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Mule Deer hunting

Mule deer hunting is an all-time American classic as the hunt for mule deer can be experienced on most parts of the North American west coast. Due to this geographical spread, there are numerous subspecies of mule deer, which are divided by a series of small differences in appearance and size. Therefore, you need to…

Mule deer hunting is an all-time American classic as the hunt for mule deer can be experienced on most parts of the North American west coast. Due to this geographical spread, there are numerous subspecies of mule deer, which are divided by a series of small differences in appearance and size. Therefore, you need to do your research before planning your mule deer hunting trip.  Mule deer are usually hunted from tree stands, or similar high seats, but can also be stalked. The mule deer buck is huntable throughout the fall, just before and during the rut. Mule deer hunting is an excellent chance to experience traditional North American deer hunting.

The mule deer only lives in North America where it shares habitats with pronghorn antelopes and various other deer species

North America is known for its high number of predators, including coyotes, wolvess, bears and mountain lions, which has made the mule deer more aware than your average deer. So, you can be absolutely sure that a mature mule buck will have had its encounters with more predators than just you. Apart from excellent survival skills regarding predators, the mule deer is also highly adaptable, and can be hunted everywhere from the north Canadian mountains, to the Mexican desert! Mule deer are mostly active around sunrise and sunset; during the day you can find a mule deer resting in a shady location. The male is called a buck, and the female a doe, and only the buck carries the characteristic antlers which, unlike those of the red stag and several other deer species, grow forward. Mule deer aren’t very social, and often wander alone, or form small group of a maximum of five individuals.

A mule deer trophy is extremely unique, and is wildly popular among local and foreign hunters

More and more Europeans especially are drawn to the North American plains in search of a world class mule deer trophy. When you throw yourself into such an adventure, you will need to bring a good pair of binoculars or an excellent spotting scope. The bucks are usually observed for a while, to be sure that they are huntable before you start your long and hard stalk. When judging a mule deer’s trophy value, you simply measure the length of all the tips, and the width of the antlers. The number of tips can vary a lot from buck to buck, but if you are looking for a unique trophy, and an awesome hunting adventure, a mule deer hunt is just the trip for you.

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  • Make sure to be as quiet as a mouse, because the mule deer has exceptional hearing!
  • If you choose to stalk a mule deer buck, you will face a real hunting challenge!
  • Bring a flat shooting caliber, as you will need to take long range shots!

The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is closely related to the American whitetail, despite being considerably larger. A full grown buck has the weight of 220-400lb and measures 2,6 to 3,6ft. in shoulder height. The doe is usually smaller with an average weight of about 90-190lb and measures 2,2-2,9ft. Mule deer are easy to recognize, due to their large ears which can be as long as ¾ of the whole head! The head Is dark grey, but with light spots between the eyes and the nose. The tip of the tail is black, and everything in between the head and the tail is usually grey.

Given the fact that only the buck carries antlers, it is only the buck which is considered to have trophy value. The size of the antlers can vary a lot, depending on which subspecies, and where you are hunting. The biggest trophies can be found in Saskatchewan, the northern part of Arizona, and the southern part of Utah. The biggest bucks can be found in areas where there is a stable food source, or where they are isolated from human contact. To bag a medal class mule deer, it needs to obtain the following points:

Bronze: 155, Silver: 165 7/8, Gold: 179 5/8 SCI

More than 50% of a mule deer’s diet is fresh knobs from trees and bushes; grass only represents around 10% of their daily nutrition. After the rut the doe remains pregnant for almost 200 days, before typically giving birth to two fawns in the spring, unless it is her first pregnancy. The bucks lose their antlers during the winter, and will start to produce new ones just in time for the next rut. If you send a mule deer running, there is no doubt, as they jump on all four legs to warn fellow deer, which is called “stotting”.