Of the vast array of animals that our beloved continent has to offer for hunting, there is none as exciting and challenging to hunt as the mule deer. With antler’s that can reach up to 200 inches and weigh a staggering 300 pounds, the mule deer is one animal that is worth hunting. Nevertheless, since these majestic creatures share their inhabitants with coyotes and mountain lions, they are not easy to take down. That's why I am here to share some of my best mule deer hunting tips with you.
Well, To add salt to injury, the mule deer’s habitat is an unforgiving place for humans.
Nevertheless, do not let its cunning nature and unforgiving habitat discourage you as it is possible to take down a mule deer. Throughout my hunting career, I have bagged myself quite an impressive collection of mule deer heads. Thus, I know a thing or two about how to take down this beautiful deer. In this article, I will be sharing with you some of my mule deer hunting tips and tactics.
6 Best Mule Deer Hunting Tips and Tactics
1. Take A Vantage Point
One of the first drills I learned while I was still a newbie to giant mule deer hunting, is that despite their size mule deer are difficult to spot when they lie down. I cannot tell you the number of times a mule deer has surprised me by materializing on a hill with nothing but sagebrush.
Thankfully, from my experiences, I have learned that the best time to hunt mule deer is at dawn before the sun comes up.
To raise your chances of going home with a kill, I recommend taking a vantage point on top of a hill or a tree. From your chosen vantage point, use your scope or binocular to glass the area that lies before you. In the morning, mule deer will be on the move to their bedding area from a watering point.
This is because most big bucks, mule deer included, tend to be nocturnal and will be active during the night. Thus, some few hours before daylight, they are likely to be seen prancing around near their bedding area. Time-Consuming especially for desert mule deer.
2. Be Patient
Mule deer hunting is no walk in the park. This is a task reserved for hunters who are willing and ready to invest a substantial amount of time scouting the area they intend to hunt. Thus, even before you identify a good vantage point, it is important first to understand your hunting grounds. Scouting should actually be the first thing on your mule deer hunting checklist.
Tracking and taking down a big mule deer takes time. Thus, you need to be patient. When scouting an area, be on the lookout for magpies. Magpies and mule deer have an interesting relationship and more often than not where there is a congregation of magpies, there is bound to be a deer. And finally, be silent as mule deer have an excellent sense of hearing.
3. Choose The Right Gear
If you do not know how to hunt mule deer, one of the best mule deer hunting tips I can offer is; pick the right weapon.
So how do you go about choosing the right weapon for your best mule deer hunts?
First, if you are a rifle hunter, you will need a high caliber rifle one that is capable of long range shots. So a small caliber rifle will not do.
The second piece of equipment you will need for your monster mule deer hunts is a rifle scope. But not just any rifle scope, but a long-range rifle scope. In other words, you will need to get yourself a rifle scope with a maximum magnification of over 15X.
Additionally, the scope needs to be very well made and sturdy to be compatible with your high caliber rifle. Lastly, the scope needs to have a very good field of view to give you a broad area of viewing. Due to their heightened senses, mule deer get spooked very easily. Thus, you will have to shoot from a significantly longer distance from your target.
4. Be Silent
One of the things I do when I get about 100 yards of my target is to take off my hunting boots and put on a second pair of socks.
This mule deer hunting strategy might sound bizarre, but it actually works.
As I have already stated, mule deer have heightened senses of smell and will hear your footsteps. With socks, I can reduce the noise I make as I move towards my prey. Also, when I have my socks on, and I am near a deer, I become motionless. Sometimes, you might get spotted by a mule deer you are stalking. This does not mean the hunt is over. If you stay still eventually the deer will go back to its business, and you will resume the time-consuming task of stalking it.
5. Take Your Time Before Shooting
From my experiences, I have learned to observe certain mule deer behaviors that increase my chances of getting a kill.
For example, did you know that before a mule deer moves it will flick its tail?
Thus, when you are hunting open country mule deer, do not be so quick to take the shot when you spot a mule. It pays to anticipate its movements. A single shot can mean the difference between success and failure.
6. Go For The Loner
There’s truth in the saying; there is strength in numbers, especially when it comes to animals. Thus, one of the best mule deer bow hunting tips I can give is; find a lonesome deer.
When finding a lonesome deer, it is important to know where to find mule deer. In most cases, deer can be found on hilltops or the open plains. If you find a lonesome deer, then you will be on to something big.