13 replies [Last post]
Location: USA
Joined: 06/04/2006
Posts: 167
down where I am

  Ca-Varmonster, I have hunted Mule deer and whitetails for about 65 years, and I have found over the years that mule deer do not  move in set patterns like whitetail do. This may be your problem. 


  Whitetails will pattern on bedding, trails, and food plots, and live and die within 1 mile in all directions of where they were born.  Mulies however feed where ever they are, seldom bed in the same area more than one day, and only migrate up and down in altitude in mountain country to avoid heavy snow in winter, and heat in summer. Mulies are rarely taken form a “STAND” but are better hunted by glassing the shady side of canyons from the sunny side but from cover. Mulies never bed in the sun no matter how cold it is.


  I find the best way to find Mulies is in mid day  in areas where there are cap rock on the shady side of canyons, by walking the top of the cap rock, and looking very carefully over the side to the base of the cap rock, a favorites place for mulies to bed. This is especially good for a bow hunter, because the shots are usually no more that 30 feet straight down.  The base of cap rock is almost impossible to see from the bottom of a canyon, but is a snap from above.  The key to mule deer is get high, and look down, on the shady side of the mountain or canyon.  


  One other trick for the rifle hunter is to take a fox /coyote call, and sit in the shade where you can see most of a canyon, blow the call a few times.  It will usually bring out any does in that are bedded or feeding in the canyon, now watch the does very closely.  If there is a good buck in that canyon he will be bedded away from the does, and when the does are alerted he will try to sneak out of the canyon. When he moves the does will all look at him.  Look where the does are looking and 90% of the time you will see him sneaking slowly out, giving you a shot with a scoped rifle!      


  I was born in whitetail country and when I moved into mulie country I tried to hunt mulies the way I had hunted whitetails, it didn’t work.  It took me a couple of years to learn how mulies operate.  In the last 60 years I have killed probably over 150 mule deer in five western states, some of them real HOGS!   Many think Mule deer are dumb, they are anything but stupid, but simply are an entirely different animal to the whitetail.  


  Hope any of this helps

Ca_Vermonster's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5813
Thanks Doug.  But, believe it

Thanks Doug.  But, believe it or not, these mule deer here are just like whitetails, in that they have trails they use, they are easier to pattern, and most guys take them from trees, at least the area that I hunt.  It is a "recreation area", where there are lots of cabins and such, and you can only hunt archery.  These deer are all born in the area, and pretty much die in the area.  It's quite a unique setup. 

I have hunted Utah for mulies before, and most of what you said applies there.  I would never try to stand hunt there.  Also, most of the rest of the area in California is just like you suggest. But, this little pocket of deer here is a different story.  The rifle area I hunt is much more wide open, and I do use the glassing/stalking technique.

I know multiple guys that get 2 deer a year in this rec area from treestands.  Heck, I actually think they are whitetail brains in mulie bodies. :lol:  My biggest problem is time in the field.  If I was in a stand 10 days instead of 5 days a year, I should be able to get one.

Thanks for the advice.  If I ever get to hunt the big country again, I will use some of that advice. Especially the fox call.  Sounds like a neat trick.  Thumbs up

Location: USA
Joined: 06/04/2006
Posts: 167
Sounds like coastal Blacktail

  The coastal blacktail up north act that way, but it may be that they have been surrounded by people so long that they have simply had to adjust to compinsate for the human population.

  The fox call will even call does to you on occasion, but not the bucks.  One other little trick in canyon country is to work the canyon heads at the highest point around noon till late afternoon, If you have a good sense of smell you can sit at the top of a canyon, at that time of day the warming air is rising up the canyon, and if there is a rutting buck bedded in that canyon, you can often smell him on the air, and being above you are automaticlly up wind of him for your stalk!

   Good luck and good hunting!  ::hello1   


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