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#7195176 - 06/11/18 05:43 PM Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips
Come And Get 'Em... Offline
Tracker

Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 746
Loc: Lindale
Sorry if this has been posted before but i couldnt find anything on search.

It looks like me and a friend will be heading up to the panhandle this fall in search of mule deer. We will shoot for some of the better draws but if that fails well go to Meredith. I dont expect any advice on good spots, because if you post them and others see, i might be counter-actively fighting more space issues than i already will be.

I just need the basics. As of now, ive found just enough research to know that we need to focus on glassing, but what terrain situations are best? We are both capable of 400 yd kill shots. Do we focus on glassing and plan to move in if we see deer or should we plan to glass from where we would shoot, hypothetically? Do we focus on food or water? Or daytime bed cover and browsing areas? What exactly are their daily routines and when/where are our best chances for catching them where we can get a shot? How separated are the mature bucks from the young ones and the does in pre or early rut? Lastly, what is there preferred food source in non-farm areas such as canyons?

Thanks in advance for any and all information!

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#7195286 - 06/11/18 07:05 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
TXHOGSLAYER Online   content
goatboy

Registered: 01/12/12
Posts: 15424
Loc: Katy, TX
PM stxranchman. He hunts for Mulies and is a wealth of information, not to mention an absolute gentleman.
_________________________

Originally Posted By: bill oxner
Also, I wonder why you guys are arguing if you have not tried it both ways.

Originally Posted By: bill oxner
I got 3 inches.

Originally Posted By: nsmike
you haven't seen anything, until two gays go at it.

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#7195312 - 06/11/18 07:32 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
scalebuster Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 11/25/10
Posts: 3198
Drive around and look them over. The biggest Mulie I ever killed was 30 yards from the Truck. A doe looked back behind her and I walked towards her. A giant jumped up and I shot him in the back of the neck running away at 50 yards. He plowed a big nose hole 12Ē long when he hit the ground.

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#7195437 - 06/11/18 10:09 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
ckat Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 1317
Loc: Lubbock Area
Understand that they are NOT whitetail. They will not act, or react, like a whitetail. Most does and small bucks are perfectly fine with standing like a statue and letting you cruise right on by. More mature bucks will give you a SNEAKY slip.
You will think, "He has to be right here," never to be seen again ..

They blend into canyons better than you would anticipate. They may be right where it looks the "deeriest," or might be standing in the wide open.

They are a peculiar animal that I am in love with...

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#7195548 - 06/12/18 07:16 AM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
stxranchman Online   content
Obie Juan Kenobi

