Last year was my first as a CO resident, and my first Mule deer hunt. It was a great experience...a learning experience to say the least. From navigating the draw (and left-over draw), to getting the right gear, to scouting, and ultimately the hunt, I learned a lot. Members on this site were extremely helpful, especially those willing to shoot over PMs. Needless to say, I've got the itch, and I can't think of anything other than this fall's hunt.
Based on my trials and errors, I thought I'd generate some threads based on generic topics. I've read the books, I've hit the trails, but I figured the hunting community could probably provide more applicable info, specific to Mulie's in Colorado. My thoughts cover everything from gear, to habitat, to strategy, and I'm hoping some veterans can help impart some wisdom on a green-horn.
First topic: Spotting Scope or No Spotting Scope.
Prior to heading out last fall, I read some articles about not needing a spotting scope. The idea was in the proper habitat, you could see a deer with the naked eye, more so with binos, and the weight of a spotting scope was unnecessary. Needless to say I set out on the trial with only binos. As I navigated aspens among heavy timber in a steep valley in GMU 28, all of the deer I saw were within 500 yards. Several under 200 yards (does unfortunately). I still wonder how many I may have missed by not being able to see the long distances.
So what percent of you out there swear by the spotting scope vs taking just binos? Do you change you vary your actions based on the terrain (ie high country bowls, verse lower altitude valleys)? Do you find spotting scope more useful in specific parts of the state (ie the flatter western and southwestern parts of the state vs the higher altitude steep terrain of the central mountains)? Do you find spotting scope to be less useful near heavily wooded pine forests vs sage and scrub oaks?
Your experiences and personal preferences are welcomed, and I thank everyone in advance.