Late Season Archery Mule Deer Hunt
A few of us from the shop were lucky enough to draw late season mule deer tags. This is an antlered only, archery only hunt, and is heavily dependent on wintery weather pushing the big bucks out of the high country. Unfortunately for us, we've had a very warm November - up until last weekend, of course! As we set up camp on Wednesday night a cold front came through and brought a few inches of snow, colder temps and a very strong wind with it. Another 10" of snow and we'd have been all set.
With plenty of deer, but very few bucks, in the area, we set off. More of a classic glass and stalk muley hunt vs. a rut/migration hunt. We relied heavily on our Swarovski Optics to find the deer, and utilized every layer of Sitka clothing we could muster, as temps varied from -5 to 45 degrees.
Unfortunately, no tags were filled last weekend. However, we saw some good bucks, and were lucky enough to observe a big mountain lion on the hunt. He didn't fare any better than we did, at least while we watched. We'll be back, hopefully with more snow and better success, soon.
Bows: Rob and I both shoot Prime. However, at this point in the season, use what you're practicing with. Be comfortable with a 60yds+ shot, it may be your only chance. For long range, I like the Option 6 from Trophy Taker. I can dial my single pin down to 88 yds.
Clothing: Sitka provided the best, full kit layering system for us. Again, temperatures ranged from below zero to over 40 degrees F. Throw in some big hikes with steep vert, and you need to be careful not to sweat too much, or you'll freeze while glassing.
Optics: Swarovski makes the best in the business. We were using the El Bino, 10x42 and ATX 30-70x95mm spotting scopes to find the deer in heavy cover from far off. We would have been wise to remember our phone and camera attachments for the scopes and had some better pictures and video.. but, hey, we made do.
Packs: Mystery Ranch Metcalf for me, and Pintler for Rob. Built for the mission! Unfortunately, we didn't get to carry any heavy weight out, but we've tested these on elk and they handle those 100lb loads nicely.