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Need help getting any information I can get on hunting Mule Deer. I have been hunting whitetail deer for 43 years. Now living in

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  • Need help getting any information I can get on hunting Mule Deer. I have been hunting whitetail deer for 43 years. Now living in

    Need help getting any information I can get on hunting Mule Deer. I have been hunting whitetail deer for 43 years. Now living in Arizona and would like any information on hunting tips, books, magazines and more important, from MULE deer hunters.

  • #2
    Scout, scout, and scout some more. Until the rut begins, mule deer will generally be pretty localized and that makes it easy to pattern any good deer you might find. Once the rut kicks in it's a whole different ballgame. Bucks are harder to pattern and a lot of times will cover a lot of ground. Your best bet then is to sit tight in an area where you already know that mature bucks have been frequenting and that you have a great vantage point of a lot of country. Cozy up to some good glass and comb the countryside until you spot your trophy. At that point use the terrain/foliage to move within shooting distance and see what might happen. I know this is all pretty hypothetical advise, but hopefully it helps at least a little bit. If I were to sum it all up I would say use your glass and go to the deer, don't wait for the deer to come to you as you would when whitetail hunting.


    • #3
      Mike Eastman and David Long have good mule deer books. You can probably get them from amazon.


      • #4
        Here in AZ mulies are ether really hard or easy. the deer are very dependent on food/water sources. With all the rain we have been getting lately it will be tougher. If you are hunting the northern part of the state (flagstaff, Prescott, Payson, Heber, or Pinetop) then the best way that I have found is to still hunt. move slowly through the areas being vigilant and quiet(this is actually how I'm currently hunting the archery season). When it starts to dry out later on in the year sitting water or food sources like acorns can be very effective. When hunting down south for desert mulies glass, glass, glass. The seat of your pants should wear out long before your boots. It takes some time to be able to glass up deer that aren't out in the open (if they are count your stars). I really like to hunt the more open rolling hills that will be between the deserts and the juniper woodlands. there are a thousand things different about hunting deer out west here but the challenge is worth it every time you see a deer laying there after a shot. Also whitetail hunting out here is a totally different monster. the grey ghost (nickname for coues whitetail deer) are in my opinion on of the hardest game animals to kill and with a bow then good luck.


        • #5
          I've hunted both for quite a while and here are some things I've noticed:

          1. Most Mule deer shots will be longer. If you are prepared for 400 yard or longer shots, you will have a better chance. You need to work for rifle and load accuracy as well as your shooting proficiency for these shots.

          2. You will have time for running shots because of the typically wide open terrain Muleys inhabit. If you are proficient on running shots, your chances will be better. You may see one bust out of a canyon and fly 200 yards for cover behind a ridge. If you shoot upland game birds and practice shooting moving targets with your rifle, you have a pretty good chance on these shots. Speed is your friend on these shots too. So a fast, flat shooting rifle gives you quite an edge. Rifles like the 25-06, 7mm Mag, .264 Win Mag are great. Even a .270 with 120g bullets or a 30-06 with 130g bullets go fast enough to give you a better chance. I use 100g-117g Hornady Interlocks in a 25-06 out to 500 yards on the prairie. I personally don't like big, slow bullets for Muleys unless I am in thick alders or the range is over 500 yards and the buck is posing.

          3. Any center-fire rifle will put them down, the trick is hitting them in a vital spot. You need practice for longer shots and running shots. Don't take them if you haven't practiced and aren't confident.

          4. The bucks stay with their male buddies until the rut. The majority of the time, if you are seeing does, you are in the wrong place outside the rut. When I find several nice bucks together, I go after them because they can be hard to find.

          5. Muleys appear from nowhere about 45 minutes before dark and at sun-up... these are the best times to glass and look for big bucks. The bucks usually wait until after the does have settled down before popping out. Consequently, I now hunt with an illuminated reticle so I can still see the cross hair a half hour before or after sunlight. I was unable to take a shot at the biggest Muley I've ever seen 28 minutes after sun-down because I couldn't see my reticle. I like the Firefly reticle but also use battery operated on occasion.

          6. Muley racks are high and you can see them when they are bedded down. Scan washes, creek beds, ridge sides and cedar thickets for those tell-tail vertical sticks that have a buck beneath them. They look like dead brush but they are my favorite kind of dead brush.

          7. If you are passing a canyon or about to leave your position over a canyon, toss a rock down in the canyon. Many are the times that I have flushed a buck that was sleeping right beneath me in the thickets. The rocks are free!

          8. If you don't have a clean shot and the buck has a long ways to go for cover, wait and it might just stop to look back at 150 yards giving you a nice pose. Whitetails don't do this but Muleys often do. If cover is 200 yards away, start shooting; they will usually go for it at full tilt... no bouncing, no stopping.

          9. Don't start laughing or lose your composure when you see them start to bound vertically up and down like they are on a pogo stick. When you see this, let them come to a stop if you can because that is likely and they are tough to hit when bounding vertically (unless you have one of those "high ceiling" scopes :-).

          10. Muleys are only a little larger than northern whitetails and only about 2 or 3 times larger than southern whitetails. They are not made of steel nor do they wear Kevlar. Any hunting bullet that hits a vital area will put them down. I laugh when I see that a magnum is needed for Muleys. The best Muley shooters I know are my twin cousins who use a 22-250 with 55g Combined Tech or Barnes bullets. They keep their shots within about 250 yards but very few jumped Muleys have escaped their first shot.

          The trick is to practice until you are proficient with whatever rifle you shoot so that you can place the bullet in the boiler room. If you are not comfortable with long shots or running shots, don't take them. A crippled Muley can put on four miles before you know it and you really have to have exceptionally high tracking skills to stay on the blood trail for more than three days. Wounded whitetails run for cover, wounded Muleys run for the border.

          I realize that these thoughts are a little off the beaten path but hope that they help you prepare and understand your quarry. Best of luck hunting them.


          • #6
            Good question and great answer DakotaMan. I have hunted Whitetails back east but now that I am in the west I too have been puzzled by the Muleys. The pogo stick routine also threw me the first time I saw it. You're right they will stop and look back unlike a whitetail. Great Info!


            • #7
              I want to thank all of you fellow hunters. You have been very helpful. I can not wait to start this new hunting adventure. Again thank you.




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