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Haisen
12-13-2011, 04:49 PM
I have two weeks to take off next year to pursue mule deer. I'm looking for any advice or recommendations about some great backcountry bowhunts in Colorado and Idaho. I'm going to apply in Colorado and have my home state of Idaho as my backup choice.

After researching Colorado I have found that GMU's 43, 44, 45, 75, and 751 are some solid choices. GMU 44 is currently my first choice with 43 behind it. The downside is that I have never hunted in Colorado, so every area will be new to me. I may get a chance to scout the area a little over the 4th of July, if I'm lucky.

As for Idaho, I have hunted in East of the Boulder Mountains in GMU 48 and love spending time in those rugged mountains. However, I'd like to explore other areas like GMU 67. Does anyone have experience hunting in 67 during the archery season?

I'd love to hear some feedback.
Thank You

trophyhill
12-13-2011, 07:26 PM
i wouldn't rule out any of the southern parts of CO either. i've seen many giant mulies during sept elk hunts.

NDHunter
12-13-2011, 07:32 PM
Haisen, wish I could help you out but I can't as I've never hunted bowhunted them in either Idaho or Colorado, I'm of no help.

I have to ask you though, what do you mean by "unfortunately North Dakota at the time"????!!!! haha. We don't have mountains but there is still some great hunting here. I got a very nice mule deer there and posted some pictures in a thread. And if you are a waterfowl hunter it was an outstanding year. I've got some pictures in a thread about those too.

Are you working in the oil fields? Usually that's what is bringing everyone to North Dakota these days. Apparently when all you need is a pulse to get hired and start out at $60,000, people take notice. If you have any time to hunt, buy an OTC archery tag and hunt in the Little Missouri National Grassland. There is a huge amount of public land there and has some very big deer. Good luck with wherever you end up hunting.

Haisen
12-13-2011, 08:25 PM
I'm actually stationed at Minot AFB. I have looked over google maps to see what the Badlands looks like. I know the area holds some good mule deer based on some fairly recent record book bucks harvested out of the area. However, I'd rather use my leave to spend time backpacking in Colorado or Idaho pursuing mule deer.

It looks like there is some decent country with some fairly remote pockets that exist just east of the main river inside of Billings County. Is that kind of the general area you are talking about? I have looked at the tags and seasons, but haven't spent much time researching the area. I might be able to fit a few weekends in next year to explore some of Badlands.

Good Luck Hunting
Thank You

NDHunter
12-14-2011, 07:12 PM
I'm not sure about where you are talking about exactly. There is a huge amount of public land though, well over 300,000 acres. It is spread out all over the southwest part of the state. Even just south of Lake Sakakawea has over 30,000 acres of public land.

Not sure how you have your residency but if you are not a ND resident, you have to apply for an any-deer archery tag. Whitetail archery tags are all over the counter.

CoBackcountry
12-14-2011, 09:34 PM
unit 43 is still recovering from a rough winter a couple of years ago it is also trying to recover from david long killin the big ones Ha ha
there are some nice ones runnin around though not as many as before and it is very steep country i saw a 170's buck around 12,200 last year and still climbing

miller1
12-15-2011, 01:47 PM
I'm not sure about where you are talking about exactly. There is a huge amount of public land though, well over 300,000 acres. It is spread out all over the southwest part of the state. Even just south of Lake Sakakawea has over 30,000 acres of public land.

Not sure how you have your residency but if you are not a ND resident, you have to apply for an any-deer archery tag. Whitetail archery tags are all over the counter.

i have hunted north of grassey butte, awsome country but i have been hearing the mule deer numbers are way way down, almost to the point they were going to shut down the season to let them recover, any truth to that?

gatheringsheds
12-15-2011, 02:14 PM
43 has become crowded. Also watch out for free range sheep herding. They come through early in the season and blow out any pre scouted deer. Be prepared to change plans often and CO will be a good hunt

CrimsonArrow
12-15-2011, 04:12 PM
i have hunted north of grassey butte, awsome country but i have been hearing the mule deer numbers are way way down, almost to the point they were going to shut down the season to let them recover, any truth to that?

