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Lunker

Wyoming Mule Deer 2016

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Posting from Wyoming, will be headed back in the morning. After hunting antelope last year I planned out a mule deer hunt for a buddy and I. I ended up choosing a quota zone with very limited tag availability and a lot of public land, that we could hunt with one preference point. It didn't have the potential of areas with surrounding ag and private lands, but lots of public land and low hunting pressure is what I wanted most.

We had to work opening weekend and drove out Monday. We stayed in a small town on the edge of our zone. Neither of us had hunted mule deer before. We had maps and a GPS chip and started to hunt Tuesday. We did a lot of hiking into areas and glassing, and some drive and glass.

Our first morning we were in to animals in a big way. Antelope, Muleys, elk. We had found a good area and ended up passing on smaller bucks and a big 3x3 that turned out would have been a shooter but it was early. The afternoon of the first day we put ourselves above a big 7x7 bull at 140 yards. 

Day two and three we hit several different areas from the highest pine hills in our area to the lowest cottonwood Creek bottoms. We found lots of deer but nothing like we were looking for, or even close. We put lots of miles on the truck glassing, and hiking into areas. Lots of deer, tons of antelope, and more elk than I expected.

Day 4, starting to get a bit discouraged, we headed back to our day 1 area. We got into deer pretty quick. After unintentionally getting within 30 yards of about 20 antelope on top of a ridge and blowing them out we figured we'd move on down the ridge but almost immediately I spotted a mule deer down a small draw that hadn't been spooked off by the antelope. It ended up being a large fork. I watched him move down the draw out of sight, so i moved to high ground above him. He had layed down next to a bigger buck. Ranged at 114 yards, the bigger buck went about 20 feet after my shot. He ended up being a wide 3x4 that I was stoked to take. I quartered him while my buddy continued to hunt, and then packed it out.

We extended our stay an extra day to try and fill my buddy's tag. Day 5 we returned to the area I had taken my buck. We began methodically working down the ridges and glassing the small draws similar to where we had found bucks bedded. It didn't take long before my buddy glassed a great looking buck at 192 yards bedded at the top of a small draw in the shade of some tall sage. He made the shot and the buck ended up being a tall, massy, narrow 5x5 with great mass and 2-3 scorable eye guards.

So right now I am flying high. We worked our butts off and brought it down to the wire. We learned a few things. After opening weekend everything that lived within sight of roads was smart or dead. Every good buck we found was in a similar area; near or in small brushy draws 3/4 of the way up hills from valleys that had green vegetation and water,  were away from roads, and had great views of anything approaching from the bottoms.

After 2 years I am quickly learning to love Wyoming, the country out here and all the critters they have . Will be back next year, hopefully for elk. 

 

 

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You guys did great!  Thanks for posting your story.  And thanks for the great pics.

A muley buck is still on the bucket list for me.  Been close a few times with archery but one still remains un-attained.  

I can relate to the work you put into your hunt; you every right to be flying high!

Congrats!

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