If you’re catching the bug for big mule deer, you should review these previous posts.

You might notice that I write often on the fact that big mule deer don’t just wander like aimless children; they are usually where they’re supposed to be. There is a reason I hammer this subject.  


When I was in my early twenties, I’d hunted my tail off in several units that my research proved held big bucks. I even tracked down several hunters that had killed some good bucks there in recent years.  However, for several falls I hunted hard with nary a sighting of a big mule deer.  I started to think they were a myth. That thinking started to change as I kept hunting and learned the units better.  I discovered that big buck areas are like crops; some years some areas produce a good yield, others not so much (more on this subject here: Scouting

When I finally started putting some big deer in the dirt, I’d realized that just because I’m in mule deer country that doesn’t mean there is a big buck there, no matter how good the unit might be.  I had to learn at least several core areas in the unit that had big buck potential and hunt them correctly, while ignoring the thousands of acres where they likely are not.  (To get a better feel for finding big deer country, see Finding Big Buck Country)

Studying Google Earth will surely show you buck honey holes, but until Google starts a live satellite feed (God forbid!) you will never know if a big mule deer lives there on any given year until you scout and hunt the area.  That takes time, often years, but it is how you can separate yourself from the masses. 

Most hunters try a unit once, then move on if they didn’t see a freak-antlered muley.  Once I find good buck country, I check on it often and sooner or later I find a big mule deer living there.  Some of these places won’t hold a big buck for a decade then “bam!” one shows up.  That means nine out of ten years the place was a bust and is why I don’t get easily discouraged if I don’t find a good buck the first few times I hunt or scout an area. 

If you don’t live close to mule deer country, you can still be successful.  You just have to accept the fact that it’s likely going to take longer, but be encouraged. The fun is in the search and I’ve met many mule deer hunters who don’t live in the West but do very well on big mule deer. I find these hunters all have one thing in common: they know their area.  So should you.

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Robby Denning
Robby Denning started hunting mule deer in the late 1970’s, only missing one season in 35 years. At 25, he gave up the pursuit of all other big-game to focus on taking the best bucks possible. He began hunting the West on a DIY budget hunting an average of 30 days a year for mule deer. Robby loves the hunt as much as the kill and the entire process from research to scouting to hunting. He’s killed four bucks over 200 inches in the last 15 seasons, mostly on easily-obtained tags. He owns a public-land scouting service and runs a private-land outfitting business helping other hunters in their pursuit of deer and elk. Robby has scouted and hunted literally thousands of square miles of mule deer country and brings a wealth of knowledge about these experiences with him. To him, the weapon of choice is just a means-to-an-end and will hunt with bow, rifle, or muzzleloader – whatever it takes to create an opportunity to take a great mule deer. He is also the author of "Hunting Big Mule Deer" available on Amazon. Robby believes all of creation is from God for man to manage, respect, and through which to know its Creator


  1. So true Robby and thanks for all the [i]Killing Big Mule Deer[/i] wisdom!
    Better to hunt a decent unit many times over a decade than hunt a “better” unit once in a decade.

  2. Robby would just like to say I love your blog posts and I’ve learned a lot. This isn’t info you see in every other magazine. Keep up the good work!

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