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trophyhill
12-01-2011, 07:05 PM
i asked this question on another forum regarding elk and it spawned the question "what do you consider a big bull" so lets say for the sake of argument that a Big Muley is 24" wide or bigger. how do you all "find and kill" big mulies consistently. i think there are probably more guys that kill big mulies every year than kill big bulls every year.

AvidHunterAbe
12-01-2011, 07:09 PM
I cant speak for every one else but I take a different approach, I look at a unit/area with plenty of option as far as drawing with low points and buying land owner tags for a decent price inbetween draw years. Then instead of looking for the animals I befriend all the locals who know anything about the wildlife in the area, then try and market my self with all the local land owners. Once this is complete I keep up with the land owners on a regular basis, figure out what they have seen while out and about and use them as a scouting tool. Then before the season begins I do my own scoutin and it usually works out pretty darn well.

Ikeepitcold
12-01-2011, 08:38 PM
I cant speak for every one else but I take a different approach, I look at a unit/area with plenty of option as far as drawing with low points and buying land owner tags for a decent price inbetween draw years. Then instead of looking for the animals I befriend all the locals who know anything about the wildlife in the area, then try and market my self with all the local land owners. Once this is complete I keep up with the land owners on a regular basis, figure out what they have seen while out and about and use them as a scouting tool. Then before the season begins I do my own scoutin and it usually works out pretty darn well.

I also look for the land owners. I try to go the extra mile and talk to them and reasure them that I am willing to help them with anything they need while I'm there, and that low impact on their property is of the highest importance, show them a ton of respect. Also when I go back to the area to continue my scoutting I always check in with them and see if they need anything. I always try to get their phone number and call before I leave town heading their way and ask if they need anything from town to save them a trip in, most of were I'm hunting is way out so they really appreciate the offer. Then once they know your a good guy the info on were the big deer are will start to come out in your conversations. My two hunting partners and I did this a few years ago and we now stay with the rancher at his home while we are hunting. We have taken his sons out hunting with us to help get there tags filled. We continue to pull 180"+ deer each year from this area. He gives us lots of info each year on the areas he sees big bucks since he rides the range all summer keepinretrace of his cows.

Ikeepitcold
12-01-2011, 08:48 PM
I consider a big Muley 180" or bigger. Although if the question is what do I think a trophy Muley is then I would answer that it is what the hunter would consider a trophy. A trophy can be any size to each individual. For me a typical 180" Muley, 160" Whitetail, 360" elk, 80" Pronghorn. But that's me

Bitterroot Bulls
12-01-2011, 08:50 PM
I go to the steepest, most remote, nastiest, god-forbidden deer country I can find.

Ikeepitcold
12-01-2011, 09:03 PM
I go to the steepest, most remote, nastiest, god-forbidden deer country I can find.

Haha I bet you do! Seems that's were I end up too. I took David Longs advice that most people do that exact thing and pass up some great country close to the trail head and that big bucks know the places that people will walk rite by because they want to get WAY back and don't give these areas a look. I took a 160 buck in ID a couple years back using this strategy.

Normally I want to be by myself and hike as far back as I can because I've had the most luck taking big bucks in the nasty.

Graylight
12-01-2011, 10:43 PM
Without being a smartypants here...I seem to find a lot of good animals by being absolutely obsessed with scouting them out year round... To the point my wife thinks I'm a touch off :) Wether I take a good buck or not is another story altogether! The short answer is HARD WORK ETHIC.

trophyhill
12-02-2011, 07:26 AM
I consider a big Muley 180" or bigger. Although if the question is what do I think a trophy Muley is then I would answer that it is what the hunter would consider a trophy. A trophy can be any size to each individual. For me a typical 180" Muley, 160" Whitetail, 360" elk, 80" Pronghorn. But that's me

the reason i used 24" wide is because i have seen some bucks about that wide that had lots of mass, lots of height, lots of points, very deep forks and pushin or exceeding 300 lbs and would score at least 170 to 180 and even more. while elk hunting in CO this year i ran into a guy (Billy Pellegrino and hope i spelled his name right) that showed me a picture of a 195 and some change buck still in velvet that he had killed this year and couldn't have been over 24" wide.

