How to glass and hunt muleys in thick timber?

Feb 24, 2018
Southwest ID
One successful pronghorn hunt and one unsuccessful first rifle elk hunt (just got back). Other than that, I am a new hunter.
I did find a game trail or two with older deer sign. No rubs and no water. I'm still learning the food sources and only saw some smaller browse in the one area that I actually checked off as a possibility.

My main question or point of discussion, is without glassing, how do people hunt Mule Deer in areas in thick timber? How does the strategy change?
Hunting anything in thick timber, in areas where trail cams or familiarity aren't an option, is basically a hike and hope. If you are lucky, it becomes a spook and shoot. Nothing wrong with that (we all know plenty of folks who hunt like this and are very successful), just is what it is. As others have said, pay attention to sign, cut tracks and follow. One other thing: Not all deer are located miles away from roads and people. Hunt the land you can (public I am assuming), check it all out. I personally wouldn't just eliminate any area due to "too close to..." or "too many people/wheelers..." without scouting.
Jul 2, 2022
How did the rest of your scouting an huunt go?

Hit the spots I scouted that I deemed the best terrain. Found some new spots while we were out there and got 2 spots from some generous people. We put some miles on the boots and set up at first and last light. Unfortunately we only saw 1 doe the second day and 3 does the third day, no bucks turned up.
Dec 31, 2021
I can't help you with Colorado. In western Montana (west of the sagebrush), much like northern Idaho there is no spot and stalk. A typical strategy was do verticle scans to determine primary wind direction and the zone the deer were in (usually 150-200 ft) once that was accomplished then you looked for trails. They are often about 1/3 of the way down from the top of the ridge. About where the finger ridges start. Hunting amounts to long traverses into the wind.

And yes there is food in the trees. Alders, vine maple, huckleberry, grouse whortleberry (elk like this too), forbs and an assortment of plants on both the north and the south sides of the ridges. Kind whatever they like for the season. Before the wolves chewed them up they were the easy meat for the kids.

The fun part was you found whitetail and muleys in the same areas. Usually at the same elevation but on differant ridges. Late in the season you might find the mulies a little higher.

The fun part was most of the bucks of both species were nontypical. I have a mulie that is 6x9 with a 29 inch spread and I have a whitetail that is a 6x9 with a 29 " spread that I killed about 2 miles apart at the same elevation. However the wolve solved those options.