next year or the year after.  Going for units that require fewer points will take a lot more research.  Using just these units, you can figure that you're in the mix for a reasonable mix of supply and demand pointing you towards a decent unit. 

Region M, J, A, R, Y, F and D are all reasonable Wyoming options.  But remember, those are open to any resident.  Gonna be tought to get enough points up get into the limited units by 2014.

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