Drhorsepower
12-02-2011, 08:10 AM
I go to the steepest, most remote, nastiest, god-forbidden deer country I can find.

That's also what I do. Go to the biggest mountain in my area and hunt the top.

I am with keepitcold, this thread also starts another good topic.

What does everybody consider a trophy mule deer?

My dad for example really doesn't care about anything but width. I on the other hand look at alot of aspects, width height deep forks and MASS! I guess the higher he would score is what I look at, a 24" buck...... I don't know..... He better not be the average 24" buck. That is my opinion. It's real hard to score well being only two feet wide but like you mentioned, possible. Also any nontypical with a drop or freak eye guards might also qualify!

Colorado Cowboy
12-02-2011, 08:24 AM
Living here in SW Colorado for the past 11 years I have noticed a distinct pattern in the bucks here. We seem to have a couple of gene pools in the bucks here. There is one type of antler growth that is pretty narrow, but tall. I've seen bucks that were between 20 & 24" that were at least that tall with lots of mass that I'm sure would score in the 170-180 range. The other type is the normal buck that is real wide with the normal muley style antlers. I have definately noticed that where these narrow horned bucks show up during the rut, the younger bucks there tend to show this configuration.

The only reason I mention this is because if the opportunity to take one of these narrow racked bucks that had lots of mass and points was there...he would be mine! Over the years I've taken over 50 muley bucks, most being the typical variety, with a few odd ones too. I have a forkie on my great room wall that is 28" w by 24" tall with great eye guards and mass that is just outstanding. I really like to look for the nontypicals.

Bottom line is don't pass up something that doesn't fit the normal horn configuration. If you see one that you like...bust him!

Bitterroot Bulls
12-02-2011, 08:26 AM
My idea of a trophy buck is a buck that has that something special. Maybe it has short forks, but outstanding mass. Maybe some extra points, Maybe super long main beams, Maybe a nice symmetrical buck with a little bit of everything.

I like high-scoring deer as much as the next guy, but some bucks just have "it."

Ikeepitcold
12-02-2011, 08:33 AM
For me it's total overall score. A 30" wide buck is defiantly on my list but I would have no problem taking a 20" wide buck that scores 170"+. Most of the bucks I've taken are in the 24-28" wide range and one 32" but it had a cheater that gave him the wide measurement. I do also really like the non typical bucks but a typical frame with trash just gets my adrenaline pumping!

trophyhill
12-03-2011, 08:53 AM
i have been hunting mule deer diy otc in NM since '97. until 2007 i hunted them with a rifle. i had no rhyme or reason on how i hunted them. i got away from the roads and used glass and a whole lot of boot leather. these hunts were always in November after the Muzzy hunt in Oct. you want to talk about alot of pressure. the 1 good thing about the sea of orange vests was the fact that the deer were up and movin but the bad thing was that they were always on the move. imho there were way too many hunters during rifle season but i was one of the lucky ones that always seemed to kill a buck. however most of the time these bucks were not very big. respectable but not giants. and any time i ever saw a bigun he was 600 yards and running full speed over the horizon. i considered myself lucky to get out of these hunts with my life. thats no joke. it was like WWIII out there at times.

there are 2 archery seasons for deer in the unit i hunt. September and January. now let me just say that the deer in the unit i hunt Rut in January and Herd Bulls are rutting in September so you can guess when i hunt mulies. thats right, in January because i love chasing screaming herd bulls just as much as these giant mulies that come out to play in January. but i never knew NM had such big mulie bucks until my first archery deer hunt in January of '09. i had drawn a archery elk and archery deer tag that year so i had to go out and buy a bow. so after making many mistakes and striking out during the Sept elk hunt i focused on January mule deer and what a ride this has been so far.

so here are a few observations i have made about rutting mule deer in this being my 4th year. i killed a respectable 3x4 last year but a dink in comparison to what i am really after but it was my first with a bow. first off i am hunting the same area i hunted with a rifle for 11 years so know the unit like the back of my hand and had my favorite areas to hunt for obvious reasons and some not so obvious.

