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  1. #1
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    SD Public land Mullies

    New to the site and first time mule deer hunters and have lots of Questions

    I'm trying to plan a trip for an archery SD public land mule deer hunt with my dad and 2 brothers we are very excited to try a western hunt. None of us have ever hunted for them (Mullies) before so we are not looking for trophies just for action and a shot at a decent buck.

    I was looking into the Buffalo gap area by wall and also the public land around hot springs but we are open to suggestions I don't want to take any secret spots but any pointers would be great. I've been studying on what to look for but am still pretty lost. What kind of cover and area to look for? we plan on camping were we hunt. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Also If we buy the state wide archery is that good for the Black hills NF or is that separate? again any help and pointers greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!!!

  2. #2
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    Mule deer number are down statewide, but you can certainly still find pockets of huntable numbers. I went on an archery hunt south of Wall last fall. We hunted near the edge of Badlands NP on public land. Don't expect to see a ton of deer but if you can locate some the terrain is very spot and stalk friendly. The Missouri River breaks could be another option worth looking into. Good luck

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  4. #3
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    Thank you!! I was looking into the area I think you Are talking about. We are going to be there for about 6 days and plan on putting in a ton of miles so hopefully we can locate and put some down!

  5. #4
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    I have hunted the Missouri River breaks for 5 years now. The numbers of deer were waaaayyyyy down last year compared to previous years, but I still managed to arrow the one in my pic. If you are close to the river, or most anywhere in SD for that matter, you are liable to run into white tail and mulies (with eastern SD being mostly WT). There are some good WT out there as well. Be prepared for a lot of walking. Most of the ground we hunt is walk in area only, which means you can't stay the night and have to walk in and out during the day. It makes for long days, but at least we sleep well! The area around Pierre has a good amount of public ground, but gets hunted pretty hard come rifle season. Not too crowded with bow.

    I know there are some other guys on here from SD (we moved to KS last year) and hopefully they chime in. As far as the statewide tag goes, I think you are ok in the black hills, but can't hunt custer if I remember right, but it will say in the regs when you get your tag.

    Mind telling us a little about yourself in the new member section?
    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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  7. #5
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    tdcour,
    Thank you!!! awesome bucks btw!!! we would be PUMPED to shoot a deer close to that!!
    We all plan on putting in a TON of miles and are ok with it and excited too! I understand that the numbers are down but we are just trying to get a decent chance to kill a respectable mule deer as none of us has ever hunted a western hunt before we are in it for the adventure and memories... but a couple dead deer wouldn't hurt anything

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    You are OK to hunt the Black Hills Forest. Typically the deer are a little smaller (antler size) in the hills than the rest of the state. I am from the other side of the state but have been to the hills a few times the past couple years and have seen a good number of deer out there. I actually hunted the Buffalo Gap last year during rifle season for the first time. We went to the public land right along the Cheyenne River. It was crazy with all the pressure during rifle season but I'm sure it's not as bad during bow season. We ended up shooting 2 small muleys cut them up and packed them out 2+ miles but it was a lot of fun and the country is beautiful along the river. Good Luck.

  9. #7
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    A nice spotting scope will help save a lot of miles. Which can help keep your energy for the long stalks on bucks you might want to kill. Don't want to hike 3 miles after a deer and realize its a dink. Sometimes on public land time is of the essence. Numbers are really down statewide, with rifle tags all being cut back to single tags, should help the potential in coming years. One tip i have is really look at walk in areas that are new. They are generally best the first year they get put into walk in area. Spend time looking at maps and pretty much know the pieces of property you want to investigate before you even get there. When do you plan to come out? In my experience i have the best mulie action in October....not sure if its their movement or luck, but i don't see an october lull for them.

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  11. #8
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    We are driving out OCT 1st and leaving the 8th. We are camping so we were looking at the federal land more but are open to anything. We just want to see some deer and hopefully take one or two. You mentioned new walk in areas is there a way to find out which ones are new? or would I have to buy last years and this years public land atlas? like I said before we aren't looking for giants we wont shoot 1 year olds but if a decent racked 2 yo gives the opportunity we would probably take it.

    I am still having difficulty nailing down where in the state we are going to go originally we were looking at the black hills south west of hot springs or now buffalo gap south of wall but ive also heard good things about the Missouri river so needless to say we are still a little confused.. and ive had some very good advice on hear about all of those which doesn't make it easy so hopefully we can make up our mind soon and really focus on where we are going to hunt exactly.

  12. #9
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    On the GFP website under hunting maps, then hunting atlas, there will be an updated map in the next month or so that will list any areas that are new this year, and will show any that were taken out. Highlighted in green or red. It will also be a great place to look for walk in areas that were added after the paper atlas's were printed.

    Im not sure how the far west was as far as EHD, but along the river here in the north was hit real hard. I would do a bunch of research on forums and other websites to try and find info on the specific areas you want to head to.

  13. #10
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    I know from experience the Buffalo Gap stuff South of Wall butts up the Badlands and that area is very flat and open. I've hear a lot of Bucks go out there at night and leave the Badlands (which is illegal to hunt) at night and return to the Badlands in the morning. There are some very large mulies that live in the Bandlands.

    The Black Hills is totally different hunting, lots of trees and hills. I would guess that the Hills would be easier and better odds of getting one with the bow and you will probably see more deer in the hills than the Buffalo Gap area South of Wall. There is some of the Buffalo Gap more West/Southwest of Wall that is along the Cheyenne River that is more river breaks and maybe a little easier to bow hunt than the open stuff South of the Badlands.

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