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 52970
I agree with the posts above that if you try to hunt them like a whitetail you will disappointed. They feed and live in areas of much different habitat than a whitetail IME. Mule Deer actually prefer the more open country at times while there are times they are in the thickest cover you have. Finding the food source is the key to finding them consistently. IME in the Trans Pecos area is that the time between the start of Mule Deer season and early hard frost can be huge. You can find the deer in a certain area or type of terrain then get a freeze and they have moved. I found a 4 yr old MD buck with 9 does on opening day of the season and found him exactly 2 weeks later 5.75 miles to the south with the same herd of does. He was very easy to recognize as a very tall 4x4 whitetail looking rack with crab clawed front forks. He stayed with the does the whole season while other bucks were alone in bachelor groups on the same ranch. One year a Mule Deer buck with a WT looking rack but forked backs and 4's was seen in one area of the ranch then 8 miles to the east of there the next year. The closer to the rut you get the more the older bucks become visible. The more hunting pressure around you can also move bucks into an area that seemed to not have any mature deer. I have also hunted an area several times early in the season not seeing any deer at all only to return on the last day or two to find it full of deer.
I hunted Mule Deer north of Jayton for 3 years and the habitat was varied from CRP to red wash canyons on the edge of farmland on that ranch. The deer were very unpredictable to find unless you had wheat. Hunting the canyons close was productive for numbers but not so much for the mature deer till closer to the rut. The best mule deer bucks I found were while hunting whitetails, but the mule deer season was not open yet. Most of those mule deer bucks were never seen in the mule deer season again.
I hunted Mule Deer in the Trans Pecos region in Pecos County for 10 years. Much different habitat and terrain. Rainfall and temperature was the key to finding mature bucks. In 10 years the ranch habitat became much thicker and taller, making it difficult to find areas to sit and glass for deer. Those areas still had deer just could not see them or find them in the taller cover.
I also hunted Mule Deer in Kansas for 2 yrs when I drew an either species permit. Really open terrain without out many trees or thicker type cover. Mainly rolling to broken terrain with grass cover, CRP land and farmed crops. I also hunted Alberta for 2 years and it was very similar to Kansas in the areas I hunted. Both areas I hunted, sitting and glassing long distance was the key to success or finding deer. They tended to travel more from food source to bedding area on those hunts vs. Texas mule deer IME.
Both leases in Texas what I found that made hunting consistent was food source and temperatures. Find the food source and find the deer. Temperature made them more likely to up and feeding and easier to spot. Good glass makes finding much easier. Binos and spotting scope was a must for us. Good glass will help with the eye fatigue. For me I liked to spend my time sitting and glassing large areas of good habitat. It might be ridges, draws, greasewood flats, higher ground or water sources. IME water sources was the least consistent hunting due to the fact we rarely ever got a mature buck on a TC only to find them close to water. Most bucks and does stayed about 3/4 mile from water. They would feed in from one direction and drink water then feed out a different direction. Does, fawns and younger bucks might water every day to every 2-3 days between trips. Whereas mature bucks might only water every 2-5 days.
As far as the state WMA draw hunts, you can get lucky and get a draw the first time but do not expect it. IIRC I had 7 or 9 draw points when I got drawn. But I hit the holey grail of MD draws in Texas and drew a Yoakum Dunes WMA mule deer permit. The habitat there was nothing like I had ever hunted other that it was some what rolling and more open terrain in areas. What it had a lot of was sand dunes and shinnery oak. IMO the hunt time was about a week or possibly 2 weeks to early. Mature bucks were very hard to find and temperature was the key. I had great temps the first afternoon and next morning then it got hotter. Deer moved great the first afternoon then went downhill after that. Glassing and driving all day produced very little in areas we had seen tons of deer for the next 2.5 days. The last morning we woke to 22 deg temps and saw 18 bucks that morning back in areas where nothing was seen the previous days. Only one mature buck(mid to upper 150's) that morning though. I chose not to shoot a buck that trip but that was my choice since I went with a mindset to kill a great buck or nothing at all.
What I have learned is that hunting for Mule Deer can change a lot from one year to the next. Mule Deer will move great distance to better feed and rainfall. In the Panhandle they are doing research in the farmland on how far deer will move to farmed crops. They are also implementing antler restrictions in areas now and may in others in the future.
Hunting Mule Deer is addicting and frustrating at the same time. Until you throw out all of your whitetail hunting habits you will be frustrated. When you start to understand what drives a mule deer then you will get addicted. For me I can hunt the full season and not kill a Mule Deer and had the most enjoyable hunt. I am not an expert by any means at hunting mule deer by I am addicted to it. I always learn something new about Mule Deer and hunting every season.
_________________________


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#7196013 - 06/12/18 05:04 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
TWarren Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/22/05
Posts: 426
Loc: Lubbock
Another note relating to throwing out the white-tail tendencies is cover. Mule deer don't necessarily use or need cover like white-tails. A large rock, small ledge, or clump of tall yucca is sometimes all they need for bedding. Just don't let them smell you and always, always note the wind.

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#7196025 - 06/12/18 05:33 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
Come And Get 'Em... Offline
Tracker

Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 746
Loc: Lindale
Such great and helpful comments already! Thanks guys!!

