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pcc2b
08-19-2011, 07:07 AM
I think this would be an appropriate time to have some of you experienced mule deer hunters post tips for field judging mule deer. For someone like myself who gets to hunt these ghosts of the high country once a year, I need all the help I can get. I remember Mike had a podcast on itunes where he talked about quickly judging deer in the field, but I cant find it. What do you look for? Where does the majority of the score come from - fronts or backs? Thanks for the advice.

7200
08-19-2011, 09:44 AM
While I might not be a very experienced hunter, I do have some tips that help me. Using reference points to compare antlers to will allow you to have a pretty close idea. A muley's ears are roughly 8 inches long and about 20 inches from tip to tip. If yo have a deer with a rack that looks to be about 3 inches outside of his ears and with tines that are close to ear length, assuming its a traditional you can figure about 90 inches without mainbeam or mass measurements. For a mass reference, use the deers eye. It will have a surcumference of approximately 4.5 inches. If the beams look to be at least as thick as the eye throughout, figure another 16-18 inches per side. That brings the estimate to 126. Using the ear reference and assumption that mainbeam length is shorter than spread, you might figure a length of 23 inches or so. Add it all up and you get an estimated 172 inch deer. I hope I articulated that clearly and added correctly, haha.

I was using a typical 4 point as my example and the measurements I came up with were as follows:

G1: not counted to balance over inflation.
G2: 16 inch
G3: 8 inch
G4: 8 inch
Four mass measurments of 4.5 inch
Spread 26 inch.

docjjr
08-19-2011, 10:33 AM
Here's a quick step by step way to field judge a mulie. It should take 30 seconds or LESS.
1. Estimate width. The ears of a mature mulie are about 22-24" wide. A trophy mulie will be wider than his ears.
2. Evaluate rear forks. You want to look at 2 things here.
a) lentgh of G2 (the rear beam of the rear fork). this should be in the neighborhood of 15"+ for a trophy.
b) depth of rear fork. The lower G3 branches off or G2, the better the score. This can be a big variable.
3. Evaluate front forks. Front forks quality is essentially the determined by the length of G4. On a mature trophy mulie, the G4s will be about half as tall as the rear forks. The angle of view can casue deception on this so take a close look at this
At this point you have enough information to make a decision on whether to take the shot. If time permits, you may consider a 4th factor, main beam length, which is also a component of the front forks.
4. Main beam length. Main beam length is generally in the same neighborhood as width, so if you don't get a good look at this don't get too worried. Just take a look to make sure nothing is broken.

Bitterroot Bulls
08-19-2011, 11:55 AM
I found David Long's Field Judging advice in his book Public Land Mulies particularly helpful. If you don't have a copy, I highly recommend it, for great advice on this topic and many others.

sjsmallfield
08-19-2011, 12:39 PM
I agree with Bitterroot. Great book and the section on judging was really helpful. Also check out Mikes Eastmans book he has a great section on judging as well. Good luck!

pcc2b
08-19-2011, 01:38 PM
7200 - Thanks for the great tips! I have never heard of using the eyes as a reference. Good stuff.

Coyoteman
08-19-2011, 07:11 PM
I learn by doing.

It'd be great if some of you guys with some mounts hanging on the wall to post them up with the score wayyyyy down on the bottom! ;)

dhershberger
08-19-2011, 07:49 PM
Mike Eastman says that most of the scoring on a muley comes out of the fronts so be sure to size up the G-4's pretty well before you shoot. You want the antlers to have 3+ inches outside of the ears to ensure that the the muley is nice and wide. Most times in the field, if you have a shooter, you'll know it! Good luck hunting those muley's and post some pics if you shoot a big boy!

docjjr
08-20-2011, 08:21 AM
Here's a quick step by step way to field judge a mulie. It should take 30 seconds or LESS.
1. Estimate width. The ears of a mature mulie are about 22-24" wide. A trophy mulie will be wider than his ears.
2. Evaluate rear forks. You want to look at 2 things here.
a) lentgh of G2 (the rear beam of the rear fork). this should be in the neighborhood of 15"+ for a trophy.
b) depth of rear fork. The lower G3 branches off or G2, the better the score. This can be a big variable.
3. Evaluate front forks. Front forks quality is essentially the determined by the length of G4. On a mature trophy mulie, the G4s will be about half as tall as the rear forks. The angle of view can casue deception on this so take a close look at this
At this point you have enough information to make a decision on whether to take the shot. If time permits, you may consider a 4th factor, main beam length, which is also a component of the front forks.
4. Main beam length. Main beam length is generally in the same neighborhood as width, so if you don't get a good look at this don't get too worried. Just take a look to make sure nothing is broken.

Idaho Gold
10-08-2012, 08:30 PM
lots of good info here for sure, but be careful about assuming 22-24 inch ear width. True, they are 24" flat out and in a straight line, tip to tip (a measurement you might take on a deceased animal), but that is not a natural angle for a live animal. Ears up at a 30 degree angle, typical of their inquisitive forward look, they are 18 to 18.5 inches on a 5-8 year old. 3-3.5 inches of antler outside their ears will most often net you a 25-26 buck, not a 29-30.... huge difference. Not to say that a 25 inch mulie wouldn't delight most of us, especially given good mass and length, but if you're putting a bunch of pieces together and expecting 200+ on the deer that you just dropped because you decided he's close to 30, you might be disappointed. just a precaution