I'm planning to hunt early season high country mule deer either this year or next in Colorado. Being from the East, what is a typical shot length and angle of shot for a hunt like that?
Dan Pickar, cover author of EBJ 82 and EHJ staff member responds:
Bow hunting mule deer in the high country will throw many variables at you when it comes down to making the shot. This type of hunting is mostly going to be spot and stalk in open country and rough terrain. Be ready for windy conditions, longer shots, and steep shot angles.
The most important advice I can give you is to know your ability. For me, I won't take a shot further than 60 yards if conditions are right. What is the wind doing? What is the shot angle? What is the body language of the animal? That being said, Practice, Practice, Practice. I shoot out to 80 or 90 yards at the range. Shooting at these distances will prepare you well for a 50-60 yard shot in the field. Shoot when its windy. Shoot at different angles.
Also, a quality rangefinder with angle range compensation is your best friend. Shot angles can be very steep if you are shooting off cliffs or down avalanche chutes. Sometimes even straight down. Everything has to be perfect for it all to come together. You may only get one opportunity so be ready!
Thanks Dan! What tips would you offer for a first time mule deer hunter?