Mule Deer Scouting

Dixie07

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Feb 24, 2012
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Neosho Falls, KS
I am headed out next week for a weeklong backpack trip/mule deer scouting trip to colorado. This will be my first mule deer hunt this fall, and first scouting trip coming up. I have been backpacking several times, so I feel comfortable doing that. I am looking for some advice and tips on the best way to go about scouting for them. My game plan now is to be up on a high ridge before first light in the morning and glass for a while, and then in the evenings glass for a couple of hours before sunset. Any info is much appreciated.
 

robby denning

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You've got 95% of it nailed down in your last few sentences.

I would add that make sure you have the sun at your back and that you look at everything you can see within 4 miles. For about an hour after sunrise, you can see bucks that far away. You might not be counting points, but you'll figure out what country they are using this year. Sometimes we get too fixated on the bucky basin we've hiked into, but there may not be any bucks there that day. Look at lots of country, carefully I might add, and your odds of spotting a good buck go way up. Might have to come back another day to get a good look at them, but at least you know where some are.
 

RosinBag

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Unless your moving a lot each day, I wouldn't overlook glassing during mid day. All deer will get up a couple a times from their beds and paw around, browse or just move to get out of the sun as it moves across the horizon. I would pick the area apart during those times, when many other hunters are not working during these times. If you are using mid day to move around and change camps, try and stay as high as possible and glass a little every chance you get.
 
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Dixie07

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Neosho Falls, KS
Thanks for the tips guys, much appreciated. Hopefully ill have some good pictures come the end of next week.
 

muleman

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Utah
You've got 95% of it nailed down in your last few sentences.

I would add that make sure you have the sun at your back and that you look at everything you can see within 4 miles. For about an hour after sunrise, you can see bucks that far away. You might not be counting points, but you'll figure out what country they are using this year. Sometimes we get too fixated on the bucky basin we've hiked into, but there may not be any bucks there that day. Look at lots of country, carefully I might add, and your odds of spotting a good buck go way up. Might have to come back another day to get a good look at them, but at least you know where some are.
Here are some examples from a scouting trip this weekend.

Glass closest to farthest. This small buck was glassed at 25 yards.
P1030472.jpg

I believe that you should always glass any area that you can see. On several occasion I have glassed large bucks miles away. Here is a larger buck spotted at about three miles.
2012-07-21 07.43.37 nogps.jpg
 
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Dixie07

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Feb 24, 2012
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Neosho Falls, KS
One thing I haven't done a whole lot of is off trail hiking. Is there any advice that you guys have concerning that?
 

evan williams

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Colorado Springs
My best advice on off trail hiking is just to know your maps. Know what the terrain is going to do to you (cliffs/crags, etc). So you don't get into a spot where you are needing major backtracking. Been there a few times. Trekking poles can be a big help while side hilling.
 

Slim Jim

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Las Vegas, NV
That just happened to me this weekend scouting. I tried taking a short cut over a range into a basin that I will be hunting next month instead of using trailhead. 4.5 miles sounded more appealing than 8.5 miles. Everything looked great on google earth. 2/3 of the hike in I came into an almost vertical boulder field that was about a mile long sidehilling and then the saddle I wanted to crest had a shear cliff making it unpassable. Needless to say I climbed to the peak to the north and glassed my basin for the day but did not get that extra day that I wanted. Will stick to trailheads for now on to get me to an area I need to hunt and then free hike the basins I am hunting
 
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Dixie07

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Neosho Falls, KS
Thanks for all the tips guys! I am heading out in the AM, and will be hitting the trail first thing Thursday morning, and be out for the better part of a week. I am getting all my gear rounded up as I type.
 
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