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View Full Version : Planning a Mule deer hunt for next year and need some help



blakebow8
12-16-2011, 04:53 PM
So like the title of my post says im planning a mule deer hunt for next year. I will be hunting with a rifle and im just trying to figure out where i should try to go. I live in Battle Ground Washington so im not that far away from Idaho. I was mostly looking at the Nez Perce National Forest or the Payette National Forest. I also have family that lives up in the panhandle but I dont really know how the mule deer hunting is up there. I would like to be able to do a five day backpack hunt. I would love to hear some feed back on the hunting in these areas and some information that would narrow my location. Thank you.

trophyhill
12-16-2011, 06:40 PM
buy a wolf license to go with your deer tag. i was talking to a friend that lives in Idaho and was told that the hunting in the Nez Pierce area sucks do to constant hunting by the local tribes and now wolves. both for deer and elk.

Biker Ed 101
12-17-2011, 09:33 AM
I'm in the same boat Blake. I have a wedding on sept 8 in Boise and hope to make a two for one trip out of it. Since I have never stepped foot into Idaho, i haven't a clue where to begin.

IdahoHombre
12-19-2011, 01:48 PM
Blake, both the Idaho Panhandle and Nezperce areas have good mule deer opportunities. In the Panhandle, whitetails are numerous in the valleys and river bottoms. Up higher are some nice mulies. Either side of the Purcell Trench is not bad hunting, if you're willing to put in the work to find them. You have to get off of main trails, back pack in.

The Nez Perce area has a decent mulie herd, and some big ones are taken out of the area south of Lewiston every year. But, yeah, watch where you're at - you don't want to be caught on any private ground - and especially not tribal ground!

If you had five days to pack in somewhere, I'd recommend going a little further south toward Riggins, then head east into the wilderness. Steep and rugged, but also some great mulie hunting.

IdahoHombre
12-19-2011, 01:49 PM
Biker Ed,

will you be bow hunting? Most rifle seasons won't be open until early to mid October.

kurtski25
12-20-2011, 10:42 AM
My best advice would be...go to Colorado. I live in Idaho and the muley numbers are almost gone and the whitetail numbers are down. I don't know about the southern half of the state, but this is just my observation of the north half of the state. Sorry, that's probably not what you wanted to hear, but I just got back from Colorado and I was amazed at how many deer and elk I saw.
Kurtski

IdahoHombre
12-20-2011, 01:24 PM
Panhandle muleys are there, and I know guys that track them down in the mountains each year. But you have to get away from the roads, and it's pretty heavily timbered. So if you're not familiar with the area, I wouldn't make that my first choice.

I would suggest the Payette N.F. - you can backpack in to some pretty remote areas, and there's plenty of mule deer. Some monsters are pulled out of there, but it's usually by the guys who are willing to hike into the steepest canyons. But in this area, there's a lot more glassing opportunities (it's more open). Spotting and stalking is the name of the game there, but be in good shape if you're going to be stalking successfully.

blakebow8
12-20-2011, 04:22 PM
that is my plan is to hike about 10 miles and stay for atleast five days. I am in really good shape and have done this sort of hunting before but always wanted to do it in idaho.

blakebow8
12-20-2011, 04:23 PM
My best advice would be...go to Colorado. I live in Idaho and the muley numbers are almost gone and the whitetail numbers are down. I don't know about the southern half of the state, but this is just my observation of the north half of the state. Sorry, that's probably not what you wanted to hear, but I just got back from Colorado and I was amazed at how many deer and elk I saw.
Kurtski

I cant really afford to go to colorado and plus im not looking for an easy hunt i get my deer and elf every year and now im looking for more of a challenge.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-20-2011, 04:31 PM
I cant really afford to go to colorado and plus im not looking for an easy hunt i get my deer and elf every year and now im looking for more of a challenge.

There are still some good deer in Eastern Idaho. The backcountry of the Frank Church has some good bucks, and if you are looking for a hard backcountry hunt, it would definitely be that.

BTW, what are the odds to draw an elf tag?

Kevin Root
12-20-2011, 04:49 PM
BTW, what are the odds to draw an elf tag?[/QUOTE]

That made me laugh Bitterroot Bulls. Merry Christmas!

blakebow8, there is a nice write up in the EBJ #65 May/June 2011, MRS download on Idaho. Awesome information for deer in Idaho there. There is some great planning information on the Eastman's MRS.

Bitterroot Bulls
12-20-2011, 05:02 PM
Yeah,

It is a tough time of year to be an admitted elf-hunter. That definitely won't get you on the nice list.

:D

hardcore09
12-21-2011, 09:34 AM
I agree with bitterroot, the frank church is defenitley a challenging hunt! We did a 80 mile float trip in the Frank a few years ago for mule deer, awesome country, extremely tough hunt though! We were there the 2nd week of november and the weather just didn't cooperate with us, no snow and the deer were still up very high which was tough for us hunting from the river up..We seen lots of elk deer and sheep but didn't really get high enough to where the bucks were..there is great potential for some good deer! I defenitaly want to return though after knowing the country a little better!
Good Luck

ID_MW
12-21-2011, 11:46 AM
Is this a general season OTC hunt? Do you have a unit in mind? The Nez Perce and Payette National Forests are both pretty large, and incorporate a lot of restrictions due to varied unit management strategies. If you are an Eastmans member, I agree with Member Kevin Root that you might take a look at EBJ 65. You can also look up harvest stats on the IDFG website, which is a great resource. Most of the decent bucks around here do NOT come from OTC tags, and the deer population in central Idaho is and has been in a state of near irreparable decline for quite some time. Like most hunts, make sure you do your homework or face dissapointment. You do have a great attitude, and hiking away from more heavily pressured areas is always a good place to start. Keep an eye on fires this summer, at this rate, the west is in for a torcher. As always, best of luck, and if you get a chance, hammer your plans down to a few units and check back in.

Biker Ed 101
12-21-2011, 02:57 PM
Yes it will be bow. i'm in decent shape but will need to step it up and drop the extra 15lbs. It will be a backpack trip.Some of the other posts have shed a little light on the condition of the state. I've started into the research and will see what i can shake out.It all comes down to the right place at the right time.

blakebow8
12-23-2011, 11:39 PM
Thanks for everyones input