Before I even drew the tag, I talked with my buddy Jaden Bales from the Wyoming Wildlife Federation about what type of terrain I should scout for Wyoming mule deer. I had him judge three spots I had e-scouted. The spot Jaden liked the best was the one that I thought might be the best, so my girlfriend Abby and I went to check it and another area nearby. While a lot can change between June and October, there will be a few things like access, terrain and food/water that will be fairly constant.
June 12 – Scouted a relatively smaller section of public land at around 6700 feet of elevation. There is a water source nearby and plenty of buck brush for feed. We saw a few does and small bucks which was awesome. I marked spots as we went with OnXmaps. Dark Blue = June 12, Light Blue = June 25.
We saw one large buck (above photo) and marked its location. We had come over a small rise and jumped it which was unfortunate. There is enough texture to hold bucks in small spaces here, but you have to see them before they see you, so I was hoping to see something in a bed. But coming over small rises allowed the buck to see us first and but moving away by the time I would have been able to get set and get a shot. I made a mental note to approach from the same area, but be aware of the point in which we will be visible to the clump of rocks near where the buck had to have been bedded.
June 25 – Drew the tag and returned to the spot to get a better look and more pictures. Made a point to walk slowly as if it were an actual hunt and discussed how we’d approach the area in different winds or time of day. Approached the spot near where we saw the first buck and paid attention to how much we could see and how we’d get in position for a shot come October rifle season. There was a pile of rocks I thought would provide cover, but turns out they wouldn’t. There was a doe feeding broadside in the draw.
The next thing we wanted to see is if there was a covered approach to get within range of the great beds we had found. Who knows if any of this will be available in October, of course. There may be no deer around, the weather and wind and everything else will come into play, but as much knowledge we can have about the terrain, the better.
Using the photograph feature to mark a location, I took a photo once we had successfully moved to within 265 yards of the bed. Nothing was bedded currently, but there was a doe in the draw between us. We now know that we can move to within 265 yards without being detected if we stay on that line. From that point, if nothing is there, we can back up and move around to make a move on anything we might spot further up the draw.
While I am excited for the three spots we have in mind, in no way am I counting on the same bucks or any bucks being there in four months. That’s hunting. We have seen the terrain, evaluated the access, seen quality bucks, but only time will tell if it will lead to meat in the freezer.