View Full Version : Hunting deer in Timber

03-19-2011, 11:28 AM
Any ideas on how to hunt Mule Deer in timber. In my hunt area there is mostly timber, not many parks. I have seen some deer in the 180's but always during Elk season. Any help would do.

03-19-2011, 07:57 PM
I have found Mule deer to be rather curious creatures. They tend to come to things they cant see or descide what it is, until they can be certain then run away if frightened.
One way to get a bucks interest up is use scent trailers on your boots. I use them, and put doe estrus on them. Then just hike up to a ridge or highest place I can head to in the mornings, retrace my steps in the afternoons. The scent gets them interested obviously, as it also can help to hide your own.
I use an hoochie mama squeeze call when walking too. If for any reason I make a loud noise, I will then call with it once or twice like a lost cow.
It also works to use it one or two times when closing the distance on a spot and stalk in heavy cover on mulies too. Being elk are generally not too quiet in the woods, it will settle them down if they hear you coming on the ground.
Predators tend to walk SUPER quiet, and deer tune into this when your stalking them, the soft foot approach spells trouble and they bolt.

One year I took a doe bow hunting this way, and everytime she looked at me I would stop, and cow call. I closed the distance on her to 45 yards and took a shot, missing her. She just looked around not sure what it even was, I kept up the game and closed into 25 yards, taking a calmer shot, took her with a beautiful broadside hit.
Her hearing the sounds of an elk call, along with a patient foot stalk through the timber made for one fun hunt that year!

Every guy has their own advise, I personally love the foot stalk better than a sit on my butt and freeze a finger or two one. Hope that helped and good luck this year!

03-20-2011, 12:28 AM
As WolfalonID said it works.I took my 2nd biggest this way.But my largest buck {162 3/8} Took off running after hearing the cow call I waited a half hour {let him calm down} and still hunted the rest of the way {making no noise}and glassing every 25 yards until I found him an hour later in his bed.
So I would say it depends on the buck.

03-20-2011, 12:30 AM
It helps to do alot of scouting before season to but I don't go into my hunting area one week before season to give it a rest.

03-20-2011, 12:45 PM
Thanks for the advice, keep it coming!

03-24-2011, 02:44 PM
wolftalonID offers some good info. To that, I would add that the mule deer where I hunt will often do a half circle off the trail to see what has been following them.

03-24-2011, 03:28 PM
Hunting water ways and heavy brush funnels has always been a favorite method for bush mulies. Where I am 90% of deer season the high country is closed by snow, and the deer are in heavy, nasty, thick bush. Finding edges or funnels of super dense bush or areas where deer are inclined to skirt a section of bush are great places to set up. Water ways are nice to. The mulies around tend to use creeks banks or other waterways to travel distances without pushing heavy bush. Late in the season dry creek beds serve like expressways for mulies traveling place to place. Bucks will use these in the dark to wind for hot does. I've seen lots of bucks cruising before shooting hours up and down dry creeks, nose up, and face to the wind. Setting up a scent the night before and being on it before light has served me well.

03-25-2011, 07:33 AM
I found in the thick stuff, look for a water source in the early season. Be patient and wait for them to come to water. In the late season like has been mentioned I will run a scent drag on my way in, if the bucks are rutting hard they will come running like a bird dog. If I could just get the right one to follow me!

08-24-2011, 01:05 PM
Disclaimer: while I have had some luck finding deer while still hunting Muleys, but I am definately not an expert. I will say right up front I have never shot any of the deer I found while still hunting, but have seen some 130-140" bucks that I have passed on.

Dislaimer complete; here are some of the observations I have made:

1. Deer I have found bedded in the timber seem to gravitate towards some type of terrain feature. Example: I have found deer bedded in the shadow of rock outcroppings or uphill from game trails or clearings.

2. Just because it is heavily timbered doesn't mean the deer feel secure. The timber that has difficult access because of natural obstacles is more likely to hold deer. I have found deer by looking at topo maps and finding the timbered areas that are isolated by cliffs, finding my way around the cliffs, and then working my way back towards the cliffed out area.

3. I try and look for ideal bedding spots, but maybe more importantly I am looking for the likely escape routes, because more often than not when I see a deer still hunting it is already alert to my presensce and is deciding if it needs to run. I then have to assume that if it was a big buck it would already be moving out. I got the drop on a 140" 4 point in the Bighorns a couple of years ago because I coaught him trying to sneak out the back door on me and I was able to reposition as he came around the face of a rock outcropping. I passed him up, but before I did I put him in the crosshairs at about 35yds.

4. A trick I learned in Afghanistan when we would go into villages we thought might have some unfreindly characters that might want to run and hide in the adjacent mountains. If you have a hunting partner in overwatch of a patch you are going to still hunt, they might be able to see where any deer that get spooked come out, allowing you to make a move on them once they have settled back down. Alot of times a deer that thinks he got away from you clean may not go real far, but you are still going to want to give them plenty of time to settle back down. Kind of a mix between Stillhunting, a Drive, and Spot and Stalk (if you are lucky).

5. Speed (or more accurately a lack of) is very important. I have been told you should where the same wieght of clothing you would wear if you were sitting still in the same weather, and you should walk slow enough that you don't sweat. I am not sure I follow this rule, but I try.

6. Don't discount the importance of optics. I pull up my binoculars every couple of steps and scan cover, Terrain features, escape routes for eyes, ears, antlers, and hide.

There is a good article By Ryan Hatfield on still hunting in EHJ. I will try and find the issue # (Maybe around #119??)


Hope this helps