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jaybe's picture
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Location: S.E. Michigan
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Newbee to Mule Deer

Howdy -

 I'm brand new to this site. I am 66 years old and am planning my very first Mule Deer hunt. I will be going with a buddy who has been there (WY) several times and am getting most of my information from him. But I'm looking for any and all advice that I can find from all reliable sources.

 We'll be hunting in the Casper area during the rifle season that is in mid-October 2011.

 I shoot a Ruger 77 in .308 and am planning on loading my own with 150 gr Nosler Ballistic Tips at about 2800 fps. I know that opinions vary widely, so I'll be glad to consider any advice in this area as well.

  Thanks for your input.

 

 

 

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Location: Nevada
Joined: 02/07/2009
Posts: 73
Welcome to the board,

Welcome to the board, Jaybe!

As long as you shoot that rifle well, it will be fine for muleys. I've not hunted the Casper area, but I'm sure you'll have a blast. Practice those longer shots before hitting the field and be sure to post some pics of the trip!

Good luck!!

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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Location: San Diego, CA
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Welcome to the site.  66 and

Welcome to the site.  66 and just getting into mule deer hunting, huh?  Well, prepared to be hooked..... Thumbs up

hawkeye270's picture
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Location: Fort Collins, CO
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Welcome to the site! I am

Welcome to the site! I am sure that you are getting pretty exciting about your upcoming hunt. That rifle, caliber and bullet combo will really lay it on the mule deer bucks out here. I used the 270's comparable load (a 130 grain ballistic silvertip) on antelope up in Wyoming a last week and it absolutely smoked them! I handloaded them to around 2950 feet per second and my doe never knew what hit her. Have you hunted the west before? How about open country?

jaybe's picture
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Location: S.E. Michigan
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Thanks, guys.  I can shoot

Thanks, guys.

 I can shoot the rifle well enough for the average 200 yd shots that I've been told to expect. I've had it for about 30 years and have collected many whitetails with it. I didn't mention that I have a 2x7 Redfield scope on it. The load I'm planning will be sighted in for a 250 zero, making it about 4" high at 100 yds and 5" low at 300. It's not the fastest or flattest, but will have a MBPR of about 300 yards still be carrying plenty of energy at that distance.

 Yeah - I have wanted to "go west" to hunt as long as I can remember, but either the money wasn't there, or something else. It looks like the time is finally right. Something good to do with my social security check! lol

 What I'm interested in on here is general information on Mule Deer habits, or any tricks or tips that may be good to know for a guy who has always hunted the Midwest.

 

 Thanks

dosghooter's picture
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Location: Wyoming
Joined: 08/23/2003
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Your 1st Muley

Just be prepared to being "forced" to add an annual return trip to your budget. I came out here to Wyoming in '77 and since a return trip wouldn't fit in the budget, I moved here. Hunting Muleys in Wyoming is different than hunting Whitetails in a woods environment. You can be in an area where you can see for 50 miles in all directions and swear there is no way anything living can be there. Then when you turn your head, there they are. With whitetails, you hunt from a stand because you have a reasonable expectation of where they will be because they can be patterned. You can't pattern Muleys. The only thing I have learned about Muleys in the last 30 odd years is that they will ALWAYS be where I don't expect them to be. Good luck on your hunt and welcome to Wyoming.

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The $10,000 question

Welcome to the site and also to the addiction of hunting mule deer! 

I have only hunted outside of Casper one time and that was for antelope, so that's no help to you.  But I can tell you that the area we hunted was not all "miles and miles of flat land" that I expected.  There were lots of ravines and hills that lended to perfect mule deer habitat.  We saw elk, mule deer and antelope (and havested our limits).  Some of the terrain was indeed flat land but if I remember correctly (it was 1989), the majority of the mule deer that I saw were traversing in and out of the ravines. 

During my first tour in the Navy, I did a road trip with a friend that was from Casper.  Our journey lead us to the top of Casper Mountain and that was the first time in my life that I had ever seen a mule deer in person.  In fact, there were so many of them that we had to stop the truck for several minutes while the entire herd walked across the road.  I was amazed at not only the size of them, but also in the size of the herd!  It was like watching an old episode of Wild Kingdom!  I've never seen anything like it since.

Whether there are still herds that are that big or not, I'm not sure.  But, I do know that there are pretty good numbers of mule deer in the area. 

If there's one thing I've learned about mule deer, it's that I really don't know that much at all! lol

You just can't pattern them!  However, in areas with limited water and cover, set up in an ambush spot to or from either and you should have good luck (if you can sit long enough).  They only do three things on a regular basis: eat, drink, and sleep.  Find a path to the two latter and you're golden!

Your hunt will put you there a little before the rut so, although a couple of weeks later would be better, you might be able to see quite a bit of pre-rut activity.  The pre-rut and rut are about the only times of the year that you can look for tell-tale signs and expect to be close to bucks.  During the pre-rut, if you can find groups of does, there will usually be a couple of bucks checking them out throughout the day.  Stay with the does long enough and you should have a chance at a buck.  Now, during the rut if you find a doe (especially if she's by herself) you're almost guaranteed to eventually see a buck.  Your chance of seeing a bigger buck also increases drastically! Thumbs up

So, I guess there is one common theme to hunting mule deer bucks; find the does and your chances of seeing bucks will be much better.

jaybe's picture
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Thanks again for the

Thanks again for the input.

 I have heard about mule deer suddenly appearing as if out of nowwhere, even though you can see a lot of terrain all around you. If you've never hunted whitetails in the woods, they can do the same thing. The only difference is, they'll pop up within a few yards of you and you never knew they were there.

 I have the loan of a good pair of binoculars (10X40) and a good spotting scope, so I thought it might be a good idea to spend some money on a rangefinder - especially since I'm not used to judging distances when there aren't any trees around.

 

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Joined: 01/05/2007
Posts: 169
Did you do any good? Being

Did you do any good? Being from the midwest, you will probably be surprised how the mulies are less spooky than whitetails. The round you chose will be fine. I would even imagin shots being under 150 yards. When I'm elk hunting I have them cross the trail and just look at you like your not a threat. You will probably wana go back next year also. Out west hunting is a blast.

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