i hunt Desert Mulies and some of them are no doubt mountain mulies that have migrated out of the southern tail of the Rockies. these big bucks have 1 thing and 1 thing only in mind in January and they simply do not care when you are watching them from a distance. let me give you an example. during rifle season one of these monsters could spot you from 600 yards and off he goes. during the rut however it is not the rutting bucks you have to look out for. it is the does. they are still just as leary of human presence in January as they are any other time of the year with an exception. the hot does arent really paying much attention because they constantly have a bucks nose up there you know what but the does that are not in estrus yet. part of the herd are centurys with a very watchful eye. this is the hard part about hunting mulies during the rut. i find these big bucks by glassing. a spotting scope isn't even necessary for me because they are up and around for the most part. they may bed down briefly at times thru out the day but i have had great luck in finding them without use of a spotting scope. and i want to be able to move quickly traveling as light as i possibly can. if not for the need of water i wouldn't even take my backpack with me but i stay out from sun up to sun down so i take a lunch as well. during the rut and this will be my 4th year hunting them with a bow, i have been able to find and hunt multiple "big" bucks every single day that i am hunting. i spot them and then i stalk them. and then i blow the stalk for one reason or another with my patience or should i say my lack of patience at times probably being my worst enemy. moving close enough for a bow shot is difficult because of all the watchful eye of the does. i have been close to getting a shot on many instances though and i know its just a matter of time.

one thing i have noticed is that these mulies rut in the same areas and on the same grounds every year so finding them is much easier now that i have found a few of these areas. the hard thing is trying to guess which rout the deer will be using from 1 day to the next. they are still mule deer and though they may be in the same general area, you could set up where you know you will be able to see them once the sun comes up but they could be 200 yards away from where you set up. i cant tell you how many times i have had a herd of does with a giant buck sniffing them, walk past me just out of bow range.
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i feel very good about this years upcoming hunt. i know i will find them. my confidence is where it needs to be and my bow shooting has never been better. killing a bigun is the challenge and these monster bucks didn't get to be 180 and bigger by being stupid even though they can be stupid this time of year. but when the does run, the buck runs and not cuz he's sceered but because he wants what the does have. will i take a smaller buck? we'll see about that but for now my focus is on "the monster"

good luck to all of you on your upcoming hunts whatever those hunts may be.

dhershberger
12-04-2011, 07:02 PM
i asked this question on another forum regarding elk and it spawned the question "what do you consider a big bull" so lets say for the sake of argument that a Big Muley is 24" wide or bigger. how do you all "find and kill" big mulies consistently. i think there are probably more guys that kill big mulies every year than kill big bulls every year.
I actually think that guys kill way more big bulls than big mulies!! Mainly because big mule deer are much smarter and more sensitive than big bulls! But that may also just be my view because I live in New Mexico where big bucks are far and few between where as big bulls aren't all that rare!

Jon Boy
12-04-2011, 08:29 PM
I actually think that guys kill way more big bulls than big mulies!! Mainly because big mule deer are much smarter and more sensitive than big bulls! But that may also just be my view because I live in New Mexico where big bucks are far and few between where as big bulls aren't all that rare!

Id say its cus your from NM

trophyhill
12-04-2011, 11:36 PM
I actually think that guys kill way more big bulls than big mulies!! Mainly because big mule deer are much smarter and more sensitive than big bulls! But that may also just be my view because I live in New Mexico where big bucks are far and few between where as big bulls aren't all that rare!

