Mule Deer Tactics (Early Season)


Sep 15, 2011
Carson City
Go high , glass , anticipate the thermals. Its usually 100+ when NV season starts those thermals change from down the mtn to up the mtn around 9:30 give or take. I'll put them to bed and come from above if i cant get on them first thing.
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Travis Horner

New Member
Feb 28, 2020
Powell, WY
Before I do an early hunt for mule deer I find out where the deer aint, where the deer are, and who the deer is, by Scouting!

To be an absolutely effective mule deer hunter, one needs to spend time afield throughout the early to late summer months. Get to know the animals you are hunting. I have rarely had any luck by just showing up and winging it. One could spend days and unnecessary miles of wasted hunting time without spending the proper amount of time scouting. You don't live there? Find someone to do the leg work for you. Don't plan a trophy hunt unless you are planning to be invested in that trophy.

There are a couple ways I scout and prepare for the early season. I spend a lot of time looking at maps and geographical land features, A LOT. Next I will spend a bunch of time e-scouting through TAGHUB. I get all the benefits of expert advice on the best producing areas in the states I want to hunt mule deer. I spend a lot of time researching and reading stories like the Eastman's Journals, looking for any clues or reports that might reveal a diamond in the rough. I study the animals. I Find an area that sustains a population of mule deer and spend time learning that animal. I take out my camera and sit, and work on my patience and watch. I Learn everything I can about mule deer. I Study online. I study hunting books, like Mike Eastman's "Hunting High Country Mule Deer" or "Mule Deer Hunting Tactics." I Find a good resource and read about Mule deer. What kind of feeding patterns does that animal have in the region I want to hunt. On what exactly do they browse? That animal is spending his time in the early part of our hunting season, which is archery season, preparing for the upcoming rut. He is also spending a lot of time with his homies. I like to get in with the gang and chill. Mule deer are some of the most amazing animals to watch from up close.

I try to be as diverse in my scouting regimen as I possibly can.

If I could become a deer...
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Active Member
Jul 9, 2018
Glass slowly and carefully. In my opinion, muley bucks are more crafty than elk bulls. There's a buck in the photo below, just above the center. (Sorry for the quality, I was doing my best to shoot it with my cell phone cam through my binos). What is SUPER easy to miss is the SECOND buck just below him. That pair of horizontal logs is shielding another guy. The top one is facing away, the bottom one is facing toward. Yeah, these clever guys bedded down not only with the typical timber-shield on one side and approach-view on the other, they also teamed up to watch two different directions for trouble.

Lesson here isn't just the craftiness. It's how amazingly well those antlers match fallen logs - and the deer know it. It was actually 2-3 minutes before I even saw the second guy. I wasn't out there for deer (it was Elk Rifle 1, which is not a combined season), so when I saw the first one I just plopped down to glass them and have a snack, just for general practice. I never saw the second guy until he moved. If I'd been in a rush, I never would have.

Photo taken at 6:27pm, Oct. 12, temp was 33F, at 9,100' or so.

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Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
Trust your scouting! The buck is there, keep looking! Keep the wind in your favor, even from the glassing locations if at all possible! Be practiced up and prepared to shoot at all times, once you get into the danger zone bucks can show up quick and surprise you!
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