The Mule deer you hunt in November is not the same Mulie you're trying to sneak up on in August or September. It's important you know the differences if you hope to get within bow or muzzle-loader range of a good Mule Deer buck.
Here are some quick Mule Deer hunting tips to help you succeed in the early season.
- If you're hunting mountainous areas, think high for Trophy Mule deer. In many cases you'll find the big boys above the treeline where they can bed down in the open. They'll also be looking for a breeze to keep the insects off those sensitive velvet covered antlers! This is where good binoculars and a spotting scope come in handy.
- Now the Location of Watering Holes.Early in the season, Mule deer and other animals may travel many miles everyday to water. Use a good topo map along with aerial photo's to find and scout out water holes in your area. Thirsty Muley's have been know to travel miles for a drink of water. Remember, not all watering holes are created equal, scout as many as you can then pick the best 1 or two and set up a blind or tree-stand.
- Tree-stands are not only for Whitetails! Treestand hunting can be an extremely effective tactic for Mule Deer. From my experience, they look up far less than Whitetails. As stated above, find a good watering hole to set up over. If you're scouting from a distance, try to see which game trails they use every day and then set up over those trails.
- Watch the Thermals.When hunting in mountainous areas, remember that as the day warms up, the thermal currents will carry your scent up the mountain. This is one reason some big Mulies will bed near the top of a peak. They can see and smell anything coming up from below. In the afternoon as the temperatures cool off, the thermals will take your scent downhill as the air cools. Something to remember when you're planning that stalk on Mr. Mule Deer!
- Practice shooting at steep angles.It always surprises many archers and muzzleloaders how shooting steeply uphill or downhill affects their impact point. Practice to see how your equipment will behave!
Keep these tips in mind the next time you head out in the early season after Mule deer. Early season Mule deer hunting is fun and can be extremely rewarding. It can also be challenging so be prepared!