Desert Mule Deer In California, Arizona


Published: February - 1998

Mention desert mule deer hunting and most people will think you are talking about a high-dollar hunt South of The Border, probably in the Mexican state of Sonora. Actually, there are a number of places right here in the Lower 48 where you can pursue a decent desert mulie on your own without taking out a second mortgage on your home. In fact, the primary range of desert mule deer in the US is huge, comprising most of southeastern California, southern Arizona, southern New Mexico and western Texas. Mind you, that does not mean it is easy to get a desert mulie. Success rates everywhere are abysmally low. For one thing, desert mule deer densities are generally low. Also, the rut occurs in late December and January after most hunting seasons have closed.

The most common way to hunt desert mulies is to track them, which can often mean days of walking. Another method is to wait near desert thickets and washes, hoping that a buck will show himself. No matter how you go about it, the reward is time spent in a beautiful and uncrowded desert environment, not to mention bucks that frequently reach the magic 30-inch mark. With all this in mind, here's an overview of the hunting you can find in two of the more important desert mule deer states, California and Arizona.

California: Desert mule deer are found in Imperial, Riverside and a small portion of San Bernardino counties. This area covers more than 6,000 square miles of Mojave and Sonoran desert and lies within Zone D-12. A total of 1,100 tags were issued for D-12 in 1997. The number of tags may be cut this year, but getting a permit should still not be a problem. Last year, only 38 people applied through the draw. All received permits. There are no restrictions on the number of permits that can be issued to non-residents. The permits that remained last year after the draw were sold on a first-come first-served basis. The cost to non-residents was $162.50 for the tag and $94.75 for the hunting license.........(continued)

 
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Facilitators: California Department of Fish and Game; Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in El Centro; Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Lake Havasu; Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Phoenix; Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Riverside; Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Yuma; Arizona Game and Fish Department;

  


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