A trophy-mule deer hunter has to strike a balance between covering too much country and spending ample time in the  “buckiest” places.  That is why scouting is so important- if you find a buck you’ll be happy with, you can ignore all the other spots and concentrate on that buck.  I did scout this area prior to the hunt, spending five days there in the summer.  As it often is, I didn’t see a buck I’d be happy with, so I’m still essentially “scouting” during the hunt and covering lots of country.  Not my preferred method, but you gotta take what comes your way.


This video wraps up the first five-day phase of my 12 days in the backcountry.  Tomorrow will pick up uninterrupted with the final seven days of the hunt.  If you’re getting bored, join the crowd- big buck hunting is awful boring at times.  Just remember, events can turn in an instant and is why I do what I do. 

Day 5: Hunt till the very end


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Robby Denning
Robby Denning started hunting mule deer in the late 1970’s, only missing one season in 35 years. At 25, he gave up the pursuit of all other big-game to focus on taking the best bucks possible. He began hunting the West on a DIY budget hunting an average of 30 days a year for mule deer. Robby loves the hunt as much as the kill and the entire process from research to scouting to hunting. He’s killed four bucks over 200 inches in the last 15 seasons, mostly on easily-obtained tags. He owns a public-land scouting service and runs a private-land outfitting business helping other hunters in their pursuit of deer and elk. Robby has scouted and hunted literally thousands of square miles of mule deer country and brings a wealth of knowledge about these experiences with him. To him, the weapon of choice is just a means-to-an-end and will hunt with bow, rifle, or muzzleloader – whatever it takes to create an opportunity to take a great mule deer. He is also the author of "Hunting Big Mule Deer" available on Amazon. Robby believes all of creation is from God for man to manage, respect, and through which to know its Creator


  1. I’ve quite enjoyed the footage and the information you’ve shared for the first 5 days. Can’t wait for the final 7.

  2. Nice Robby! Enjoying the series. Curious, how do you handle the being solo for extended periods of time on remote hunts? I tend to do well for about 3-4 days, then I start getting a bit tired of my company. I’d be curious about your experience and any approach you have learned to take concerning the mental game, particularly when solo.

  3. Robby, you need to give Aron a swift kick to get you one of the Kifaru ultra-light shelters and stoves (Sawtooth or 8man w/ medium oval stove). From what I can see of your tipi/stove, would probably save you 40-60 pounds and might allow you to use a single pack horse (?).

  4. James, on your comments
    1) Hunting solo is tough! You have to accept that part first. Scouting helps so that you know your area well which brings a level of comfort to being there alone. Sounds weird, but it’s true. A cold dark mountain is a little more friendly if you know it well. Also, if I’m hunting an area that I’ve killed good bucks in, it’s easier to stay encouraged. Next you just have to learn to enjoy the entire hunt process, not just killing an animal- the camp, the “search”, the hope, what you’re learning, the beauty of creation- all that has to be enjoyed or hunting alone becomes tougher. Horses help, too (yip, I talk to them!) Also, I’m a Christian, so I believe in my heart that God has placed this desire in me and being in the hills fulfills that desire not to mention spending quiet time with Him. I always bring my Bible and reading it there without all the distractions of life encourages me. I’m not bullet-proof, though. About 7 days is my max. I’ve spent longer, but it wears on me. I recommend hunting with someone when you can, but it’s just not always possible. With a friend, I’ve hunted 13 days straight and was ready for more. Having a cell phone along doesn’t help me much, only because it allows all of life to catch up with me when I’m trying to escape all that (but I DO love talking to you, Jodi).
    2) My tent- you’re right, a Kifaru would save me about 40 pounds and lots of space and probably one less horse. I left a big hint for Aron in day 3 video, but you’re the first one to mention it. I’m putting you in charge of petitioning Aron for one of those tents. I’ve been dropping hints to him for a year! I can’t complain, cause he’s given me tons of other good gear (near-new camera arrived today), but I’d love one of his tents.
    C’mon Snyder Clause, I know you’re reading this.
    Thanks James. More to come (the best, I think)

  5. Robby, thanks for the response… one of the best I have seen concerning the mental aspects of hunting solo in remote country. I’ve never thought of the idea of scouting helping in this regard, but it does make a lot of sense. If you know the country well and have a good feel for your game plan and your chances of getting on some good animals, this would definitely help keep your mind in the game.

    I bring a good book… usually something classic, nature and spiritual related. I’ve recently started to bring my Nano with favorite songs. Listening to my favorite music for 15-30 minutes seems to make a big difference. Historically I have hunted/stay out all day, but agree that hunting the mornings/evenings and refueling/sleeping mid-day makes the most sense if you want to hunt solo in tough country for multiple days. Heated shelters make a big difference… coming back to a heated shelter at night and before you leave in the morning. Unfortunately, you have to keep the wood pile well stocked! I do value the cell phone and/or InReach, but only for some paging at the end of the day to share the days events with hunting buddies (or emergencies). Fully enjoying remote solo hunts is something I’m continuing to work on… no chance of me staying home just because I can’t convince a buddy to go with me!

    I’m sure Snyder Clause will come through for you!! If nothing else, have Aron talk to Patrick about loaning you an 8man tipi with medium oval stove and high wall to check it out… you will never look back.

  6. Robby, love the story. Can’t wait for the rest of the tale. One question for you—how many pounds of gear do you think you have and could you get by with just one pack horse?? I would assume that you have the third for meat packing?


  7. Randy, weight of gear depends on the season- by early October, you have to have a heat source if you get any weather at all. The first part of this hunt was 12 miles in, so the third horse was for meat packing. Gear hits about 100 pounds but once you get a deer, you need a spare horse. For the last phase (day 6 and on) you’ll see I only brought two horses as I’m only about five miles in and could walk out if needed, letting the saddle horse carry the deer (I bring saddle panniers).

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