Jicarilla Mule Deer


Published: May - 1998

Most avid mule deer hunters are familiar with the Jicarilla Apache Reservation. It once had the finest mule deer hunting anywhere in the United States, but then declined during the 70s and early 80s. Tribal biologists closed the hunting for three years in the late 80s and commissioned studies to find out what was wrong. Predation (mainly from coyotes), poaching and excessive hunting turned out to be the culprits. Programs, including one to control the coyote population, were instituted and the result is the Jicarilla has big bucks once again. A number of my friends have hunted here over the last several years and their reports are all positive. One friend says he passed up shooting a 28-inch cactus buck with 10-inch bases and three long drop points. He wound up looking for that buck again before his hunt was over and "settling for" a wide-racked buck that just missed making the book.

The Jicarilla Reservation is huge - covering an area more than 70 miles long and 20 miles wide. As you would expect, it boasts a wide variety of terrain and habitat with elevations between 6,000 and 9,000 feet. Several of my friends tell about seeing more than 50 deer per day on their hunts. According to recent game surveys, the buck-to-doe ratios are quite high. Most bucks here carry typical racks with stickers, but the reservation produces some outstanding nontypicals every year. It is as good a place as any in the US to bump into that nontypical of a lifetime. Tribal officials say their best nontypical buck last year netted 222 B & C points. The largest typical made the book with a net score of 200 2/8. Gross average scores are even more impressive. The 11 bucks that were scored as typicals had an average gross score of 191 2/8, while the six bucks that were scored as nontypicals averaged 212 1/8 gross points.

All hunts here are for seven days and tribal guides are required. A list of guides is available. Plan on paying at least $200 per day, depending on the........(continued)

 
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