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4by4
08-25-2013, 07:15 PM
How do most of you prefer to hunt mule deer in open country (SE Montana)? Alone? With a partner? A group of people? We had three of us last year and in open country one can cover a lot of territory. We all walked together which I am starting to think was not a good idea. Do you think each person should just pick a location several miles away from each other and hunt. I just think too many people might be bad. If you all hunt together, then everyone shouldn't plan on shooting a deer since it may take you a couple days to get one that you spotted. Just curious what you think and your style. Thanks,

4by4
08-25-2013, 07:16 PM
The reason I ask is now that we went there once, more of our friends are asking to go.....

tdcour
08-25-2013, 08:09 PM
We hunt in central South Dakota and it is pretty open as well. Mostly just grass hills with some Cedar and buck brush in the draws. My dad and I hunt together a lot and I have hunted by myself a few times. I have never had more than one other person with me. I found with one person you see more than with two and with three I would guess it would be lower still. We have seen parties of three and one four person group out there and we can pick them off at long distances because they all seem to blob together to one big dark moving object. If we could see the group you know the deer can. I personally think you can hunt with two people comfortably but out in that open countryi wouldn't go more than that. Plus, like you said if you all hunt together the chance of everyone filing tags is lower but you do have more help to pack or with the first trip.

4by4
08-25-2013, 08:23 PM
How many of you would spike camp it in the brush overnight if you are a few miles from the truck? I was thinking of doing this so this would reduce the amount of walking. This would give me better opportunity to glass a large area thoroughly.

tdcour
08-25-2013, 10:03 PM
I started kicking that idea around last year too. Every morning we hike in about three miles. Most of the area is walk in only but some is blm. I don't really have the right great to bring in and out. All ours is really heavy or summer camping stuff. If I'd had the right stuff I would have done it last year a lot more hunting and less walking.

Corkran
08-25-2013, 10:59 PM
I've only been hunting for a few years. But I've done a lot of backpacking and kayaking trips. I think it depends on the goal of the trip. At least part of the goal for me is a good harvest, so I want to use proven tactics. I only have a couple guys I'm willing to walk with, and can hunt with side-by-side. But I could enjoy a camp or even glassing with other people. Buck camp is different than hunting together.

MSUcat61
08-26-2013, 12:22 AM
The last time I hunted Eastern MT, there were three of us and we generally stayed together (kind of the point of hunting with friends if you ask me), though we would split up a bit so each of us could glass different coulees, etc. and then reconvene to make a game plan. One tactic that worked out for us was leaving one spotter while the others made the stalk. On one such stalk, we had spotted a buck bedded and made a plan. As we rounded the last corner, he was nowhere to be found and we figured we had blown the stalk, but because our other buddy was still glassing from his vantage point, we found out that a doe had come by and he had simply followed her over a ridge in a completely different direction. It worked well and we shot that buck less than an hour later a few draws over. The three of us hunted together essentially the whole time, and all filled our tags in three days. One buck each day.

I do think splitting up when you have multiple people in a group is advantageous since you'll cover more ground, but I generally like to have everyone on the same page before heading out and maybe make a place/time to meet again in case things change as you find game, weather changes, etc. Doing things like everyone taking a different coulee or finger ridge and then meetings at the top or bottom is what I usually like to do. Everyone going several miles apart seems a bit extreme to me and but it may be useful if the situation calls for it and depending on everyone's hunting style. If I'm hunting with friends, I usually like to hunt with them and not necessarily just in the same corner of the state. It's usually a lot more fun to have someone next to you when you shoot something and makes for better memories, in my opinion. And who knows, you might pull a double. I've done that before and it made for a really great hunt and an even better story.

Musket Man
08-26-2013, 08:21 AM
I would split up even if your not real far apart so you can cover more country.

Old Hunter
08-26-2013, 01:25 PM
How do most of you prefer to hunt mule deer in open country (SE Montana)? Alone? With a partner? A group of people? We had three of us last year and in open country one can cover a lot of territory. We all walked together which I am starting to think was not a good idea. Do you think each person should just pick a location several miles away from each other and hunt. I just think too many people might be bad. If you all hunt together, then everyone shouldn't plan on shooting a deer since it may take you a couple days to get one that you spotted. Just curious what you think and your style. Thanks,

Did you kill anything with that method? That should answer your question.