Stxranchman, thanks for the in depth and broad experience! I knew just by terrain that I was going to throw whitetail knowledge out the window, and itíll help that Iíve never hunted WT in that kind of environment. I figured Iíd treat the hunt more like an elk hunt, not so much becauseMD and elk are similar, but because the terrain features and environment in general is more similar. The advice on water not playing as big a part as one would expect is huge. I would have put more value on water. But I take it that hunting early and if itís hot, I should still keep one eye on water, or at least routes to it. I habe a decent sorting scope and a couple of decent pairs of binos, but I think Iíll invest in an even better pair, as my 16x Leupolds are a little bulky. My scope is top end and plenty capable (Vortex Vioer PST 6-24x50mm) and I like to range with that and double check misc spots in my field on a map with UTM grid. Iíve been successful at 10,8,6,4, & 2Ē plates in that order at 500yds in crosswinds, so Iím comfortable at 400-500 if I HAD to. Obviously there are other factors and I would turn down any unethical shot opportunity. Turned down a 40+ inch private land Palo Duro Aoudad at 150yds due to him hanging too close to a ewe...

Really good stuff guys!

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#7196048 - 06/12/18 05:53 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
Pitchfork Predator Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/25/13
Posts: 14325
Loc: Murphy, TX Dickens county
I have hunted the southern panhandle around Spur in southern Dickens county for the past ten years. We hunt the salt fork of the Brazos. Undulating terrain with some deep draws and cedar breaks. I have learned that our herd travels in a big circle that probably encompasses 25-30 miles IMO. You find the areas they like and keep checking in to see if their "in town". I've found where I hunt the mature bucks are solitary for the most part until the rut gets in full swing in early to mid December. They like feeding on saddles and points. They also like to bed down mid day at the edge of canyons and draws with a cedar behind them for shade and the wind at their back. That's where I glass between morning and evening hunts. I found mature bucks can be judged pretty quickly by their "fronts". That being their front tines, which are usually their 4th point coming up from the main beams just past their traditional forked tines. If they are noticeable from a distance height and mass wise, chances are good it's a 8+ year old buck. This is the age most bucks fully mature, unlike white tails that usually peak at 6-7. They like wheat but rarely come to feeders on a consistent basis unless they are young satelite bucks that grown up around it. They are perfect game for spot and stalk hunting, which is what I like best. If you hunt them you should practice shooting distances up to 350 yards and always have a good pair of shooting sticks, range finder and good glass binos. Start with the water source and work out in a circle until you find them.
_________________________
Marc C. Helfrich
Retirement Planner

www.insured-wealth.com
469-323-8920

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#7196200 - 06/12/18 08:11 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
Jgraider Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 1054
Loc: West Texas
Wind at their back......this guy wouldn't budge until we got right on top of him. Nothing charges me up more than a big ol' mature muley buck.




Edited by Jgraider (06/12/18 08:12 PM)

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#7197239 - 06/13/18 10:52 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Pitchfork Predator]
SapperTitan Online   content
Taking Requests

Registered: 11/17/10
Posts: 25428
Loc: Killeen/Ft Hood, TX
Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
I have hunted the southern panhandle around Spur in southern Dickens county for the past ten years. We hunt the salt fork of the Brazos. Undulating terrain with some deep draws and cedar breaks. I have learned that our herd travels in a big circle that probably encompasses 25-30 miles IMO. You find the areas they like and keep checking in to see if their "in town". I've found where I hunt the mature bucks are solitary for the most part until the rut gets in full swing in early to mid December. They like feeding on saddles and points. They also like to bed down mid day at the edge of canyons and draws with a cedar behind them for shade and the wind at their back. That's where I glass between morning and evening hunts. I found mature bucks can be judged pretty quickly by their "fronts". That being their front tines, which are usually their 4th point coming up from the main beams just past their traditional forked tines. If they are noticeable from a distance height and mass wise, chances are good it's a 8+ year old buck. This is the age most bucks fully mature, unlike white tails that usually peak at 6-7. They like wheat but rarely come to feeders on a consistent basis unless they are young satelite bucks that grown up around it. They are perfect game for spot and stalk hunting, which is what I like best. If you hunt them you should practice shooting distances up to 350 yards and always have a good pair of shooting sticks, range finder and good glass binos. Start with the water source and work out in a circle until you find them.
Marc has killed quite a few quality Mule Deer and Iíve hunted with him a lot. Good glass, ability to cover a lot of terrain, good stalking skills, and good equipment is very important.
_________________________
If you have Instagram go give me a follow at TexasKillingFields



