Early season Mule Deer

Joined
May 10, 2018
Messages
366
Planning on going on my first high country early season mule deer hunt this year. I have hunted late season mule deer in the past but am wanting to try early season. Any advice on what type of terrain or behaviors of the animals to be looking for would be appreciated. I have already started Escouting and I am hoping to get out and do some boots on the ground scouting this summer. Thanks in advance!
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2014
Messages
1,763
Location
Front Range, Colorado
That depends a great deal on where exactly you'll be hunting, but kudos for leaving that out.
My experience is that deer in the summer are very keyed in on food. They'll be camped out wherever their favorite food source is located adjacent to or in an area where they feel secure. Pay very close attention to exactly what they're eating when you start to find a few. Take that information and find other areas with that exact vegetation type. Above treeline I often go through several drainages seeing very few deer and wondering why. When I finally do find a bunch the difference is always in the quality of feed.
 
OP
Shimmybro3
Joined
May 10, 2018
Messages
366
That depends a great deal on where exactly you'll be hunting, but kudos for leaving that out.
My experience is that deer in the summer are very keyed in on food. They'll be camped out wherever their favorite food source is located adjacent to or in an area where they feel secure. Pay very close attention to exactly what they're eating when you start to find a few. Take that information and find other areas with that exact vegetation type. Above treeline I often go through several drainages seeing very few deer and wondering why. When I finally do find a bunch the difference is always in the quality of feed.
Thanks I will try to do some research into what the deer in the area I am planning on going are focused on typically. I figured if I posted the state or unit I am planning on then people would think I am asking for specific spots lol. Nope just curious about observations on what people notice for mule deer in the early season.
 

nm_nomad

FNG
Joined
May 13, 2023
Messages
53
Location
New Mexico
Did my first archery backcountry mule deer hunt last august/September. Will be going on my second one next September. Most bucks will be found in bachelor herds. They usually can be patternable early in the season, as they seemed to have certain bedding areas and even specific beds they constantly used. I found most of the bucks above timberline, but as mentioned above they seemed keyed in on food sources around the bedding areas. Specific terrain/units will obviously vary, this was just my experience last yr.
 

FYG

FNG
Joined
Nov 29, 2023
Messages
67
Location
MT
If you can't get a scouting trip in before the season starts, take your observations during the hunt and apply them as far as what forage they're hitting, aspects, elevation, etc. and you should keep turning up deer.
 

eshunt

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
May 23, 2012
Messages
102
Location
NV
Pathfinder has some spot on info for you. Areas I hunt in the early season often seem like perfect habitat, but the deer are absent sometimes. Once I locate a group or two, I watch and look at what they are eating. If I can find more of that type of feed, I am often in deer more consistently. And this changes from year to year in the same areas a lot of times depending on moisture conditions and what type of feed is available.
 

Jimmy

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
297
Location
California
Summer scouting was the best thing I've done that helped. Wish I had more time to do that. If you don't summer scout, it's likely you'll spend the fall kicking yourself and wishing you had!
 
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