Bow hunting Mule Deer is far different than white tail. Mule Deer inhabit a vastly larger area than white tail deer. Your shots will typically be longer yardage and usually you will have to go to the deer rather than them coming to you. The most common methor of archery hunting mule deer is the spot and stalk method. Below are 10 of the most important things to make your mule deer hunt successful.
- Paper or GPS maps, especially topographical maps. Mule deer live in big wilderness areas like the badlands of the Dakotas. Finding the North and South facing slopes will help you to put yourself in a position to spot Mule deer bedded down trying to keep cool or stay warm, depending on the weather.
- Spotting scope. Find a good place where you are not skylined and begin spotting. Make a mental grid and look over the entire visible landscape one scope width at a time. Make sure to stop the scope in each grid box. It is easy to miss a well camouflaged deer when you are moving at you are spotting.
- A backpack with multiple pockets, a hydration bladder and quiet zippers. Once you spot your trophy buck, you need to be ready to put on some serious miles. Being able to comfortably carry your gear including your bow and keep your arms rested will make all the difference when its time to take the shot.
- Good Hunting boots. Not only will you be covering some distance but Mule deer are sure to lead you though some rough terrain.
- Camouflage. Camouflage clothing is very important, I like Ghillie Suits or Prairie Ghost for hunting in the badlands.
- Scent eliminator. Play the wind as much as possible, but inevitably, the wind will swirl and roll over those big ridges, it may be a west wind at the top of the ridge, but as it rolls, it may be an east wind down in the valley. For a few bucks you can ensure a few more percentage points on your chances.
- Range finder. All the hard work you have done stalking this big buck are for nothing if you can’t place the shot. Judging range in the open terrain that Mule deer inhabit can be exceptionally difficult, a range finder is a must.
- Patience. It is common to find yourself in a position where you are within shooting range, but without a good shot. Perhaps there is a yucca plant between you and the deer, or perhaps the deer is in a wash and you can only see his ears and antlers. You may just need to wait for him to stand up and stretch his legs. Patience will pay off.
- Good mechanical broadheads. They fly straighter and more predictably than fixed blade broadheads and they often have a greater cutting diameter with less weight.
- Headlamp. It is more likely that you will have daylight to track your big buck after you loose the arrow, but you may still be a long way from camp when the sun goes down.