Early Season Nebraska Mule Deer

D.Rose

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Mar 21, 2020
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168
Looking to get my feet wet in mule deer hunting and figured Nebraska would be the easiest and fastest way to get started. I know alot of people are probably thinking the same way as me and from what I can tell Nebraska has somewhat limited public land. To those that have early season archery hunted what was your experience? I've seen and read alot of posts from different forums talking about alot of pressure but I come from Eastern Ky and have my own opinions on what heavy pressure is. I have done a fair amount of research and have what I think is a decent gameplan put together. My preference would be the sandhills region just because that type of terrain peaks my interest. I am basically using Nebraska as a learning experience as I figure out and start to build points for better areas out west. I'm new on the forum but have read alot from people on here using the search function. Seems like a very knowledgeable hunting group!
 

Cornhusker

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Sep 19, 2017
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61
Location
Nebraska
Welcome D. Rose I have lived and hunted archery in the Nebraska Sandhills for over 40 years and I spend a ridiculous amount of time out among deer all year, saying that my hunting and time is always done on private ranches. I'm sure you understand that over 97% of Nebraska is private land so it does limit the amount of public a great deal. The public land does get hit hard but as we have a really low population density in the sandhills I'm sure not as hard as Kentucky. It can be done as I have a few public areas that I know of that don't get hit that hard early and a few guys on here have hunted them and had some success. I came out here 40 years ago from Iowa and for a while the size of the country and how to hunt archery mulies threw me it probably will you also for awhile stick with it and Good luck.
 
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D.Rose

D.Rose

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Mar 21, 2020
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168
I have done a lot of research. I do know it is a long shot getting on decent mule deer in NE. I am mostly trying to get some experience hunting mule deer while I work towards building points for better places. Education isn't free so if theres a slight chance I can make it happen im game. OTC elk in Colorado is one of the toughest hunts around but tons of people go every year knowing the odds are totally against them. I've always been enamored by mule deer and finally to a point in my life I can start making some of these dream hunts of mine happen. I could probably pick a much better place but NE is the closest and cheapest way for me to try it out. I more than likely will get my butt handed and if so thats fine. Education isn't free.
 

Scottyboy

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Dec 17, 2016
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739
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Minnesota
I will start by saying my experience has only been on private...but seen many many great mulies. I’ve heard of some success on public, but it might be worth doing some looking for a place that will allow you on for a trespass fee, to make the most of your time/experience. Seeing how mule deer react to a human was completely foreign (and shocking) to me living in whitetail country...I’m glad to have had numerous run ins with them, feeling like it will only help my tactics in the future. I’ll be back in Nebraska this year with my bow..

Grab an antelope tag while your at it 👌
 
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D.Rose

D.Rose

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Mar 21, 2020
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Those main tracts are pretty big. Ive counted 30+ vehicles on a 6000 acre tract here in Ky so that doesn't seem to crazy to me. I know the cover and terrain allow for you to comb over lot more ground but that still dont seem like a ton of pressure. Very likely I am wrong but thats why I joined the forum. I am open to all opinions and willing to listen and learn from anybody.
 
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Wapiti1

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Sep 18, 2017
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Indiana
Those main tracts are pretty big. Ive counted 30+ vehicles on a 6000 acre tract here in Ky so that doesn't seem to crazy to me. I know the cover and terrain allow for you to comb over lot more ground but that still dont seem like a ton of pressure. Very likely I am wrong but thats why I joined the forum. I am open to all opinions and willing to listen and learn from anybody.

The deer density is very different comparing NE to KY. Where you have say 30-50 per square mile in KY, you have 1-10 in western NE. Not a lot of deer to spread around, and you have to cover a lot more ground to find them.

6000 acres might only hold 60 deer or less depending on habitat.

I'm not trying to discourage you, just trying to give you perspective on what you will find out there. It will be lots of nothing, with scattered pockets of deer.

Jeremy
 
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D.Rose

D.Rose

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Mar 21, 2020
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168
I hunt the mountains of eastern Ky. Deer density might be 6-7 deer per sq mile and have hunted big woods areas with densities as low as 3 possibly. Vastly different from central and western ky. I am no stranger to low deer numbers.
 

Wapiti1

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Sep 18, 2017
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Indiana
I hunt the mountains of eastern Ky. Deer density might be 6-7 deer per sq mile and have hunted big woods areas with densities as low as 3 possibly. Vastly different from central and western ky. I am no stranger to low deer numbers.

Got it. I was thinking you were in the farm country region. Yeah, the big woods don't hold many deer. My bad.

Jeremy
 
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D.Rose

D.Rose

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Mar 21, 2020
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Hey D. Rose, I'm from eastern Kentucky too. How did this hunt go?
Better than expected after reading all the negative posts on here about Nebraska. Had opportunities at two bucks around 150 inches. Overall it was a good trip. Not the easiest thing I have ever done but there's def deer to be found. One day I seen 36 mule deer, the next day I seen two. Just have to keep moving till you find them.
 

Wolfmann

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Feb 11, 2021
Messages
23
I hunted the sandhills last year. We didn't go so far west so we saw more whitetails than mule deer. We did not see any other hunters at the two areas we hunted, but the deer were also hard to come by. We live in Iowa so the drive was only a few hours and we only hunted two days. I feel like if we would have had more time we would have been successful. I have hunted mule deer in the past and am confident that if I knew about the area on the first morning as much as I did the final evening my tag would have been filled. It was a fun hunt.
 
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
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I hunted the sandhills last year. We didn't go so far west so we saw more whitetails than mule deer. We did not see any other hunters at the two areas we hunted, but the deer were also hard to come by. We live in Iowa so the drive was only a few hours and we only hunted two days. I feel like if we would have had more time we would have been successful. I have hunted mule deer in the past and am confident that if I knew about the area on the first morning as much as I did the final evening my tag would have been filled. It was a fun hunt.
I'm assuming you went early archery as well?
 

Wolfmann

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Feb 11, 2021
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23
Yes, we hunted the first two days of season. It was fun but also very hot which did nothing to benefit the hunting.
 
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