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View Full Version : Harding county mule deer archery



killshot824
02-25-2014, 09:01 PM
Looking into heading to Harding county South Dakota this fall for muleys with the bow! Have never hunted this area before so it should be interesting to say the least but just looking to see what people have to GENERALLY say about the area the info I've been digging up sounds fairly decent but any input from any previous bow hunters of the region would be awesome!!!! We will be all on our own on public land and are looking into the Nieme CHAP area and some of the country east of 85

tdcour
02-25-2014, 09:15 PM
I've never hunted Harding county, but I hear good and bad things about it. I typically hear about antelope and some mule deer out there as well. We stick to the central part of the state along the river (I just moved to Kansas last year). I'm assuming you have been to Harding county or know someone that has hunted there?

Musket Man
02-25-2014, 09:24 PM
I have never hunted it but I really like that area! I have friends just across the border in Hettinger, ND

killshot824
02-25-2014, 09:35 PM
No I have not hunted and unfortunately have not been there either just looking to try somewhere new I guess and my homework has lead me to this area! We will a have a week and half to two weeks of hunting still probably not enough time to get it done but I think we're gonna give it a try

Retterath
02-25-2014, 09:59 PM
I will be bow hunting Harding county this year too,I have never hunted it before. I have been told it went down hill but is starting to come back now. I won't be spending as much time as u there but going to probably hunt some long weekends there. I would think if you are spending over a week there you would be able to find em and hopefully get a chance at one. Good luck and maybe see u out there.

killshot824
02-25-2014, 10:03 PM
Coming all the way from ohios I I am going to try and make it as long as I can since I won't be able to scout it prior

Retterath
02-26-2014, 08:20 AM
killshot-i might do some scouting there this summer if i have some time maybe make a weekend out of it and if i do will will let you know what the numbers and quality look like.

tdcour
02-26-2014, 10:03 AM
I agree with Retterath. You are also traveling through some good hunting grounds to get to Harding County if you are coming from Ohio. Don't confine yourself to just one county. All SD tags are either statewide, east river, or west river for archery, so you have all the state or half of it to hunt. I would agree that if you can get out to scout that would be best, but that is a long way from Ohio. When are you planning on going out? Early season, right before rifle, or late season?

BucksnBulls
02-26-2014, 11:18 AM
I hunted Harding County for deer back in 2009. I saw a good amount of deer, but numbers were a lot higher back then. I looked into going back last fall, but after consulting a biologist about the current population, I opted not to. I agree with tdcour about keeping your options open for the rest of the state. The Missouri River provides ample opportunity and plenty of public land.

killshot824
02-26-2014, 06:38 PM
Retterath if you do end up scouting the area any info your willing to give up would be greatly appreciated! Obviously not expecting you to tell me exactly where you saw all the big guys but just general info on deer numbers and what caliber bucks you saw! And Tdcour we are not dead set on Harding county yet nor are we set on our dates just putting some feelers out to try and see what people have to say about the area and as far as dates we are thinking as early as possible but are still real flexible we can go pretty much whenever as of right now!

tdcour
02-26-2014, 08:06 PM
Retterath if you do end up scouting the area any info your willing to give up would be greatly appreciated! Obviously not expecting you to tell me exactly where you saw all the big guys but just general info on deer numbers and what caliber bucks you saw! And Tdcour we are not dead set on Harding county yet nor are we set on our dates just putting some feelers out to try and see what people have to say about the area and as far as dates we are thinking as early as possible but are still real flexible we can go pretty much whenever as of right now!

I've never had much luck where we usually go early in the season. We have the best luck just prior to the rut. I usually hunt the week before rifle season and that puts us in the rut or pre-rut stages. SD has their rifle season right in the middle of the rut, so if you don't get there before rifle season, the deer are scattered and most of the mature bucks are gone (shot or hiding). I don't think I'm going back this year, but we were going to try the last week of November to try and catch the deer prior to the rut.

killshot824
02-26-2014, 09:11 PM
We will for sure be there before rifle season! What are the deer typically doing out there at the beginning of the season are they still bachelored up at all or dispersed and laying low until the rut hits??

kesand72
02-26-2014, 09:12 PM
Hi Killshot284
What was it that made you decide on S Dakota mulies?
I only ask because I am building points for west river deer n antelope.
The things that attracted me were reasonable price for points, good amounts of public land, the ability for a combo hunt with pheasant, and they take some very respectable bucks!
No I have not hunted and unfortunately have not been there either just looking to try somewhere new I guess and my homework has lead me to this area! We will a have a week and half to two weeks of hunting still probably not enough time to get it done but I think we're gonna give it a try

tdcour
02-26-2014, 09:34 PM
We will for sure be there before rifle season! What are the deer typically doing out there at the beginning of the season are they still bachelored up at all or dispersed and laying low until the rut hits??

