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    Hunting Style/Tactics

    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,

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    The reason I ask is now that we went there once, more of our friends are asking to go.....

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    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.
    Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.
    Genesis 27:3 (NKJV)

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4by4 View Post
    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.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    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......

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    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.
    Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me.
    Genesis 27:3 (NKJV)

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    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.

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    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.
    Last edited by MSUcat61; 08-26-2013 at 12:01 AM.
    Can't spell scum without U&M... Go 'Cats!

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    I would split up even if your not real far apart so you can cover more country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4by4 View Post
    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.

 

 

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