5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 08/29/2004
Posts: 1
How to get started

I live in South Alabama where I hunt turkey and deer. I always dreamed of taking a big muley. I can't afford to spend $3000 or $4000. My question is this, where is the closest area to give me a decent chance and are there local guides that can help you on public land or am I asking to get taken. I've tried different swap hunt areas on message boards, met some nice people, just hard to work out. I've killed lots of deer and turkey, but I want to try a Muley or Elk.

Location: Idaho
Joined: 06/01/2004
Posts: 1046
mulies out west

There is a lot of public land out west to hunt mulies in. The general sense I get from personal observation and the reports of others - is that the mulies are in a sort of decline.

Joined: 08/31/2003
Posts: 132
How to get started

You can do a land lease hunt in Colorado fairly cheap. You basically pay a trespass fee and they show yu the boundaries and give you some pointers on where you can find the deer then you go hunting on your own.

bitmasher's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2974
How to get started

You can do a drop camp. Basically they take you (horse/mule) in to an area known to have deer/elk/etc, drop you off, then come back and get you after a set time frame.

Public or private land is available depending on the outfit you go with, some will do private land that borders public.

Also if you have never hunted out west, I would not expect to be successful the first go around, especially if you are doing it yourself. Think multi-year process. I've never hunted in southeastern forests from treestands in dense cover, know nothing about scents, rattling, or whitetail ruts and so I wouldn't expect to be successful my first go of it in your area. The hunting is just different.

Location: California
Joined: 09/27/2004
Posts: 2
Re: How to get started

I live in California and last year was my first year hunting in Colorado on public land and a do it yourself hunt. I went with a friend that has been asking me to go for the last 5 years. I got distraught of not getting drawn for Northern CA mule deer zones and finally decided to go. We had an amazing time and brought back two nice 25-inch spread muleys, his being a 4x5 and mine a 4x4. We saw very few hunters and, where the rest of the lodge we were staying at saw little or no game, we saw and could have taken a shot at 16 legal bucks, most of them 4x4's and of course seen after we had filled our deer tags and were focusing on Elk (got skunked there). In fact, when we were stopped by a warden to check out our deer my buddy asked the warden if he had a tag and the warden replied that he had, but not on him. My buddy pointed up the hill at a buck about 150 yards away and said, "Too bad, cuz that one is bigger than the one I shot." I know that these results aren't typical and by many accounts pretty lucky on our part, but I'm taking the 16 hour trek back again in hopes of similar results. My suggestions are to do your research about a state, its areas, zones, kill rates, number of tags available, and get topo maps and give it a whirl. I've had decent luck calling area taxidermists for good hunting locations and would try that too.

Location: Boise, Idaho
Joined: 10/04/2004
Posts: 10
How to get started

There is certainly plenty of opportunity to do-it-yourself out west, but expect that hunting a big mule deer is hard work. Hunting mountain mulies is a blast, but expect to get in a lot of vertical and spend a ton of time glassing. Hunting plains areas can be rewarding too, but you'll likely need to be able to shoot longer ranges than you're used too.

I've had the most luck on big bucks in the most rugged country in a given area. In the mountains that means high and rocky. On the plains that means breaks and draws. The uglier the better. And you want to get away from other people - either by hunting exclusive private land, or by out distancing others on public land. Big mule deer don't congregate where there are a lot of hunters.

For your first try at mulies, I would definitely recommend a rut hunt. This usually occurs mid-November. The only general season November hunt I know of is Montana. Other states will likely be draw tags only that time of year. Seems as though Montana's Missouri Breaks (north-central) would be a good place to start looking.

Above all else, don't get discouraged. It takes most people a few seasons, or a decent guide, to get the hang of mule deer hunting.

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