All depends what part of the state you are in. That part of the state, I'm guessing they will be in bachelor groups, but I've never hunted there so I'm not positive. I know they are spread far and wide where we hunt in the central part of the state. The closer to the rut, the closer the groups become.

killshot824
02-26-2014, 10:05 PM
Hi Killshot284
What was it that made you decide on S Dakota mulies?
I only ask because I am building points for west river deer n antelope.
The things that attracted me were reasonable price for points, good amounts of public land, the ability for a combo hunt with pheasant, and they take some very respectable bucks!

Well we have been hunting general units in wyoming the last few years while building points, and the quality of deer we have been seeing on the easy to draw units is just not real great so were kinda using this archery hunt as a scouting trip to learn a new area that we can work towards drawing a future rifle tag for! Just broadening our horizons I guess you could say and the cheap and easy to obtain archery tag was very attractive also! We were also thinking about possibly applying for the firearms antelope tag in that area or surrounding units but it looks like it could possibly be a tough tag to draw with out any points?

kesand72
02-26-2014, 10:59 PM
Well we have been hunting general units in wyoming the last few years while building points, and the quality of deer we have been seeing on the easy to draw units is just not real great so were kinda using this archery hunt as a scouting trip to learn a new area that we can work towards drawing a future rifle tag for! Just broadening our horizons I guess you could say and the cheap and easy to obtain archery tag was very attractive also! We were also thinking about possibly applying for the firearms antelope tag in that area or surrounding units but it looks like it could possibly be a tough tag to draw with out any points?
When I was looking into it last year, I believe it took a couple points for the antelope, and maybe 3 or 4 for rifle deer. I heard the deer n lopes took a big hit from ( EHD?). So that may have affected draw odds. Can't wait to get out there on a combo hunt with pheasants, my buddy runs German short hairs. Its gonna be a couple years tho, as we are hunting Wy elk this year n lopes next year.

Retterath
02-27-2014, 08:39 AM
i talked to a few people about harding county and for rifle season they are going to drop the number of rifle tags quite a bit, but not 100% they said it would probally take five years to draw but thats just what i heard. I have heard the number are getting better.i would be happy to help you out if i go and do some scouting killshot.

killshot824
03-02-2014, 08:01 PM
i talked to a few people about harding county and for rifle season they are going to drop the number of rifle tags quite a bit, but not 100% they said it would probally take five years to draw but thats just what i heard. I have heard the number are getting better.i would be happy to help you out if i go and do some scouting killshot.

Well after some more digging and debating we've decided to probably hunt as close to the rifle season as we can! Any body have any experience in the slim butte area? And just out of curiosity what is the weather typically doing right before rifle season? Super cold or unpredictable??

tdcour
03-02-2014, 08:32 PM
Pretty unpredictable. During the last few seasons I have seen blizzard conditions all the way to 60 during the days. Typically, I would say expect 40s for a high and lows in teens or twenties. It really just depends on the year. Need the layers in the morning but bot too much during the day. Last season it was 55 one day and -7 the next along the river.

killshot824
03-03-2014, 08:05 AM
Yea that's pretty much what I expected to be honest!

Retterath
03-05-2014, 10:18 PM
You might want to also check out Perkins county they have a lot of public grasslands and is like badland terrain and has been very good also. Just talked to a guy that bow hunted last year and said the numbers are definitely down but think it would still be a great hunt. You won't know if u don't go and I know for a fact there are good muleys there, just going to hunt hard. By the way Perkins county is just east of Harding county. Great area also. Pheasant numbers are terrible here they dropped 63 percent last year. I talked to my neighbor which is a game warden and he checked 70 pheasant hunters on opening day and they only totaled 12 birds.

Ilovethewest
03-06-2014, 08:44 PM
I have not hunted it, but have been planning a rifle hunt for years now. have a lot of PP's saved up. I was looking into the slim buttes area and the custer NF areas. I have driven through the area and spent countless hours on google earth.

I will say that in my last travels, the deer population seemed to be low, and the locals said as much too. There was a few years of over-harvest and bad winters. I also would suggest the Missouri river area if you can find public land. I have also seen some monster mulies on my travels to Wyoming around the Cheyenne river by wasta. not much public land, but some of the bucks I have seen would be worth the headache to find land. the buck I saw last year easily broke 180 above the Cheyenne river along I-90. it was at night and I almost smacked him with the truck, so it was a quick guestimate, but it was one the biggest mulies I have ever seen alive.

PM me if you would like. I have never done this hunt yet, but feel as if I havce after all the years of planning! The November gun hunt in SD has just never fit in my schedule yet. one of these years it will.

Ilovethewest
03-06-2014, 08:51 PM
That bucks was just across the Cheyenne coming from the east where the interstate splits. It is the hill country dotted with cedars and scrub brush. The buck was in between where the highway splits coming onto the interstate. Funny thing was...............about 15-20 years ago when I was a kid in high school on our way to sundance on a mule deer hunt (I had a long drought of no western hunting due to school/college/marriage/kids) , we saw a mulie in almost the exact same spot. Not quite as big as the one last year......but big.

not sure if there is public land there or not.