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#6187275 - 02/17/16 09:34 AM Mule deer
DLALLDER Online   content
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Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 2857
Loc: Pittsburg, Texas
Looks like I will be going to Montana for an elk\deer hunt. What would be a true trophy muley in the Missoula area? Thanks
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#6187327 - 02/17/16 10:01 AM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
Bbear Offline
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Registered: 11/24/13
Posts: 598
Loc: West Texas
Hunted over the mountains in Idaho and have seen some in the mid-20" spreads. The further from the roads you are, the better the chance of seeing something older/larger and more importantly, LESS PRESSURED.
The deer I've seen taken close to the roads don't live long enough, usually, to get the larger bodies or antlers.

Any idea what part of that area you'll be hunting in? Packing in? Hiking? hunting from the end of the road? Guided? Un-guided?
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#6188014 - 02/17/16 06:49 PM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
DLALLDER Online   content
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Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 2857
Loc: Pittsburg, Texas
Guided out of Plains,Montana. Not sure exactly what it means but outfitters area is 100 by 70 miles. Hope to get a nice elk and a nice muley. Since I have never killed either, will not have to be very big to be a trophy to me.
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#6188536 - 02/18/16 07:47 AM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
Bbear Offline
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Registered: 11/24/13
Posts: 598
Loc: West Texas
Ok, you're north of Missoula (you can fly into Missoula). One thing I would tell you is to GET IN SHAPE! The mountains there are that high but, for us flat-landers, the altitude will drain you quick! Start walking/hiking daily now. Last hunt I did up in Idaho I was in the best shape of my life. Hour a day on the treadmill working up to walking at 4 mph at 15 degree incline and in the 9 day hunt, eating about 4000 calories a day, I lost 14 pounds.
Shots can be from in your face to as far as you can shoot. Practice taking field-type shots out to 400. A lighter weight rifle is your friend. You may not enjoy the recoil from the bench, but in the field, you'll carry it a lot more than you'll shoot it. Get to know it!
Can't tell you too much about the game in that area but there is game to be found. Some possible good heads in the area. If you get the chance, take the first legal animal. Especially if it's an elk. Ground shrinkage doesn't exist for elk! wink Not to mention, the elk is some of the finest table fare you could ask for.
Best of luck to you!
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#6188645 - 02/18/16 08:27 AM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
DLALLDER Online   content
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Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 2857
Loc: Pittsburg, Texas
Thanks bbear, our hunting elevation will be less than 4500 per the outfitter. One of the reasons I picked him. Senior citizens need all the help they can get. It will be an elk/deer hunt with elk the target animal. Wt and muleys are in hunting area, have taken many wts but never a muley and wondering just what is considered a true trophy muley.
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#6190188 - 02/18/16 09:35 PM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
Bbear Offline
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Registered: 11/24/13
Posts: 598
Loc: West Texas
A lot of the 'serious' mulie hunters talk about a 30" spread and 4x4 antlers with deep rear forks. But, as you said, any mulie would be a trophy. To me, anything above say, 20-22" spread and 3x3 or better would be on the ground if I could get the shot.
Like the whitetails, mass varies. So a 20" 4x4 with good-great mass would definitely be an eye-opener on your wall.
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#6190281 - 02/18/16 10:56 PM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
338ultra Offline
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Registered: 12/10/10
Posts: 1656
Loc: Waco, TX
I just hope your not using Wayne Hill. Lots of game in that area though.
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#6190416 - 02/19/16 07:04 AM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
Pitchfork Predator Online   content
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Registered: 01/25/13
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Loc: Murphy, TX Dickens county
A mature mule deer that would be considered a trophy would be a 160" or up with good mass and deep forks. up
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#6198397 - 02/25/16 07:34 AM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
Flags Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 11/20/14
Posts: 182
Loc: Athens, TX
Originally Posted By: DLALLDER
Looks like I will be going to Montana for an elk\deer hunt. What would be a true trophy muley in the Missoula area? Thanks


I grew up hunting mulies in CO and WY and for a buck to be a trophy (at least in my eyes and the eyes of the people I grew up hunting with) it will be at least 25" wide and has high as it it wide with good deep forks and good mass. A mature mulie has ears that spread about 22 inches so look for a buck that clears the ears on both sides by at least 2 inches and you'll have a good buck. I've never gotten wrapped up in "score" but a buck that is wide and high looks pretty impressive.

