View Full Version : Need advice on planning first mule deer hunt...

06-08-2011, 01:04 PM
alright guys, I'm looking to go on a hunt out west in the next few years.. I am trying to get some details figured out now.. I was wondering what states and units would provide a good hunt for a beginner... I am not looking to shoot a giant, but something pretty decent as I am from PA and would like to come back home with something nice..... any advice and input is appreciated... thank you

06-08-2011, 01:47 PM
I think your best option is colorado, with the winter that montana,idaho,and wyoming are having i might give them a couple years. You can still get deer tags with no points(do your homework) in colorado and you can always get elk tags. I setup camp for some florida guys and they get tags every year. GOOD LUCK

06-08-2011, 02:11 PM
You can still put in for a point this year in Arizona. So in a few years when you get serious about drawing you should have 2 or 3 points built up that will get you closer to the tag. I would also put in for points in Colorado. With 1 or 2 points you can get into some pretty good units. New Mexico is a straight lottery draw and there are a few good units there from my understanding. My dad and I just drew New Mexico mule deer tags for 2b. I will let you know how we do after the hunt.

06-08-2011, 02:20 PM
thanks for posting guys, I am going to be doing alot of researching on this.. 338ultra, good luck on your hunt, looking forward to seeing how you guys do..

Umpqua Hunter
06-08-2011, 06:43 PM
Your best bet is to hunt an area with good public access with November season dates (rut). I'd recommend to pick two or three states now and begin to build preference points/bonus points each year. While you are building points, you can continue to do your homework on what unit to draw in a few years.

#1 Colorado: Your very best bet would be to buy preference points in Colorado for 3 to 5 years. You could get a very high success hunt, with a lot of public land available. The money out of pocket each year is relatively low in Colorado. This state issues a LOT of quality deer tags. In a few years you should draw a tag for a unit you could get a nice four point in.

#2 Montana: East side of the state. Usually tons of nice deer and many private properties enrolled in Block Management (free access to private land). LOTS of units with November dates. But as mentioned above, I understand there was a bad winter kill this year. Montana has fairly reasonable costs to apply for deer.

#3 Wyoming: Good bet. You can still buy a preference point on-line there this year between July and September I believe. Buying a point each year would be a great way to lock up a good tag in 3 to 5 years. Most of the better deer hunts here end on October 31 and miss the rut.

New Mexico: Some good units. Low out of pocket cost to apply each year, but hard draw odds for good tags, and no preference system, so its hard to plan the year you will draw.

Nevada: Very good mule deer hunting, but you have to buy a license each year to build points. Good units are hard to draw.

Arizona: You have to buy a non-resident hunting license here each year to build bonus points, so it is not really worth it if applying for deer only.

Idaho: Tough unless you draw a good tag. You have to buy a non-resident license to apply. No preference system.

Oregon: Where I live...not worth it.

Utah: Don't know enough to give advice.

California: Not worth the investment.

Washington: Not worth the investment.

Scott S
06-08-2011, 07:10 PM
Great info UH! I am buying pts again this yr in WY and saving them for a couple of years down the road

Switchback - You will find a lot of very nice people who will offer tons of advice. Just like the guys responding in this thread. I don't know much about states other than WY and CO but I would imagine that MT would be good as well. I know MT has a lot of the block mgt (or whatever it is called) land that is private but the public can hunt it. Best of luck on wherever you decide to go.

Bitterroot Bulls
06-08-2011, 07:13 PM
A "decent" deer is different to everybody. My experience in talking with a few Eastern hunters are they are extremely pleased with just about any mule deer buck above a forkhorn on their first trip out west. I think buying some points for a good rut tag in CO is great advice. In the meantime you can do an Eastern Montana hunt and put a four point under your belt. I think Idaho has some really good OTC deer hunts available, if you are willing to hump into some rough country.

Midwest to Outwest
07-03-2011, 12:15 AM
I've always had good luck in eastern Montana. The price increase this year is making it tougher to justify, (jumped from $362 to $562) though I did pay it this season. There is a lot of info on all of their public access hunting lands on the website- http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/hunterAccess/ . I always see alot of "decent" bucks and a few big bucks, there is plenty of access and the terrain is mild to moderate. Its a pretty good option if you can afford it.

Midwest to Outwest
07-03-2011, 12:33 AM
Arizona is an interresting option. You have to buy a Non-refundable License to apply($151.25). So you could buy an OTC archery tag in Jan., hunt January, apply for the draw, if you get drawn good, if you didnt tag out in Jan, you can still bowhunt in the Aug/Sep early archery or the Late archery(end of december). Could get a little pricey if you draw. OR You could wait to see if you draw, if not, then buy the OTC archery and hunt the fall season. That way you're not just throwing the cost of the license out the window. Just a thought. Thats what I plan to do when I move from AZ. GOOD LUCK

07-05-2011, 11:15 AM
I agree on Colorado. Put in for points or buy a LO tag

07-06-2011, 06:05 PM
U H is right on the money, I would do CO, WY, MT and get over the counter if you luck out on all the above, can get pricey to apply for all the western states and they like to sit on your money for most of the summer ;)

08-29-2011, 05:37 AM
Colorado during 3rd rifle can be a pretty wild hunt. My first time I hunted with some experienced guys, and they told me to keep my rifle "unloaded". Bucks were everywhere, and we spent a lot of time field judging at distance. Muley's look pretty big to us eastern hunters, and two of our guys pulled the trigger too fast. One guy ended up with a 180, I ended up with a 140 5x6.