The New Mule Deer Hunting Reality: Where To Tag A Trophy This Season


Published: May - 2012

Mule deer hunting has changed in recent years. Taking a trophy mulie was once a matter of hunting public lands with readily-available tags. But massive deer die offs in the 1990s and early 2000s changed that. Later, eastern Montana came into the spotlight for quietly producing excellent bucks, but the winter of 2010-11 ended that run with extensive deer die offs there. Now, trophy-class mule deer are one of the hardest animals to come by in the West. The days of easy hunting are long gone, and finding a 30-inch buck, the bench mark for an excellent mule deer, is exceedingly difficult. In some states, bucks with antler spreads of 24-28 inches are the new trophy class. Still, correspondent Harry Morse tells us that you may yet have a chance at a quality mulie this season in both Idaho and Colorado. Read on for details.

Between 2001 and 2011 the top 10 Boone & Crockett entries for typical and non-typical mulie bucks were scattered between five states and two Canadian provinces. Colorado and Saskatchewan produced three bucks each, Utah placed two typicals in the book, and Arizona put two massive non-typical trophies in the decade's top 10. There were also some big bucks from states like Kansas that have always been considered on the fringe of mule deer range. Bottom line, over the last 10 years, no one state consistently put mule deer bucks in the book year after year. During the same time period, hundreds of whitetails made the book, compared to the handful of mule deer entries. Taking a trophy class mule deer has become one of the biggest challenges in western North America.

For this fall, your two best options are hunts in Idaho and Colorado. Idaho still holds quality bucks. As a B&C Official Measurer, I recently scored a 204 typical buck and a 235 non-typical, both from southern Idaho. May is the application month for Controlled Deer and Elk hunts in Idaho, and the best and biggest bucks consistently come from controlled hunt units. Idaho is one of the few states without a points system.........(continued)

 
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