Ilovethewest
08-26-2013, 05:49 PM
I know I may not hunt exactly like most native westerners do............but we do a combo b/w spotting and what I call "sneak hunting"........we sit on high points in mornings and evening, and if we don't see anything or if we don't see anything big.........we go sneaking along the canyons. It is open country where we hunt.............I will just say it is the powder river break country.........so it is pretty broken open country. We sneak along the edges of the canyons and look down in for bedded or feeding deer. we usually split up or work in pairs. one guy in the bottom and one guy on top, or guys on top across from each other, or just hunt alone.

In 2 years with 8 total tags, we have killed 6 mulie bucks. and we should have had all 8 except for misses. Biggest scored 143". I saw one after I tagged out and was gunless just spotting for my buddy that was even bigger. could have wacked him for sure.

and sneaking along the rims last year, we could have shot 2 of the bucks with our bows, including the 143"

I will say though......this is the first year that we will have a spotting scope, so we will probably do more spot and stalk. But we wont hesitate to put on some miles. Round trip, we figured we were putting on 10-15 miles a day on foot.

While not conventional methods, we do seem to be successful in our style of hunting.

packmule
08-26-2013, 10:47 PM
Style depends on what you want out of the hunt. Lots of bonding time with friends/family then stick together. If there are plans of everyone tagging good deer then may want to split up. I tend to let good glass cover a ton of ground so I don't have to by foot.

Musket Man
08-27-2013, 10:26 AM
I know I may not hunt exactly like most native westerners do............but we do a combo b/w spotting and what I call "sneak hunting"........we sit on high points in mornings and evening, and if we don't see anything or if we don't see anything big.........we go sneaking along the canyons. It is open country where we hunt.............I will just say it is the powder river break country.........so it is pretty broken open country. We sneak along the edges of the canyons and look down in for bedded or feeding deer. we usually split up or work in pairs. one guy in the bottom and one guy on top, or guys on top across from each other, or just hunt alone.

In 2 years with 8 total tags, we have killed 6 mulie bucks. and we should have had all 8 except for misses. Biggest scored 143". I saw one after I tagged out and was gunless just spotting for my buddy that was even bigger. could have wacked him for sure.

and sneaking along the rims last year, we could have shot 2 of the bucks with our bows, including the 143"

I will say though......this is the first year that we will have a spotting scope, so we will probably do more spot and stalk. But we wont hesitate to put on some miles. Round trip, we figured we were putting on 10-15 miles a day on foot.

While not conventional methods, we do seem to be successful in our style of hunting.

Hunting breaks is neat. You can sit and pick the country for hours sometimes and not see a thing and next thing you know a half dozen deer walk out of a hole you didnt even know was there! I think your method can be good in this type of country. sometimes even just moving a few feet will let you see places you couldnt before.

Ilovethewest
08-27-2013, 06:43 PM
6347I will share the story of my Region C buck from last year.

