10 Tips For Hunting Mule Deer
Here are 10 tips for hunting mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) that better the sportsman’s odds of bagging a trophy-worthy buck. These facts are especially apropos for the hunter of white-tailed deer, which may be close cousins but differ sufficiently to frustrate the novice in search of his first mule deer.
- Find areas most likely to have sizable mule deer populations. The 10 tips for hunting mule deer start off with a quick rundown on the geographic limitation that the herds currently experience. Stick to western portions of the US, and your odds of finding a good-sized animal are good.
- Determine size requirements ahead of time. Generally speaking, deer may weigh from 125 to 300 pounds, but it is possible to occasionally find the lone prize specimen weighing closer to 500 pounds. Set goals with respect to size and weight before hunting.
- Check for predators. Food scarcity, especially when hunting later in the season, leads to predation by wolves, grizzly bears, coyotes and cougars. The 10 tips for hunting mule deer would be incomplete if they did not urge the hunter to keep a watchful eye on other animal tracks in the hunting territory.
- Stay close to typical forage grounds. Herbaceous plants are a common attractant for mule deer and hunters will be wise to stick to areas that feature a plentiful pasture of this food source.
- Search out herds unaffected by chronic wasting disease (CWD). The equivalent of Mad Cow Disease, CWD is a known problem in some locales. Even so, plenty of areas still feature herds unaffected by the disease. Good examples are Nevada mule deer populations.
- Work with environmentalists. Although the relationship between hunters and environmentalists is strained, it behooves the sportsman to respect their conservation efforts. Insufficient habitats result in high fawn mortality, which in turn endangers the number of mule deer populations. Find out where fawn mortality is high and opt for different hunting grounds.
- Stay up to date on doe vs. buck hunting ratios. Although rare, there have been times when the numbers of does cleared for bagging was increased significantly. Staying abreast of seasonal rule changes is a must and therefore fit for including in the list of 10 tips for hunting mule deer.
- Seek out burn areas with caution. While the lack of available vegetation might curtail available deer, it may also alter the availability of male versus female animals. Generally speaking, hunters may be directed to take down does rather than bucks in the aftermath of burns to give vegetation a chance to re-establish.
- Check out antlers before deciding on a hunting ground. The physical condition of the animal and also the quality of the available food sources partially determine the growth of antlers. Small or brittle antlers point to unsatisfactory specimens.
- Steer clear of grazing cattle. Habitats overlap but cattle out-compete mule deer herds. Avoid scrawny bucks.
Follow these 10 tips for hunting mule deer and you might just bag yourself that trophy-worthy specimen you have been looking for.