i hear what you're saying neighbor:) but are these big bulls being taken by the same guys every year or are they being taken randomly by different hunters? when i asked that question regarding elk on another forum, the concensus seems to be that it is almost a statistical impossibility to kill a big bull every year due to the way the draws are set up in the west and the fact that in OTC units like in CO ID MT the bulls are lucky to make it to maturity and it would be highly unlikely for the same hunter to find what few big bulls might be availabe in a given OTC unit consistently year in year out not only in an OTC unit but also any draw unit because of the frequency you draw a unit. i still think there are guys that kill big animals every year. if i drew the Gila units every year i'd say my odds would increase significantly:)

jenbickel
12-05-2011, 05:51 PM
I'm kind of torn on this... I have two mule deer that I have european mounts of on my wall that I consider trophies. One is 155" but he is a gorgeous 6x6, which is why I liked him. He had good character. The other one I have is 150" and I liked him because he is a 4x5 with a kicker off each side. Both of these bucks also have big eyeguards and for me, that is my biggest weakness in a mule deer is if they have eyeguards. So to me, these are trophies because they both have stuff that I love in a mule deer. I like the stuff that looks different than every other mule deer out there :)

Booner
12-05-2011, 08:39 PM
When you talk about width, do you mean inside or outside spread/greatest spread?
I really don't go by width and I don't have a 180 either but would really like to have one! My biggest muley grosses 172 6/8 and nets 167 4/8 and his inside spread is only 20 2/8". I have shot other deer that didn't score near that but am still proud of them cause of the hunt. I have never hunted mountain country but where I hunt in the sandhills of nebraska I use a lot of glass to find my deer and sometimes get lucky and just stumble accross one. I think that's called luck. It is very hard to pattern a deer here unless you have all the time in the world to watch him. I have seen the same buck 10 miles from where he was the day before. They travel a lot here and so do the whitetails.

Montana
12-06-2011, 09:18 PM
I first of all want to say thanks for considering a "big" mulie starting at 24 inches. I probably won't answer your question but I might vent a little. But I am with you 24 inches and 175 to me is where you start with "big". Sooooooo many people have no clue TRULY how to score an animal and all this TV stuff has gotten out of control. If you do not have a special unit tag and are not paying thousands to hunt. You have to be an excellent hunter to consistently harvest a "big" animal and more than likely you won't, it doesn't mean you are not a good hunter, there just aren't that big of deer running around. I have friends,ok people I know, who are always talking about shooting a 180 buck. I ask them, how many 180 deer have you EVER even seen in real life, while hunting. Zero, it's all the same thing, very few people truly know how big a 180 buck is. And it is enormous. So to answer your question, I don't think you can, not year after year. it doesn't mean you are a bad hunter, they just aren't there. Unless you are looking at big money or a special tag. A 160 to 175 year after year with an occasional buck topping the 175 mark, to me, that is getting the job done.

Booner
12-06-2011, 10:31 PM
That is very true Montana, a lot of people don't know. I have the privelage of knowing 3 people who have shot deer in the 180 class. I always hear of people who seen one or missed one but it's always the same few people, I never can figure out why they can't get one of them though, haha, then they end up shooting a 120 inch 2 1/2 year old. hmmm.... In my 17 years of hunting, by that I mean old enough to have a tag, actually been going hunting with my dad since I could walk and maybe even before that. I have never seen one except for the one my dad got when I was with him. I think it would be great if everyone knew how to score a deer the B&C way.

MT Muley
12-06-2011, 11:40 PM
Thank you Montana! So, so true! Someone just posted a picture of a buck on another site I look at, claims it scores 203 or something like that. Truth be told, it is a 160 buck at best. I never feel the need to let someone know that their buck is not what they think... but it does get rather old. There are not a lot of 170+ bucks running around on public land in most areas.

MT Muley

Ikeepitcold
12-07-2011, 01:21 AM
I have been fortunate enough to have killed plenty of deer. As far as score and what I consider a trophy took until this year to get a 175" buck. It seemed I couldn't get anything better then a 160". While out just looking in hard to draw areas with extremely good trophy quality the 170"-190" are always around but I can never draw those areas. I agree with Montana to be able to kill a 170"+ buck consistently each year is very doubtful without paying the big bucks. I'm sure there are guys out there that do it but not me.

