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View Full Version : what areas do you look for when picking a spot



fatkid
04-13-2012, 03:10 PM
okay guys First off I am from ohio and have never even seen a mule deer myself . we all have hunted whitetail since we were old enough to go. I know mule deer are the same but oh so differant . My question is what do you look for on a map that says good area to try? We are hunting SE montana if this helps . do you look for thick tree areas open county or do you try to stay near what farm country there is out there. any help would be great . we have all the maps and a gps card that shows blm and state and natonal areas . I just need some pointers on how to pick 5 or 6 areas to try . we just dont want to spend 2 days driving around out there when we get there

BKC
04-13-2012, 03:33 PM
If I was to go into an area that I had never been to and knew nothing about, I would do this. Get two good spotlights and drive the country roads at night, just after dark, and see where the deer are going to and where they are coming from. DO NOT have any firearms in your vehicle! If you get caught doing this with guns, you are screwed! This is legal as long as you are not hunting. Drive slow, do not chase game, and respect private property. I would concentrate around any farm ground that has alfalfa or just good grass and water. Good luck!

packer58
04-13-2012, 05:00 PM
Wow, that's a good question fatkid. IMO it is very difficult to locate game based on looking at maps or even google earth. The reason being is that the animals have seasonal movements and what looks good on a map may be devoid of animals during the time frame of your hunt. Maps and GE are great tools for finding secluded areas that limit the amount of hunting presure the animals will recieve. The best think for you to do would get there a few days early and scout it out........lots of glassing and keep moving until you find consentrations of deer or deer sign and then plan your hunt from there.

As far as spotlighting deer as BKC suggested, I would be carefull, it might be legal in Montana, I don't know, but you may have a lot of explaining to do if it's not. Hope this helps a little, good luck.

Edelweiss
04-13-2012, 05:15 PM
Big mule deer bucks will have a feeding area, and someplace they chew their cud and overlook their world. Look for south facing cliffs near ares with a lot of feed.

larrylur
04-13-2012, 07:15 PM
If I was to go into an area that I had never been to and knew nothing about, I would do this. Get two good spotlights and drive the country roads at night, just after dark, and see where the deer are going to and where they are coming from. DO NOT have any firearms in your vehicle! If you get caught doing this with guns, you are screwed! This is legal as long as you are not hunting. Drive slow, do not chase game, and respect private property. I would concentrate around any farm ground that has alfalfa or just good grass and water. Good luck!

Yikes. Not To sure about the spotlighting tip. Here at home that kind of activity is highly illegal, gun or not. Maybe Montana is different.

For me, the maps showed me areas that were near where I wanted to stay, that were big enough for me to get as deep as I wanted. This does not help but the deer can be anywhere. Trees, rocks, river bottoms, agricultural areas, plains,...anywhere. Pick areas close to where you stay and get out early and stay late. If you don't find deer, move to spot#2.

Talk to people as soon as you get there. Stores, campgrounds, bars..anywhere. Sometimes people love to talk and you can pick up some valuable info.

RUTTIN
04-13-2012, 07:18 PM
I would say show up a few days early if you can, and scout. Find a high spot to glass from and let the glass do the work for you.

Drhorsepower
04-13-2012, 07:23 PM
I've had better luck on north facing slope. Bucks like to be in the shade

Like everyone else said. Scout a few days before season if possible, get to a high vantage point before light and setup, sit wait glass. Same before dark. Deer are most active 15 minutes when sun comes up and goes down

Good luck man!

fatkid
04-16-2012, 11:25 AM
hey guys thanks for the info . does anyone feel that still hunting is worth our time . also how long do you feel is good enough time to set and glass in 1 spot if you are not seeing deer

NoMoreOldNo7
04-16-2012, 01:17 PM
hey guys thanks for the info . does anyone feel that still hunting is worth our time . also how long do you feel is good enough time to set and glass in 1 spot if you are not seeing deer

I have heard of guys being successful with still hunting, but the best method I have found is spot and stalk. As for how long to sit in one spot and glass, I would say about 1 -2 hours longer than how long it takes you to get bored. I usually try set up before light and as everyone else has pointed out from a high vantage point. I'll spend most of the morning there unless I don't see anything for a couple hours then move to another close by spot with a different vantage point, maybe the other side of the ridge, maybe around the next bend, whatever the terrain dicates. Then spend a couple hours there. Its amazing how you can watch a ridge line for a couple hours and not see much then suddenly a buck appears out of no where and usually in the area you have been watching the most. It takes a lot of patience to properly check out an area.

Get there a head of time if you can and scout (like whats been suggested) and spend some timechecking out on foot the places you find on google earth or maps. This has been the best approach for me. Good luck, hunting mulies is nothing like hunting whitetails. But 95% of my deer hunting has been for mulies., so I am far from knowing what I'm talking about hunting whitetails

Drhorsepower
04-16-2012, 01:19 PM
You need to read mikes book. Hunting high country mule deer. It's a must

buckbull
04-16-2012, 04:41 PM
You need to read mikes book. Hunting high country mule deer. It's a must
David Longs book is also a great resource that can be purchased here on eastmans.com.

BOHNTR
04-16-2012, 05:34 PM
What you look for depends on the elevation and type of country you're hunting. High country deer forage is different than drier climates at low elevation.......and mid-elevation is different from those.

Bitterroot Bulls
04-16-2012, 05:39 PM
You need to read mikes book. Hunting high country mule deer. It's a must

I love that book, and also Public Land Mulies: The Bottom Line.

Just remember both books have some slightly dated equipment recommendations. Especially Mike's book. If you follow that equipment advice, you might find yourself dressed like your on a 1940's era ascent of Denali.

:D

Moodie64
04-16-2012, 05:43 PM
Finding a high vantage point in SE Montana can be difficult depending on where you are hunting. Definitely check out creek and river bottoms. I would recommend trying to cover a lot of ground because you never know when you will find a group of deer in a small draw or drainage. A lot of people stay on or close to the roads in public areas so the deer get pushed to private property or farther off the road. If you are going to be hunting on block management areas contact MT FWP. They can give you more information about the area you are wanting to hunt.

Umpqua Hunter
04-16-2012, 06:00 PM
When we went to SE Montana in 2006, a couple things that helped us a lot was:

1. Hunt the rut, mid November or later. The closer to Thanksgiving the better. Find the does and you'll find the bucks. It was really pretty easy.

2. We hunted Block Management. I am assuming that program is still in place. You can get on a private ranch at little to no cost and have the place virtually to yourself. I recall we got the list of ranches in the Block Management program from the fish and game department.

We hunted a ranch and our party had 10,000 acres all to ourselves. The ranch manger said that they had "very few deer, but most of their hunters tag out". We were into nice bucks every day. I'd have to say it was one of the most fun and productive deer hunts I have ever been on. It was a very fun hunt.