Colorado or Idaho?

gpkhill2

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Hey everyone, First off I'm new here and new to western hunting but I'm all about DIY public land hunting. This fall me and 2 friends did a last minute trip to western Nebraska to the sandhill to hunt mule deer. We didn't have any luck but we had a good time. So here is the question next fall we want to do more of a backcountry hunt for mule deer. But we are undecided about which state CO or ID or were open to suggestions. We are all around 30 and in pretty good shape. We all own horses and are very expericed with horses and camping with horses. Flying into the Frank Church is another option. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated Thanks in advance
 

Ryan Avery

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I live in Idaho and would go to Colorado for Mule deer if given the choice. Archery or Rifle?
 
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gpkhill2

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It would be a rifle hunt. The other thing is we have no PP's
 

flatlander51

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Out of those 2 With no pp you'll have to focus on ID you can get an OTC tag there. What about wy or mt?
 
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gpkhill2

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Out of those 2 With no pp you'll have to focus on ID you can get an OTC tag there. What about wy or mt?

I would be open to WY or MT. The only thing that worried me about WY was that NR can't hunt wilderness unguided
 

flatlander51

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There's plenty of country to hunt that isn't wilderness. You need at least one pt to draw regions g or h so I would check out some other regions with high country and go from there.
 

VANDAL

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I live in Idaho and hunt Colorado as well. No doubt COL overall is better for mule deer. I think in your situation I would choose the state that might be closer or easier for you to scout in the summer or early fall. That will be key.

With 0 PP's and rifle there's a good chance you'd be hunting 2nd season in Colorado (end of Oct) which can be an awkward time to hunt deer with so much pending upon the weather. Deer will be in the transition and without knowing the country, migration habits, etc...it can be tough. If you plan on just winging it and only going to the unit during the season I would probably choose Colorado solely based off deer numbers.

For Idaho the deer you scout are usually still there for rifle season in Oct. If you can scout before, want to pack in with horses, and spend a week or so, I would choose Idaho.

As for WY I really only know H and G which recently require pts. I do know people that have hunted other units in WY that require no pp and have killed decent bucks.
 

robby denning

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Colorado rifles seasons will be more crowded but offer better chance at buck. Unless you draw an early high country rifle hunt (none are good without a few points and scouting) or a muzzleloader hunt, or get a very mild fall that leaves the high country open for 2nd season, you won't find much unhunted country worth taking a horse into. Don't rule out the cheaper landowner tags for 2nd season. Great thing about 2nd season is that after a few days, most hunting pressure drops off and not as popular for elk hunters who always make it crowded.

Wyoming might be best bet if you want to use those horses. With 0 points, forget about G and maybe H (unless you apply H special draw for the nearly $600 bucks they're getting.)

Idaho would be a go-to if you don't draw Colorado or Wyoming. We have a few toads in most units but October is a tough time to kill them. Flying into Frank Church usually means you are with other hunters doing the same on the limited number of airstrips, but with a several year plan, could be good. Using your horses in there in September makes the most sense and might find a great area you could also hunt in the November rut season.

All around, killing a really good buck is a tall order and there really aren't any unhunted areas any more like there was 20 years ago, but you don't need to be the only hunter there to kill a good buck, you just have to keep hunting year after year. Most hunters give up after one year and jump statelines hoping for something better. If you don't draw a controlled hunt, it's tough all over, but can be done.
 
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gpkhill2

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Thanks guys, I appreciate all the replies. I live back east so scouting other than maps and google earth isn't real do able. I would consider a muzzleloader hunt if it would help my draw odds. Wyoming is looking pretty good now after hearing what everyone has to say. I knew going in that this was a multi year thing so hunting to same unit for the next several years is ok with me. I understand you have to put in your time and a lot of effort to take mature bucks. I think I need to move west lol.
 

rhendrix

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I'm in the same boat as you (minus the friends, I'll be doing everything solo). This is my first year ever trying to hunt out west, so I have 0 PP's, and a boat load of ambition. My plan of attack at the moment is to put in for CO, ID, and SD (in order of preference). A lot of this is dependent on what kind of winter all three states have, if I don't draw in CO, then I know I can get an archery tag or general season tag in ID, and if all else fails I know I could get a tag in SD. No matter where I end up with a tag, I'm gonna spend at least 3 days scouting in the summer. I'd like to do more, but I've only got so much vacation time. Don't forget that you can also put in for PP's in WY and MT without buying a tag. Just gotta check the states fish and game websites for more info. Hopefully this helps you somewhat. I'm really hoping to draw in CO, much for the same reasons that Robby mentioned, it might take me two years to figure out a good area, and the more time I have my boots on the ground the better my odds become. Good luck, buddy!
 

robby denning

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rhendrix
three days scouting can be enough if you know where the buck country is already in a unit. You can figure that out now talking with people. Also, three days in the unit, you should meet a local or two and that is often very helpful. When someone who lives there sees you investing time outside the season, most are willing to help.

When a local talks, I listen!
 
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