Multiple tags, same hunt

blb078

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Dec 18, 2012
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Wentzville, MO & Port Charlotte, FL
Curious what peoples thoughts are on having multiple tags on the same hunt. I'm going to be going on my first DIY hunt this year and trying to make it an elk/mule deer combo w/most or all of my focus being on elk, but often times when reading about peoples hunts they'll make a comment like "didn't see any elk, but saw a look of deer" or just the opposite. So my thinking is better to have both tags for that "just incase" scenario This is probably more common for someone like me who is from the midwest who can't get out west to hunt as often as someone who lives out that way, so I'm trying to take advantage of every opportunity I may have. Anyone else do combo hunts, if so do you focus on both animals or just focus on one and if you see the other go for it?
 

luke moffat

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Feb 24, 2012
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Focus on what you want to hunt, but having options is a good thing. Then if you see a trophy in a secondary species you have the chance to take you can make that call then. Better to have it and not need it rather than need it and not have it.

In September I have the chance to take caribou, moose, sheep, and grizzly bears all in the same hunt. I've passed on good animals to focus on the primary and I have deviated too, just depends on the animals and/or situation.
 
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blb078

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Wentzville, MO & Port Charlotte, FL
Was kind of my thinking too, especially for a state like WY were one tag will work for archery or rifle. So if you only get one animal during archery season you can come back a few weeks later for another w/the same tag during rifle season.
 

belly-deep

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May 23, 2012
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As a general rule, I would not attempt a multi-species hunt for your first DIY trip.

First off, I have found that most areas that have good hunting for one of the species usually do not have good hunting for the other. There are exceptions to this rule, but assuming we're talking general tags, the opportuntity is usually not there. I live in a state that has a 6 week general archery season and a 5 week general rifle season. The deer and elk seasons run concurrently and I always start out the season with elk and mule deer tags in my pocket. That said, I have mule deer spots and elk spots, and they don't really overlap.

For example, I mostly hunt elk in the SW part of the state. The deer numbers are low in the places I hunt elk, to the point that in a few of my spots, I've never even seen a mule deer. Ever. But it is very good elk hunting. Similarly, last fall I finally saw a herd of elk in one of my mule deer hunting spots. Previously, I'd probably spent close to 30 days in that area over the last 4-5 years and had never seen elk during a hunt.

I mentioned "exceptions" and there are two of them. The first is if you draw a good tag for one of the species. There are places with draw hunts here in MT for mule deer, and many of them have good general elk hunting to boot. If you draw a tag for one of the species, you could very easily have the chance to fill a general tag for the other species. The problem is, if you draw a good tag, do you want to waste time hunting/packing out an elk when precious hours on your mule deer hunt are ticking away? I don't.

The other exception is units with small or average animals of one of the species. I mentioned elk hunting in SW MT. Sure, I do see mule deer in some of my spots. But they're always very small (2x2 or 3x3) bucks. If I was hunting in another state, there is no way I'd cough up nonres license prices to bring home a 2x2 or 3x3 mule deer.

I've hunted 16 seasons in MT and have only ever killed elk and mule deer on the same hunt once. And the elk was a cow. As I said, if anyone has the opportunity to do so, it is us MT guys. Still, I and most people I know hunt deer and elk in areas dozens if not hundreds of miles apart. It is very possible to have a multi-species hunt, but the odds of filling the "other" tag are pretty low in most areas.

You could split the difference and hunt a unit that has so-so hunting for both species, but again, your odds of success drop.

Not to mention, I hunt elk and mule deer differently, and a multi-species hunt is not so simple as hiking through the woods and shooting the first species you come across. Having two tags in your pocket is very distracting and I end up bouncing around from critter to critter, never really hunting one species as thoroughly as I should. Now, I try to focus on one critter per hunt.
 

Arrowslinger

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NorCal
I say buy the deer tag too. I've killed early on an elk hunt and was happy to have the deer tag.
 

robby denning

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If you're not hung up on big antlers, probably smart to have multiple tags.

If you're hung up on big antlers, probably smart to have multiple tags BUT just hunt one species for reasons Belly-Deep says.
 

shaun

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Central CA
I think it is one of those damned if you do damned if you dont. When I was in Colorado this year we only saw elk hunters no deer hunters in our unit. All the elk hunters were down driving the roads and all the elk were where we were at. Saw a couple nice bulls nothing big but decent for an OTC unit. Almost wanted to go get an elk tag but never did. I might pick one up next year just in case
 

flatlander51

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May 20, 2012
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Maryland
I just went through this last year. I had a region h wy deer tag and gen elk tag. Elk season started two weeks after deer. so we waited for the elk opener even though our primary focus was deer. Because of us waiting I felt our deer hunting wasn't as good as it could have been. I would focus on one species when picking a unit to hunt and make that your primary focus. I would still buy whatever other tags you can just in case. I have made this mistake twice now, by not buying the otc bear tag and seening bears on both hunts. so take advantage of all possible tags that interest you, just don't lose focus of what your there for.
 

Mckinnon

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Reno, NV
I like what belly-deep said, The only opportunity I have had for multiple tags is deer and bear. I usually get a bear tag just in case I see one while I am for deer, but never go out of my way to find one...
 

2rocky

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Jun 21, 2012
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Nor Cal
I tend to agree with Belly deep. If you have an area that you can get a preference point for in one specie, and hunt another, you have a better idea of the country and a back up plan if you don't draw the primary. Now Wyoming makes that possible for elk results /deer app deadline being 2 weeks apart. I've been able to hunt Wyoming 7 years out of 8 using that logic. That is how a DIY hunter gets to know an area.

As for the two species being in the same area, During the elk rut, I found there were drainages the Elk liked that the Deer didn't, and Vice Versa. Now we have had both deer and elk tags in the same camp, but hunting different areas. So it could be done. Trophy quality will be better for one than another usually.
 

Craig4791

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Dec 2, 2012
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Soldotna,AK
I would rather have a tag in my pocket and eat it if i dont see anything as long as its an OTC tag than be hunting and have to pass on something nice.
 

unm1136

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Aug 30, 2012
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Albuquerque NM
My state really has no OTC big game, other than Barbary Sheep, and the best units are draw only even for them. Seasons don't really coincide, and each species is a separate draw. The only area I have been able to draw for the last couple of years (my third choice each year) has gone from producing good mulies to becoming known for large elk, as the elk are moving in, the deer are getting pushed out. Add that to 600 tags and anything within a mile or two of a road will produce only does and other hunters.

pat
 
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