It’s research season, but don’t think that means just units to hunt or gear to buy. You should be reading everything you can that will help you understand mule deer and how to hunt them in a variety of terrain. Lucky for us, another great mule deer book is available: Dennis Wintch, Mule Deer Hunting Legend. Although we lost Dennis Wintch in April, 2019, he left us with a timeless resource on hunting big mule deer in the desert.
Hunting Big Desert Mule Deer
While hunting desert mule deer has really caught on over the last decade (think Sonora Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming), it’s been hard to pin down information on hunting these vast expanses of hostile terrain that cover a big chunk of the West. So when I saw that Dennis had released a book on hunting desert mule deer, Amazon had my card info faster than you can say pinyon-pine.
Dennis Wintch is a world renowned mule deer hunter from Southern Utah. This is the heart of some of the best desert hunting in the West, including the Paunsaugunt Plateau. I knew of him from his column he wrote for Christensen’s Hunting Illustrated Magazine back in the day. I learned from that column that Dennis is an absolute expert on the topic of hunting desert deer, taking over 25 big-to-really-big bucks between 1979 and 2013. One of those deer has the 2nd highest scoring main frame in the world. He’s also helped dozens of hunters do the same.
The paperback book runs over $40 bucks, but at full color and over-sized (8.5″x 11″), I figured the price was worth it. Just a few days later it landed in my mailbox; over 200 pages of info on hunting big deer from one of the best lie before me. I grabbed my sticky notes and a pen and went to work. It only took me a week of evening reads to finish it and I was so happy I did.
The book was actually written by one of Dennis Wintch’s close friends, Lindsay Parker. Lindsay is a very competent deer hunter and the perfect author to capture Dennis’ thoughts on the subject.
The book’s content was really compiled over several decades from Lindsay’s memory of a thousand conversations with Dennis, then polished off with current info obtained from Dennis. Because of this, sometimes you don’t know who is writing, but as Lindsay clarifies early on, “it’s all Dennis…”
The book is a great mix of anecdotes of Dennis illustrating his hunting methods to lists of “tips & tactics” for desert mule deer hunting.
Dennis was a tracker at heart and has taken many of those big bucks with the technique. He goes deep into the art and how-to of tracking, deeper than any author of the last few decades. You’ll walk away a little bit intimidated, but with clear tools on taking a big deer as our ancestors surely did.
He also covers some very non-traditional methods for finding big deer:
- White Sand
- No See Zone
- Land Layout
- Grid Out an Area
- Dead End Points.
Methods that quite frankly I’d never thought of in all my days of buck hunting.
Dennis has also helped almost countless other hunters find and kill big deer, both through guided hunts and just plain old “Helped” hunts where he received no compensation. More than a few of those hunters have written sub-chapters in the book that illustrate the methods Dennis uses.
While the book has a few rough patches that are hard to understand, and some repetitive material, it’s easy to overlook when you realize you’re reading the mind of one of the best deer hunters in the West–Dennis Wintch.
Although the book focuses on desert hunting, much of the information is applicable to hunting in all mule deer terrain.
Unless you’ve been successfully hunting “Mr. Big” bucks over 50 years, I can’t imagine this book won’t be well worth your time. You can buy your copy from Amazon here
And God rest your soul, Dennis Wintch
Here are other mule deer books I’ve reviewed:
Duwane Adams: Monster Mule Deer
David Long’s & Mike Duplan’s The Edge