View Full Version : Did a little summer scouting

06-18-2012, 07:44 PM
I got out to the western edge of the unit for which I was drawn this year here in Nevada to have a look at the landscape and spot some deer. I did this scouting with a friend who knows the area. I know nothing about it, so it was very important that I start asking questions and taking any opportunity, right now, to get my eyes on the game and where they call home.

We went out to a spot where my friend from work has seen many mule deer during the regular season. The viewing spot we chose sits just over 9,000 ft. elevation in an area that tops out around 10,000 ft. and bottoms out around 7,000. The closest "deery" looking spot was a facing peak and it's adjoining foothills about 1 mile away. There were deer out there, but boy, was I in for a lesson in just how far our mule deer can be from your scouting point and the amount of ground you may have to cover out here just to get within shooting range. Keep in mind that as a Midwest whitetail hunter in my former life, this is all new to me.

The deer we saw were just barely visible with the naked eye. Below are some shots that I took using a 300mm telephoto lens. Still, despite the magnification, you can see just how tiny these deer look. As most of you already know, if you don't have quality optics out here, consider yourself screwed.

This was the first deer of the morning. It heard us coming up the hill in the truck from incredibly far out and I got this shot of it bounding toward the top of a foothill...

...and then stopping for a look at us.


Then, another group came in from the right on the face of the mountain across from us...


...and a couple more came to join them.


06-18-2012, 07:46 PM
The rising sun actually made it even harder to see these deer as they fed across the mountian face, as the glare made it harder to see their coat against the ground.


This doe was the closest deer we saw all day, and she was still a good 350 or so yards away:


This trip was a wakeup call, particularly in regard to optics and the magnification needed to reliably spot mulies. There is no way in hell that my 12x Nikon Monarch ATB binos - even on a tripod - can buy me the descrimination needed to reliably tell a doe from a buck at most distances we saw deer, let alone decipher the quality of a buck at that kind of distance. This scouting adventure absolutely locked me in on buying a Leupold Gold Ring HD spotting scope. I found an excellent price on one and will have it with me on the next trip out.

Jon Boy
06-18-2012, 09:22 PM
Looks like a successful scouting trip!

06-18-2012, 10:45 PM
Great pics. Sounds like it was a good learning experience for your gear.

06-19-2012, 08:54 AM
Looks like a successful scouting trip!

So far, so good! We're going to head back hear in a couple of months to see what's changed, what's still moving, what's not moving, and where. The big question for me (and one that I couldn't reliably answer with the optics on hand) is "are there any worthwhile bucks in this area?" We'll see later on and, if not, we'll move elsewhere.

Great pics. Sounds like it was a good learning experience for your gear.
It absolutely was. I knew the distances would be far, but to see it in the flesh was a whole new ballgame.

06-19-2012, 08:58 AM
Scouting is always fun. Especially when you can see the animals your wanting to see!