Mule deer is one of the most coveted games by most hunters but realistically, it is also one of the most difficult to find and catch. They are very elusive and are highly adaptable of their environment thus running away from preys are very easy for them and running after them is quite a challenge especially to newbies. With over 300 pounds in weight and their antlers reaching over 200 inches, amateurs and seasoned hunters alike definitely have this on their to – catch list. They are usually found in river bottoms, high plains, and alpine environments above timberline, so as a hunter you need not only have competent skills but you are also required to have a complete set of equipment for the hunt. Sometimes, the right deer hunting equipment can’t make all the difference on whether you are taking home one of those rare species or not. To make your jobs easier, here are the basic and most important equipments you will need for mule deer hunting.
Hunting Pack and Gears
Primarily, you will definitely need a range finder and a good one that is. You can check online or in hunting goods stores as to which ones are the best and most suitable for your needs and where you will be hunting. You will also need a spare battery for that and basic navigation equipments like compass, maps and GPS. Now you have to remember that unless you are using a digital map especially designed for hunting, the physical map is still most useful. Remember to bring a headlamp, spare flashlight and trail marking tape as well especially if you will be hunting at night or hunting in foreign terrains as you don’t know what dangers lie in the area. And speaking of safety, as a hunter you should be equipped with a primary hunting weapon like a rifle or bow. This is not just for your safety but it’s the only way you can catch your mule deer.
Your optics is of the utmost essence in the hunting field since they will be the extension to your limited vision. With these being said, you will need your field glasses, spotting scope and tripod. A camera could also come in handy if you have a good one. These equipments would actually make you spot games easier and using these will prevent you from disturbing your game or scaring them away. As a hunter, you should know that mule deer is more perceptive than ordinary deer, they have an enhanced and stronger senses which means they can notice you even from afar giving them a running advantage.
Mule Deer Hunting Apparel
As a hunter, you should have your own camouflage trousers, camo shirts, camo, hat, hunter orange hat, wool socks, hunting boots and bungee clothes. These may change depending on where you are hunting, but always remember, try to keep your clothing as low profile as possible. This will be a safety precaution for you as well as an advantage in hunting.
25 Mule Deer Hunting Tips
- Drink lots of water when preparing your body for the upcoming mule deer season. This will prepare your body for consuming water when you are putting in those long hot days in the higher elevations.
- If you want to truly preserve your velvet antlers in the field consider using chemical specifically made for preserving velvet antlers. There are many different products available that are relatively easy to use.
- Well before the season begins bow hunters should inspect all their equipment. Leaving a week to repair and shoot your bow is a good way to prepare for an unsuccessful hunt.
- When heading into high elevations, acclimate yourself. If you can get to base camp early and spend the day there allowing your body to get accustomed to that elevation before heading higher the next day.
- Start slow when preparing your body for the mule deer season. Start off walking for 15 minutes a day and work your self up to jogging. If your area accommodates try walking and jogging on trails and up and down hills.
- Check your broad heads for any nicks or bending in the blades. Additionally, make sure your blades are sharp.
- Put a small bit of oil on your broad heads to keep them rust free.
- To save a buck and make your own wind gauge, buy a squeeze bottle and fill it with corn starch.
- I n preparing your body for the upcoming season, work your way up to walking with your gear. Getting used to carrying that extra weight may make the difference when the season comes. An extra 20+ pounds on your legs can wear you out quickly.
- If your bowstring looks frayed or damaged, replace it. Breaking a string can not only ruin a trip, but can seriously injure you.
- To cover your noise when walking through thick brush, do not hesitate to occasionally throw out a call.
- When practicing shoot from different elevations and positions. Lie down, kneel. Anything that you feel you may come across in the field.
- When taking the kill shot, focus on the small vital area which you want to place your shot. It is easy to get distracted and have some of your field of vision consumed by that huge rack, but realize you will get a lot closer look at that rack when it is on your wall.
- If you are serious about preparing for the upcoming season and know that putting in long days and weeks in the mountains is what you want consider seeing a nutritional expert and changing your diet as this will help your hunting success, especially in higher elevations.
- Practice all year round. Look for reasons to practice; 3-D tournaments, friendly competitions, varmint hunting, anything. Try to shoot with the same set-up you will use for the season.
- More often than not that monster buck will be found in the most out of the way, inaccessible area. That is why having a current accurate topographical map, and knowing how to read them, is key.
- Use the record books to determine where to hunt. Determine which county is producing those monster mule deer. Odds are if you find good sized bucks coming from one county year in and year out things are not about to change.
- Anything helps. When getting your body fit for the upcoming mule deer season start slow. Try doing some sit-ups or push-ups while watching TV at night.
- Hunting in hot weather has one clear advantage. Mule deer have a more difficult time picking up scent when it is warm giving you a bit more of an advantage.
- When the weather is warm mule deer will stay near a source of water. If you have done your preseason scouting then you will know where to look for that monster buck when mercury rises.
- When hunting for mule deer in the high country when the weather is warm, make sure you glass above the timberline.
- Consistency is key one you start preparing for the upcoming mule deer season. Do something daily, be it walking, jogging, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. Get your body, and mind, used to doing something everyday as that will to the mountain when wanting to hike over that “one more hill” to find that monster buck.
- Just like putting in off season time at the range there is no substitute for preseason scouting. Scout in the summer months before the deer have been spread across the mountain.
- There is no alternative to practice. That goes for both rifle and archery hunters. Putting in time at the range will pay off when stalking and bagging that monster buck.
- The best times to glass are early morning and late in the afternoon. Get up early and get yourself into position to take advantage of the first hour of sunlight.