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Old 11-19-2017, 11:49 AM
Buckhorn2 Buckhorn2 is offline
 
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Default New Mule hunter advice

Ive hunted white tails most of my life. I decided this season to draw antlered mule in 118. I probably should have asked for advice before the season but now that my seasons done, gotta head back to work, i figured id ask a few questions.

I got permission on some leases south of medicine hat. I couldnt get permission before the season to do any scouting so i was kinda google scouting and just picked a few leases at random. So i got down there for 3 days hunting this week. I seen 6 bucks and probably 40+ does. That area is totally new area/terrain for me as Im used to hunting whitetails in boreal type forest. The mules seem to spot me from a long ways away. Then would bounce away and i never did catch up to them or get close enough to shoot one. The closest i came was 320 yards according to the range finder that seemed to be the magic number. any closer and they would take off. Im almost positive it was on sight alone as the wind was in my favor almost the entire hunting trip. I dont feel comfortable shooting 300 yards as this is my first time hunting with a scope. Ive always used open sights and never had to shoot past 50-60 yards. With whitetails alot of time if you bump one they will circle back and check you out. Sit and wait kinda thing. Or they stay still cause they think you dont see them. So i guess my couple questions are..

If you bump a mule do they usually just keep going? One of the bucks i bumped seem to just bounce off for miles.
Will they usually return like say at night? Or the next day?
Will mule bucks come to where the does are at? If find a group of does will the bucks eventually come?
I know some are gonna suggest learning to shoot farther which I may do some more practice now that i have the scope on the old gun, but Im kinda looking for tips on how to get close.

My season is done down there, as i gotta head back to work. But i had alot of fun, and alot of miles exploring new to me terrain. My legs need some improvement alot of steep coulees haha. I am looking so forward to pulling the tag again in 2-3 years.
Is there another WMU like 118 same kinda terrain that has a general mule tag? So i can practice I thoroughly enjoyed that hunt even tho i never fired a shot.
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2017, 12:23 PM
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58thecat 58thecat is offline
 
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Lessens learned for sure, field time is the best learning your gonna get, sounds like you were a little too aggressive, maybe, young legs, go get'em...best thing is to glass from a distance, watch them in the early morning, they will mill around but will bed down, wind in your face you start your slow stalk, getting to 100 yards is easy to do, rifle, by-pod or a shooting stick, wait them out or use a doe bleat, get them to stand, pick your buck out...boom.
Sounds easy in theory but can get frustrating as there is usually one that busts you...they do return though but sometimes takes a few days.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:39 PM
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3blade 3blade is offline
 
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Don't wear dark camo, you show up at a long distance. Flat tan or white if there's snow. And have your face covered.

Use your binos. Figure out where they are going, try to put a hill between you and them to get close

Don't stand up and walk around if there's deer within eyesight. Most mule deer hunting is done by crawling. Get leather gloves and knee pads, and a thick pair of socks instead of boots for when you are closing in.

Learn to shoot off a pack, and trigger stick. Good job staying within your limits. general season mulies have been pressured since sept, its possible to get close but not easy. You've got a year to improve your shooting.

The weather was a bugger this year. Nothing you can do about that, you gained some valuable experience

Edit: they tend to go a long ways, that's their defense mechanism - putting distance between themselves and a predator. They may come back, they may not, but not like whitetails that will be back in a couple hours.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:54 PM
Buckhorn2 Buckhorn2 is offline
 
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Default glassing

the area I was in was a huge series of steep narrow coulees. Couldnt really glass to far or see without climbing up to top of one coulee and looking down into the next. Which at first i was sky lining myself often. After i realized it, i started kinda crawling the tops and looking down. Also the snow was crusted over which was extremely noisey. I have to do some practice shooting at longer distances with the scope now. I am a fairly decent shot and i had shooting sticks with me, just i do not know where this rifle hits at those distances. I will have to test that out next summer. I also learned that my pants and jacket are not up to the task of crawling around in the snow at -15. I will look at some lighter colored camo as you suggested. Im hoping i can draw 118 again in a few years. I will for sure try looking for a general mule next season.
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:22 PM
Scruffee Scruffee is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3blade View Post
Don't wear dark camo, you show up at a long distance. Flat tan or white if there's snow. And have your face covered.

Use your binos. Figure out where they are going, try to put a hill between you and them to get close

Don't stand up and walk around if there's deer within eyesight. Most mule deer hunting is done by crawling. Get leather gloves and knee pads, and a thick pair of socks instead of boots for when you are closing in.
This. I keep a large pair or old woolen socks, I throw them over my boots when stalking mulies.
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:30 PM
JWCalgary JWCalgary is offline
 
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Getting a stalk on a muley to around 100 metres is a tougher hunt for sure. This year's shots were 187 and 285 and the hunts were easier.