I haven't heard that, but I really doubt it. Even after the severe, killing winters of 2008 & 2009, ND G&F continued to give out 500 any deer rifle tags in most of the units in the grasslands. It's all about the money to them. Plus the ranchers only see the deer as competition for their cattle's grazing. There's hardly enough deer left out there to make it worth the trip. It's a terrible shame, too, because when we started hunting out there, we saw hundreds of deer and lots of nice bucks.

NDHunter
12-16-2011, 03:59 PM
I haven't heard that, but I really doubt it. Even after the severe, killing winters of 2008 & 2009, ND G&F continued to give out 500 any deer rifle tags in most of the units in the grasslands. It's all about the money to them. Plus the ranchers only see the deer as competition for their cattle's grazing. There's hardly enough deer left out there to make it worth the trip. It's a terrible shame, too, because when we started hunting out there, we saw hundreds of deer and lots of nice bucks.

CrimsonArrow, you obviously don't have a clue of what you are talking about when you say the G&F doesn't care about deer numbers. Maybe in "your" unit they haven't cut back on tags much, but overall they definitely have. For starters, I don't know of any unit that gives out an "any deer" tag. They give out "any buck" tags but I don't know about "any-deer" tags, maybe they do though. In 2009, the G&F issued 144,400 deer licenses, of which 8,700 were mule deer tags. In 2011, they issued 109,950 total licenses and 4,550 mule deer tags. So apparently a 48% reduction in the number of mule deer tags means nothing to you. I'll bet if your salary went down by 48% you would take notice. Also, I have never once heard rancher's complain about deer grazing too much and competing with cattle. Deer in their haystacks in the middle of a bad winter, now that's a different story. And another thing, how can you say they only care about money? They give out a measly 1% of deer tags to non-residents at $200 a tag. If they really cared about money, they would up the percentage to 10% and raise the price to $500. Next time, think a little bit before you spew out a bunch of nonsense.

CrimsonArrow
12-16-2011, 04:26 PM
NDHunter,

Boy, you sure put me in my place. I think I have some clue what I'm talking about, I just wasn't as clear as I should have been. In units 4B and 4C, NDG&F gave out 500 tags (for the sake of argument, let's call them 'any-buck' tags) in 2008. If you remember, the winter of 2008 was horrible, and the next spring we found dead deer everywhere. Numbers were way down, but there was no reduction in tags for the fall of 2009. That's 500 more tags in each unit. Then, WHAM, another killer winter, though not as bad as 2008-2009. We found dozens of dead deer again in the spring of 2010. The 2010 season should have had severely reduced tags, but again NDG&F gave 500 tags in 4B and 4C. That's the source of my criticism. The reduction of tags for 2011 came about 2 years too late for most of the western units. That's why I'm saying it's about the money, not the $200 NR tag. That's pretty reasonable, although MN gives NR tags for about $140. In conclusion, I did think about it a little bit, and spewed very little nonsense.

jenbickel
12-16-2011, 04:53 PM
Hey now, this is a happy thread! :)

NDHunter
12-16-2011, 07:53 PM
Crimson, I liked your post better before you edited it... I guess we're both right to some degree. The G&F probably should have cut tags more in those 2 units that you've hunted in. From 2009 to 2010 though, overall they cut 27,625 tags and mule deer tags by 1,425. And at $20 each, that is a little over $550,000 in tag fees that they didn't get. My guess is that tags will be cut drastically next year, which I hope they are because they need to be. After 3 winter's like we've had plus a dose of blue tongue, deer numbers are down significantly.

You're right Jen, this needs to return to a happy thread! ;)

miller1- Yes you are right about deer numbers being way down. My guess is that tag numbers will be WAY down next year. It will probably be very tough to draw a ND tag for at least a few years.

jenbickel
12-16-2011, 07:56 PM
You're right Jen, this needs to return to a happy thread! ;)

DUH. I'm a woman, I'm always right :) Hahaha

Elkcrazedfrk
12-17-2011, 02:19 PM
Oh geez. Women are so wrong in thinking they are always right. lol. Just ask us.

jenbickel
12-17-2011, 02:32 PM
Well that was harsh :(

Elkcrazedfrk
12-17-2011, 02:48 PM
That did come accross as way harsh. Not my intent at all. It was really meant to be a joke. Afterall I am just a little sweet on you Jen. ;)

NDHunter
12-17-2011, 05:30 PM
Oh geez. Women are so wrong in thinking they are always right. lol. Just ask us.

