First of all...Thanks Eastman!! The help provided by the site and magazine for going through the western draw process has made it all a lot easier than it would be if I had to track all that down on my own...

I was certain i posted this basic same post the other day,but I am unable to find it... so here is a second try.

My wife and I got our third choice draw, however we are excited to get out there and begin to learn our way around western mule deer hunting. I have a lot of planning to do and need to get in the best of shape before I hit the hills. In a lot of ways, we will be the typcial eastern, first timers. Amy has made it clear that any decent 4X is on the ground, stating that she has only shot a few bucks since she started hunting and she is not going to get too picky (thus why i picked a Gila unit as third choice).

On the other hand, i will want to go after the best deer I can, for the unit. So, I will be trying to track down info for that unit I am assuming we will focus on the northen end of the unit, but I am open to suggestions if anyone has experience in the GMU.

There are a few logistics i need to work out and woudl appreciate some input on the following:

- base camp or spike camp? In this unit, which is likely to be my best advantage? I have quite a bit of backpacking experience, and several 7-10 day rocky mountain trips under my belt (though it has been years and I was younger, better shape). I am comfortable with back country trips, even in the cold, and have a little mountaineering under my belt also. I do need to research what the weather extremes can be for the unit in November because cold gear will get heavy for my wife, especially with hunting gear. It seems that the risk i run, by commiting to pack in and stay in the backcountry, is that I may be commited to a basin that does not have what I am looking for....on the other hand, i will get to more remote areas......the unit may not even have very remote areas. I am going to download the the GIS shapefiles from NMDGF today and start learning the terrain and access..

- If i fly to NM rather than drive what do i do about getting meat and a trophy home. This might seem like a stupid question, but I driven to all of my hunts to the praries for duck, pheasant and deer each year for the past 30 years. I may drive this one too but the wife does not have the time off i do so i will have to drive it on my own and let her fly. It is cheaper to fly these days and i travel so much for work i have flight and rental car benefits that make it pretty cheap...

Any input is helpful. I am going to post a question optics, after i have reviewed what has already been posted previously..

Thanks in advance and get out and enjoy your wester summer. NC is now hot (upper 90s) and humid, so I am in hibernation mode, planning my Nov. trip to NM, and Oct. trip to ND. dreaming of cool weather..

Bryan