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#6201275 - 02/27/16 08:30 AM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
DLALLDER Online   content
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Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 2857
Loc: Pittsburg, Texas
Well the decision has been made!!! Money for the license has been sent to Montana Game & Fish plus deposit to Elk Creek outfitters. Now to get in shape to hunt that kind of terrain, even if it is low elevation. I have been a flat lander all my 70 years. Guys, thanks for the inputs.
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#6201433 - 02/27/16 10:55 AM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
nyalubwe Online   content
Woodsman

Registered: 12/10/15
Posts: 237
Loc: Montana
What Bbear told you is good advice. Shoot any mule deer that looks good to you, or that your guide says is a good representation for the area. I would be inclined to shoot the first legal elk you see.

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#6208336 - 03/03/16 12:08 PM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
EddieWalker Online   content
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Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1175
Loc: Tyler, TX
I hunted north of there in the 90's one time for elk and mule deer. We where with an outfitter that was horrible. He ran a guide school and then hired his students to be the guides. Mine was from Ohio and had never hunted in the mountains before, didn't have a good set of binoculars and just wanted to sit next to a tree on a trail and wait for something to walk by. My buddy and I never saw a mule deer buck, and the only bull elk we saw was a spike, which was legal, but it was already running over the mountain from the other hunters in the area. Never pay for a guided hunt on public land!!!!

One of the things that I learned from that failed adventure was to never hunt on public land again unless it's far back into a wilderness area. Locals and out of state hunters where everywhere. Not as bad as Colorado and Idaho, but still really thick with them.

For trophy size, I would say anything in the mid 20's with 4 points on each side would be a trophy mule deer there.

I found that Eastern Montana is night and day better for mule deer hunting. It is all private land, there are tons of animals there, and they are easy to find and glass. I saw over 90 bucks in three days before shooting my 28 inch 4x4 mule deer. It's my best to date. There are better there, but I really just wanted one good one on my wall. My buddy shot a 26 inch 5x5 that grossed 185. Other guys in camp also shot 180 class bucks. Mine was 160.

On the first morning we went and sighted in our rifles. After shooting, we where driving down the dirt road next to the range and a monster of a 4x4 jumped the barb wire and walked in front of us for a little bit. My guide said for us to shoot him, but we both passed. I took video of him and looked at it when we where all done. That buck really was massive and might have scored close to 200. One of my worse decisions ever!!!!

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#6211752 - 03/06/16 12:15 PM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
skeeter22 Offline
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Registered: 10/26/04
Posts: 3730
Loc: Lake Highlands, Brady
Don't pass on any critter on the first day that you would be willing to shoot on the last day.

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#6211907 - 03/06/16 03:21 PM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
DLALLDER Online   content
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Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 2857
Loc: Pittsburg, Texas
skeeter22, I have never understood the reasoning behind that statement.
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#6211979 - 03/06/16 04:12 PM Re: Mule deer [Re: DLALLDER]
therancher Online   content
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Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 5353
Loc: Mountain Home, Uvalde, and Big...
Originally Posted By: DLALLDER
skeeter22, I have never understood the reasoning behind that statement.


What it means to me is that you are going to be hunting a long way from home and paying a pretty good penny for the trip. If you pass a deer on the first day that you'd be willing to kill on the last day, there is a real possibility you'll eat a tag sandwich. If killing a deer is important to you, you might second guess yourself for some time.
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