To coin a phrase, mule deer hunting in the high country is 50 percent physical, 50 percent mental and 99 percent glassing!
The rugged high mountain mule deer of the west is as coveted a trophy as any in North America. To put a buck of exceptional quality on your wall is no small feat and will require many years of patience, endurance and fortitude. Mule deer are a symbol of the west however and I can think of no greater task to undertake than the pursuit of an old rockin’ chair buck.
Lets skip the research and planning aspect of the hunt for today and just talk about the three attributes you’ll have to exude to be successful.
1. You’re gonna have to be in excellent physical condition. Make no mistake, these mountains out west are steep and treacherous, and those big old muley bucks are more than comfortable in them. In fact the biggest bucks will be in found in country that is least accessible, where other hunters lack enough steel in their legs to enter. If you can be part of that 1 percent that can out walk and out last all of the other hunters your chances of baggin a big buck just went up!
2. Mental toughness. Unless you are luckier than any man deserves to be, your mule deer hunt is gonna be a long, drug out affair. You’ll walk many, many miles in country only suited for the goat and sheep. You’ll search for countless hours on end for one glimpse of your quarry. You’ll endure sunshine and rain, hot and cold, but this is what is necessary to reach your goal. Just a stubborn doggedness that keeps you on the mountain when every other hunter has called it quits. That’s when you’ll get that one glimpse of the buck of your dreams and what you do with it after that is up to you…
3. If there is one talent the mule deer hunter must become proficient at it is glassing. 99 percent of a mule deer hunt is spent behind the glass of a spotting scope or top flight binoculars and I’m not exaggerating with that number. You’re gonna have to spend hours upon hours scanning hillsides, ravines, etc. for any sign of your quarry and you’ll have to teach yourself to be able to spot a protruding antler from a thousand yards! No fooling. You have to learn how to dissect the terrain around you with a fine toothed comb. To the point where if even the slightest thing is out of place you’ll recognize it! Only then will you find the mule deer of your dreams!