I find going slow Hill to Hill, or draw to draw with wind in your face with lots of glassing makes for a good hunt. Note though that from my limited experience muleys often hang out on the leeward side of a hill

If you bump them get down and get ready. They often stop to look at what scared them and may hang around to figure our what you are. While stalking a group if does last week a young buck hung around for 10 minutes as I stalked to a ridge to get my shot.... he just stood there as if to say "hey whatcha doin?" It wasn't until I dropped the doe that he bounded away.

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Old 11-19-2017, 05:31 PM
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covey ridge covey ridge is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckhorn2 View Post
the area I was in was a huge series of steep narrow coulees. Couldnt really glass to far or see without climbing up to top of one coulee and looking down into the next. Which at first i was sky lining myself often. After i realized it, i started kinda crawling the tops and looking down. Also the snow was crusted over which was extremely noisey. I have to do some practice shooting at longer distances with the scope now. I am a fairly decent shot and i had shooting sticks with me, just i do not know where this rifle hits at those distances. I will have to test that out next summer. I also learned that my pants and jacket are not up to the task of crawling around in the snow at -15. I will look at some lighter colored camo as you suggested. Im hoping i can draw 118 again in a few years. I will for sure try looking for a general mule next season.
I used to hunt the coulees along the Red Deer River. I found a lot of deer in the steep ones but they were always difficult to get out after the kill. I eventually discovered that there were quite a few deer in the more shallow coulees away from the river. I never walked the edges but would sneak a peek and check out the coulee for as far as I could see and then back off and peek at another location. When you get familiar with an area you will eventually get to know the small hollows that hold deer and the ones where you can approach to closer range.

You may have to wait for a few seasons before you get another antlered tag. I would suggest you apply for an antlerless tag between seasons, unless you have a thing about harvesting a doe. The antlerless tag will allow you to hunt and get familiar with the land that holds the deer. By the time you get your next antlered tag you will be ready.

Another thing you may try is hunting sharpe tailed grouse in those coulees during October.
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Old 11-19-2017, 05:38 PM
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58thecat 58thecat is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckhorn2 View Post
the area I was in was a huge series of steep narrow coulees. Couldnt really glass to far or see without climbing up to top of one coulee and looking down into the next. Which at first i was sky lining myself often. After i realized it, i started kinda crawling the tops and looking down. Also the snow was crusted over which was extremely noisey. I have to do some practice shooting at longer distances with the scope now. I am a fairly decent shot and i had shooting sticks with me, just i do not know where this rifle hits at those distances. I will have to test that out next summer. I also learned that my pants and jacket are not up to the task of crawling around in the snow at -15. I will look at some lighter colored camo as you suggested. Im hoping i can draw 118 again in a few years. I will for sure try looking for a general mule next season.
Those draws go to low ground, so get there, back out 1000 meters and glass the entire area if you can, then set up your stalk, as for clothing I keep warm and comfortable first, hunted mulies in Saskatchewan for 15 years in bright orange so Color was never a concern, keep,the wind in your favour at all times when stalking or getting into position, next is movement, once your in thier kitchen pay attention to possible satellite deer, lots of eyes out there...
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:04 AM
HIGHLANDER HUNTING HIGHLANDER HUNTING is offline
 
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We hunt them in foothills and mountain wmu's but some principals should transfer. Glassing from a distance is important, and of course wind. When you spot a small buck, really scour the area because a larger one could be with him, just better at concealment.

Glass more, hike less. That's one thing I always need reminding of.

If you're interested, we just released a podcast episode on hunting muleys. I talk quite a bit about my 2017 hunt.
Cheers.
John
highlanderhunting.podbean.com
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  #10  
Old 11-21-2017, 11:48 AM
nohlan_4 nohlan_4 is offline
 
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I just went through the same learning curve as this year was my first mule deer hunt and I was successful in harvesting a mature buck in the Coulees of southern Alberta. Check out my other thread for an update.

What I found out on the first day is that concealment and skylining are more important than wind direction and being quiet. Mule deer in the prairies seem to rely on eye sight a lot. I had great wind and was silent as a mouse going into a couple draws and the deer would be bouncing before I even saw if they were bedded down or anything. That was because of skylining. Walk the coulees below the lower edge and you will have better success in spotting deer. Glassing is also important but I found that a really good set of binos works better than a spotting scope in the areas I was hunting as not many coulees were large enough or long enough to need to glass with a scope. I did use my scope to zero in and get some good pictures of a few dandy bucks but it was not always possible. PM me if you have any other questions because I went through the exact same hunting situation last week.
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:53 AM
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58thecat 58thecat is offline
 
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Ahhh totally disagree you got picked up because of movement, you saw the deer because they were not sure of what you where thus they departed In which you saw them, if the wind was on your arse you would have never seen them because they would have been in the next county, anyone tells you to hunt with the wind on your butt is a hungry hunter!
Also,if you throw in a Hyme or two,to go along with the wind at your butt at least they will leave with a song on their minds for the rest of the day...
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:32 PM
dustinjoels dustinjoels is online now
 
