CO Units 80/81 Mule Deer Muzzleloader

hikeswithbow

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
32
Hello all,

My plan to hunt 80/81 Elk Archery turned into a mule deer hunt since we drew a muzzleloader tag. Season dates are September 11-19.
Can anyone tell me a little about general mule deer habits/activity that time of year?
This will be our first time mule deer hunting, and our first time in Colorado. We typically hunt whitetail and have also elk archery hunted Idaho.
Thanks
 

Wapiti1

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,752
Location
Indiana
Do some searches on here for archery mule deer tactics in Sept.

Generally speaking, the bucks will be as high as they can get and stay at or above alpine level. With the way the year is going, pay attention to drainages that have water. Some may be dry that would normally not be. By the end of your hunt dates, a few bucks will start to descend into timber to shed velvet not be seen again until November.

It's a hike to the top and glass them kind of hunt. Lots and lots of glassing to find a buck you want. Or not a lot if you are not picky. If you are seeing does, you are probably too low on the mountain.

Have fun and hope for rain. September may be smoky this year.

Jeremy
 

Deerman82

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2021
Messages
10
Location
North Tx
I was here last sept elk hunting like wapiti said they will be high and early morning and late evening will be feeding in the meadows during the day they were bedded up in down timber between 10500-11500 seen a couple giants though
 
OP
hikeswithbow

hikeswithbow

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
32
I was here last sept elk hunting like wapiti said they will be high and early morning and late evening will be feeding in the meadows during the day they were bedded up in down timber between 10500-11500 seen a couple giants though
Sounds like we will for sure need to spike camp up high!
 
OP
hikeswithbow

hikeswithbow

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
32
I’ve seen big bucks in 80 in high country early season. I’ve seen the biggest just inside the timber though, bumped them out
Do they like to stay high, close to and slightly above the timberline? I’m wondering if water might be the main thing to look for with it being dry this year.
 

Splitbrow

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2018
Messages
51
Location
Michigan
Most of what I’ve seen was right at timberline, it’s very possible that because I was elk hunting in that unit, I spent my time in the timber so that’s where I happened to see them. I would also bet they’d be feeding above it at first light then move down into the timber to bed
 
OP
hikeswithbow

hikeswithbow

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
32
Most of what I’ve seen was right at timberline, it’s very possible that because I was elk hunting in that unit, I spent my time in the timber so that’s where I happened to see them. I would also bet they’d be feeding above it at first light then move down into the timber to bed
So they in general spend more time above the timber than elk would?
 

CO_MTN_HUNTER

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Colorado
It depends on what the weather does too. Last year we got a freak 12" of snow September 8 and that really seem to bugger the deer up. I was seeing some good deer up high the start of archery and then for my muzzleloader tag I think the snow pushed them down into the dark timber. A lot of other people I had talked to thought the same thing.
 
OP
hikeswithbow

hikeswithbow

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2020
Messages
32
It depends on what the weather does too. Last year we got a freak 12" of snow September 8 and that really seem to bugger the deer up. I was seeing some good deer up high the start of archery and then for my muzzleloader tag I think the snow pushed them down into the dark timber. A lot of other people I had talked to thought the same thing.
This flatlander won’t know what to do if it snows a foot lol

How long did that snow stick around?
 

CO_MTN_HUNTER

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2021
Messages
12
Location
Colorado
This flatlander won’t know what to do if it snows a foot lol

How long did that snow stick around?
It didn't stick around long thankfully. Most of it melted away with in a few days. Finding deer after was tough afterward but it really got the elk fired up
 

Wapiti1

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,752
Location
Indiana
So they in general spend more time above the timber than elk would?
They like different foods and have different rut schedules. The elk cows move lower to the best grass. By late August the high grass is usually fried and only the bulls will eat it. The cows follow the best grass and the bulls follow for the rut.

Deer will browse shrubs and some of the good stuff up high is only good after the first frost. Mountain mahogany, bitterbrush, and others are appealing in Sept. Deer will eat grass, but it isn’t their preferred necessarily. That is what to ask the biologist about. best food, more likely to find deer.
Shrubs make stalks easier too.

Jeremy
 

Stalker69

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
961
Believe me they are not all above timber line nor even close to it. We see them all the time on the plains and farm lands and every where in between, year around, here in Colorado.
 
Top