Scouting Central Idaho Mule Deer

IdahoRuss

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Sep 5, 2020
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What time period in July is best to start scouting for an October 10th mule deer hunt in Central Idaho? The area is already picked out, I know that it holds a small number of mature bucks. It has a few basins around a 10k peak. Could possibly hunt with the bow in September but not as confident with my archery skills as I am with the rifle. Thanks for the input and suggestions!
 

IdahoElk

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What time period in July is best to start scouting for an October 10th mule deer hunt in Central Idaho? The area is already picked out, I know that it holds a small number of mature bucks. It has a few basins around a 10k peak. Could possibly hunt with the bow in September but not as confident with my archery skills as I am with the rifle. Thanks for the input and suggestions!
Anytime you're out hiking the area, looking for sign or well used travel routes is good.
I'd wait until October to hunt the area, Mature bucks are about the smartest animal out there and the closer to the rut you get the better the chance one will slip up, add a little snow, cold temps, south facing slopes and you will be able to find them easier.
When scouting closer to the season I tend to pay more attention to where the does hang out as the bachelor groups are going to break up from their summer haunts and start looking for them.
If you find does in those basins at 10k in October chances are good there are bucks in the area too.

This is the second week of October in one of those high basins, there are about 15 does to the left of this guy.
 

downthepipe

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SW IDAHO
Later in July is closer to the hunting season thus better, IMO. Maybe people have better luck locating bucks in July than I do, but it seems like for me July scouting is more about logistics scouting - camp spots, water, glassing locations, etc.
 
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IdahoRuss

IdahoRuss

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Anytime you're out hiking the area, looking for sign or well used travel routes is good.
I'd wait until October to hunt the area, Mature bucks are about the smartest animal out there and the closer to the rut you get the better the chance one will slip up, add a little snow, cold temps, south facing slopes and you will be able to find them easier.
When scouting closer to the season I tend to pay more attention to where the does hang out as the bachelor groups are going to break up from their summer haunts and start looking for them.
If you find does in those basins at 10k in October chances are good there are bucks in the area too.

This is the second week of October in one of those high basins, there are about 15 does to the left of this guy.
Nice buck! Yeah your theory makes sense, the last time I hunted this basin was 2 years ago and I was able to harvest a 170 buck that was with a group of does October 20th. Wasn't really rutting but definitely hanging out close by and feeding with the does. That was at 7500 feet but I am thinking if I put some scouting in to see what the buck quality looks like, that maybe the bigger boys will be up a little higher? I do prefer hunting muleys in October after a little snow.
Anytime you're out hiking the area, looking for sign or well used travel routes is good.
I'd wait until October to hunt the area, Mature bucks are about the smartest animal out there and the closer to the rut you get the better the chance one will slip up, add a little snow, cold temps, south facing slopes and you will be able to find them easier.
When scouting closer to the season I tend to pay more attention to where the does hang out as the bachelor groups are going to break up from their summer haunts and start looking for them.
If you find does in those basins at 10k in October chances are good there are bucks in the area too.

This is the second week of October in one of those high basins, there are about 15 does to the left of this guy.
 
OP
IdahoRuss

IdahoRuss

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Later in July is closer to the hunting season thus better, IMO. Maybe people have better luck locating bucks in July than I do, but it seems like for me July scouting is more about logistics scouting - camp spots, water, glassing locations, etc.
I have my camp and glassing spots already picked out from hunting it 2 years ago I just am curious if it would be worth scouting in the summer for an October hunt or if most people experience that everything gets shuffled around that time of the season due to weather and getting close to the rut and not go in looking for a target buck?
 

IdahoElk

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I have my camp and glassing spots already picked out from hunting it 2 years ago I just am curious if it would be worth scouting in the summer for an October hunt or if most people experience that everything gets shuffled around that time of the season due to weather and getting close to the rut and not go in looking for a target buck?
I personally like to scout an area in the summer for habitat and also for sign including large tracks and then leave the area alone or view from a distance as to not pressure any mature bucks out of the area until hunted but like elk you may think you know all the players and then out of nowhere some eye popper will show up that came looking for a hot doe.
 
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IdahoRuss

IdahoRuss

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I personally like to scout an area in the summer for habitat and also for sign including large tracks and then leave the area alone or view from a distance as to not pressure any mature bucks out of the area until hunted but like elk you may think you know all the players and then out of nowhere some eye popper will show up that came looking for a hot doe.

I personally like to scout an area in the summer for habitat and also for sign including large tracks and then leave the area alone or view from a distance as to not pressure any mature bucks out of the area until hunted but like elk you may think you know all the players and then out of nowhere some eye popper will show up that came looking for a hot doe.
Makes sense, do you view from a distance a couple weeks before the October season or are you checking on it throughout August and September? I'll be elk hunting near this area so I'm planning on doing a little muley scouting during that time as well.
 
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Makes sense, do you view from a distance a couple weeks before the October season or are you checking on it throughout August and September? I'll be elk hunting near this area so I'm planning on doing a little muley scouting during that time as well.
Viewing from a distance in September is a great way to keep tabs on the buck you are after. It will be a good time to gauge the pressure the area is getting as well.
 

IdahoHntr

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May 3, 2018
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Idaho Falls
If you’re trying to pull the biggest buck out of that country as possible summer scouting always helps in my opinion.

Bucks are so much easier to see in the summer than October. A lot can change from July to October, but most older high country bucks don’t seem to go far unless they experience heavy hunting pressure or earlier than normal extreme winter weather. If you have the time I’d definitely see what you can find in July. It’s a whole lot easier to sit on a basin that you know holds a giant than wandering in there in October not sure what’s been in there.

Scouting/hunting with a bow in September is also a great opportunity in Idaho. If you have limited time, it’s nice to get out when the bucks are still a little more visible and you still have an opportunity to kill one if they give you the chance.
 
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