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I recommend not walking in the coulees or draws. My best success has been to walk out in a field for 200-300 yards and then crawl up to the edge of the coulee and peer in. This helps to avoid skylining. Sit for a few minutes and glass as far as you can in both directions. If you spot a deer in the distance, back out and crawl/stalk to the edge where you've seen the deer. If you see nothing, back away from the edge, walk a few hundred yards and repeat.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:03 PM
nohlan_4 nohlan_4 is offline
 
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Originally Posted by 58thecat View Post
Ahhh totally disagree you got picked up because of movement, you saw the deer because they were not sure of what you where thus they departed In which you saw them, if the wind was on your arse you would have never seen them because they would have been in the next county, anyone tells you to hunt with the wind on your butt is a hungry hunter!
Also,if you throw in a Hyme or two,to go along with the wind at your butt at least they will leave with a song on their minds for the rest of the day...
What I meant was the deer still saw us because of skylining. We had 70kph winds in our faces walking into the wind there is no way even a deer can smell out of a 70kph wind or hear through it. They were using sight for sure.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:05 PM
nohlan_4 nohlan_4 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustinjoels View Post
I recommend not walking in the coulees or draws. My best success has been to walk out in a field for 200-300 yards and then crawl up to the edge of the coulee and peer in. This helps to avoid skylining. Sit for a few minutes and glass as far as you can in both directions. If you spot a deer in the distance, back out and crawl/stalk to the edge where you've seen the deer. If you see nothing, back away from the edge, walk a few hundred yards and repeat.
I learned it depends on your definition of "walk in". I found using shallower draws that led into the larger coulees I wanted to glass worked well because you kept your body shape below the horizon then I could walk right in and have less chance of spooking anything up. Then its only a 20 yard crawl to get into glassing position if needed.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:28 PM
MikeBouch MikeBouch is offline
 
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Harvested a nice muley buck in a mountain WMU this season.
Found a bedding area off a cut block on a nice heavy treed slope going into the cut block. We scared him out and he just circled back around us. We got lucky to catch him entering back into the bedding area couple hours later. Some say they keep running if spooked but this one didn't. maybe cause it was his bedding area idk.

If you see no tracks or rubs/signs of any kind keep moving.
You could sit and glass all day but I've had more success tracking/ambushing.
During Rut anything is possible.
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:48 PM
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58thecat 58thecat is offline
 
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What I meant was the deer still saw us because of skylining. We had 70kph winds in our faces walking into the wind there is no way even a deer can smell out of a 70kph wind or hear through it. They were using sight for sure.
Now that explained it, wind in your face, 70 kph winds noise was not an issue unless you were playing a bugle so yes to movement...you got busted!
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:33 PM
Badgerbadger Badgerbadger is offline
 
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I've been hunting the coulees of 118 for 20 yrs or so.

I go in as close to the start of a coulee as I can, and slowly walk the floor of it, as it gets steeper and deeper and joins up with other coulees. I walk about 10 steps and stop and look/listen. If I'm going into a big coulee, I get over the edge and down to the bottom as quickly as reasonable.

Years ago, an old guy told me "If you're not seeing anything, slow down. If you see them running away, go slower." It's good advice, when you're still-hunting.

You'll bump something, but if you're moving slow and calm and quiet they usually stop to look. Most of my mulies have been taken under 150yds. If you bump them and they run, they tend to go 2 or 3 coulees over, then circle back. They like to bed in the thicker brush at the bottoms of the coulees, or in the brush about 30ft down from the rim, so as you're ambling along always be prepared for something to stand up. If there's one deer, there's more deer so if you scare one away there's a couple more wondering what the fuss was about.
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Old 11-21-2017, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by dustinjoels View Post
I recommend not walking in the coulees or draws. My best success has been to walk out in a field for 200-300 yards and then crawl up to the edge of the coulee and peer in. This helps to avoid skylining. Sit for a few minutes and glass as far as you can in both directions. If you spot a deer in the distance, back out and crawl/stalk to the edge where you've seen the deer. If you see nothing, back away from the edge, walk a few hundred yards and repeat.
^^^^^^^ This way you described has always worked for me
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:55 PM
Buckhorn2 Buckhorn2 is offline
 
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Thanks for the info and replies. I think ill archery hunt the same sections of land next fall to try get more familiar with the lay of the area. Do some scouting. Im not sure if it was just the first hunt excitement or not but I may have enjoyed chasing the muleys more than I enjoyed my previous elk hunts. Its probably just because i was able to actually locate the deer where as elk ive only ever seen ones too small to shoot. As someone suggested maybe pull a mule doe tag there next season


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Old 11-22-2017, 07:19 PM
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Positrac Positrac is offline
 
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http://www.outdoorsmenforum.ca/showthread.php?t=307030

Hereís a link to my Muley hunt down in 118 last year. Beautiful country and I also canít wait to get back.
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