I completely agree Jason. Women are wrong all the time.

jenbickel
12-17-2011, 05:33 PM
Oh ya think vince?! Just wait until you have me show you where to hunt out here again... I'm gonna send you to the bottom of the biggest sh!t hole I can find.

NDHunter
12-17-2011, 05:35 PM
Oh ya think vince?! Just wait until you have me show you where to hunt out here again... I'm gonna send you to the bottom of the biggest sh!t hole I can find.

Sweet! That's where the biggest bucks and bulls will be!!!!!!! Do you also have pack horses to help me get an animal out?

jenbickel
12-17-2011, 06:55 PM
Hahahaha I SO knew you were going to say that. You crack me up!

sjsmallfield
12-17-2011, 07:10 PM
Now this really is a happy thread! Lol

jenbickel
12-17-2011, 07:16 PM
Hahaha yes it is!!! lmao

Elkcrazedfrk
12-17-2011, 07:40 PM
I may end up burying myself in one of those holes..

jenbickel
12-17-2011, 07:46 PM
I will dig one for you.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-17-2011, 08:34 PM
Hey guys,

I hate to be a party pooper, but we might want to swing the inside joke stuff to pm, so the OP can get some info on his question.

To the OP,

I had a tag for CO GU43 this year but never made it there, due to some unexpected family events. It seems like really cool country with great trophy potential, but all you hear about it is how it is still on the downswing (and some overexposure on Eastman's TV). 44 seems like a pretty good option, and one I am looking into myself.

There are also some good backcountry options for high country mulies in MT, believe it or not.

hoytnut
12-22-2011, 03:08 PM
Haisen. I've hunted 43 and 55 recently - simply put, the Gunnison Basin herds are struggling. Before the recent harsh winters, 43 was a great sleeper tag that was always undersubscribed, but still held some great deer. However, the unit has been both discovered as a overlooked unit and the deer herd has been hit by several harsh winters making it a tough go. There is always potential there for a great buck, but I would say there are much better units in Colorado right now to kill nice bucks. I hate to be a downer, but I have also hunted 75/751 in the past 4 years and it is not nearly as good a draw as it once was. IMO deer numbers are also down, in fact last year they cut tags in the area. Again, there is potential for nice deer as there is in a lot of places on the west slope, but IMO there are still better units than 75/751. Good luck with the search!

Graylight
12-22-2011, 11:28 PM
Keep in mind even with the winter of 08, there will be a few large bucks in every high country unit. If you have the balls to go where they are, you have the opportunity to come out heavy. Each of the units you had suggested will hold a few bucks of the caliber you are looking for and even with the exposure of a few of these units, there is a line in the sand... Many will try to hunt them but few will return once they realize what it takes to get it done.

Anyone who has done it knows this for gospel. If you hunt above timber, you will pay for the buck dearly in sweat equity, don't let anyone sway you away from hunting those units as most are biased and don't want competition. If you are determined, you can achieve your dreams up there... Have fun and be safe...

hoytnut
12-23-2011, 11:35 AM
Graylight is right. All your suggested units have the potential to produce nice deer - as many Colorado units do. Also, I hope you did not perceive my post as self-serving. I have received a lot of help over the years from others on this and similar sites so the last thing I would do is intentionally sandbag to protect my own interests. Again, good luck and much hunting success.

Haisen
12-24-2011, 02:11 PM
Thank You Bitteroot Bulls, Graylight, and Hoytnut. The information each of you have provided is helpful. I will most likely hunt GMU 48 in Idaho or GMU 44 in Colorado. No matter which hunt I choose, I will gain valuable experience. Good luck on your hunts and thank you for the advice.