View Full Version : Mule Deer Body Depth

08-28-2011, 10:23 PM
I'm getting pumped for my October hunt and fixing to begin shooting my rifle at some longer distances. Is there a standard that any of you use when it comes to using a muley's body as a holdover reference? I did a search and saw 15" from withers to brisket on a couple sites. That seems a touch small to me...? I don't even think our blacktails are that small. I know different areas in the west have different sized deer. I will be hunting in Nevada. My best guess would be somewhere in the 22-25" range but I know a lot of you would know better than me as you get to see and kill muleys more often.

Example: At 400 yards at 8,000 ft elevation my bullet will drop 15", so if a muley has a 25" deep body and its a fairly level shot, I will know to hold about 2/3 of a body above the kill zone.

Anyone ever measured one or use this method with an estimated average number?

08-29-2011, 10:00 AM
I would say your about right with the 22-25 inch measurement for most mature mulies. I think the main thing you need to know is your gun's performance. If your comfortable with your gun and know its capabilities, you'll know what kind of shots you can take on a responsible level. The other thing is knowing your distances,(rangefinder), to know what shots are possible. So say it is 24", I would say that 12 of the 24 inches is a kill zone to put that muley to sleep from high shoulder to vitals. Know your gun and you'll know your limits.

08-29-2011, 10:13 AM
I've actually measured a few, taking a square measurement of the distance between the top and bottom, right behind the shoulders. 3-year-old buck seems to average about 17-18", 4-5+ is closer to 20. It's not as big as you might think.

08-29-2011, 10:14 AM
I think 22" to 25" on a muley is way off. Elk are 28" deep.

08-29-2011, 11:07 AM
Good stuff guys. Keep em coming. Good idea on taking the square measurements Ryan. Anyone else out there taken real measurements before? In favorable conditions I am good to 500 yards, but I will limit myself to 400 max with a crosswind, steeper angle, or less than rock solid rest. I've downed a number of pigs in the 375-415 range with no problems. That said, I always do my best to get as close as each situation allows. If I have a relaxed animal up wind at 300 and I can squeeze another 50 or 100 yards in, I definitely will.

08-29-2011, 12:22 PM
i would have thought they were bigger than that but i guess not...i also researched a little and found the same 15" approx. measurement. When you look at a tape measure, seems like 15" would be for a dog rather than a muley. I've never measured one, so i'm on a learning curve on this topic. Sounds like you know your weapon pretty good, so now lets get down to a measurement. Someone needs to measure their archery mule deer ASAP...lol

08-29-2011, 03:17 PM
What kind of set up will you be using when you go to Nevada?

08-29-2011, 09:12 PM
Winchester 70 .30-06 zero'ed for 250 at 8,000 ft elevation. 150 grain Barnes TTSX doing 2920 at the muzzle. Consistently sub-MOA at 100 yards. It wears a Leupold VX3 4.5-14x40.

Yards Impact (inches)

100 +2.64
150 +3
200 +2.15
250 0
300 -3.53
350 -8.53
400 -15
450 -23.3
500 -33

08-30-2011, 09:09 PM
Dogs run from about 5" to about 12" back bone to brisket. Mule deer 18" is a great average to field range in your shot. Whitetales on the southern side of the country run 14", eastern Whitetale 16"-18". NW Whitetale 15"-18". Blacktale 12"-14"
Elk 18"-30" (small cow to mature bull ranges)
Man sized Target 18" shoulder to shoulder width(measure your self to see). Women 14"-16" shoulder to shoulder width. Average fence posts are 40-48" tall Bare ground to tops.
Average Sage Brush are Bare ground to top 30-36" Some can be upwards of 6' or more.
Coyotes are 16"-18" shoulder to rump or often 14-16" bare ground to backbone.
Crows or ravens are 12"-14" tall.

Hope that helps in your field ranging efforts. If you have a good optic with Mil-Dots or range hashes in Mil set increments, and know how they work....then those few sets of numbers should put you in the ball park of a lights out shot on just about any target you need.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-30-2011, 09:57 PM
I think I am going to have to measure some critters on the ground this year ...

09-02-2011, 04:20 PM

09-02-2011, 05:46 PM
Yeah, that's what I said when I saw that my post was deleted.