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#7197521 - 06/14/18 10:37 AM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
snake oil Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 01/10/16
Posts: 1796
Loc: Graham
You might PM Mulie Mike also.........

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#7197604 - 06/14/18 11:58 AM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: SapperTitan]
Pitchfork Predator Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/25/13
Posts: 14325
Loc: Murphy, TX Dickens county
Originally Posted By: SapperTitan
Originally Posted By: Pitchfork Predator
I have hunted the southern panhandle around Spur in southern Dickens county for the past ten years. We hunt the salt fork of the Brazos. Undulating terrain with some deep draws and cedar breaks. I have learned that our herd travels in a big circle that probably encompasses 25-30 miles IMO. You find the areas they like and keep checking in to see if their "in town". I've found where I hunt the mature bucks are solitary for the most part until the rut gets in full swing in early to mid December. They like feeding on saddles and points. They also like to bed down mid day at the edge of canyons and draws with a cedar behind them for shade and the wind at their back. That's where I glass between morning and evening hunts. I found mature bucks can be judged pretty quickly by their "fronts". That being their front tines, which are usually their 4th point coming up from the main beams just past their traditional forked tines. If they are noticeable from a distance height and mass wise, chances are good it's a 8+ year old buck. This is the age most bucks fully mature, unlike white tails that usually peak at 6-7. They like wheat but rarely come to feeders on a consistent basis unless they are young satellite bucks that grown up around it. They are perfect game for spot and stalk hunting, which is what I like best. If you hunt them you should practice shooting distances up to 350 yards and always have a good pair of shooting sticks, range finder and good glass binos. Start with the water source and work out in a circle until you find them.
Marc has killed quite a few quality Mule Deer and Iíve hunted with him a lot. Good glass, ability to cover a lot of terrain, good stalking skills, and good equipment is very important.




I had heard Photo Bucket was working again. Looks like it is. Thought I'd have some fun and add these photos. Took this buck in the 2013-14 season.


Edited by Pitchfork Predator (06/14/18 12:11 PM)
_________________________
Marc C. Helfrich
Retirement Planner

www.insured-wealth.com
469-323-8920

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#7197631 - 06/14/18 12:14 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
Come And Get 'Em... Offline
Tracker

Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 746
Loc: Lindale
Goodness Mark!! Thatís a really nice deer!

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#7197655 - 06/14/18 12:26 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
ckat Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 1317
Loc: Lubbock Area
Another thing, we hunt country similar to the Croton Breaks that Marc hunts, but we are north of him a ways. I typically hunt WTs with 10x binoculars paired with a compact spotting scope. But while hunting the breaks, I prefer to switch to 8x binoculars. I like the increased FOV to lessen the "grid" while glassing. 8x is plenty in that country - especially when the breaks are deep and narrow. You can quickly be over-glassed in those conditions...

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#7199004 - 06/15/18 07:18 PM Re: Need Panhandle Mule Deer Tips [Re: Come And Get 'Em...]
Jgraider Online   content
Pro Tracker

Registered: 06/13/15
Posts: 1054
Loc: West Texas
Beautiful bucks Pitchfork! Gotta love big mule deer bucks.

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