This Mule Deer Hunt Has It All


Published: October - 2005

High Country Outfitters operates in south central Idaho in the Sawtooth Wilderness and the Sawtooth National Forest, where outfitter George Peter has exclusive guiding access and special-use permits from the US Forest Service. This is very remote, rugged country. Peter hunts 225 square miles of wilderness here at elevations of 5,000 to 10,000 feet. This is where he produces trophy mule deer with 25- to 30-inch spreads every year.

I hunted with Peter this past August during an early-season velvet hunt and took a buck that green-scored more than 200 B & C, and I saw but could not get on a buck that would have scored another 15 to 20. That buck was higher, wider and had a 14-inch sword point on one side of his rack. I lost him after an all-morning stalk in the timber. Fifteen minutes later, I spotted the buck I eventually killed. I also saw a third buck that was larger still. In total, I saw 15 bucks in a day and a half.

Although Peter's area is public land, the remoteness and difficult access means there is virtually no resident hunting or other pressure. The Sawtooth Mountains are very steep and only hunters who are physically fit should attempt this particular hunt. In fact, Peter screens all of his hunters to make sure they are able to endure the rigors of this trip. If a hunter doesn't measure up physically, Peter will not book him. Although Peter uses horses, all of the actual hunting is on foot. The hunt starts at elevations of 8,000 feet, and hunters must be able to climb up to 2,000 vertical feet in one day.

This is not a weather-dependent or migration hunt, as evidenced by the quality of deer found during the early season. Peter and his guides pre-scout the area for trophy resident bucks. Hunts begin with a nine to 15-mile horseback ride from his lodge up into the range where you set up a tent camp. From there, you ride out each day two to three miles to your hunt........(continued)

 
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