shanehamblin
12-07-2011, 10:57 AM
I too would consider a 170 inch buck a true trophy as the only one I have killed was when I was 13 on a juniors hunt in AZ, that was 14 years ago. Tho I primarally hunt coues deer we still usually draw archery muley tags in New Mexico and my brother was able to kill a 180 inch buck 2 years ago. We have hunted two buck for the past 2 years and I was able to find one of the bucks shed while scouting last year and I can tell you that in no way is this buck anywhere near 24 inches wide. We scored his shed at 96 2/8 and guessed at tops this buck only gets an 18 innch inside spread and with the other side being very close to identical he would go around 208-210. But in that unit you have to be an idiot to pass on a 150-160 inch buck. Those monsters are just so few and far between. Like said before I believe there are more monster bulls killed than muleys but that is because I live in an awesome elk unit which is terrible for deer. it just all depends on where you hunt.

sethkuhl
12-07-2011, 12:16 PM
now I am curious what do you think this scores? 24" inside spread Extremely heavy western MT timber buck2134

Ikeepitcold
12-07-2011, 05:40 PM
I can't tell with only one pic. Just like you can't judge a deer walking away from you. There has to be many angles of a deer to properly judge a deer and also pics are very deceiving. But he looks like a nice one to me.

trophyhill
12-07-2011, 08:23 PM
now I am curious what do you think this scores? 24" inside spread Extremely heavy western MT timber buck2134

i would kill a buck like that unequivically every time if given the chance. great job on a nice trophy!

nvarcher
12-07-2011, 08:46 PM
Ikeepitcold is right, but based on the photo I would put him in the 175+ range. Overall great buck.

Jon Boy
12-07-2011, 09:52 PM
Seth, that is DANDY for western montana, and any where else for that matter

Doe Nob
12-12-2011, 03:22 PM
I'd guess based on that photo 170 ish.

What is a big mulie? What's a trophy? Depends on where you are hunting as to the potential.

jjenness
12-14-2011, 11:18 AM
Spending time in the field, even when others won't. As the old saying goes, "You can't kill the big one sitting on the couch." Spending time in field both in, and out of, season is the most important factor.

Doe Nob
12-19-2011, 10:23 AM
Somewhat germane to the topic, I got a copy of Wyoming Outdoors in the mail recently. This is essentially the "guides" association catalog they send out, but in it is contained the Big Game banquet and Awards entries. I think we all have hornflation from reading magazines and watching TV shows - these are the best of the best the outfitters could put on the ground in 2010 and here's the numbers:

Mule deer typical rifle: 1) 196 2) 187 6/8 3) 185 6/8
Mule deer NT rifle: 1) 207 7/8 2) 196 2/8 3) 190 4/8

Mule deer typical archery: 1) 190 2/8 2) 174 1/8 3) 164 2/8
Mule deer NT archery: 1) 180 6/8 (no other entries)

I find this very instructive from a premier state like Wyoming. I'm sure bigger deer than this are killed and not entered, but these are the best of the best from the pros who are out there every day and every season. It looks like it falls off pretty quick, I bet you'd be hard pressed to get 20 deer from around the state over 180 if you saw all the entries for every category.

Ikeepitcold
12-19-2011, 10:41 AM
I also received the same catalog. Very interesting and some good read as well

buckbull
12-19-2011, 06:22 PM
@sethkuhl - Thats a fine looking rifle, what manufacturer and model is that?

sethkuhl
12-20-2011, 09:48 AM
Ruger Model 77 Mark II Chambered in a 7 Mag. Leupold VX-3 4.5-10X scope. Love that gun!

Drhorsepower
12-20-2011, 10:03 AM
I also received the same catalog. Very interesting and some good read as well

I received that also. What also is interesting if you flip through it there are bigger deer advertised killed this year that are not on that awards list. I am thinking guides have to pay to enter contest or something.