It was a windy morning (it was right after the 70mph wind advisory days) that blew threw north central wyo last October. The winds were "only" blowing 30+ this day. And it was colder too. I was sitting on a high point over looking what I call a sage flat/sage bowl. 3 Satelite canyons that break from the main canyon we hunt, met up together in this sage flat/sage bowl. I had came in from the backside and was perched along the higher ridges looking into this bowl. It was getting light, and I did not see a single deer in the entire area. It was cold and blustery, so I decided to get up and move. I went over the ridge into the next sage flat/bowl, and immediately ran into deer. group of 8 does and a small forkie. snuck past them, went around a corner, and saw some more deer, another 8-10 in a group. Then I saw another group. In less than an hour, I had seen over 30 deer. It was Day 2 of our hunt, and we had 2 more. It was the first time hunting in Wyoming for 2 in our group, and day 1 was a bust, so I had planned on shooting the first decent buck I saw to give the group some confidence! I sat for awhile, then went around the corner to the next basin. Unknown to me, there was a small hidden saddle on that ridge, and when I crossed the peak into that saddle, a buck was standing there 30 yards away. It was a small saddle.....only 50 yards across, and not super deep.....just deep enough to hide a deer! I immediately thought "shoot it" as he jumped and ran, and I missed him running and bouncing. He disappeared up over the ridgeline. I ran my butt off up to the top of the ridge, and he was headed away about to drop into the next canyon. I steadied myself and waited..........and in typical mulie fashion, he stopped just before dropping from sight about 175 yards out. I was ready and let one fly, dropping him in his tracks! I texted my buddies, and they were excited. I had told them I was up and moving when seeing deer, so they followed suite from sitting and seeing nothing, and they too also started seeing deer. It was a fun morning and one I wont forget! It was a lot of fun! The 4 mile hike back out with deer 2 deer quarters, horns, and backstraps (my buddy took the other 2) was not fun! But it is all part of the experience!

One reason why I like getting out and putting miles on. You see so many cool things! sheds, beds, different rock formations, we found a dead bobcat, a cave, hidden springs, rubs in the valley bottoms, different rocks, old dead animals, and old fence going into hill buried from years of soil erosion..........all sorts of neat things! Many of them you would have never seen just glassing.

So that is why I like getting up and putting the miles on. Ya it is hard on the body, but I enjoy the physical challenge!

Ilovethewest
08-27-2013, 06:54 PM
6348634963506351

enjoy!

Gumbo
08-27-2013, 10:41 PM
How many of you would spike camp it in the brush overnight if you are a few miles from the truck? I was thinking of doing this so this would reduce the amount of walking. This would give me better opportunity to glass a large area thoroughly.

I have hunted the public land and BMA's in the Broadus area for a couple weeks each year for the last decade or so. I have considered backpacking in but it has never seemed worth the effort. I have found a few good vantages relatively close to roads that look over many square miles of roadless terrain and sit all day. The bucks move a lot during the rut and with a good scope you can see them from several miles. Find a good one from a distance (even up to 5 miles or more away), wait for him to bed, and go after him. If I feel like walking, I pick rougher country that is harder to glass. One other note, if it gets wet, it pays to have a couple areas on gumbo free-roads that you can access. I've had it be too muddy for a week straight to access my favorite glassing zones.

This pic is of the last deer I shot in that area...he nets about 163 and was 5 1/2 years old. I shot him in 2009 and it was a miserable 3.5 mile, 5 hour slog out to the truck through gumbo that kept jamming up the wheels on my cart, rendering them unable to spin. I learned that if it is muddy or wet it is best to forgo the cart and BONE OUT your deer, even if it means a couple trips.

6352

I passed on this nice, young buck early in the 2010 season. There were a few better bucks around that year, but work and the weather kept me from making a return trip in late November.

6354

That winter there was an immense die-off and I would guess that 50-60% of the herd in the portion I hunt died. I haven't seen a buck I wanted to shoot since (170+), but they are coming back. Maybe this year......

4by4
09-04-2013, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone. I am planning next years hunt and am indecisive on what to do. Last year we pulled a cargo trailer out there and slept in that. Problem was, we were in gumbo area and were lucky we had no rain. Fish and Game said I would never make it out where we were if it rained. Made for a nerve racking week. I would prefer not to haul a trailer with big tents..etc... I am driving from WI. That's why the thought of spike tenting crossed my mind. I would save probably $500 in gas not having to pull a trailer.

Musket Man
09-04-2013, 08:42 PM
E MT gets slick and sticky in a hurry if it rains or snows and melts. If it freezes pretty good at night you can usually get out first thing in the morning, if not you could be there a while. Personally I wouldnt take a trailer off of gravel roads that time of year. Even a 4x4 with good tires can get in trouble pretty easy. I took my 4wheeler for the dirt roads when I have hunted there. I would atleast take tire chains your truck. They will get you through places nothing else will if you do get in trouble.