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Mule Deer Hunting Tips and Tricks

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Mule Deer Hunting Tips and Info

Mule Deer Buck 9 point.

The mule deer is a very close relative of the black tailed deer and a distant cousin of the white tailed deer. The physical features of a mule deer are quite unique to those compared to other deer species. One of the mostevident differences between the white tailed deer and the mule deer is that the tip of the tail of the mule deer is black and its antlers are shaped like forks instead of the whitetail’s main beam with tines antler configuration.  White tailed deer have a white patch under their tail. When whitetail deer run, they tend to raise their tails which is something that is not seen in mule deer. A mule deer bounds in a hop like fashion when it runs. One of the most important characteristics that distinguish mule deer are its ears, which are much larger than whitetail deer ears. Its ears can easily measure up to 8-10 inches.  Compared to the white tail deer, the mule deer is known to appear a bit stockier. Mule deer are generally found in the mountains, near the perimeters of the forests, hills, etc. Click to watch a video in which we tag a double header buck and doe mule deer.

The mule deer is scattered around in areas more to the west in the US and Western Canada. They are known to run at a top speed of 40 miles per hour. The mule deer bucks weigh approximately 125 to 400 pounds and mule deer does weigh 100 to 150 pounds.  The rut season of the mule deer usually lasts one to three months and the best thing about the rut season is that mule deer bucks are usually less cautious which presents the best opportunity for the mule deer hunters to capitalize on this situation.

In order to hunt any animal, it is important that the hunter has done his research on the animal and how to huntthat species, this of course is especially true of mule deer hunting.  A trophy mule deer is considered to be the ultimate big game trophy by many hunting enthusiasts as it inhabits rough terrain and  mule deer are known to be extremely spookey. It is important for the hunter to be equally savy in the hunt so that he can gain an advantage over the animal. The sooner the hunter does his research on mule deer hunting and preseason scouting, the better.

Above: I(Justin Ott) am pictured with my '09 archery 4x3 Mule deer. 30 yard shot with my Bowtech Tribute 70# 5575 Gold Tip Pro Hunter Arrows and 100 grain Montec G5 broadheads. I took this deer spot and stalk hunting during the early season.

Sometimes, due to difficult weather, traveling conditions, and mule deer habitat, it becomes very tough for the hunter to spot this game animal. Therefore, it is always advised that the hunter uses binoculars that have high quality optics that would help to spot the mule deer buck even from great distances. Another must have piece of hunting equipment is a high quality spotting scope and riflescope on a long-range rifle, as you might have to take a long distance shot, especially in conditions where even the slightest approach made near the mule deer might alert him. Taking a long-range shot (up to 400 yards) is probably your best bet when stalking the mule deer proves to be an impossible feat, this proves that you need a rangefinder for these types of hunts. Trying to imitate the cry of the mule deer, especially the fawn call, can be effective. During situations when you see that the mule deer is running, you can easily stop it in its tracks by imitating the cry of the fawn. These are the situations that could make the difference of success on your mule deer hunt.

2009 rifle mule deer 4x3Another popular trick that can attract a mule deer buck would be using scents like estrus doe or dominate buck lure to get the attention of the mule deer. One precaution that you should be aware of is masking your body odor by applying the deer odor on yourself, or use a scent eliminating product.


Left: I am pictured here with a 4x3 Mule deer taken in October 2009 with my Weatherby Vanguard shooting handloaded Barnes 168 grain TTSX bullets. This deer was taken using the "spot and stalk method"

An important aspect you have to remember is that you should be in a good physical shape for a mule deer hunt, especially if you are hunting for them on high elevations. Apart from maintaining good physical health, it is also important that you do a lot of shooting practice, which should be at least twice a week from a distance of 250 to 300 yards. In order to get more mule deer hunting tips, watch some mule deer hunting videos so that you get a feel of the real thing. They could work wonders, keeping you motivated for your next big mule deer hunt.

Try some deer stroganoff for your next game dinner.

Watch a video of an archery mule deer.

Posted October 25, 2014 by Justin Ott

All Information 2017