That magazine is awesome to flip through! It never gets old looking at big animals. 😜

dhershberger
12-20-2011, 11:51 AM
Finding the big animals is key and I've hunted many low requested units in New Mexico that have many trophy animals. Some of the units I hunt have left over tags every year. I think its definately possible to kill big animals in the same state, year after year as long as you can find where the big boys are hiding in low requested units.

four point
12-20-2011, 06:19 PM
The key to killing big bucks consistantly is to scout. The last 2 years I have shot 3 nice bucks. Two in Montana, and one in Idaho. The buck last year gross scored 191 BC NT. Eight scoreable points on one side and six on the other.Interestingly enough, he was only 23" wide, but very heavy. The buck I shot in Idaho this year is 171 BC, again quite heavy. All 3 bucks were taken during general season, on public land. All three bucks were found during the summer, and shot opening day. The last 2 years I have spent 15 days scouting, and 3 days hunting. I hunt high, all three bucks were shot between 8500, and 9000 ft. You also have to pass up mediocre bucks. The deer I killed in Idaho this year, I passed up last year. Found him in the exact same bed this summer,as he was in last summer. Only difference is that he added 10" of horn and twice the mass. The only problem about hunting high is you can get snowed out. I had found a nice mid 170's buck two years in a row in Idaho. The snow pushed him out of the country both seasons. I had him pegged in mid Sept. both years, and never did get him.

four point
12-23-2011, 07:55 PM
I think the key to big bucks is scouting. I hunt Montana, and Idaho every year. I have shot three nice bucks the last 2 years. One buck grossed 191 BC NT (last year) and my Idaho buck this year was 171 bc. All the deer were general season tags on public ground. I had found all three bucks prior to shooting them on opening day. I spent 15 days scouting the last 2 years, and 3 days hunting. The scouting time is essential..

trophyhill
12-27-2011, 09:24 PM
Finding the big animals is key and I've hunted many low requested units in New Mexico that have many trophy animals. Some of the units I hunt have left over tags every year. I think its definately possible to kill big animals in the same state, year after year as long as you can find where the big boys are hiding in low requested units.

finding them hasn't been an issue for me but........killing them has been

Montana
12-28-2011, 09:00 PM
I received that also. What also is interesting if you flip through it there are bigger deer advertised killed this year that are not on that awards list. I am thinking guides have to pay to enter contest or something.

That magazine is awesome to flip through! It never gets old looking at big animals. ��

In my opinion, this is a prime example of how pictures can be manipulated to make something look much bigger. I can almost guarantee, if someone in that advertisement killed an awards buck they would make darn sure it is noted.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-28-2011, 09:27 PM
Somewhat germane to the topic, I got a copy of Wyoming Outdoors in the mail recently. This is essentially the "guides" association catalog they send out, but in it is contained the Big Game banquet and Awards entries. I think we all have hornflation from reading magazines and watching TV shows - these are the best of the best the outfitters could put on the ground in 2010 and here's the numbers:

Mule deer typical rifle: 1) 196 2) 187 6/8 3) 185 6/8
Mule deer NT rifle: 1) 207 7/8 2) 196 2/8 3) 190 4/8

Mule deer typical archery: 1) 190 2/8 2) 174 1/8 3) 164 2/8
Mule deer NT archery: 1) 180 6/8 (no other entries)

I find this very instructive from a premier state like Wyoming. I'm sure bigger deer than this are killed and not entered, but these are the best of the best from the pros who are out there every day and every season. It looks like it falls off pretty quick, I bet you'd be hard pressed to get 20 deer from around the state over 180 if you saw all the entries for every category.

Yeah, I take people's scores with a grain (or giant lump) of salt. There sure are a lot of "180 class" mule deer killed every year. I may or may not have inflated a score once or twice myself.

A gross 185 mule deer is a big freakin' deer.

Ikeepitcold
12-28-2011, 09:54 PM
Yeah, I take people's scores with a grain (or giant lump) of salt. There sure are a lot of "180 class" mule deer killed every year. I may or may not have inflated a score once or twice myself.

A gross 185 mule deer is a big freakin' deer.

I agree
We all can take pics of animals and make them look much larger than they really are, I do it myself. To the untrained eye these mediocre bucks and bulls can look like state trophies.

trophyhill
12-28-2011, 10:04 PM
3 and a wake up after tonight. its almost killin time on some monster mulie ruttin bucks!